The media watchdog has found that KIIS FM’s Kyle and Jackie O Show breached decency standards after it aired comments about the Virgin Mary last year.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority investigated the segment that aired in September 2019, after receiving 180 complaints claiming it was offensive.
The investigation found the comments made by host Kyle Sandilands were ‘offensive to listeners of faith but didn’t incite hatred or ridicule’.
Breach: The media watchdog has found that The Kyle and Jackie O Show breached decency standards after it aired comments about the Virgin Mary last year. Pictured: Kyle Sandilands
In a statement, ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said: ‘Australians are generally tolerant of irreverent humour and critical discussion about religion.
‘But they would not expect a host of a broadcast program to derisively criticise people’s intelligence because of their religious beliefs.
‘Mr Sandilands overstepped the mark in terms of the generally accepted standards of decency in this case.’
Findings: The Australian Communications and Media Authority investigated the segment that aired in September 2019, after receiving 180 complaints claiming it was offensive
An Australian Radio Network spokesperson said: ‘ARN accepts the ACMA’s final decision and findings regarding the breach of the Commercial Radio Code in relation to decency standards and no breach of the code in relation to inciting severe ridicule on the basis of religion.
‘ARN thanks them for taking into consideration the number of extensive steps ARN took to address the broadcast of September 18, 2019.
‘At the time of the broadcast, ARN recognised the sensitivity of the content and acknowledge that its broadcast caused a level of concern in some sections of the community. ARN has not had any breaches of the decency provision in the past 10 years and regrets any distress caused by the segment.
‘In the time immediately following the broadcast, ARN took a number of actions to remedy the situation, including broadcasting Kyle Sandilands’ unprecedented, lengthy and sincere on-air apology which also remains available on the KIIS website. Australia’s Christian and Muslim faith leaders accepted Kyle’s apology, which was also published in a public joint statement.’
Comments: The investigation found the comments made by host Kyle Sandilands were ‘offensive to listeners of faith but didn’t incite hatred or ridicule’
On September 18, 2019, Kyle offended thousands of listeners by saying the Virgin Mary wasn’t actually a virgin at all.
‘I thought Mary was his [Jesus Christ’s] girlfriend but apparently it was the mother,’ he said on air.
‘And the mother lied obviously and told everyone, “Nah I got pregnant by a magical ghost”. Bulls**t.
‘Someone chock-a-blocked her behind the camel shed. You might believe everything that’s written down 2,000 years ago to be absolutely accurate and good on you, you’re dumb. Dumb as dog s**t.’
After the comments went viral, dozens of furious protesters gathered at KIIS FM’s Sydney office to demonstrate against Kyle over his ‘ghastly’ religious joke.
Comments: On September 18, 2019, Kyle (pictured with co-host Jackie O Henderson) offended thousands of listeners by saying the Virgin Mary wasn’t actually a virgin at all
On September 30, Kyle issued a heartfelt apology for his controversial joke, telling listeners of his radio show that he deeply regretted what he’d said.
‘I didn’t realise the gravity of it. I upset a lot of people,’ he said. ‘Even friends of mine were like, “Bro how could you say something so dumb like that?”‘
Kyle added that he ‘only wanted to make people laugh’ and emphasised that his joke was ‘not planned’ in any way.
He confessed that the worst part of the whole experience was that people close to him had received death threats over what he’d said.
But he made it clear to naysayers that he wouldn’t be quitting his job over it.
‘I am going to quit? No. Am I going to get fired? No. Am I sorry? Absolutely I am sorry because, as I’ve said, I never intended to purposely upset anyone,’ he said.
‘Obviously I have upset people and I am sorry for it. There is nothing else I can do. We have all made mistakes in our life and this is just one of the many I have made.’
Apology: At the time of the controversy, Kyle issued a heartfelt apology for his joke about the Virgin Mary, telling listeners of his radio show that he deeply regretted what he’d said