Sean Plunket resigns from BSA board after Harvey Weinstein tweet
Veteran journalist Sean Plunket has resigned from the Broadcasting Standards Authority without once sitting on the board.
The former broadcaster faced outrage after asking if "anyone else" felt for disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. Speaking after his resignation, Plunket remained defiant. He did not regret the tweet and said the outrage was really just "a sadly predictable social media pile on".
He resigned less than two weeks after he took a seat on the board, starting what was supposed to be his three-year-term. The authority's board is responsible for ruling on official broadcasting complaints.
The BSA and Plunket issued a joint statement announcing his resignation on Friday afternoon. Plunket said earlier in the day that his future with the BSA was "up to them". He later said the decision to resign was his, made in the interests of the authority.
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"We had a discussion and I thought that in the interests of the BSA that was the best decision to make ... the organisation has an important function to fulfil," he said, adding it was disappointing he had left without once considering a broadcasting complaint.
After a career in broadcasting, journalism and most recently in political publicity, Plunket said his role on the BSA was one he had been looking forward to.
The controversial tweet was posted on Wednesday and was followed quickly by Plunket's assertions that he thought Weinstein deserved all the scrutiny he was receiving. It was fair to say the ex-broadcaster was trolling Twitter, he agreed on Friday.
"My feelings for Weinstein are revulsion, anger and contempt," he said.
BSA chairman Peter Radich declined to be interviewed. His statement, issued via email, said: "We respect Sean's decision to resign from his position on the board in the best interests of the authority."
Plunket justified his initial comment about having sympathy for Weinstein, saying it was a "social experiment". Despite downplaying the tweet, many Twitter users hit back, including the Ministry for Women who simply tweeted a gif of Ms Piggy saying "no" in reply.
Plunket later deleted his entire Twitter account and said "life's good without it".
His tweets landed him in trouble last month as well, when the Electoral Commission received complaints after he appeared to tweet in support of TOP on election day. Campaigning on election day is strictly prohibited.
He was working as the press secretary for Gareth Morgan's Opportunities Party at the time.
The BSA is an independent government agency that regulates broadcasting standards and operates under the Broadcasting Act 1989.