Radio group Austereo today faced a PR crisis after a live segment on the Kyle & Jackie O Show went badly wrong and a 14-year-old rape victim was outed on air.
The show – which went out on 2Day FM’s breakfast show in Sydney – included a lie detector segment featuring the girl and her mother.
When the girl was asked about her sexual activities, she blurted out that she had been raped.
Initially presenter Kyle Sandilands asked “Right. Is that your only experience?” before co-presenter Jackie O stepped in and halted the segment.
The story has already exploded online, with a barrage of abuse towards the @kyleandjackieo Twitter profile – which has remained silent all day – and heavy coverage and commentary on news sites. Several stories are reporting calls for the station to lose its licence.
A spokesman for Australia’s media watchdog the Australian Media and Communications Authority told Mumbrella that it had already “a number of calls”. He said those who had called had been referred to the radio station, which is the first port of call for compalints.
Meanwhile, Twitter has become a tool for protestors, with a link to the complants form on the Austereo site being heavily retweeted this afternoon.
A statement from station GM Jenny Parkes said: “Kyle and Jackie and 2Day FM were saddened by the turn of events this morning. In the normal course of preparing the segment all due care and consideration was given to the family and clearly we didn’t know anything about this traumatic incident. The moment we became aware of it was live on air and we brought it to an end as soon as we possibly could. As is only appropriate, we are offering all the assistance we can to the family, including counselling, in what is of course an extraordinarily difficult situation.”
The Kyle & Jackie O show has encouraged its controversial image. The home page of the programme currently promotes a search for a man with Sydney’s smallest penis, video of Sandilands drinking breast milk, and a picture gallery of Sandilands and two other men racing to see who can produce a sperm sample the fastest.
The pair have Sydney’s most listened to breakfast show on FM with an 11.4% share.
Update: The duo issued their own statement saying: “We feel terrible about the turn of events this morning. Had we known ahead of time, this segment would never have gone to air. Whilst we’re never usually lost for words, this morning we were shocked and dumbfounded by what we heard.”