CNN reporter forced to apologise for 'insensitive' and 'racist' coverage of the royal visit to New Zealand
Published 16/04/2014 | 08:08
CNN reporter Jeanne Moos has been forced to apologise for an “insensitive” report, during which she mocked the native Maori traditions witnessed by Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton during their official visit to New Zealand.
Together with baby Prince George, the couple were greeted with a traditional Maori welcome at Wellington’s Government House on 7 April.
Pictures of the buttoned-up family interacting with the heavily tattooed dancers wearing traditional garments emerged shortly afterwards, and the tabloid press promptly battled to caption them as hilariously as possible.
But Moos’ report labelled the whole affair “a royal bummer”, and has been accused of taking the whole joke a bit too far.
“Is this any way to welcome a future king and queen?” she questions, as a camera zooms up on one dancer’s exposed buttocks.
She went on to compare the royals’ visit to that of other world leaders’ experiences in foreign countries, nick-naming the spectacles “going native”.
In particular, she highlighted archival footage of former First Lady Laura Bush, during which she is honoured with a performance of the haka by New Zealand army officers serving in Afghanistan. Moos describes the “slapping and thrusting” movements to “a cross between a Chippendales lap dance and the mating dance of an emu”.
Shortly after it was uploaded onto YouTube, the report when viral, clocking up upwards of 170,000 and 5,000 ‘dislikes’ (only 200 admitted to ‘liking’ it).
It even inspired one Wellington resident, Jayden Evett, 18, to start a Change.org petition to demand an apology. At last count, Evett’s campaign had received more than 25,000 signatures.
“I am aware that Ms Moos is of some repute for her reporting on what appear to be more unusual stories from current affairs,” he writes.
“However her blatant disregard for, and insensitive commentary concerning the Māori culture and its customs are inadmissable. Though these practices might seem out of the ordinary for someone who is not familiar with New Zealand or its traditions, there are never any grounds in which to mock these is in anyway tolerable."
“Duly noted. I do humour and satire, and I am truly sorry if the tone of my story offended anyone,” Moos said by way of apology.
Over in the UK, the public were far more concerned about Prince George’s first official royal engagement, when he behaved very much like a baby and demonstrated his first royal wave to lesser infants at a parenting class in the city.