Kyle Sandilands has stirred up controversy once again, making lewd jokes about a religious figure held dear by at least two major religions in Australia.
Kyle’s comments about the Virgin Mary have raised the ire of religious listeners all over the country, but it’s certainly not the shock jock’s first rodeo.
The incident is another spark in the fiery debate raging around the protection of minorities and free speech and is being compared to Israel Falou’s recent axing from Rugby Australia over homophobic language.
Regardless of where you sit on this one, Kyle hasn’t earnt his reputation as one of radio’s most polarising figures for no reason. Here we take a look at five other times the 48-year-old has attracted public criticism, from the incident when he questioned a 14-year-old rape survivor, to fat-shaming Jessica Mauboy and verbally abusing a journalist.
The lie detector that outed a 14-year-old’s sexual trauma on air
In 2009, Kyle and Jackie O hooked a 14-year-old girl up to a lie detector and let her mother grill her on her sexual past on air.
What came out was that the minor had been raped, and outed by her mother who was aware of the incident, to a live breakfast audience.
Making the whole incident more shocking was that fact that instead immediately shutting down the interview after the girl made the revelation, Kyle followed up with this question:
“Right ... is that the only experience you’ve had?”
Official complaints were made and the hosts were pulled off the air for a month but not sacked. Kyle and Jackie later apologised.
Australian Idol fat-shaming
In 2006 Kyle was judging singing competition Australian Idol when he told a then-16-year-old Jess Mauboy to ‘lose the jelly belly’ if she wanted to make it in music.
The fat-shaming comments weren’t unusual from Kyle who in 2005 told contestant Kate DeAraugo to work on her ‘tuck shop lady arms’ if she wanted her career to take off.
Ahead of the 2006 season, Kyle openly admitted he would grill contestants about their weight.
“People for some reason think I don't like women that are overweight,” he said.
“But I want everyone to be the best they can be, and if they're fat then I say to them they should lose weight.”
Told Magda Szubanski to join a ‘concentration camp’
Kyle kept the body-shaming rolling - and sprinkled in a healthy amount of anti-semitism - when he weighed in on Magda Szubanski weight loss in 2009.
At the time Magda has shed 25kg and become a spokesperson for Jenny Craig, but Kyle joked that Magda still had a way to go, and suggested she enter a concentration camp to shed the extra weight.
“Magda could have another run out of it,” he said on 2DayFM.
“She could get another season out of them, easy... she's not skinny.”
“You put her in a concentration camp and you watch the weight fall, like she could be skinny.”
Magda’s family is of Polish origin, the same country that hosted the horrifying extermination camps such as Auschwitz, that Kyle is referring to.
He was suspended for the comments, which came just weeks after he was suspended for interviewing the 14-year-old assault survivor.
Called a journalist a ‘fat slag’
Writing this list may turn out to be risky business because Kyle has not hesitated to have a go at journalists who call him out in the past.
The most famous example of Kyle turning truly vile towards the press was when in 2011 he blasted news.com.au journalist Alison Stephenson after she reported about the low ratings his short-lived series with Jackie O, A Night with the Stars, was attracting.
“Some fat slag on news.com.au has already branded it a disaster. You can tell by reading the article that she just hates us and has always hated us,” he said on radio at the time.
"What a fat bitter thing you are. You're deputy editor of an online thing. You've got a nothing job anyway. You're a piece of sh*t.”
The rant continued, horrifying listeners as Kyle became increasingly sexist in his attack.
“Your hair's very '90s. And your blouse. You haven't got that much t*tty to be having that low cut a blouse. Watch your mouth or I'll hunt you down.”
The show lost its sponsorship deal with Holden over the incident and Kyle later apologised.
Disability and racial slur on Idol
Finally, Kyle slipped in a lesser-known insult in his Idol days that has largely fallen from people’s recollection.
Kyle described a contestant, Bobby Flynn, as a ‘full m*ng’ on the show.
The word is a derivative of ‘mongoloid’, an outdated term referring both to people with Down’s Syndrome, and to those of East Asian descent.
The term is no longer used in the mainstream, having been dubbed offensive in every context.
Kyle explained at the time that he used it as a ‘slang term’, but it sparked an outcry from advocacy groups and members of parliament, according to a Sydney Morning Herald article published at the time.
So whether you think religion is open slather, protections should be in place, or freedom of speech should be an absolute and unrestricted right, just remember who it is exactly you’re tuning into every morning. After all, Kyle and Jackie O’s radio show is the highest rating commercial one in Sydney.
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