Triple J and Tom Ballard apologise for holocaust ovens joke

ABC youth station Triple J and the station’s presenter Tom Ballard this afternoon issued an apology for his controversial joke about the holocaust he made during yesterday’s show.

The comment, made by breakfast presenter Tom Ballard, came during an on-air game to link two things together, Hitler and a wind-farm.

In a reference to gas chambers used in concentration camps, Ballard suggested “fan-forced ovens”.

After his joke caused offence, Ballard initially refused to apologise, saying on Twitter: “If you don’t like the show, just don’t listen.”

Ballard also compared the jokes to comedians such as Monty Python, John Cleese, Mel Brooks and Charlie Chaplin.

Both Triple J and Ballard this afternoon backed down.

Triple J issued a statement saying: “We recognise the concerns regarding the comments are serious. Triple J agrees the comments made were inappropriate. The matter has been followed up with the Breakfast team. triple j regrets the matter and apologises unreservedly for any offence caused.”

Ballard said: “I’m very sorry that on my breakfast radio program, I offended and upset a lot of people. That’s not what I like doing; I like making people laugh and I like making people happy. I never set out to vindictively offend or belittle anyone or any group with my comedy, that’s not what I’m about. I sincerely apologise that’s how I came across in this instance.”

A statement from Triple J to Mumbrella read: “Tom Ballard’s comments were made in response to a discussion about Alan Brough’s new political satire program. We are taking this matter seriously. Internal discussions have occurred and will continue early next week. All ABC staff are governed by the ABC’s social media policy, as well as the ABC editorial policies.”

Listeners have voiced their disapproval across both Twitter  and Triple J’s Facebook page.

tom ballard hitler


  1. Nathan
    10 Aug 12
    4:19 pm

  2. Jerks.

  3. Fiona
    10 Aug 12
    4:22 pm

  4. It’ll probably always be “too soon” for Holocaust jokes…

    Michael Jackson ones on the other hand…

  5. Tom
    10 Aug 12
    4:22 pm

  6. Not sure what is worse, the joke or comparing himself with John Cleese and Mel Brooks.

  7. Disco_box
    10 Aug 12
    4:27 pm

  8. Was thinking the exact same thing, Tom. I don’t like the guy. He’s annoyingly smug and just not funny.

  9. Paul the freelance writer
    10 Aug 12
    4:33 pm

  10. I love the way these idiots couch their apologies in passive-aggressive language that suggests it’s the listener’s fault if they ‘took offence’: ” … that’s not what I’m about … that’s how I came across in this instance….”

    And I love the way Triple J’s management describes the comments as ‘inappropriate’, like forgetting to hit the cough button.

  11. Yuliana
    10 Aug 12
    4:43 pm

  12. Seriously radio presenter, its great that you are trying hard to be funny but by throwing bad jokes? especially about bad history that affected people lives? That’s not cool that’s just plain idiot!

  13. Jamie
    10 Aug 12
    5:09 pm

  14. Sic em Sack Vile Kyle group..sic em

  15. Comedy Lover
    10 Aug 12
    5:27 pm

  16. “with my comedy,”

    Mate you are a radio presenter.

  17. Zosh
    10 Aug 12
    5:33 pm

  18. What an ego comparing himself to comic geniuses. And what a moron for having no respect for humanity.

  19. Phillip
    10 Aug 12
    5:57 pm

  20. Ballard thinks way too highly of himself.. on the other hand, Dyson is brilliant

  21. Jeepers
    10 Aug 12
    7:14 pm

  22. With comedy there’s one group of people you can’t touch, much like politics.

  23. charles
    10 Aug 12
    8:13 pm

  24. i laughed. i know its inappropriate but sometimes comedy is. Monty python amongst others did far worse things. People need to grow a thicker skin and stop being so mindlessly politically correct i mean what the hell is the harm in a tasteless joke?
    bunch of cry baby wimpy nanny state bandwagon plebs the lot of you.

  25. Paul
    10 Aug 12
    8:26 pm

  26. He’s too immature or stupid to be broadcasting to young people

  27. not funny
    11 Aug 12
    12:41 am

  28. You would have to be an insensitive d1ck to make a joke about the holocaust.. But i suppose that is just new age comedy

  29. lazyphuka
    11 Aug 12
    8:22 am

  30. the guy made a lame joke about just one of the 20th centuries attempted genocides. so what?
    it’s nearly 70 years since WW2 ended. there have been plenty of other “holocausts” since then. if the joke had been about the Palestinian holocaust would there be this reaction?
    freedom of speech with cultural exclusions – no thanks

  31. Katie
    11 Aug 12
    8:50 am

  32. Sounds like someone trying to save their job.

    He should’ve stuck by his original statement & told people to not listen if they found him offensive.

