SBS — Housos and hypocrisy

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In a dizzying display of hypocrisy, rather than take action against the vile and violent misogyny promoted by one of its shows on Facebook, SBS have simply tried to deflect attention away from itself. Dr Benjamin Thomas Jones.


When Independent Australia broke two stories last month about the SBS show Housos’ Facebook page, the response was overwhelmingly one of shock and disgust.

Why was the publicly funded broadcaster SBS allowing one of their shows to post vile, sexist and violent comments including open death threats against the prime minister?

Why would SBS want to be associated with a product that resorts to the lowest means possible to victimise women and portray them as legitimate targets of sexual violence?

[Read Housos war on Julia Gillard and Housos hide while SBS disowns them]

The Housos admins behave like naughty, spoilt children, while SBS plays the role of the impotent parent. The Housos Facebook page has steadfastly refused to remove even the direct death threats, much less the torrent of misogyny and sexual language. SBS pathetically claim that they do not run the page (true) and therefore have no responsibility (false)!

Taking hypocrisy to dizzying heights, SBS have now complained that IA provided a link to the SBS complaints page! The email from SBS and the reply is below:
Dear Dr Jones,

SBS's attention has been brought to an article titled 'Housos war on Julia Gillard' you authored recently and published on the Independent Australia website.


I draw your attention to the below paragraph:

'If you'd like to make a complaint to SBS about the Housos Facebook page, please click here. Alternatively you can provide feedback to Facebook about this page here.'

Whilst SBS aired the program Housos, SBS Corporation is not affiliated with the Housos Facebook site.  As such, it is not accurate or appropriate for you to direct your readers to make a complaint about the Housos Facebook site to SBS.

It would be appreciated if you could amend your article accordingly to remove this reference.

Kind regards

Jessica Harris
Head of Corporate Communications

My response was as follows:
Dear Jessica,

I have just been made aware of your recent correspondence requesting that Independent Australia remove the suggestion that people offended by the Housos Facebook page direct their complaints to SBS.

Regarding your request, I understand fully that SBS does not run or control the Housos Facebook page in any way. That said, Housos is a show that SBS promotes and the Facebook page is primarily a promotional tool for the show. It is abundantly clear that the actions of the Housos Facebook admins reflect directly on SBS and it is wrong for SBS to shirk from their responsibility. Has SBS made any attempt whatsoever to address this issue? Has one phone call, email or text been sent to say that vile sexist language and the championing of violence against women should not be used to promote an SBS show?

I asked Lusia from audience relations (no surname provided), if SBS, now fully aware of the violent misogyny openly displayed on the Housos Facebook page, are still going to air Housos series two. I was told that this was not scheduled. The Housos Facebook page claims that SBS will air a new series in July. I ask you directly — will you be promoting and airing Housos this year?

I am more than happy to remove the section from my last article asking complaints to be directed at SBS if you can confirm that Housos will not be aired by SBS. If, however, you are planning to air the show and have made no attempt at all to address the death threats against the prime minister and the sexism being used in the show's promotion, then complaints quite rightly should go to SBS who will be clearly disregarding their own principles.

In response to the initial two articles, Independent Australia has been approached by other sources claiming examples of sexism and intimidation in relation to Housos. We will be publishing new articles shortly and would love to include a response from SBS to the Facebook book which is clearly an advertising tool for the TV show.

It is an extremely sorry state of affairs if SBS needs to rely on the glorification of violence against women ‒ no matter who that woman is ‒ to promote itself.


Dr Benjamin Jones

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