Article Title:Mike King in homophobic ansaphone rant
Author or Credit:Chris Banks
Published on:28th November 2003 - 12:00 pm
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Story ID:131
Text:An homophobic ansaphone rant by TV2 comedian Mike King has cast serious doubts over his ability to take the abuse he regularly dishes out to gays on television. Reacting to a satirical cartoon on TV2 show Eating Media Lunch on Tuesday night which referred to him as "Mike Queen", King left the following message on show writer Lee Baker's ansaphone the following day, referring to Eating Media Lunch host Jeremy Wells: "This is a message for your wee f**ked-up friend. He is f**king with the wrong person. Yeah, f**kin let him listen to this too, c**ksucker c**ts. You have f**ked with the wrong person, you f**kin jumped-up little f**khead. Call me back if you've got the f**kin balls." King has been backpedalling since the ansaphone message was leaked to Auckland radio station bFM, who are distributing it via their website. He now says that it was only a joke, and that he has a lot of time for "up-and-comer" Wells, but few are buying his story. Although there are rumours that the message was a gag gone wrong, most people that have heard the tape, including co-workers at TVNZ, believe that King was nothing less than genuine in the message. "It seems he's not too scared to call his mates on 'Game of Two Halves' poofters, but he doesn't like being called a queen," says a TVNZ source. "He's hyper-sensitive to any kind of criticism." The "Eating Media Lunch" sketch took the mickey out of King's penchant for homophobic jokes, and in their offending cartoon featured a little dog watching an episode of King's show, thoroughly unimpressed as an unseen King delivered deadpan jokes with no audience reaction, punctuated by cheesy drum rolls. "One of my favourite school memories is going behind the school bike sheds to light some fags. You know - setting fire to queers?," said the mock-King. "Took me ages to get rid of those burns! Just kidding! I'm not really a fag!" Concern about King's repeated homophobic comments on television, which are often not too dissimilar to "Eating Media Lunch"'s satire, were raised with TVNZ producer Tony Holden recently at a queer television symposium convened by the state broadcaster. Representatives of NZ On Air at the gathering said that those offended should seek redress through the usual channels of complaint, namely the Broadcasting Standards Authority. The television code of broadcasting practice has clauses protecting gays and lesbians from "denigration", but these rules do not apply to material contained within a comedic or satirical programme, as King's shows are always categorised. Those who have been present at tapings of Mike King's TV chat show have, on occasion, heard homophobic comments being made both during filming of the programme and in the breaks between. Dr Clive Aspin and Dr Leonie Pihama, researchers at Auckland University, expressed their concerns in an open letter to King's producer Tony Manson, published in a recent issue of Express. "As Maori researchers who are investigating the effects of homophobia on the health and identity of Maori people, we are also greatly concerned that these comments were made by a Maori man," they said. "Young Maori are especially vulnerable to negative perceptions regarding sexuality and we would hope that national television programmes such as this might make a contribution towards developing greater acceptance of diversity and difference." It is unknown whether Aspin and Pihama have received a response to their letter as yet. "Eating Media Lunch" is screening at 9.30pm on Tuesdays, screening in the same slot that "The Mike King Show" was in before finishing its run a fortnight ago. Mike King himself, currently in Brisbane, was unavailable for comment. Chris Banks - 28th November 2003    
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