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Offensive but justified: Chaser cleared over Kenny dog sketch

The ABC has dismissed complaints against a Chaser sketch involving columnist Chris Kenny that even Aunty’s own Media Watch said was in poor taste.

A controversial Chaser sketch depicting a News Corp columnist having sex with a dog didn’t breach the ABC’s editorial policies, the ABC’s complaints department has found.

The ABC will today notify almost 200 complainants that the photo-shopped image of Australian columnist Chris Kenny having sex with a dog would have offended many viewers but was legitimate satire. Kenny, a former Coalition staffer, is a strident ABC critic.

The Hamster Decides sketch has been heavily criticised by Kenny, News Corp columnists such as Andrew Bolt, the ABC’s Media Watch program and, for the first time today, ABC managing director Mark Scott. In his first interview since the federal election, Scott told ABC 774 Melbourne he thought the sketch was “pretty full-on and tasteless and undergraduate”.

Personally, I didn’t like it,” Scott said. “I can understand Chris Kenny and his family being upset by it and I am sorry about that.”

But the ABC’s Audience & Consumer Affairs division has dismissed complaints about the segment.

A&CA’s assessment is that the skit was likely to offend but the segment was justified by the editorial context,” ABC spokesman Michael Millett told Crikey. “While strong in nature it was consistent with the Chaser style — one very familiar to its target audience. This was confirmed by the fact that only one complaint was received in the 36 hours after broadcast.

The other complaints — less than 200 in total — came after the issue was pursued by various newspaper columnists. It was strong satire related to Mr Kenny’s criticism of the ABC. In line with the Editorial Policies related to harm and offence, viewers were adequately warned by an onscreen classification symbol and accompanying voice over of the likelihood of seeing potentially offensive content.”

Last month, ABC Media Watch host Paul Barry said: “No doubt the Chaser team’s defence is that it’s satire. But I can see nothing satirical or clever in the suggestion that Kenny — who is one of the ABC’s noisiest critics — has sex with animals.”

19
  • 1
    Rubio Diego
    Posted Friday, 4 October 2013 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Why should anybody complain? As a Labor voter, I can empathize with the dog!

  • 2
    leon knight
    Posted Friday, 4 October 2013 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Poor taste indeed, but in Kenny’s case (and News Corp at large), thoroughly justified - I found it quite amusing, and poetic justice for all the rubbish that mob get away with

  • 3
    steinman max
    Posted Friday, 4 October 2013 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    His son thought it was a good depiction.

  • 4
    mikeb
    Posted Friday, 4 October 2013 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Was the dog one of the 200?

  • 5
    dkr82
    Posted Friday, 4 October 2013 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    The same company that embraced photoshop to depict various Government Ministers as Stalin/Nazis and the Speaker of the House as vermin is now complaining over its use to have a go at one of its own??

    Photoshop is a double-edged sword News Corp. If you’re happy to live by it, be prepared to die by it..

  • 6
    klewso
    Posted Friday, 4 October 2013 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Some of those photo-shopped Limited News “jokes”, that initiated The Chaser’s response, were probably offensive to a lot of people too?

  • 7
    CML
    Posted Friday, 4 October 2013 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Amen to all the above comments!

  • 8
    Bob the builder
    Posted Friday, 4 October 2013 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    I’m sure Andrew Dolt will be ecstatic about this protection of free speech.

  • 9
    Harry Rogers
    Posted Friday, 4 October 2013 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    Oh the immaturity of it all, nothing ever gets learnt. So now the media and commentators and bloggers have a race to the gutter. Another kick in the guts for professional sensible debate.

  • 10
    AR
    Posted Friday, 4 October 2013 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

    How would it be possible to denigrate someone who chooses to work for Mudorc? One might think that were shaming enough.

  • 11
    kp hughes
    Posted Saturday, 5 October 2013 at 1:34 am | Permalink

    Hard to beat Kenny’s son’s response but the chaser’s retort to paul barry’s criticism was pretty good too

  • 12
    Tim Stephens
    Posted Saturday, 5 October 2013 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    I laughed!

  • 13
    klewso
    Posted Saturday, 5 October 2013 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately, Harry, there seems little alternative, considering the way political intercourse has been dragged down since the Right gained ascendency over much of our viewsmedia - from Murdoch (with his viewspapers, pay TV and their “contribution” to TEN’s editorial bent), Singo (with his “Cock-or-two Circus”) and Fairfax radio (chaired by the likes of Corbett), who, having gained dominant control of our news channels than took it upon themselves to thrust their politics down the public’s metaphoric throat, by con-trolling it with their sort of politically partisan operatives as straw men (and women), to promote their politics, because “the Left/Labor was so bad and Conservatives were so Right”? It became de rigueur to devote such control of the medium to denigrating your opponent, using partisan commentary using whatever language they could get away with? All the high-minded, laudably worded PCPs and mission statements they use as cover won’t change their actions.
    We could abandon the field to such vilification, and let it get back to where it was when they dominated what they edited and passed as public opinion (to influence the easily influenced who vote too) or we can stand up to these bullies and use their own tactics in a medium becoming more accessible to those of alternate progressive opinion, and let our opinions and voices be heard? It seems the only language they understand since it’s been “legitimised”?

  • 14
    @chrispydog
    Posted Saturday, 5 October 2013 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    Oh, Kenny’s pretty thin skinned. When someone posted a youtube video of him wearing a Chaser T-shirt while undergoing a controlled and assisted very short tasering I made the comment on twitter that it was a pity he didn’t cop it multiple times and get jumped on by some “burly chaps”.

    Without at all realising that his demo, which was basically to show how easy and ‘safe’ it all is, was being ridiculed, he responded as if I’d actually called for his assault.

    Here’s my twitter comment:

    Shot only once for a few seconds? Not multiple times and then jumped on by several burly chaps? Pity really

    Spot the satire?

    Not Kenny.

  • 15
    Rubio Diego
    Posted Saturday, 5 October 2013 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    Crispydog, I love your satire, however News Corp satire is a bit blunter, like Nazi photo-shopping labor ministers etc.
    In fact News Corp attack dogs skin is so thin it should be renamed - membrane !

  • 16
    dazza
    Posted Sunday, 6 October 2013 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Kenny should just pull his head out of his arse.

  • 17
    Harry Rogers
    Posted Sunday, 6 October 2013 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Klewso,

    Thank you for your comments.

    Agree with most of your summary however taking baits from people who show consistently ignorant and immature comments only allow the subject matter to “get legs”.

    Most loud mouthed commentators are generally very insecure people and are only looking for acknowledgement of their presence and care little for debate.

    Ignoring them is always the best strategy.

  • 18
    klewso
    Posted Monday, 7 October 2013 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    They’re not interested in reason, only domination.
    Then when things go wrong they’ll find a scapegoat to move blame too, whether justified or not.

    Live exports” was a classic - according to the likes of Murdoch, the IPA and their acolytes, “it was all Labor’s fault” - according to their account it had virtually nothing to do with the self-regulatory industry body that was supposed to be overseeing the welfare of the animals; but instead looked more like it adopted a wilfully blind stance for the sake of economics - so they got to manipulate the incidents to lambast and blame a government they don’t like, simply for the politics, to influence the voting public’s opinion on “fitness to govern”.

    I reckon they must be challenged, for the greater good - if only for diversity of opinion - contrary to theirs, they don’t have “all the answers”.

  • 19
    heavylambs
    Posted Monday, 7 October 2013 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    200 complainants? And not until the professionally outraged co-ordinated them? Pfft. Kenny is lucky he gets any attention at all…oh,sorry, bad taste!

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