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Comments about Jewish influence in Hollywood breached broadcasting standards

The Broadcasting Standards Authority has found MediaWorks were correct to uphold a complaint about a talkback discussion which referred to Jewish influence in Hollywood, and required no further action.

The comments had the potential to affirm, further embed and spread negative stereotypes, the Authority found. However, it considered the broadcaster had taken sufficient action to address the breach, and declined to uphold a complaint seeking further orders.

The decision relates to a segment on Magic Afternoons with Leah Panapa and Danny Watson on Magic Talk on 1 July 2021, in which a host commented “Hollywood was run by Jewish people”.

The complainant alleged the broadcast breached the discrimination and denigration standard as the comments were anti-Semitic and reflected a trope about Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other institutions.

Magic Talk broadcaster MediaWorks upheld the complaint, acknowledging the hosts’ comments “reflected a trope evoking prejudicial ideas”.
It was then referred to the BSA on the basis the complainant believed subsequent actions by the broadcaster were insufficient.

The BSA found MediaWorks was correct in upholding the original complaint.

However, the comments were brief and made spontaneously in conversation and, “unlike the hosts in two other recent decisions relating to this broadcaster, the hosts did not provoke discussion in an inflammatory way”, the Authority said in its decision.

The broadcaster had acknowledged the breach in the first instance and apologised to the complainant. “It took steps to educate staff to ensure they are aware and understand the effects of such statements. This was in addition to other significant changes (from a personnel and operational perspective) which have recently occurred at MediaWorks,” the Authority said.

In the circumstances, it found no further action was needed to address the standards breach.

Discrimination and denigration is one of 11 broadcasting standards overseen by the BSA. The Authority this year published new research exploring evolving public attitudes towards discrimination and denigration on TV and radio.

ENDS

For more information contact Pete Barnao on 021 623 794.


FURTHER INFORMATION

The programme was broadcast on Magic Talk on 1 July 2021. See the full decision on our website. The decision was made under the Radio Code of Broadcasting Practice (2020 edition).

ABOUT THE BROADCASTING STANDARDS AUTHORITY

The BSA is an independent Crown entity that oversees the broadcasting standards regime in New Zealand. The BSA determines complaints that broadcasts have breached standards, undertakes research and oversees the development of broadcasting standards in consultation with broadcasters.

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For more information see our website: www.bsa.govt.nz