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Depiction of rainbow community not offensive or ‘illegal’, BSA finds

The BSA has not upheld a complaint that an episode of after-school TV show The Feed discussing issues faced by rainbow communities breached multiple standards.

The complaint related to a broadcast on TVNZ 2 at 4.10pm on 14 April 2023, which was aimed at children, and included several segments featuring people from the rainbow community. It alleged the programme was one-sided in favour of the “trans lifestyle” without balancing content about the “heterosexual lifestyle”, and accordingly amounted to ‘illegal’ gender reassignment therapy or grooming.

In its decision, the Authority found the broadcast carried high value and public interest by raising and exploring issues and perspectives in relation to rainbow communities and promoting diversity and inclusion.

The programme did not breach the offensive and disturbing content or children’s interests standards, while the other standards – relating to promotion of illegal or antisocial behaviour, balance, accuracy and fairness – either did not apply or were not breached.

“We are satisfied the content complained about was well within audience expectations for the programme, and was not likely to cause widespread offence or distress in the context of Aotearoa New Zealand society in 2023.

“The broadcast discussed important contemporary issues that affect many New Zealanders, including children, who may face violence, discrimination or bullying because of their gender or sexuality. It carried value and public interest by raising awareness of such issues and discussing them in an inclusive and supportive way, celebrating diversity and self-acceptance.

“The simple depiction of the rainbow community and its lived experiences is not inherently offensive or ‘illegal’. It no more amounts to ‘grooming’ or ‘coercion’ than a programme featuring any other community would,” the BSA said.

To the extent the complaint was concerned with the focus of the programme on rainbow communities rather than cis or heterosexual people, this was a matter of personal preference which could not be resolved by a complaints procedure, the Authority found.

It was satisfied the programme was scheduled in an acceptable timeslot, and was very unlikely to adversely affect children in the manner alleged.



The decision can be seen on the BSA website here.


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

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