Triple J Radio Host Apologises After Holocaust Joke Misfires
Following shortly after ‘Wolfmothergate’, in which the frontman for Black Sabbath tribute act Andrew Stockdale told Triple J to “go fuck themselves”, the national youth station has fallen into the middle of a controversy again, this time all by their own.
Triple J breakfast hosts Tom and Alex, came under fire today from The Age for a joke they made on air during yesterday’s program pertaining to the Holocaust.
The pair of Tom Ballard and Alex Dyson played a game on their show yesterday with guest, former Spicks & Specks captain Alan Brough, in which they got listeners to call in and play a game of ‘six degrees of Hitler.’ Listeners were given a random topic – in this case wind farms – and asked to link them to Hitler.
What followed sparked the ire of many listeners, who were upset and offended when Ballard made a joke that linked wind-farms to the infamous dictator, saying “wind farms, fan-forced ovens, let’s not go there…” Though he didn’t connect the dots, the damage was already done.
Dvir Abramovich wrote in his piece for The Age today, “Why a wind farm you ask? Because it contains fans, which is linked to fan-forced ovens, which in turn connect to the Holocaust and Hitler.”
“Got it?” he writes, “fan-forced ovens were 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,” says Abramovich, who is the director of the Centre for Jewish History and Culture at the University of Melbourne.
Abramovich criticised the pair for their “truly appalling and bizarre” sense of humour, calling it a “beyond distasteful episode.” Adding, “It seems that there is no aspect or symbol of the darkest chapter in human history that is not subject to perverse abuse and cheap trivialisation.”
His incendiary Age piece goes on to flame the radio hosts for their insensitivity and the production crew at Triple J for allowing their segment to be approved, “Triple J may think that any publicity is good publicity and will lure listeners. But yesterday’s hurtful and sickening prank showcases a disturbing abdication of responsible judgment.”
Abramovich wasn’t the only one incensed by Ballard’s distasteful comedy, with the Facebook pages of both Triple J and Tom & Alex lighting up with criticisms of the pair’s Hitler ‘game.’
The youth radio station were quick to respond to the negative backlash and began damage control, issuing a statement today that reads:
“Triple J takes all complaints seriously. We recognise the concerns regarding the comments are serious. 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.”
Tom Ballard himself also took to social media to formally apologise for his Holocaust reference in a statement that reads:
“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 apologize that’s how I came across in this instance. (Tom)”
Following Kanye West’s bizarre outburst at the Big Chill Festival in the Uk over the weekend in which he complained that people compared him to Hitler, we thought we’d remind ourselves of some of our favourite rock star outburst and rants. There’s nothing like drugs, booze, stress, tiredness, sycophants and hangers on to inspire inappropriate public outbursts in rock stars but as it appears in Kanye’s case every time, it’s the fame and money fuelling the overinflated ego that makes them think that what they are saying is appropriate - let alone make sense. Watch this slideshow »