Hastie and TVWorks Ltd - 2011-102
- Peter Radich (Chair)
- Leigh Pearson
- Mary Anne Shanahan
- Te Raumawhitu Kupenga
- Gus Hastie
ProgrammeAmerican Pie Presents: Beta House
Complaint under section 8(1C) of the Broadcasting Act 1989
American Pie Presents: Beta House – movie contained nudity and sex scenes – allegedly in breach of children’s interests standard
Standard 9 (children’s interests) – recording of broadcast unavailable – decline to determine in accordance with section 11(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989
This headnote does not form part of the decision.
 A movie called American Pie Presents: Beta House was broadcast on FOUR at 8.30pm on 24 May 2011.
 Gus Hastie made a formal complaint to TVWorks Ltd, the broadcaster, alleging that the movie contained nudity and sex scenes close to the 8.30pm watershed, in breach of standards relating to children’s interests.
 Mr Hastie referred his complaint to the Authority on the basis that he had not received a response from the broadcaster within the statutory timeframe. TVWorks objected to the Authority accepting the referral, as it maintained it had emailed Mr Hastie a decision two days after he lodged his original complaint. On 7 November 2011, the Authority released an interlocutory decision accepting Mr Hastie’s complaint.1
 Following the release of our interlocutory decision, the broadcaster was asked to provide comments on the referral and a copy of the broadcast. Because of the length of time between Mr Hastie’s original referral email and the resolution of the interlocutory matter, TVWorks advised us that it no longer had a recording of the programme.
 Broadcasters are required to retain recordings of broadcasts for 35 days to allow for the formal complaint period of 20 working days. Once they have responded to a complaint, they retain recordings for a further 20 working days to cover the time in which a complainant can refer their complaint to the Authority. By the time Mr Hastie confirmed he wished to refer his complaint on 4 August 2011, TVWorks, believing it had responded to him on 26 May 2011, had already purged the recording of the broadcast in accordance with its standard practice.
 A determination as to whether broadcasting standards raised in relation to the programme were breached necessarily requires careful consideration not only of the programme content, but also the overall tone of the programme and any relevant contextual factors. While we could easily have sourced a copy of the film, and the broadcaster was in possession of a master recording, we note TVWorks’ contention that approximately eight edits were made before the movie went to air. Without being able to watch the movie exactly as it was broadcast, we are unable to consider the standards raised by Mr Hastie in relation to the programme, as the original version would not give us a reliable indication of the broadcast’s content and context. This means that, unfortunately, we are left in the unsatisfactory position of being unable to determine the complaint.
 In these circumstances, we find that it is appropriate for us to decline to determine the complaint in accordance with section 11(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989.
For the above reasons the Authority declines to determine the complaint.
Signed for and on behalf of the Authority
20 December 2011
The following correspondence was received and considered by the Authority when it determined this complaint:
1 Gus Hastie’s formal complaint – 24 May 2011
2 TVWorks’ response to the complaint – 26 May 2011
3 Mr Hastie’s referral to the Authority – 4 August 2011
4 Email correspondence from TVWorks – 12 August to 16 September 2011
5 Mr Hastie’s submissions regarding Authority’s acceptance of the referral – 7 October 2011
6 TVWorks’ response to the submissions – 11 October 2011
7 Email from TVWorks advising recording unavailable – 9 November 2011
1See Hastie and TVWorks Ltd, Decision No. ID2011-102.