  33. Bazzle
    11 Aug 12
    11:15 am

  34. Looks like a spoilt brat with only half a brain. Imagine claiming to be a funny tool on radio, only to have to stoop so low to chase a laugh. Id sack the fool. Whats next weeks laugh? maybe the plight of those recently killed at the batman openning?, oh thats right, its too soon yet.

  35. not funny
    11 Aug 12
    11:45 am

  36. My entire extended family was starved, tortured, women raped, then men, women, children viciously murdered, choked to death slowly by poisonous gas, in a pitch black chamber, surrounded by others fighting for air, and theres only the f*#king gas taking hold until you black out amongst others.
    Bodies had to be burnt en masse because of the sheer quantity of dead humans…. millions and millions. It’s not a joke. What part of it is funny? Hitler, the leader of it? Not very funny.

    This is more than just a joke by Tom. It’s a clear demonstration that Tom is a cruel, unsympathetic demon freak. As a minimum, he should not be allowed on national radio.

    Maybe he should travel the world, try loving a girl, and get a clue about life.

    Just so you know Tom, Nazis targeted and killed gay boys too. Lots and lots of them tragically.

  37. Seamus
    11 Aug 12
    12:05 pm

  38. Have a bloody cry, you’d think joking about Hitler would reasonably give rise to the holocaust, unless he didn’t perpertrate it? Or unless we’re not allowed to speak about it? Both wrong. Grow up kiddies.

  39. Dave B
    11 Aug 12
    12:18 pm

  40. I sincerely apologize because I want to keep my job….

    Humourless jerks on JJJ breakfast have oft been the norm, but Ballard is the nadir.
    “If you don’t like it , then don’t listen” is possibly the most self-aware comment he has ever offered, and doubtless one station management is thriled by.

    While his being out & proud is as admirable as the station letting him be, it makes his insensitivity more galling. Ballard comes across as self-conscious, smug, uninformed and largely unfunny; good luck keeping that job – perhaps he can take up a role on the new unmirthed platform…

  41. richard moss
    11 Aug 12
    12:37 pm

  42. @Lazyphuka

    If that is your opinion so be it. Why mention the 20th century’s ( I guess that’s what you meant) genocides? why set the cut off to 100 or even 70 years?

    What about the stolen generation or the slaughter of Aboriginals? are they exempt from your rebuttal of “freedom of speech with cultural exclusions” ?

  43. Concerned individual
    11 Aug 12
    3:11 pm

  44. Re: Lazyphuka
    You are completely ill informed.
    Over “6 million” people were exterminated systematically. Yep, I guess everyone should just ‘get over’ that one, ey? pfft!
    Palestinian holocaust?? Wow! Serious? Between 2001 and January 2009, over 8,600 rockets had been launched from Palestine to Israel. Israel hasn’t the right to defend itself? Hmm…. while I’d like to respect your view, I simply cannot. Consider reading something other than the comics perhaps.

    11 Aug 12
    8:22 am

    the guy made a lame joke about just one of the 20th centuries attempted genocides. so what?
    it’s nearly 70 years since WW2 ended. there have been plenty of other “holocausts” since then. if the joke had been about the Palestinian holocaust would there be this reaction?
    freedom of speech with cultural exclusions – no thanks

  45. Sybil
    11 Aug 12
    10:01 pm

  46. Personally I am sick to death about how precious Jewish people are in relation to the holocaust.. I used to sympathise but over the years watching them treat the Palestinians and violate human rights has slowly but steadily destroyed any sympathy I have. They are not the only race to be persecuted over the years… Look at Sudan, Rawanda etc etc.. Get over it.

    It’s in the past, move on, stop holding onto it and stop stealing Palestinian land with illegal settlements..

  47. Jeepers
    12 Aug 12
    12:51 am

  48. Thank god he didn’t make a joke about the Palestinians, the uproar would be unbearable.

  49. Grow a pair...
    12 Aug 12
    7:16 pm

  50. So what if you’re offended?

    Nothing happens. It’s not like you wake up the next day with leprosy. Social media is giving indignant Aussie bogans way too much airtime.

