What the f?

What is TVNZ thinking?

A new reality show has been rocked by the revelation one of its stars took advantage of a teenager’s drunkenness to get her into bed then covered her mouth and nose to keep her quiet when she called for help.

TVNZ’s FBoy Island NZ is less than a fortnight from going to air with Wayde Moore, 26, as one of 20 young men vying for the attention of three women who must decide if they are “nice guys” or “Fboys”.

The term FBoys is slang for “f*** boy”, a term for men who never intend a sexual encounter to involve a relationship or act as if entitled to sexual encounters. . . 

What is a programme like this doing on a publicly owned television channel even without this complication?

Massey University associate professor Tracey Nicholls, author of Dismantling Rape Culture: The Peacebuilding Power of ‘Me Too’, said the premise of the show reinforced negative stereotypes of sexual relationships.

She said it reinforced the idea of sexual competition among men and women as “notches on a bed post as a game”. “I feel there has been a race to the bottom ever since reality TV started.” 

This is a whole new and very dirty bottom.

It comes in the wake of news that Broadcasting Minister Willie Jackson doesn’t know what his planned merger of RNZ and TVNZ will achieve:

The Government must explain why it is spending $370 million to merge TVNZ and RNZ, National’s Broadcasting and Media spokesperson Melissa Lee says.

“When I asked the Minister for Broadcasting and Media Willie Jackson why he was spending taxpayers’ money to merge TVNZ and RNZ in Parliament today, he was completely unable to say what that spending will achieve.

“At $370 million, the Government is going to spend more to merge RNZ and TVNZ than the combined net worth of those entities.

That’s worth repeating – the merger will cost more than the combined net worth of the two entities.

How can that be good use of public funds?

“The fact that the Minister responsible cannot articulate why this merger is necessary clearly demonstrates how wasteful and pointless it is. The lack of a Regulatory Impact Statement or a cost benefit analysis shows no attempt at openness or transparency.

“This Government is addicted to spending. In the middle of a cost of living crisis, it wants to spend $370 million on a merger that submitters on the legislation have said has ‘no vision or substantial rationale.’

“Worse, as many submissions have said, the editorial independence of the merged entity is not guaranteed.

“Willie Jackson cannot help himself. In Parliament today, he continued his call for a ‘change in attitude’ at TVNZ, which sounds worryingly like an attempt to influence the state broadcaster.

“The Minister’s performance and his inability to answer simple questions shows he is unfit for the challenges of New Zealand’s broadcasting and media sector. Kiwis and New Zealand’s media landscape deserve so much better.”

The state broadcasters’ decision to air FBOy Island does support the need for a change in thinking but merging the television company with RNZ, even without that high cost, isn’t the answer.

Then there’s the question of what TVNZ was thinking when it decided to run the show.

The only answer I can come up with is another question:  what the F?


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