Shock jock breached for saying he feared “gays” would give Mpox to his baby

Kyle Sandilands big gay disease monekypox

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has ruled that Sydney shock jock Kyle Sandilands breached broadcasting decency standards in August last year when he made a string of offensive comments blaming the LGBTIQA community for the Mpox outbreak, including that he feared a gay man would transmit the virus to his baby son.

Kyle Sandilands made the comments during a broadcast of the Kyle & Jackie O show in August last year in which he also referred to “hairy armed old lesos” and called Mpox “the big gay disease,” saying that “it’s only the gays getting it.”

Sandilands also referred to “the dirty scabs that everyone gets” from the virus.

“We’re not letting any gays near [our baby] … I’m putting my life in the gays’ hands as well,” Sandilands said.

Sandilands also said he would erect a sign saying “no monkeypox patients admitted” if he was a doctor to keep away “dirty monkeypox victims.”

Following complaints over the broadcast, ARN management issued a ‘we’re sorry you’re offended’ style statement in which they wrote, “Kyle is renowned for his colourful vernacular.”

“We appreciate that those unaccustomed to his expressions may consider the content opinionated, and the range of topics discussed on the show are not to everyone’s taste.”

Failing to meet community expectations

ACMA has now found that the broadcast stereotyped gay men and assigned blame to them for the spread of the virus, finding that “the overall sentiment of the segment stereotyped gay men as irresponsible in regard to their sexual health, this made them the prime carriers of a virus that presented a danger to the community and, as a result, they were not deserving of sympathy or compassion.”

ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said the comments were derisive and insulting and were not in keeping with standards of decency expected by the audience.

“We acknowledge that the program’s audience does not expect the presentation style of either the program or the presenter to always be formal and nuanced,” O’Loughlin said.

“Although there was a basis at the time for a public discussion about mpox that involved reference to gay sexuality, the segment went beyond any acceptable standards by conveying that gay men were irresponsible, were a risk to the community and did not deserve any sympathy even when presenting for medical assistance.”

“Broadcasters have a responsibility to maintain appropriate levels of decency, and in this case the comments by Mr Sandilands were overly disparaging and insulting.”

ACMA had already breached the Kyle & Jackie O program over another broadcast that discussed the Tokyo Paralympics where it was also found to have breached the Commercial Radio Code of Practice decency provisions. 

Following that investigation ARN agreed to deliver sensitivity training to the program hosts, producers, and other relevant staff.

ARN must report back to the ACMA on its progress every six months for two years, with the next report due on 17 September 2023 and will incorporate the findings from this most recent investigation into that training and reporting regime.

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Andrew M Potts

Andrew has been covering LGBTQIA+ issues for a range of publications in Australia over two decades and was the Asia-Pacific correspondent for global LGBTQIA+ news website Gay Star News.

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

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