Radio hosts apologise over interview

AIMEE GULLIVER
Last updated 13:04 06/11/2013
John Tamihere
LAWRENCE SMITH/FAIRFAX MEDIA
John Tamihere
Willie Jackson
Fairfax NZ
Willie Jackson.

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RadioLive host Willie Jackson has apologised for an interview with a friend of an alleged victim of the Roast Busters group that some saw as victim blaming and supporting rape culture.

An 18-year-old woman, who called herself Amy, called the RadioLive show yesterday to talk to the pair about the Roast Busters, only to have the hosts describe the group's online bragging about sexual encounters with drunk underage girls as "mischief".

Amy was asked "how free and easy are you kids these days?" when she told Jackson and co-host John Tamihere she had attended parties the teenagers involved in Roast Busters were at, and she often saw them, sober, providing drinks to girls as young as 13.

The hosts discussed underage drinking, and why the girls were at parties without their parents' consent. "Girls shouldn't be drinking anyway, should they?"

Amy said they should not have been, but that was probably one reasons they had not gone to the police.
"I didn't tell my parents what I was doing," she said.

"That's why I think a lot of the girls aren't coming forward, because most of their parents didn't know they were actually drinking, and I think because they're scared that other people will find out it's happened to them."

The RadioLive hosts said that if "some" of the girls had consented, "that doesn't make [the Roast Busters] rapists, does it?"

They suggested that women who consented to sex may now "line up" to say they were raped as well.

On today's show, Jackson said that they "absolutely don't condone the actions of the Roast Busters" and were simply trying to discuss complex issues.

"We have no problems apologising to Amy for causing offence. Not a problem at all. We thought we were sensitive yesterday, maybe we could have done a better job.

"We've got the utmost respect for Amy for speaking out about her experience, it was an incredibly brave interview."

Comments on the interview on the RadioLive site were closed after 41 commenters vented their anger at the hosts for their attitude towards Amy, and the audio has now been taken down.

"That was the most repugnant thing I've heard in a long time. If you want to know why women often don't report rape, it's right there in Willie & JT's attitude," Tom posted.

Calls for Jackson and Tamihere to step down or be fired over the interview are rife on social media, with one user calling the interview "disgusting and highly socially irresponsible" and a "blatant support of rape culture by Willie Jackson and John Tamihere".

"I am sick of hearing broadcasters advocate victim shaming and victim blaming for sexual assault. Rape has nothing to do with age, gender, race, or whether the victim was wearing tight clothing, drinking, out past their curfew, or thought their rapist was attractive before they raped them," Hazel Usmar commented on RadioLive's Facebook page.

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Rapists choosing to rape was the sole cause of rape, Usmar said.

"These girls are still children, they are too scared to come forward and with the attitude and blame throwing the presenter has shown in this interview, no wonder they are too scared," Kelly Johns said.

"Willie Jackson and John Tamihere need to lose their jobs over this. Their remarks were completely unacceptable and showed just how unintelligent they really are. Willie Jackson, John Tamihere and the team at radiolive - you disgust me," Penny Baines posted.

MediaWorks issued a statement yesterday saying: "As was made clear many times during today's show we in no way condone the reprehensible actions of the 'Roast Busters'.

"Today's show asked why after two years there had not been a vigorous police investigation, and sought to understand better why no complaints have been laid.

"Many callers with first-hand experience phoned to talk about their experiences and we were really amazed by their honesty and ease when talking about a very sensitive subject."

- © Fairfax NZ News

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