NZ TV host labelled a racist

India is blasting New Zealand after
a television anchor made fun of Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit’s name,
pronouncing it phonetically over and over, even after being told by another
announcer that her name was pronounced “Dixit.”

Dikshit is in the news because New
Delhi is hosting the Commonwealth Games, which kicked off last Sunday with a
grand opening ceremony following weeks of bad press about the mismanagement of
the event.

“It looks like
Dick-sh–,” Paul Henry said during a breakfast show on the television
station TVNZ and then proceeded to repeat his joke and laugh loudly for over a
minute. “And it’s so appropriate because she’s Indian. … So she would be
in Dick-in-sh– … walking along the street.”

“Paul, her name is Ms.
Dixit,” said the main anchor.

Henry was probably playing off
media reports in the run-up to the Games, which said that some of the rooms and
toilets for the athletes were not ready and in unhygienic conditions.

Following the remarks, India’s
Ministry of External Affairs summoned New Zealand High Commissioner Rupert
Holborow and handed him a “demarche” — a formal protest.

“It was conveyed to him
[Holborow] that the government strongly and unequivocally denounces the racist
remarks of the journalist in question,” read a statement by the ministry.
“It is shocking that such bigoted views have been aired by a
representative of a mainstream media organization of a multiethnic democracy
like New Zealand.

Later, Holborow issued his own
statement in which he described the remarks as “culturally insensitive,
inappropriate and vulgar.”

Meanwhile, New Delhi’s chief
minister stayed out of the fray, even as India’s media branded the remarks
“racial slurs” and blasted the anchor.

“I was too busy to notice,”
Dikshit said.

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