Regulator rules Sandilands ‘grossly insensitive’ over disabled baby but did not breach rules

Kyle Sandilands has been cleared by the media regulator over his “spider baby” comments. However, his comments have been labelled “grossly insensitive”.

In May, the Australian Communications and Media Authority launched an investigation into jokes the controversial 2Day FM presenter made during a news bulletin on April 26.

During an item about a baby born in Pakistan with additional limbs after the death of its conjoined twin in the womb, Sandilands joked that the “spider baby” would have an advantage in the Olympics.

Audio of the spider baby comments:

His comments drew complaints from the Sack Vile Kyle campaign which was set up in the wake of his attack on News Limited journalist Alison Stephenson. 2Day FM’s parent company Southern Cross Austereo is still fighting new licence conditions attached to the complaint about Sandiland’s attack being upheld.

But this time round, the ACMA has come down on Sandilands’ side.

The authority investigated whether the comments breached a licence condition aimed at protecting children in the wake of the infamous lie detector segment in which Sandilands quizzed a girl about her sexual experiences.

It ruled that as the child was in Pakistan, there was little likelihood of the comments causing it any harm. It said: “The ACMA found no evidence that the welfare or well-being of the baby concerned was, or was likely to have been, affected by the broadcast of the segment.”

The watchdog added: “The ACMA also considered whether the broadcast breached code provisions which prohibit the incitement of severe ridicule of a person because of their disability and the broadcast of material which offends generally accepted standards of decency.

“It found that while the broadcast conveyed severe ridicule and was grossly insensitive, it was not likely to incite severe ridicule of the child among listeners. Nor did the broadcast offend generally accepted standards of decency: although the comments were in poor taste and offensive to some, they were not, in the sense contemplated by the code, lewd, coarse or indecent.”



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