Sheila Dikshit slur to cost New Zealand TV show dear

Breakfast show host Paul Henry was suspended for two weeks after asking Prime Minister John Key if Sir Anand Satyanand was "even a New Zealander" and whether the next governor general would "look and sound like a New Zealander".

The comment sparked a record number of complaints to New Zealand TV (TVNZ) and has drawn criticism from the Race Relations Commissioner, politicians, ethnic and community organisations and thousands of people who have posted comments on websites, New Zealand Herald reported Thursday.

Complaints have also been received about another Breakfast episode where Henry worked himself up into a fit of laughter over the name of Sheila Dikshit.
He also appeared to make a slur against Indians in general.
The Auckland Regional Migrant Services (ARMS) said Henry's "insensitive and xenophobic comments" would be viewed negatively by many migrants to New Zealand.

Acting executive director of ARMS Lawton Hakaraia called on people to write to companies that advertised on Breakfast, to ask them to withdraw their advertising if Paul Henry kept his job.

"TVNZ must take full responsibility for what has happened and investigate and address the comments made by Henry, to ensure that such bigoted, ethnocentric remarks have no place on state-funded television," Hakaraia said.
He said Sir Anand had been a patron of the ARMS Charitable Trust since 2005, and had generously supported and contributed towards the services it provided to migrants and refugees across the Auckland region.

"This kind of statement is demeaning to the office of the Governor-General," he said.
Meanwhile, a TVNZ public relations manager has apologised to colleagues for her response to media after Henry's comments.

In a leaked email Andi Brotherston apologised and admitted she had "made an horrendous error of judgement".
Brotherston said Henry was prepared to say the things "we quietly think but are scared to say out loud".

In the leaked email she said: "In hindsight it seems unbelievable that I didn't seek a second opinion ... or even pause for breath but I didn't and only have myself to blame."

Brotherston said her comments were wrong and she accepted full responsibility. She offered to resign but her boss declined to accept.

Henry apologised on air after making the comment and, while he has shown some remorse, he lost his cool when he came across reporters waiting outside his North Shore property Tuesday, directing a tirade of expletive-laden abuse at them.
Sir Anand, who was born, educated, worked and lived in Auckland, has been diplomatic about the incident, but agreed Henry had crossed the line.
The slur against the Delhi chief minister prompted the Indian ministry of external affairs (MEA) to summon the New Zealand high commissioner in the national capital. The envoy issued an apology.

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