Kyle’s decency breach: Ruling after Virgin Mary uproar

 

KIIS FM's Kyle and Jackie O show breached decency standards when it aired offensive comments about Virgin Mary last year, an investigation has found.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) says KIIS 1065 was in breach of "rules relating to generally accepted standards of decency" when it aired co-host Kyle Sandilands' comments that Mary was not a virgin on 18 September 2019, prompting 180 complaints and protests.

Pictured: Kyle Sandilands at KIIS FM studios. Source: The Sunday Telegraph
Pictured: Kyle Sandilands at KIIS FM studios. Source: The Sunday Telegraph

The investigation, which was made under the Commercial Radio Code of Practice, found the broadcast was offensive to listeners of faith and the wider community but was not in breach of rules relating to inciting hatred and severe ridicule because of religion.

Sandilands, who previously issued a grovelling eight-minute apology on-air, has since been "counselled" by KIIS 1065, whose parent company is Australian Radio Network.

"Australians are generally tolerant of irreverent humour and critical discussion about religion. But they would not expect a host of a broadcast program to derisively criticise people's intelligence because of their religious beliefs," ACMA Chair Nerida O'Loughlin said.

"Mr Sandilands overstepped the mark in terms of the generally accepted standards of decency in this case."

Protesters outside the KIIS FM studio at North Ryde. Protesters are holding a peaceful stand outside the studios last year. Picture John Grainger
Protesters outside the KIIS FM studio at North Ryde. Protesters are holding a peaceful stand outside the studios last year. Picture John Grainger

The Daily Telegraph previously revealed that at least one advertiser pulled its ads from the Kyle and Jackie O show last year due to Sandilands' comments, which prompted protesters to gather outside KIIS FM's North Ryde studios demanding his sacking at the time.

"I thought Mary was his (Jesus Christ's) girlfriend but apparently it was the mother. And the mother lied obviously and told everyone, 'Nah I got pregnant by a magical ghost'. Bulls***," Sandilands said on September 19.

"Someone chock-a-blocked her behind the camel shed … You might believe everything that's written down 2000 years ago to be absolutely accurate and good on you, you're dumb. Dumb as dog s***."

During his apology, Sandilands said he regretted his comments.

"Am I going to quit? No. Am I going to get fired? No. Am I sorry? Absolutely I'm sorry," he said.

 

KIIS FM co-hosts Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O Henderson. Source: Radio Alive
KIIS FM co-hosts Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O Henderson. Source: Radio Alive

An ARN Spokesman said: "ARN accepts the ACMA's final decision and findings regarding the breach of the Commercial Radio Code in relation to decency standards and no breach of the code in relation to inciting severe ridicule on the basis of religion. ARN thanks them for taking into consideration the number of extensive steps ARN took to address the broadcast of September 18, 2019.

"At the time of the broadcast, ARN recognised the sensitivity of the content and acknowledge that its broadcast caused a level of concern in some sections of the community.

"ARN has not had any breaches of the decency provision in the past 10 years and regrets any distress caused by the segment. In the time immediately following the broadcast, ARN took a number of actions to remedy the situation, including broadcasting Kyle Sandilands' unprecedented, lengthy and sincere on-air apology which also remains available on the KIIS website. Australia's Christian and Muslim faith leaders accepted Kyle's apology, which was also published in a public joint statement."

Originally published as Kyle's decency breach: Ruling after Virgin Mary uproar


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