ZANE COZENS AGAINST NEWSHUB
Case Number: 3373
Council Meeting: FEBRUARY 2023
Decision: No Grounds to Proceed
Publication: Newshub TV3
Accuracy, Fairness and Balance
Discrimination and Diversity
Nudity and Indecency
Newshub published a story on its website on 13 January 2023 headed Men with sports cars overcompensating for something, study confirms in fallout of Tate-Thunberg feud. It covered environmental activist Greta Thunberg’s suggestion that social media influencer Andrew Tate’s love of flash cars may be a form of overcompensation for the size of his penis. The story reported that there may be some truth to this, quoting a study that suggested a correlation between owning an ostentatious car and having a smaller-than-average penis.
Zane Cozens complained about the story, saying it was a trashy piece that breached Principle 7: Discrimination and Diversity, which states: Issues of gender, religion, minority groups, sexual orientation, age, race, colour or physical or mental disability are legitimate subjects for discussion where they are relevant and in the public interest, and publications may report and express opinions in these areas. Publications should not, however, place gratuitous emphasis on any such category in their reporting.
Mr Cozens complained that in a world where people refrained from making cheap comments about women’s bodies, Newshub had seen fit to print a story that attacked men. Although Newshub might think it was light summer reading, it was sexist trash that belittled people for the sake of generating click-throughs, he said.
Newshub replied that the story was based on a legitimate piece of research, and did not place gratuitous emphasis on men or incite hate speech towards them.
While the Media Council has some sympathy with Mr Cozens’ view that this is a trashy piece, it believes readers are unlikely to take it particularly seriously and Newshub’s editors have the discretion to decide whether to publish it or not. The story was based on academic research and there is no inaccuracy proven. The Media Council does not believe the threshold of discrimination against men as set out in Principle 7 was reached. No principles have been breached.
Decision: There were insufficient grounds to proceed.