    Go back to talkback radio if you want to have a whine about shit, nobody cares.

    Especially Palestinians.

  51. Attempted Genocide?
    12 Aug 12
    7:35 pm

  52. @Lazyphuka

    And how was that an attempted genocide? Pretty sure over 6 million people dying isn’t an attempt..

  53. PS
    12 Aug 12
    11:03 pm

  54. It should always be “too soon” with respect to the Holocaust. If you demean the severity of what happened you are bound to repeat it. Odd also for an openly and proud gay person to make light of a massacre that also targeted openly gay and proud gay individuals. Ballards response shows a dangerous naiivety for someone who sits I front of a mic

    13 Aug 12
    2:02 am

  56. lazyphuka
    11 Aug 12
    8:22 am

    the guy made a lame joke about just one of the 20th centuries attempted genocides. so what?
    it’s nearly 70 years since WW2 ended. there have been plenty of other “holocausts” since then. if the joke had been about the Palestinian holocaust would there be this reaction?
    freedom of speech with cultural exclusions – no

    1)What “Palestinian” holocaust?

    2)The Bolt case showed there is “cultural exclusion”.

  57. DaveinPR
    13 Aug 12
    8:54 am

  58. Simple solution – play music, talk about the bands, read the news, the weather and stop being a smart-arse. Breakfast radio becomes more enjoyable for all and no-one will be offended.

    Those who want to listen to infantile pranks and toilet humour can always go back to primary school.

  59. not funny
    13 Aug 12
    9:12 am

  60. There has never been any country called Palestine. Research it. It’s a fact. Plus, the muslims living in Israel LOVE Israel, and hate the arab conflicts… research that too dickhead. I know from first hand experience having many muslim friends who detest the middle east crisis, and fully support Israel. Also, telling me to “just get over it” after I tell you that my entire extended family was tortured and killed by nazi’s seems…. i dunno…. a tad insensitive maybe? I wonder how you would feel if your entire family was murdered for bullshit reasons. Uneducated, jealous dickheads.

  61. Ex-pat
    13 Aug 12
    9:16 am

  62. How annoying.

    The censorship, not the lame joke.

  63. not funny
    13 Aug 12
    9:43 am

  64. @DaveinPR — good call 😀

  65. Fiona
    13 Aug 12
    9:45 am

  66. @not funny then why were there people representing Palestine at the Olympics this week?

  67. Jeepers
    13 Aug 12
    9:47 am

  68. @Not Funny

    Don’t confuse uneducated and jealous with actually not caring.

    And please leave out the insults, it just proves other’s points.

  69. not funny
    13 Aug 12
    10:00 am

  70. @Fiona. That’s a good question. The reasons are not straight forward but nonetheless what i’ve stated is true, irrespective of my position, research it and you’ll see. There has never been a country called Palestine. Just because the Olympics does something, doesn’t automatically make it true and correct. It’s political. Do your own research, don’t believe everything you see on tv.

  71. Anon
    13 Aug 12
    10:05 am

  72. What a bloody dickhead this guy is. Everyone makes inappropriate jokes occasionally, but to make one on a broadcast medium for everyone to hear (even if you do have a piss-poor audience) is just bloody stupid. I hope he’s made to visit the Jewish Museum and attempts to understand why this is not funny. Then I hope he watches some Monty Python movies and realises that he is not a comics arsehole compared to John Cleese or Mel Brooks.

  73. Rog
    13 Aug 12
    10:06 am

  74. He’s a prat.

  75. Fiona
    13 Aug 12
    10:10 am

  76. Off wikipedia I go :)

    Learning is good :)

  77. Snoop Lion
    13 Aug 12
    10:26 am

  78. @not funny


  79. not funny
    13 Aug 12
    11:51 am

  80. @ Snoop Lion
    Smoke more crack, no seriously, smoke more crack.

  81. Richard Moss
    13 Aug 12
    12:28 pm

  82. I have had my say on this particular case, but I would like to add a comment (briefly ) to those ho think the world has heard enough about the holocaust and that it should be forgotten.

    First: It must never be forgotten.

    Second: History does not tail out behind us and eventually drop off into oblivion. It is an endless record of our behaviour on earth.

