Paul Henry of New Zealand
Few things illustrate the venomous levels of racism and xenophobia tolerated and promoted in New Zealand as well as the Paul Henry saga.
This is the sequence of events. Paul Henry, a morning show host on the biggest TV stations in New Zealand
- mispronounces an Indian female minister’s name as “dick shit” and then says "and it’s so appropriate because she’s Indian…so she’d be dick in shit wouldn’t she?" (2010)
- He had previously [video] questioned the legitimacy of the Governor General of New Zealand who was a New Zealand born Indian - "is he even a New Zealander? Are you going to chose a New Zealander who looks and sounds like a New Zealander this time? are we going to go for somebody who’s more like a New Zealander this time?" (2010)
- He had also openly mocked accents of immigrants working at petrol stations [video] (2009).
- His boss, the CEO of the biggest TV station in NZ then says that he has “no intention of sacking Paul Henry”
- Then the spokeswoman for the station says "The audience tell us over and over again that one of the things they love about Paul Henry is that he’s prepared to say the things we quietly think but are scared to say out loud."
- Eventually the news makes international headlines and they sack him to spare further public humiliation (because that wouldn’t be very good for the enormously lucrative international student and tourism industries).
- The day after his sacking the same TV shows says it received over 1500 emails about the incident and "95% in support of Paul". He’s then given a teary farewell that boggles the mind of anyone with even a basic understanding of how offensive his remarks were. They even invite the prime minister of New Zealand to ask him how much Paul Henry has ruined the country’s image (once again, the tourism industry is extremely lucrative here).
- And then a major chocolate manufacturer finds that Henry’s unabashed racism and xenophobia would connect well with Kiwis so they hire him for an advertisement [x].
- And then New Zealand’s national airline hires him for an advertisement [x].
- Then the Australians join in, showing how Henry’s racism was no big deal and hire him with a million dollar a year contract.
- Now, in January 2014, the rival to the original broadcaster where he initially worked, TV3, announces this…
- …they’ve given him his own show.