Friday, July 31, 2009

Get This Fool Off Our Radio!

I tend to keep this board light hearted but every now and then I get passionate about a topic and....well, look out cyber-world, K wants to state her opinion!

This time, I am making a statement about a man called Kyle Sandilands.

2DayFM, as one of Australia's premier national radio stations, you must do the right thing and remove this man from your radio station.

No "ifs", no "buts", this man is a fool and he has well and truly outstayed his welcome as part of Australia's mainstream media. Yes, it is time for Kyle Sandilands to join the unemployment queue. Maybe then, Kyle Sandilands can rejoin the rest of us mere mortals (after his sojourn into D List Celebrity existence) and develop some decency. Maybe then he can look back at his sensationalist, indecent antics, step down off the arrogant, self-righteous pedestal with which he has somehow annointed himself and realise that society does not need what it is that he thinks he is giving to it.

What has made me so angry?

This week, Kyle and his cohort, Jackie O decided to allow a mother to bring her FOURTEEN year old daughter into the radio station. Why? The mother had suspected that her FOURTEEN year old daugher was involved in drug use and sexual promiscuity. Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O took it upon themselves to offer to strap this young lady, a FOURTEEN year old girl, to a lie detector and ask her a series of questions about her sex life. This was done live to air, with millions of breakfast radio listeners tuning in, and it was done for the purposes of entertainment. What was "fun" (?) at first turned sour when the FOURTEEN year old girl, in response to a question about whether she had had sex, informed those present in the radio station (oh, and the entire broadcast audience) that she had in fact been raped at the age of twelve - and that her mother already knew about this. In true "Kyle Sandilands" form, his reaction is nothing short of vile - his response was "is that the only sexual experience you have had?"

His reaction since then has been just as foul.

However, lets start from the very beginning as I analyze this instance of disgusting media trash.

These two fools on 2DayFM thought that it would be funny to bring a fourteen year old girl on public radio and discuss matters of a sexual nature with her.

Firstly, children should not be used as entertainment. The one thing that the United Nations did actually get right was their Convention on the Rights of the Child. This Convention, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1989 was ratified by a number of countries, including Australia. Nations that ratify this international convention are bound to it by international law. Australia, and its law abiding citizens, are required to adhere to the Convention on the Rights of the Child which clearly states that, irrespective of any other interest, a child's rights are paramount. The Convention also acknowledges that children have the right to express their opinions and to have those opinions heard and acted upon when appropriate, to be protected from abuse or exploitation, to have their privacy protected and requires that their lives not be subject to excessive interference. The obvious issues of under-aged sex aside at this point, placing this child on national radio and strapping her to a lie detector machine to ask her questions about her drug use and extracurricular activities is a breach of her privacy, and a clear act of exploitation for adult-entertainment purposes.

Under Secion 66C of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), it is an offence to engage in sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 16. Further, Section 73 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) states that it is an offence to engage in sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 18 if that person is under the care of the offender. The very fact that our age of consent in New South Wales (and much of Australia) is 16 means to say that sexual activity with any person under the age of 16 years of age is not up for discussion - its actually evidence to be used for a potential prosecution. Irrespective of what transpired during the interview, that young woman should not have been strapped to a lie detector test and asked questions about sexual activity in a public forum. It is not only discussing matters which are against the law, it is bad taste. The child came online and immediately stated that she was scared and that what her mother was doing was unfair. Jackie O makes a (stupid) comment that the child wasn't happy and that "any child would be scared at this point". They confirm with the lie detector technician that the machine showed that she was scared. What part of those dim-witted fools' brains did not alert them to the fact that (a) this was inappropriate and (b) the child did not want to go ahead with it?. Hang on, Jackie O actually DID acknowledge that "any child would be scared" yet the interview continued!!!

The interview fell apart when the child informed them that she was raped at the age of twelve and that her mother knew full well that it had happened. The child was clearly distressed and it was only at that point that the interview ceased, but not before Kyle Sandilands responds stupidly by asking if it was her "only experience". Note to Kyle - last time I checked, rape isn't categorised as an "experience".