    Third: The Nuremberg trials were the first ever example of war crimes being addressed by the law, and of a new approach to human rights being held sacred.
    The old Geneva conventions, were used to establish a new humanitarian order that would pave the way for the standards today and benefit all human kind.
    We have a long way to go, but hopefully so does mankind.

  83. Jack Bruce
    13 Aug 12
    1:07 pm

  84. the guy is a prat……I was dragged to watch him in the Cross one night…he was dull with no wit…watsoever…this episode just reinforces my view…

  85. Em
    13 Aug 12
    1:17 pm

  86. Has anyone thought about the context in the first place? According to the article “The comment […] came during an on-air game to link two things together, Hitler and a wind-farm.” I’m not going to offer an opinion on Tom’s attempt at humour, just would like to point out that there are other people involved here, including producers, writers, etc, who made the decision to involve references to Hitler in this segment. I haven’t heard the segment itself but the connection between the stimulus and his comment is relatively clear and the situation would have been avoided if the stimulus had not been there to begin with.

  87. Storm
    13 Aug 12
    1:24 pm

  88. Teacup anyone?

    And ‘not funny’, your are being pedantically semantic about Palestine.

    Did you know that there is also no country called Israel. It is officially called The State of Israel, proclaimed on 14 May 1948. Just like The State of Palestine was proclaimed on 15 November 1988.

    Go research it.

  89. archie
    13 Aug 12
    1:39 pm

  90. anyone who thinks it’s ok to joke about the Holocaust is either immensely ignorant or dumbfoundingly unempathetic
    it is irrelevant whether the relentless persecution and terrifying execution of 6 million men, women and children happened 5, 10, 20, 50, 70, 1000 years ago
    hopefully [edited by Mumbrella] will realise his mistake and feel truly remorseful
    ‘fan forced oven’ indeed

  91. Snoop Lion
    13 Aug 12
    1:52 pm

  92. @not funny. You really are not funny.

    The holocaust was awful, we should never forget and we must always try to ensure nothing like it EVER happens again.

    The same goes with slaves, people trafficking, ethnic cleansing, torture. Brutality must fall.

    Persecution is wrong.

    Beliefs should be respected though and if Rastafarian’s believe in Zion and Jah let them be. Rasta’s are peaceful.

    I can understand people attacking if they are continually provoked, however sometimes the eventual peace will be when one of the sides practices nothing but peace, which will then result in the other side having no choice but to also practice the same tactic.

    Empathy from both sides would be great to see. I can see both sides of the story myself and I can empathise with both parties.

    I am not an Israel hater, nor Palestine hater. There are human beings living in both lands who need water, food and love (just like all Homo sapiens on earth.)

    Try to lose the hate and start empathising. Dig a little deeper and understand the rounded picture, instead of spitting abuse at people. If people stop spitting abuse and start reaching out to their fellow man, who knows, people might be able to start living in peace. Wouldn’t that be a great thing?

  93. Ben
    13 Aug 12
    4:28 pm

  94. I heard it on air and he pulled up short of making the actual joke, and there was a bit of a recognition in the studio by Alan Brough, etc, that it was a bit wrong and they tried to move on.

    Nonetheless, we were all thinking it. He was just dumb enough to open his mouth…

  95. Dale Chenoweth
    14 Aug 12
    8:16 pm

  96. Outrage!!! – at horrific events which are revisited time and again in every context possible, it will never be forgotten, there is no fear of that, but do we go on and on about Pearl Harbor, Wounded Knee? Why do the Jewish community never agitate for the atrocities visited on the Australian Aborigine, then and now. What about children dying and suffering NOW as a result of Israel’s actions. Where is the “outrage” of the Australian Jewish community on behalf of our shared humanity? The silence is deafening! I think we are all growing tired of self serving hypocrisy masquerading as righteous indignation.

  97. Dale Chenoweth
    14 Aug 12
    8:30 pm

  98. Fuck, how did I wind up here? I’ve just grasped the inane level of analysis (best exemplified by “Snoop Lion” at 1:52pm) and now I’m seriously embarrassed to be seen in such company. Such are the dangers online that you may unwittingly wind up in an intellectual cul de sac/ vacuum like mUmBrella where the contributors actually seem to take themselves seriously. I inadvertently thought it was an elaborate hoax and (therefore) funny – it’s not!

