KIIS 106.5 breaches ACMA decency standards with Paralympics comments

KIIS 106.5’s The Kyle and Jackie O Show breached the commercial radio code of practice decency provisions with comments regarding Paralympians in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games held in 2021, according to The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

The ACMA investigation was launched in December 2021 regarding two broadcasts by the Kyle and Jackie O Show on 1 September 2021 and 3 September 2021. 

The investigation found that the segment included insensitive and disparaging comments by Kyle Sandilands that would have been offensive to the athletes as well as the broader community.

In the report, the initial complaint lodged said, “The comments were abhorrent, derogatory and offensive. They were ill-informed and completely at odds with the strides being taken to achieve parity for our athletes. They sit in stark contrast to the historic announcement made the following day on 2 September by the Prime Minister whereby Australia’s Paralympic medallists in Tokyo will receive equivalent financial rewards to their Olympic counterparts.”

As shown in the report, the conversation in question between Kyle Sandilands, Jackie Henderson and Brooklyn Ross went as follows: 

Kyle: “Have you been watching the Special Olympics? It’s horrific some of the things.”

Jackie O: “I have not no, I didn’t even watch the real ones…”

Kyle: “Some poor bloke ran for the high jump and then veered right ‘cause he was blind and landed on his arse on the ground.”

Jackie O (and other voices collectively): “Oh no…”

Kyle: “Then, when they were playing soccer, the blind people, I was, I was thinking are you joking, they’re throwing themselves on the ground like sausages to block the ball.”

Jackie O: “Oh right…yeah…”

Kyle: “and I think good on you, I love the spirit of the contest…” 

Jackie O: “Yeah, yeah same…yep”

Kyle: “But I feel…Jesus Christ…that’s a big effort.”

Jackie O: “Yeah I know”

Brooklyn: “They are putting in way more effort I think than able-bodied people…”

Jackie O: “Oh for sure…for sure”

Kyle: “Listen you can be nice to the handicapped, but you don’t have to compare them to the non-handicapped.”

Brooklyn: “I’m just saying…”

Jackie O: [Laughs]

Kyle: “Soon they’ll have to lift them up to be better than the non-handicapped.”

Jackie O: “Yeah…alright…”

ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said radio broadcasters are responsible for ensuring that what they say meets the standards expected by their audience.

“Comments like those broadcast on this program have no place in our society, never mind on a commercial radio program,” Ms O’Loughlin said.

“Mocking participants in an event that celebrates equality and showcases the highest levels of human endeavour is beyond any reasonable measure of decency.”

In a related segment two days later, the program again breached the provisions when Mr Sandilands threatened a named journalist who had criticised the program.

“Threatening and intimidating an individual is an unacceptable response to criticism and an entirely inappropriate use of broadcast media,” Ms O’Loughlin said.

Following its review of the program, the licensee (Commonwealth Broadcasting Corporation Pty Ltd [KIIS 1065]) employed a second censor to assist its primary censor monitor that what is being put to air is compliant with the code of practice.  

KIIS 106.5 will maintain the second censor for two years and deliver sensitivity training to the program hosts, producers, censor and other relevant staff. 

There will also be an independent investigation by CBC to determine where current controls failed to prevent the breaches, with changes to improve them made accordingly. 

Findings and changes, as well as complaints raised, will need to be reported back to the ACMA over the next two years.

“Licensees ultimately have the responsibility of making sure their programming complies with the industry’s own code of practice. If not, they must take action, as KIIS 1065 has done in this instance,” Ms O’Loughlin said.

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28 Mar 2023 - 2:46 pm

Let’s face it. The KIIS sensitivity trainer has about as much hope of success as Scomo’s empathy trainer.

28 Mar 2023 - 6:32 pm

have been telling management for years that the censor needs to report into legal and not content… if she is content it will never work..

29 Mar 2023 - 6:41 am

Just awful, my cousin is disabled and I find this narrative very offensive. Hit him where it hurts, his back pocket, Kyle and KIIS’s CEO should donate a weeks salary to People with Disability Australia (PWDA) each. Shame on everyone associated with this grubby show.


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