TRIPLE J has apologised unreservedly for a Holocaust-related game played on air by Warrnambool exports and radio hosts Tom Ballard and Alex Dyson.
The pair was taken to task yesterday by Dvir Abramovich, director of the Centre for Jewish History and Culture at the University of Melbourne, in an opinion piece posted on the Sydney Morning Herald website.
Mr Abramovich described the segment as “truly appalling”, “bizarre”, a “new low”, and “beyond distasteful”.
According to Mr Abramovich’s editorial, the game entailed Ballard and Dyson “linking things to Hitler” with “the final item in this ‘game’... a wind farm”.
“Why a wind farm you ask?,” Mr Abramovich wrote rhetorically.
“Because it contains fans, which is linked to fan-forced ovens, which in turn connect to the Holocaust and Hitler (and) the ovens in which the corpses were burned after the victims were led into the gas chambers where they were told they were going to have a shower. Tom and Alex crossed so many red lines I stopped counting. What right do (they) have to re-traumatise survivors and trample on their feelings? They, and the producers of the show, should have known that the horrors of the Holocaust must be approached with respect and sensitivity and that there is nothing funny about Hitler.
“Would they have played the same game if their grandparents, parents, siblings or uncles were executed and their naked corpses incinerated in the ovens?”
Triple J responded soon after with a full apology.
“Triple J agrees the comments made were inappropriate. The matter has been followed up with the Breakfast team. Triple J regrets the matter and apologises unreservedly for any offence caused.”
Prior to the apology, Ballard tweeted in response to a disgruntled listener: “Dude, if you don’t like the show, just don’t listen. It’s profoundly easy.”
However, he later issued his own apology: “I’m very sorry that on my breakfast radio program I offended and upset a lot of people. That’s not what I like doing; I like making people laugh and I like making people happy. I never set out to vindictively offend or belittle anyone or any group with my comedy, that’s not what I’m about. I sincerely apologise that’s how I came across in this instance.”