  99. not funny
    15 Aug 12
    8:50 am

  100. @Dale Chenoweth. What children are dying because of Israel? The one’s muslim’s extremist’s happily hold up to use as bullet shields? You know that’s a fact right? All those other horrific events like Pearl Habour are important. I don’t hear so many people making regular and disgusting jokes about it though. Just because you’re a hateful, ill-informed bastard, doesn’t mean we all have to be too. Which part about my grandparents being brutalized then slaughtered in the holocaust did you think I was joking about? You’ve demonstrated no humanity whatsoever, just cruel apathy. Good luck with that.

  101. Snoop Lion
    15 Aug 12
    9:38 am

  102. @ Dane. Wow, you are a self proclaimed genius! I love self proclaimed guru’s! I knew a self proclaimed guru who set up his own business, no employees, just him (he was a consultant) and he carried the self appointed title of ‘CEO’. (In his previous role he had been a graphic designer…)

    I think you are too big for this little media blog Dane. Perhaps you are better suited to The Lancet?

    Thank Jah that Marcus Garvey wasn’t a self proclaimed guru!

  103. Dale Chenoweth
    15 Aug 12
    4:37 pm

  104. Snoop Lion, lay of the crack pipe, its addled your brain. Firstly, it’s Dale not Dane, although many say I am “great” – boom, boom! Secondly,”you are a self proclaimed genius” (sic) ,so you say – cause I certainly didn’t. Never stated it, never inferred it, never alluded to it – you just made that shit up; pulled it from thin air (or your arse) then started babbling on about…er, well, something beyond the ken of any lucid, thinking individual, which doubtless makes perfect sense to you. I think you are right to suggest I’m not a good fit for this blog, being that it seems to be mostly populated with semi-literate buffoons such as yourself, trying to pass off quasi-religious psychobabble as profundity. Seemingly, your nincompoopery knows no bounds!
    Goodbye Snoopy, parting is such sweet sorrow.

  105. Dale Chenoweth
    15 Aug 12
    5:01 pm

  106. Ah “not funny” (and not brave enough to use your own name) don’t you feel invigorated at your frothing display of self-righteous indignation? Can’t you let your poor Grandparents memory alone? or do you drag it out whenever good sense and intellectual acuity fail you, in some vain attempt to guilt others into agreeing with your inchoate reasoning? I’m a “hateful and ill-informed bastard” for expressing concern for the atrocities of Pearl Harbor or pointing out the genocide visited upon the indigenous peoples of the Americas and Australia? You don’t state which, you just prattle on about what is clearly your favourite hobby horse. As for your grandparents: apropos of nothing you introduced the into the discourse not me (presumably so you could then go off on some self-righteous tangent as is your wont) I still fail to see their relevance to the topic at hand. For what its worth I agree with your one coherent remark concerning the shameless indoctrination and use of children by Islam. The fact that you ask with a straight face “what children are Dying because of Israel” is chilling. Keep up the delusions and the cowardly, illogical and barely coherent abuse – every one needs a hobby!

  107. Geoffrey
    19 Aug 12
    6:44 pm

  108. Now I understand why I dislike Gen Y so much. I had thought it was just instinctual.

  109. Terry
    23 Aug 12
    1:18 pm

  110. So discriminating against race, sex, social stature and just about everything else is cool just as long as we don’t touch 1 small part of history, a terrible part but no more terrible that what other groups have faced in the past….


  111. Bianca
    24 Aug 12
    3:21 pm

  112. Re: Terry

    Well said Terry, it’s funny how quickly people forget all other tragedies in the past (and present).

  113. Not funny
    24 Aug 12
    8:15 pm

  114. @ Dale Chenoweth
    – Umm.. In English please…. and you say I am incoherent… lol! have your own bs?

  115. Not funny
    24 Aug 12
    8:23 pm

  116. have you *read* your own bs?

  117. Zionist
    29 Aug 12
    1:42 pm

  118. If Kyle Sandilands had said this on air there would have been an absolute uproar – I am absolutely amazed at how easily Triple J got away with this completely insensitive and immature remark on air.

  119. Jayce
    29 Aug 12
    2:10 pm

  120. I love Triple J w*nkers like Tom because they never fail to disappoint. Comparing yourself, a poxy radio presenter, to John Cleese? Nice one. Also, the use of ‘profoundly’ is hilarious! Good one, Tom, living up to the pompous hipster stereotype has never been so predictable!