BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

Benefield and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2023-069 (16 January 2024)

  • Susie Staley MNZM (Chair)
  • John Gillespie
  • Tupe Solomon-Tanoa’i
  • Aroha Beck
  • Francine Benefield
I am Jazz Promo


[This summary does not form part of the decision.]

The Authority has declined to determine a complaint that a promo for ThreeNow programme I am Jazz breached multiple standards. The Authority has previously considered similar complaints concerning the inclusion of members of the rainbow community, including trans people, in programmes and saw no reason to depart from previous findings concerning this matter.

Decline to determine (section 11(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989, in all the circumstances): Offensive and Disturbing Content, Children’s Interests, Balance, Accuracy

The broadcast

[1]  During the 13 June 2023 episode of AM on Three, a promo for the programme I am Jazz on streaming service ThreeNow aired. The programme follows a transgender teenager.

[2]  The promo included the following dialogue:

Offscreen:   How would you describe yourself?

Jazz:            I am a teenage girl. I'm also a soccer player. I love hanging out with my friends. I like to think I'm funny. I'm also transgender and I'm proud of that. 

Voiceover:  The inspiring story of a 14-year-old girl's journey to become the woman she was born to be. 

Jazz:            I am Jazz. 

The complaint

[3]  Francine Benefield complained that the broadcast breached the offensive and disturbing content, children’s interests, balance and accuracy standards of the Code of Broadcasting Standards in New Zealand for reasons such as:

  • The programme was not ‘reasonable, informative and suitable viewing when it targets pre-teens and teens glorifying and promoting a non-reversable lifestyle to our children that is very controversial and highly political.’
  • The promo was likely aired in a ‘deliberate attempt to enlarge the audience’.
  • The broadcaster needs to provide balance by interviewing a person who has de-transitioned.
  • The broadcast was misleading through not presenting the life changing consequences and potential negative impact of transitioning.

The broadcaster’s response

[4]  Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) did not uphold Benefield’s complaint for the following reasons:

  • The promo was rated PG, and was appropriate to air during AM, which was unclassified. It is expected that parents supervise their children’s viewing of these programmes.
  • None of the content in the promo exceeded the boundaries of a PG programme.

Outcome: Decline to determine

[5]  We have watched the broadcast and read the correspondence listed in the Appendix.

[6]  Section 11(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989 authorises this Authority to decline to determine a complaint if it considers that, in all the circumstances of the complaint, it should not be determined.

[7]  The Authority has previously found the simple depiction of the rainbow community and its lived experiences is not inherently offensive. Such depiction does not amount to grooming or coercion of the audience.1 Perspectives relevant to the rainbow community are not automatically offensive or unsuitable for children or young people.2 The Authority also previously found the mere depiction of members of the rainbow community does not necessitate ‘balancing’ content from other groups.3

[8]  In light of the broadcast being a brief promo containing no other material that could be considered offensive, we see no reason to depart from our previous findings concerning this matter.

For the above reasons the Authority declines to determine the complaint.
Signed for and on behalf of the Authority


Susie Staley
16 January 2024  




The correspondence listed below was received and considered by the Authority when it determined this complaint:

1  Francine Benefield's formal complaint to WBD - 18 June 2023

2  Benefield’s correspondence with WBD - 25 June 2023

3  WBD's decision on the complaint - 20 July 2023

4  Benefield's referral to the Authority - 4 August 2023

5  WBD confirming no further comments - 23 August 2023

1 See Hutt and Television New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. 2023-040 at [17]
2 As above, at [20]
3 As above, at [22]