It is (slightly) tempting to defend Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O in this instance on the basis that the mother did not disclose the information and allow her child on radio. I have my own opinions about the mother's responsibility but this is not what this article is about. My defense of Kyle and Jackie O ceases quickly due to the very fact that they did not blink any eye when placing a child on the radio. Irrespective of what transpired, their idea of entertainment on this occasion was disgusting. This is not the first time that Kyle Sandliands in particular has been in trouble for this kind of thing. Kyle Sandilands has made himself a career out of being a "shock-jock" by pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable and what is not. His distasteful "humour" (if you can call it that) has on a number of occasions yielded unsavoury results and yet time and time again, Austereo and his supporting television channel, Channel 10 pay this neanderthal loads of money.

Hoping all of this was a bad memory, I then go online tonight to find that Mr. Sandilands has taken it upon himself to put pen to paper. In his overwhelmingly sensitive form, he has written an article defending himself against the public outcry. Rather than draft a well-versed, carefully thought out response to a very serious matter, he writes such things as:

I didn’t realise I had said “Have you had any other experiences?”

At the same time I was speaking I was signalling to Jackie that we had to terminate the segment. I went into a slight panic as how to get the thing off the air and I was more focused on making that happen than on what I said.

Kyle should have kept his mouth shut on this and acknowledged that what he had said was inappropriate. Instead, he indicated that the comment was a result of him going into a "slight panic"? Mr. Sandilands, I disagree. Instead of your first reaction being that of needing to shut down the segment immediately, you looked to divert the discussion back to the original question. It wasn't her answer that was inappropriate, it was the question to begin with.

The only good part to take out of this is that the family has now got some help. I’ve spoken to the mother this afternoon – and they are going to get some counselling. We have done everything that we can possibly do to help them. But the truth is that the mother’s more concerned that it has turned into a bigger media story.

Again, he should have kept his mouth shut on this and indicated that they were working with the necessary authorities to deal with the matter in the most professional and sensitive way possible. It makes me sick to the stomach that he is actually thinking he has done the family (and society) a favour by fixing a problem. He then throws in a vile comment about the mother.

I know a few people that have been raped. My first experience of it was when I was a teenager – I knew a girl who had been raped by a family member.

This is the most condescending, appalling part of his letter. Mr. Sandilands, please do not even begin to try and empathise with what it must have felt like for that fourteen year old to have faced what she faced, both with being dragged onto public radio and the rape itself.

As for what I said, it wasn’t intended to hurt. If people have found it appalling or offensive I’m sorry for them that feel that way, but I would ask people to put themselves into the situation where someone says to you during a live radio show that they have been raped.

Kyle Sandilands should not have written this "apology" (if you can even call it that) as it is not only insulting to the young woman but to the general public. Mr. Sandilands, you do not need to ask me to put myself in the situation where someone says to me during a live radio show that they have been raped. You are missing the critical point. The point is that you should not have even put yourself into the situation whereby you had the opportunity to have someone inform you that they have been raped. She was a fourteen year old girl. She clearly was distressed prior to the interview. She was even more distressed afterward.

As I said before, it is not only what Kyle Sandilands did during the interview that has made me angry, but its the comments that he has made post-incident. It was like sitting a naughty child down in the principals office and allowing him to immaturely explain his way out of stealing someone else's lunch. The problem here is that Kyle Sandilands is treating this matter in a similar way as he would if he got into trouble for stealing that lunch.

"Deny. Lift blame. Lift guilt. Yay for me being a good citizen. Sorry but its still not my fault."

Frankly, it makes me sick to the stomach and it is time for Kyle Sandilands to be sacked.


You can listen to the actual interview here.

You can read Kyle Sandiland's poor excuse of an apology/defence here.

You can read a good article which goes the very heart of the matter - her privacy - here.

You can read about the UN's Convention on the Rights of the Child on Wikipedia here.

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