ABC pulls Gruen Transfer segment

The ABC has for the first time ruled that a segment of The Gruen Transfer cannot go to air, after deciding that an ad created for The Pitch segment was inappropriate.  

Despite the segment having already been shot in front of a live audience, the broadcaster later decided it could not be shown on tonight’s show.

Instead, viewers will tonight be directed to a website where they can see a discussion around the item.

The work – created by Adam Hunt for The Foundry, where it emerged last night that he had left the job after two months – contrasts other forms of discrimination with jokes about fat people.

Mumbrella has seen the ad. Shot in black and white, it features close ups of people telling three extremely offensive jokes:

How do black women fight crime? They have abortions

How do you stop a poofter from drowning? You take you foot off his head

What’s the difference between Santa Claus and a jew? Santa Claus goes down the chimney

Then the fourth joke is:

Why did God create alcohol? So fat chicks could get a root

The message then says: “Discrimination comes in all shapes and sizes.”

The ABC’s director of television Kim Dalton issued a statement confirming the item had been pulled . He said: 

“The Pitch segment from The Foundry was delivered to ABC TV just prior to the record. The episode was reviewed the following day and the decision made that the broadcast of The Pitch segment would breach ABC Editorial Policies.

Discussion was subsequently held to decide how to re-cut The Pitch sequence in the absence of The Foundry segment. Additional material was shot a fortnight later and the revised episode is to screen tomorrow night.

The intention of the segment was to explore issues around discrimination towards people who are obese. However, when we viewed this particular pitch we felt that some of our viewers could be offended by it and find it insensitive and in some cases quite hurtful.

Broadcasting the segment would have resulted in a breach of ABC Editorial Policies.We believe that it is possible to tackle difficult issues such as discrimination through humour or satire in ways which can be controversial, confronting and challenging. However, doing so is difficult and we believe that this piece of work missed its mark.It is also a matter of context. The Gruen Transfer is a fast moving entertainment program. The short pitch segment does not allow a full debate of a very complex issue.

However,  the ABC does recognise the serious intentions of the agency which made the segment and has agreed to the segment being presented on an independent website within the context of an explanation and a 15 minute debate on the issue.”

Hunt was invited back to the studio for the online-only discussion, which was filmed without a live audience. In the debate, Sampson tells Hunt: “I don’t think it’s brave. I don’t think you need to offend one group to help another.”

The story was broken in this morning’s Sydney Morning Herald.

Hunt has an award-winning track record of work on anti-discrimination campaigns. During his time with Saatchi & Saatchi in the UK , he worked on a celebrated 1995 Commission for Racial Equality campaign suggesting that the only people whose brains are smaller are racists.

Ina guest post for Mumbrella, Hunt said: “It’s ironic that an idea that’s clearly against discrimination of any kind is already arousing ignorant and ill-informed criticism in the media by some who haven’t yet seen it.”

Update: Here’s the ad:



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