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TV presenter under fire over Indian slurs

Yahoo!7 October 6, 2010, 3:40 pm

A New Zealand TV station has come under fire after featuring a clip with Indian slurs targeting a Commonwealth Games official’s last name.

Paul Henry, co-host of NZTV morning show “Breakfast,” couldn’t contain his laughter while talking about Delhi’s chief minister Sheila Dikshit during a live broadcast last Friday.

Watch the video here (Warning: Video contains offensive language).

Despite being corrected on the pronunciation, the colourful TV and radio broadcaster said: “Well it looks like ‘D*ck sh*t”.

He continued: “And it’s so appropriate because she’s Indian… So she’d be d*ck in sh*t, if you know what I mean?”

The chief minister’s last name is pronounced “Dixit”. Ms Dikshit had been tasked with fixing the problems at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

The clip had been promoted heavily by TVNZ on the Video Extras section of its site under the banner "Paul Henry laughs about the name Dikshit" before being taken down.

New Zealand Indian Central Association president Paul Singh Bains said TVNZ had lost credibility after the race furore.

"TVNZ have lost the plot. I honestly think the credibility of TVNZ is down the tubes through this," he told stuff.co.nz.

"He should be sanctioned more than that. He should be eliminated from that spot. He should be sacked and given another role somewhere else.

"He has an attitude about Indians and all other ethnicities for that matter. If we sound different, if we look different, he thinks there's no place for us in New Zealand."

Henry again fell into trouble this week after asking New Zealand prime minister John Key on Monday whether the country’s governor-general, Sir Anand Satyanand, was actually a Kiwi.

"Is he even a New Zealander?" Henry questioned Mr Key, who replied that every governor-general since Sir Arthur Porritt, who was appointed in 1967, had been born in New Zealand.

"Are you going to choose a New Zealander who looks and sounds like a New Zealander this time ... are we going to go for someone who is more like a New Zealander this time?" Henry asked Mr Key.

The quip sparked a number of complaints to the television station, and Henry was forced to apologise on live TV the next morning.

"Sir Anand was born in New Zealand. His lineage, as far as I can ascertain, is far more dignified than mine, which makes him a better candidate for Governor-General than me," Henry said.

"Like the Governor-General, I was born in New Zealand. However, I'm at least half what they colloquially call in Europe a Gypo.

"So, let me make it quite clear. I will never apologise for causing outrage. However, I will and do apologise sincerely for causing real hurt and upset to anyone, no matter what their background, who works to make this country a better country.

"So in that spirit, I apologise unreservedly to Sir Anand and his family.

"He's a very distinguished man. I am a Gypo television presenter."

TVNZ suspended the controversial presenter till October 18 without pay as a result.

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