A New Zealand television station has suspended its breakfast show host Paul Henry for mispronouncing Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit’s name several times in a crude manner.
Henry’s slurs featured as a clip on TVNZ website in which he ridicules the name of Commonwealth Games troubleshooter Sheila Dikshit.
The Video Extras section of TVNZ’s website promoted the Dikshit clip, which now appears to have been removed, under the heading "Paul Henry laughs about the name Dikshit", Stuff.co.nz reports.
"The dip shit woman. God, what’s her name? Dick Shit. Is it Dick Shit ... it looks like ‘Dick Shit’. It’s so appropriate, because she’s Indian, so she’d be dick-in-shit wouldn’t she, do you know what I mean? Walking along the street ... it’s just so funny," Henry said.
TVNZ has received at least four complaints about the clip, in which Henry deliberately mispronounces Dikshit, despite being told.
New Zealand Indian Central Association president Paul Singh Bains said the fact TVNZ was still promoting the clip on its website showed it had “totally lost the plot” and was insensitive to the offence Henry had caused.
He said that had been worsened by subsequent comments in which Henry said Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand did not look nor sound like a New Zealander.
TVNZ spokeswoman would not say whether TVNZ chief executive Rick Ellis, who suspended Henry from his Breakfast role and is TVNZ's editor-in-chief, had control over the content on the website, Stuff.co.nz reports.
Greens human rights spokesman Keith Locke said the clip, first aired last Friday, was a “particularly graphic illustration of Paul Henry’s cultural insensitivity.”