Paul Henry is next-level creepy - Aimie Cronin
OPINION: Hearing the word titties is an embarrassing experience. If you have a pair, just hearing the word feels like someone has ripped your top from you. I immediately think of men yelling from their cars: SHOW US YA TITTIES, and that visual gives me full body shivers before my mind explodes into irretrievable pieces.
It's the sort of word that is entirely appropriate in man caves, where the calendar with the naked women that's been hanging since 1993 is permanently fixed to Miss April after much discussion with the blokes that she has the best titties.
The word 'Tits' is bad enough, but 'Titties', ugh, it has a playful, juvenile ring that makes it next level creepy. Paul Henry used the word 11 times in his NZME interview with writer Greg Bruce, in the story published on the weekend.
Here's a wee sampler in case you missed it: "You might like different titties to me, right, but there's titties you like, titties you don't like, then there's perfect titties. The titties you like might be different to the ones I like but the perfect ones are the same."
If you've read this far, you've seen the word 10 times. Unless you're the aforementioned man-cave dwelling man who is gearing up to troll me in the comments section below, you're cringing, right?
And if you're a woman who has ever walked down the street in your life, you're bound to have had the pleasure of it being screamed at you. Nice to think that kind of attitude is making a comeback, isn't it?
As I read more of the story I was thinking is this joke? Is it possible that Henry agreed to an interview with Bruce, planning all the while to rant and rave and drop the c bomb and use the word titties with Guiness Record level frequency as some kind of publicity stunt?
That on the way to the interview, he said to his publicist Anneke Bodde, "how much would you pay me to go full psycho in this interview, like, creepy-psycho?" That she replied, "I'll give you $50 if you spot a woman, objectify her, use the word titties AT LEAST 10 times, then self aggrandise for a bit to sound like you're totally blimmin' up yourself," and that he said, "TOO EASY."
Or, did he do the thing that is now becoming excruciatingly trademark Paul Henry, where he goes off script, becomes unfathomably inappropriate, then goes past that point, where no mainstream New Zealand TV broadcaster has surely even been before (Hosking as the exception, perhaps), and continues to find an audience, enabled by management who no doubt love Henry taking things right to the edge as long as he doesn't cause too much of a headache.
It's unclear whether the woman with the "perfect titties" at the receiving end of Paul Henry's rant heard him, but it is clear Henry thinks it's an entirely worthwhile conversation to be having in what couldn't be a more public forum.
Thanks to the profile piece, we the reader get another insight into the enduring broadcaster (as if we really needed it): The man who fronts a sometimes serious news show where people like John Key and Paula Bennett show up and sometimes get round to talking about serious things. These days it's all about the LOLs though, right?
You can imagine the off-air conversation between Key and Henry this week, can't you? Both of them comparing their statements to the media; Key after his son Max painfully recorded himself yelling "real men ride women" last week as he drove past a bunch of cyclists.
Here's John Key's response to the fact his son has completely come undone: "He has rung me to both explain and apologise. Clearly he didn't mean to make the sort of comment that he made, in the way he did. But he fully takes responsibility for it."
Umm, unless footage is about to be released that shows Max Key with a gun to his head, it is entirely clear that Max Key meant to make the comment he made, because he made it, recorded it and sent it to his Snapchat followers.
Have you ever heard a more half-arsed apology? Oh wait, here's Henry's response to the controversy around his reckless use of the word titties: "I meant no harm or offence by what I said … There is absolutely no way the woman could have heard the conversation that took place. I would never want to make anyone feel uncomfortable."
Paul Henry listen up: I'm sure I speak for a bunch of women and men when I say you made me feel levels of discomfort that could only be matched if your quotes were replaced with the musings of Donald Trump.
You the fans of Paul Henry will continue on with your worship and forgive the guy and you probably think he's as hilarious as ever.
As funny as he was when he laughed uncontrollably at the name of a senior Indian minister. As funny as he was when he made humiliating comments about a female guest having facial hair.
Who knows what it will take to topple the guy again, but you can be sure it's coming. Says Henry in the NZME story, when talking about his career: "What is the worst that could happen? I could make a complete f...in' ass of myself in front of the nation? I don't give a s..., I seriously don't care. I seriously don't care."
And another quote from this piece in Henry's very own words: "What have they told you so far? And I'm talking about you, as a viewer. They have told you that they have been perfectly happy to produce s... for all this time because no one has put them under pressure to produce anything other than s..."
He wasn't talking about his own show there, but I am. If you want to keep getting served s... every morning, keep tuning in to Paul Henry. Either way, he seriously doesn't care.
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