'Shark Party' video blocked in NZ, Australia
By 3 News online staff
A comedy sketch making fun of a Kiwi shark attack victim has been blocked in New Zealand and Australia.
Viacom International Media Networks, which produces the Comedy Central channel, said in a statement the episode of The Jeselnik Offensive containing the sketch would not air in New Zealand.
Adam Strange, 46, was killed on the afternoon of February 27 after being attacked first by a bronze whaler, then a white pointer shark.
The item, 'Shark Party', was uploaded to YouTube earlier this week, drawing a number of comments from offended New Zealanders and shocked Muriwai locals.
In the sketch, host Anthony Jeselnik tells the audience about Mr Strange's death.
"Was he killed? You bet your sweet ass he was killed," he says as the audience laughs, "and he had a family and everything."
He then hosts a 'Shark Party' in the studio, featuring female dancers dressed as sharks, and talks about how excited he is.
"Sharks don't even like the taste of people, but that's why tonight is so special."
A surfer with a fake shark wound then joins the dancers, before one of the women dressed as a shark gives him a lap dance.
The sketch ends with Mr Strange's face brought up on a large TV screen.
"Let's not forget the man who made all this possible," says Jeselnik. "Smile, you son of a bitch."
Viacom International vice-president Rebecca Battie said the network "regretted any offence caused".
"Understandably, the reaction from New Zealanders to this segment of The Jeselnik Offensive has been a strong one.
"We regret any offence caused, particularly to the Strange family and the Muriwai community.
"We take our responsibility as a programmer as well as the feedback we receive from our viewers very seriously."
Comedy Central itself has yet to comment on the matter.
Anyone attempting to watch the clip on YouTube from Australia or New Zealand is met with a message: "The uploader has not made this video available in your country."
Tim Jago, surf lifeguard at Muriwai, told the New Zealand Herald earlier this week that locals were "disgusted".
"The fact that it's in incredibly poor taste isn't in question. I couldn't find where the humour was in it for a start, so it was pretty lame in that respect," he told the paper.
"I guess the thought that ran through my mind was if a New Zealand comedy act tried to make fun out of something like a high school shooting in America, they'd be on our backs and condemning us straight away."
Before it was blocked, some YouTube viewers were quick to turn the joke back on the American comedian.
"In New Zealand we commemorate 9/11 each year by baking a big apple crumble," wrote 'mangodennis'.
"This is almost as funny as the time those planes hit that building," wrote Luke McAlpine.
source: newshub archive