Gruen Transfer drops “insensitive” clip

gruen24This season The Gruen Transfer has lost a little of its sheen, not so much from audience figures, but from the honeymoon it had in its first season with word of mouth.

The ABC has been forced to dump a clip from tonight’s show which joked about the Holocaust, Jews, black people and homosexuals.

ABC lawyers stepped in and canned half of the segment in which two ad agencies compete to sell the unsellable: obesity. The part of the segment made by Sydney agency, The Foundry, was found to be racist and discriminatory, and will not go to air to tonight.

The Foundry’s entry – which was judged to breach ABC editorial standards – sold the idea of “fat pride” by saying that if it was offensive to make jokes about “blacks, poofters, Jews” then why should it be acceptable to make jokes about “fat people”.

The program’s production company, Andrew Denton’s Zapruder’s Other Films, said the finished ad did not reflect the content of the script which it had approved three weeks before it was filmed.

When the ad was aired in front of a studio audience a month ago it went down “like a lead balloon”, according to one ad agency executive present. “There wasn’t even nervous laughter,” he said.

Last night the director of ABC TV, Kim Dalton, said: “When we viewed this particular pitch we felt that some of our viewers could be offended by it and find it insensitive and in some cases quite hurtful. We believe it’s possible to tackle difficult issues such as discrimination through humour or satire in ways which can be controversial, confronting and challenging. However, doing so is difficult and we believe this piece of work missed its mark.”

Last year it was only New Zealand that got angry over the show. This year, the list has been growing. Recently there was criticism over conflict of interest claims about an ad for Adults Surviving Child Abuse.

Actors on one messageboard were singularly unimpressed with another segment that seemed to take great delight in attacking the acting skills of Aussie actors in advertisements, while saying nothing of the writers who wrote the material they were forced to perform.

Another fake ad had footage of British police clashing with rioters to the comic soundtrack of Benny Hill, in the same month that a protester died after being shoved over by a policeman at the G20 protests in London.

The show has its final episode of the season next week.

Source:, mumbrella


  1. Very hard hitting, but the discussion that takes place afterwards gives an interesting insight into how something like this could possibly happen and made myself think about my own sense of humour and the jokes that i tell at times.

    Massive fan of the gruen transfer and i hope a little incident like this won’t keep it off our tvs.

  2. Having watched the ad via online it’s easy to see why it was dropped and how offensive it truly is… As a member of one of those groups depicted, I can see the humour (I have a vvvvery dark sense of humour), and yet I still take offence at this ad… I think it’s more that this humour was made publicly acceptable viewing rather than the joke itself. If one of my mates had said this to me I would have laughed and possibly had a better one for them lined up (I would hope!), but when it’s acceptable to broadcast what has to be some of the darkest, crudest and most exceedingly offensive ‘jokes’ in adverstising, or a show about advertsigin, then things have gone so far over the line all funniness is lost.

    And to all who think it’s OK – well lucky for you happen to be in the norm – that massive group of almost everybody who gets to poke fun at the ‘weidos’ in society which don’t fit into the mould of everyday life in your world.

  3. Gruen is an informative, enjoyable show. A couple of whiny twits offended by a few snarky comments isn’t going to change that. BTW I’m not talking about the Holocaust thing, which ABC was probably right to cut, but the insecure emos complaining about Gruen’s comments on the dodgy acting in food commercials and the people who were somehow offended by the Benny Hinn police riot gag. Harden up.

  4. It really isn’t possible to put anything in the public domain these days that’s not going to offend someone. There are that many minority groups, righteous do-gooders and fragile individuals around that you’re bound to upset someone even with the mildest content.

    Holocaust is clearly an off limits subject, but poking fun at fat or skinny people, bald or hairy people, ranggers and ads people hate is just fine with me. Thicken your skin and enjoy the diversity of opinion around you instead of jumping all over anything you don’t agree with.

  5. To marie: It was more than “actors on one messageboard”, there was plenty of discussion and annoyance in the “real world” in the acting industry about what was said on the episode, but yes, the issue was originally flagged on an acting-related messageboard online.

  6. It’s lost a little of its sheen because “Actors on one messageboard…”. One messageboard?!? That nobody else has probably heard of. You use poor examples to make your point.

  7. I wonder if this applies to the website and a potiental DVD release as well? Not everyone is offended by such material so it should be made available for those who want to see it.

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