Officer of C4, Rick Friesen, apologized for any offence caused by the
controversial “Bloody Mary” episode, which aired Feb. 22. During the
broadcast, a group of about 400 Catholics prayed the rosary and sang
Marian hymns outside C4’s studio.
received dozens of complaints over the episode, but did not uphold any
based on the country’s Television Code. However, Friesan admitted, the
channel misjudged the number of people who would be offended.
The COO said the
channel has "detected a shift in the public's perspective on matters of
a religious nature” and has since “reviewed [its] internal processes
for dealing with religious programs, particularly in relation to
religious satire," reported the New Zealand Catholic. The station has
decided not to rebroadcast the episode.
situation developed in the United States a few months ago, when the
program was aired Dec. 7. Comedy Central, which broadcast the show,
also decided to cancel scheduled repeats of the episode.
Communications national director Lyndsay Freer questioned Friesen’s
claim that his channel has "detected a shift in the public's
really mean is that they have learned the hard way that the public will
not put up with arrogant denigration of groups of their fellow citizens
simply because the media perceives that it can get away with it."
In February, the
New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference asked CanWest Media, C4’s
parent company, not to screen the episode. They said the decision to
air it was “arrogant” and “cynical” and urged Catholics to consider
boycotting the station and their advertisers.
is not a license to incite intolerance or to promote hatred or derision
based on religion, race or gender,” they said in a Feb. 14 letter. “We
believe that while most of us have a sense of humor, there are some
things that go beyond the bounds.”
Friesen said he
is confident the Broadcasting Standards Authority will not uphold any
complaint from the Catholic Church because he does not believe the
program breached any broadcasting codes.
Catholic Church in New Zealand is lodging an official complaint with
the country’s Broadcasting Standards Authority after a television
channel aired an episode of South Park, which depicted a statue of the
Virgin Mary menstruating.