ACMA dismisses complaints of Barnaby Joyce against Kyle Sandilands

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has dismissed the complaints of Barnaby Joyce against Kyle Sandilands saying Sandilands did not breach any codes of decency or treatment of his guest during an interview on KIIS earlier this year.

The complaint was in regards to a segment from June, where Sandilands interviewed Joyce on the subject of Johnny Depp’s dogs being brought into Australia, allegedly without following quarantine procedures. Barnaby Joyce the Agriculture Minister was infamously quoted as saying to Johnny Depp, “Mr Depp is going to have to take his dogs back to California or we are going to have to euthanise them”.

Sandilands referred to that public statement on air by beginning the interview with: “little bit overboard, don’t you think? Were you grandstanding here a bit – you and Johnny Depp having a big standoff, or do you regret that choice of words?”

A bit of back and forth then came to a head with this statement from Sandilands: “Sorry Barnaby, you might not be able to hear what I’m saying properly, but what I said was, I’m not saying that the guy didn’t do the wrong thing. I’m not saying that he shouldn’t be fined or the dogs shouldn’t be quarantined. What I’m saying is, you sound like an absolute clown telling the guy to bugger off back to Hollywood or we’ll kill his dogs. You sound like an idiot. You should have reworded your statement. Sound like a classy guy. You’re a Government Minister, not some idiot off the street mouthing off to a news camera. Have some decency.”

Joyce responded by saying Sandilands was the number one clown on radio that only escalated to Kyle cutting the interview short with one last dig, “Oh you’re a . Hang up on Barnaby. What a wanker. See ya later. What a loser”

After the call he referred to Joyce as “Just a Gerbil of thing” which was also addressed in the complaint.

The investigation into the complaints from the segment found that while heated, most of the language used by Mr Sandilands was not offensive or indecent within the context of a robust debate. Using the term ‘wanker’ however was more deeply addressed using Macquarie dictionary definitions. ACMA found that Sandilands had used the term to mean ‘A foolish or objectionable person’ rather than the more taboo definition of ‘someone who masturbates’ so it therefore did not breach decency codes.

Similarly the segment did not meet the relevant tests for Joyce’s other claims of a breach of the code relevant to treatment of guests on a program. ACMA found Sandilands had not been highly exploitive and the segment did not appear to have purposefully debased or abused Joyce for the enjoyment of others.

You can read the full ACMA report here.

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