India Summons NZ To Protest Against TV Presenter’s Racial Slur

Reuters India has today announced that India has summoned New Zealand’s High Commissioner so that it can protest against the racial slur that a TVNZ presenter made against Shiela Dikshit –  chief minister of New Delhi. India’s capital city (see videos below)

“…India says popular TV host deliberately mispronounced and ridiculed the second name of Sheila Dikshit, who has been in the news after being asked last month to take charge of the floundering Commonwealth Games preparations.

New Zealand High Commissioner Rupert Holborow was called in by the Indian foreign ministry and handed a demarche, a formal protest.

“It was conveyed to him that the government strongly and unequivocally denounces the racist remarks of the journalist in question,” a foreign ministry statement said.

“These remarks are totally unacceptable to India,” the statement said, adding that the envoy had expressed “deep regret”…”

The report ended with

“Later, New Zealand High Commissioner Holborow said in a statement that the TV comments were “culturally insensitive, inappropriate and vulgar”.

“They reflect the views of only one media commentator (who has already been censored for other racist and unacceptable comments), and certainly not the New Zealand Government or people,” he said.

There are more than 100,000 New Zealanders of Indian ethnic origin, almost 3 percent of the population, the second largest immigrant group in New Zealand from Asia after China.”

TV host Paul Henry, recently described as a “serial offender” who had  “abused women, people of colour, gay people, people with disabilities and all migrant Kiwis who don’t look like him.” in a press release issued by Unite Union and Global Peace and Justice Auckland. Their statement said thatit was “not a case of a broadcaster exercising free speech” but that of a “broadcaster legitimizing bigotry and hatred in the community.”

The press release added:

Unite Union National Director Mike Treen says as a union leader he doesn’t call for someone’s dismissal lightly. “However Paul Henry legitimizes racism and bigotry in the workplace. I deal every day with problems associated with managers and even co-workers abusing staff because the look or sound different. Workers can end up tormented and bullied out of their jobs by the so-called humour being practiced by Paul Henry. When we try to do something about it, when we try to protect the workers, the inevitable response is ‘well, Paul Henry is allowed to use this language on national TV why can’t I. Paul Henry has become the poster boy for bigotry. He has no place on a national broadcaster paid for by taxpayers – taxpayers who include many of the people he humiliates.”

Henry was suspended recently following a furore caused by racist comments the presenter made on air in questions to New Zealand prime minister John Key when he asked if New Zealand Governor General Sir Satyanand Anand (born in NZ of Indo Fijian descent)

Are you going to choose a New Zealander who looks and sounds like a New Zealander this time? Are we going to go for someone who is more like a New Zealander this time?

Mr Henry was initially supported in a media statement issued by Andi Brotherston, spokeswoman for  the state broadcaster TVNZ:

“”The audience tell us over and over again that one of the things they love about Paul Henry is that he’s prepared to say the things we quietly think but are scared to say out loud.

“The question of John Key is the same, we want the answer but are too scared to ask.”

In a later ‘leaked’ email Ms Brotherston made an apology for her statement and offered to resign but her request was turned down.

Mr Hery also made an apology, of sorts:

“I sincerely apologise to the Governor-General, Sir Anand Satyanand for any offence I may have caused. I am aware that Sir Anand has made an outstanding contribution to New Zealand.

“Anyone who knows anything about me will know I am a royalist, a constant defender of the monarchy and the role the Governor-General plays in our society.

“If my comments have personally offended Sir Anand, I regret it deeply.”

But his apology was not made until almost 4pm (NZDT) on the day of the offence, a  long time  after the comments began to attract condemnation from politicians and other public figures, including Mr Key, Labour’s leader Phil Goff and the race relations commissioner Joris de Bres.

He has yet to apologise in person to either Sir Anand, or Sheila Dikshit.

A few weeks ago Paul Henry accepted the New Idea People’s Choice Award at the Qantas Film & Television Awards, so large numbers of the viewing public in New Zealand obviously love him and share his sentiments, which they simply view as “un PC”. Perhaps this is the reason why TVNZ dare not sack him, his ratings are far too high for them to risk it.

On 6 October the NZ Fiji Club released a statement which said that Mr Henry’s token suspension was “a joke” and cited the insults that had been made to Sir Anand and Ms Dikshit.

At last – the ugly truth is out about racism in New Zealand and how ‘small town’ the country really is. No matter how long one has lived in the country, and regardless of the contribution one has made to society, the message is if you look different you can never be a true New Zealander.

in February the Broadcasting Complaints Authority declined to uphold a complaint about controversial television presenter Paul Henry saying homosexuality was unnatural.

“It is unnatural, although homosexuality is through all species”

“I don’t know if it’s through all species but many, many species. A lot of monkeys are homosexual.”

Facebook Groups Supports Henry

5,614 people have ‘liked’ the facebook page “TVNZ sucks for suspending Paul Henry,” voicing their support for the disgraced TV presenter. Their comments seem to contradict the New Zealand High Commissioner’s assertion that Paul Henry’s remarks do not reflect the views of the NZ people.

Adrian Hancock They take it way to seriously. You can racially slur so long as you aint serious.

Brent Standen Good on you Paul for just saying what everyone thinks. Dont change, we love it

Phil Brandford this country is going overboard with all this pc bullshit, bring back paul

Tanya Priest Dikshit lolz i thought Everyone found that funny not just the majority?

Carly Banks God hes only saying what were all thinking!

Ashley Vazey We live in one of the most racist counties in the world if you really think about it. Calling ourselves multi cultural is identifying that we are made up of different races. If everybody was treated the same there would be no privileges or exeptions. No special grants or privillages based on your race and everybody would speak one language. Everyone in nz is from an immigrant history somewhere in their family tree. Paul, good on you for getting everyone to talk about this.

Guntram Gross Yes, Paul stands for the freedom of free speech. There are to many cowards out there that rather shit themselves, than saying what they are thinking. Nobody should have any disadvantages because they speak their mind. Breakfast is nothing without Paul. If you try to get rid of all the people who make so called racist remarks in this country than you will have to deport about halfe the country.It is always subject to interpertation and the way you are looking at these comments. It makes me sick how people abuse the power of the word.

Angela Given It seems to me that alot of politicians are allowed to make racist remarks (that are not intended to be funny) , and you don’t see them getting suspended…TV NZ are just trying to make an example of him!!!! TV NZ Sucks!!

“Bridget Cliff no he isnt why cant people handle when someone actually for once speaks the bloody truth get over it nothing better to do than complain and cause shit sad people he is hilerious he is himself and he says what we all thinking anyway

Heidi Tanner Paul Henry is NOT racist. He is simply stating fact and speaking for those who are too afraid.

New Zealand’s Video Wall of Shame: