Sean Plunket under scrutiny over Harvey Weinstein tweet
Broadcasting Standards Authority board member Sean Plunket is himself under scrutiny by the authority after tweeting to ask if "anyone else" felt bad for disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.
BSA chief executive Belinda Moffat said the board was urgently addressing the tweets. They were meeting on Thursday to discuss the fallout, she said, adding Plunket would not be on the board for those meetings.
"We are aware of the tweets and they have been referred to the board and the board is looking at the issue as matter of urgency," she said.
The board was looking at Plunket's tweets as a BSA "governance issue", she said, rather than an official broadcasting complaint.
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BSA chair Peter Radich confirmed the authority was aware of the comments and was looking into them.
Plunket, a veteran journalist and former spin doctor for Gareth Morgan's Opportunities Party, appeared to backtrack from the tweet on Wednesday. He initially asked: "Anyone else feeling for Harvey Weinstein?"
It was alleged Weinstein sexually harassed multiple women over more than a decade. He was fired from his own company, Weinstein Company, following the allegations revealed by the New York Times.
Plunket had since deleted his entire Twitter account.
Radich said he was unable to speak further about the matter because of "confidentiality" around "meetings" regarding the tweets.
"All I can say at the moment is the matter is to be considered, it is being considered, and I'm not really in a position to say much more than that at the moment."
Plunket quickly received backlash, including from the Ministry for Women who simply tweeted back a gif of Ms Piggy shaking her head. He then tweeted to say it was all a "social experiment" and clarified that he thought Weinstein deserved the scrutiny he was attracting.
Plunket was controversially appointed to the BSA board in September. The former broadcaster, who had himself been the subject of complaints to the authority, started his three-year-term on the board at the start of the month.
The ex-broadcaster earlier justified his tweet and joked that he would like to see it end up in the national news. He said it was surprising that his tweet had attracted the attention of the Ministry. On Thursday, he pulled out of a scheduled appearance on channel Three's The Project.
This wasn't the first time Plunket's tweets landed him in hot water.
The Electoral Commission received complaints after Plunket appeared to tweet in support of TOP on election day. Campaigning on election day is strictly prohibited.
The BSA is an independent government agency that regulates broadcasting standards and operates under the Broadcasting Act 1989.