New Zealand Law Society - "You pommy git" not encouraging discrimination: BSA

"You pommy git" not encouraging discrimination: BSA

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A complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority about a reference by TV host Mark Richardson to US Masters golf tournament winner Danny Willett which used the phrase "you pommy git" has not been upheld.

In Wallace and SKY Network Television Ltd 2016-037 (25 July 2016), the remarks complained about were made during an episode of The Crowd Goes Wild  on Prime TV at 7pm on 11 April 2016 when the hosts were discussing the results of the US Masters.

Mark Richardson commented in relation to footage of Mr Willett playing a hole, "you're leading the Masters - how are you going to handle this, you pommy git? Right, so pretty well then, old chap I see."

The complainant said the phrase "pommy git" was "said in a nasty tone of voice", and was openly racist and derogatory.

SKY argued that the term was used in humour, and was "designed to highlight a possible crowd reaction to an English golfer coming out of nowhere to start challenging a hometown hero [Jordan Speith]."

The Authority said when it considers the good taste and decency standard it takes into account the relevant contextual factors, including the time of broadcast, the humorous nature of the programme, its adult target audience, the style of presentation, audience expectations of the hosts and the programme. It also noted that the hosts went on to commend Danny Willett for his win.

"While some viewers, including the complainant, may argue that more appropriate language should have been used, we consider regular viewers would expect this type of humour from the show's hosts and would not have been unduly surprised or offended by the phrase in this context," it said.

"Overall, the use of the term 'pommy git' did not threaten current norms of good taste and decency, taking into account the humourous tone of the segment, along with factors such as audience expectations of The Crowd Goes Wild."

Considering whether the broadcast encouraged the denigration of, or discrimination against, English people as a section of the community, the Authority said it had previously considered the use of the phrase "pommy git" as well as variations, and concluded that its use did not breach broadcasting standards.

"The host's comments were clearly limited to Mr Willett. We do not consider that Mr Richardson was commenting negatively on English people generally. Nor do we think that he was being 'nasty' or 'derogatory' as alleged by the complainant," it said.

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