Ex-N Zealand TV host slams race row apology to India

Ex-N Zealand TV host slams race row apology to India

Paul Henry quit state broadcaster TVNZ last month after ridiculing Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit's name on air in comments that India's government condemned as "racist" and "unacceptable".

In his first public remarks since resigning on October 10, Henry said it was "an outrage" that New Zealand officially apologised to India in a bid to smooth diplomatic relations.

"I'm appalled that this country officially apologised," Henry told women's magazine New Idea. "It was unreasonable for India to seek an apology and worse that we gave one.
"We are apologising for one person in the country exercising their right to freedom of speech. I think that's an outrage."

Henry, who last month declared Dikshit's name was "so appropriate because she's Indian", said he was not racist and defended his remarks, arguing Dikshit's name was spelled phonetically.
"So where's the greater offence, laughing at somebody's surname or deliberately mispronouncing it so it isn't funny?" he said.

Henry accused TVNZ of encouraging him to be provocative then hanging him out to dry when public opinion turned against him.

"I was the performing snake with the sting in its tail -- the better the performance, the greater the encouragement," he said.

"And then when I turned around and bit someone's head off, they were happy to see the demise of the snake."

Henry has not worked in broadcasting since resigning.

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