Kyle off the hook for Spider Baby jibe

In a public statement today, The Australian Communications and Media Authority confirmed that 2DAY FM did not breach an additional condition of its licence or the Commercial Radio Code of Practice when it broadcast remarks regarding a disabled child on 20 April 2012. After a lengthy investigation of a complaint leveled against the station for the conduct of its breakfast co-presenter, Kyle Sandilands, in referring to a baby born in Pakistan with additional limbs as a ‘spider baby’,

In a decision for common sense (see our earlier editorials 1 and 2) 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 additional licence condition, which has been in place since 2010, is intended to protect children whose welfare or well-being may be put at risk by a broadcast.

SCA CEO, Rhys Holleran says, “We are of course satisfied with ACMA’s finding that Kyle Sandilands’ ‘Spider Baby’ comments were not in breach of code.  We previously stated that we did not believe there was any substance to the complaints and we are pleased that the ACMA has come to the same conclusion in its official investigation.”

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 did  “convey” 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.

Look out next week on radioinfo for our exclusive in-depth interview with Kyle Sandilands. In it, he opens up about “that incident” last November and how he feels about the ACMA, “the red button” and the “haters” that stalk him – and much more.