BSA orders NZME to pay $8000 for Matt Heath's on-air convo with Ben Stokes' mum
The Broadcasting Standards Authority has ordered NZME Radio Ltd to pay $8000 for Matt Heath's live on-air phone conversation with New Zealand-born English cricketer Ben Stokes' mother Deborah.
The BSA has upheld Mrs Stokes' complaint about an item that aired on the Hauraki Breakfast Show on April 4 this year.
Stokes rang the Hauraki studio that morning to complain about what she considered to be unfair comments about her son made earlier by hosts Matt Heath and Jeremy Wells, who were discussing his final over horror in the World Twenty20 final when he was hit for four consecutive sixes.
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Unknowingly talking to Heath, who answered the call, Stokes requested to speak to someone off air.
She was then told that she was off-air, when in actual fact her conversation was being broadcast live.
Stokes then went on to articulate her concerns regarding Heath and Wells' previous comments about her son, unaware that the conversation was actually on-air.
Stokes subsequently complained to NZME that she was mocked and humiliated by Heath and Wells, and that the incident had breached her privacy.
At the time Radio Hauraki said the pair had been "suitably reprimanded, and are off-air tomorrow", although sources close to the pair said they were never due to be on air that day as they were headed to Las Vegas on a promotional jaunt.
NZME did eventually offer remedial action, including a written apology and a $3000 payment to Stokes or a charity of her choice. They later offered to pay her $6000 "in full and final settlement of all matters".
This offer was rejected by Stokes, who referred her complaint to the BSA.
When contacted for comment, Stokes' lawyer James Elliott said Stokes "doesn't have any comment to make, and the BSA decision speaks for itself".
Radio Hauraki has also been contacted for a response to the BSA's decision but have yet to return phone calls.
Their chief content officer Mike McClung told NZ Herald that the station accepted the decision.
"While the Hauraki Breakfast Show pushes the boundaries, we recognise that the actions of Matt and Jeremy overstepped the mark and we apologise unreservedly."