NZ radio host 'ridiculed' clueless teen climate activist

Broadcasting authority finds radio host breached standards for laughing at 16-year-old's comments on air.

NZ radio host 'ridiculed' clueless teen climate activist
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New Zealand radio host Heather du Plessis-Allan breached broadcasting standards by ridiculing a teenage climate activist, the Broadcasting Standards Authority has found.

The BSA reviewed an interview on NZME last year in which 16-year-old Izzy Cook admitted to flying overseas on a holiday despite raging against “unnecessary travel”.

The BSA slammed interviewer Plessis-Allan for responding by “hysterically laughing at and teasing the interviewee for over a minute”.

It found that the interview breached the fairness, offensive and disturbing content, children’s interests, and discrimination and denigration standards.

It said NZME was right to censure its employee who later apologised to the girl.

The NZME had agreed at the time that because of Cook’s age and potential vulnerability, the interview had breached the fairness standard.

But the BSA was asked to review the breach after people complained that the apology had not gone far enough.

The BSA, which released a statement on Tuesday, said “there was foreseeable harm in the form of embarrassment in the moment for the activist” and that the interview had led to “further ridiculing/bullying online”.

Moreover, the BSA found that the on-air apology had not appeared to be sincere, and had in fact been used to provide further opportunities to mock the teenager.

The BSA acknowledged that Plessis-Allan had, without promoting, personally apologised to the teenager and ruled that NZME had done enough to address the breach.

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  • By Avi Yemini

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