KIIS broadcaster Kyle Sandilands did not breach broadcasting standards when he called Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce “a wanker” on air.
Joyce had made global news after embarrassing Australia when he threatened to kill the dogs of Johnny Depp. It was a potential tourism disaster.
It even made a segment in Last Week Tonight With John Oliver.
Sandilands called Joyce out on air at Sydney’s KIIS 1065 referring to him as “an insensitive wanker”, “a loser”, “an idiot”, “a gerbil of a thing” and “an absolute clown”.
Joyce responded by lodging a complaint with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) arguing Sandilands language was unacceptable and outside the decency in public broadcasting.
The main complaint centred on the use of the term “an insensitive wanker”.
ACMA evaluated three definitions of the word “wanker” to mean:
1. Someone who masturbates.
2. A foolish or objectionable person.
3. A self-indulgent or egotistical person.
ACMA concluded that in the context of the broadcast and within the definition of the term that two of the three descriptions of the word were accurate within the context of the broadcast.
ACMA also ruled that the average KIIS 1065 listener would have accepted and understood the term based on definition two and three and not found it offensive as it is in common use in the Australian language.
ACMA also found that If Sandilands was being disrespectful to Joyce, then under Australian broadcast rules he did not breach any rules as being respectful to an interviewee is a not a requirement of broadcast rules.
Joyce’s complaint of being referred to as “a gerbil of a thing” was also accepted as “a reference to a small mammal and nothing more” and “not a description that was sexual in nature”.
The case was dismissed. It was ruled that Kyle Sandilands, KIIS 1065 and the Australian Radio Network (ARN) did not breach broadcast standards.
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