Paul Henry must go

For decades Paul Henry has been a broadcaster on New Zealand television and radio. He has worked for numerous broadcasters. He has become one of the most recognisable names in New Zealand broadcasting. Unfortunately, because of his (mis)conduct, he is quickly becoming the most divisive.

Paul Henry has an unacceptably long record of improper conduct that besmirches his very public position as a broadcaster. After the latest one, his claims that he never intended to offend anyone are ringing hollow. Singer Lizzie Marvelly had been invited to appear on a forum. She backed out, citing his comments. When one looks back at the litany of gaffes he has made – and his apparent inability to learn from them – one wonders how much longer he can continue. Some of the highlights are below – the full list is a bit too long for this article, and one gets a general idea of their nature anyway:

  1. When former Governor General Anand Satyanand was in office, Mr Henry had an interview with Prime Minister John Key. During the interview Mr Henry asked Mr Key, whom he gets along well with, whether Mr Key was going appoint a Governor General who sounds like and is a New Zealander.
  2. In a broadcast colleague Alison Mau alluded to a Santa themed bikini piece she was wearing under other clothing. Mr Henry asked Ms Mau if she would expose more of the “Santakini”. Ms Mau said no. However Mr Henry persisted by asking children around her if they would like to see the garment in question.
  3. In a television interview, Mr Henry embarked on a piece of unfortunate word play with the surname of the interviewee, Sheila Dikshit. However when Mr Henry introduced her he pronounced it as “Dik-shit”. That in itself was not necessarily offensive as he could have mispronounced the syllables. However he then chose to embark on a bit of word play, in which he quite deliberately commented on her name and played with the syllables in it.
  4. Shortly before former T.V.3. presenter Hilary Barry quit her job at that channel, there was another unfortunate live incident in which he publicly commented on Ms Barry’s breasts. There is never any justification for such commentary ever. A broadcaster who had been in the industry as long as Mr Henry has been would know this full well. This is nothing other than sexual harassment.
  5. Now Mr Henry has committed another offensive act. Just like the Hilary Barry incident, it involved comments about women’s breasts, during an interview. This shows he either cannot or will not learn from his past. Again it is nothing other than sexual harassment – an offence that any lesser person would have been sacked forthwith for committing.

That he has not been subject to serious misconduct proceedings by his employers, is nothing short of incredible. The time for excuses is over. The time for Mr Henry to face the consequences is here. Paul Henry is not fit to continue broadcasting. He has had his chances. He has blown every one of them. Paul Henry must go.

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