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“He would ‘kill’ for another term as Chief Censor"

For Immediate Release ……..

The Society for Promotion of Community Standards Inc.
P.O. Box 13-683 Johnsonville

Media Release 26/10/06

“He would ‘kill’ for another term as Chief Censor”

In a frank interview with Chief Censor Bill Hastings, the transcript of which appears in today’s Dominion Post (26/10/06, D3), Hastings (pictured) is asked what he’d kill for. His reply: “I’d kill for … another term as Chief Censor”. However, the Society wants him and his deputy, Ms Nicola McCully, sacked or replaced as soon as possible. The terms of both their statutory positions have expired. Both Hastings and McCully are desperate to keep their $180,000-plus and $140,000-plus respective jobs. Both face a competency test and review, currently being carried out by the Department of Internal Affairs. The Society has been invited to contribute to this assessment and will do so shortly, on Friday the 3rd of November. It will be pointing out among other things that Hastings and his deputy have been assessing hard core adult porn, paedophilia, acts of necrophilia, graphic and gratuitous sexual violence and other sleazy “objectionable” content for over ten years, and appear to have become desensitised by this toxic and morally corrosive material. Their judgments have been seriously impaired and they are failing to protect the “public good” against the massive influx of objectionable material that among other things, demeans, degrades and dehumanises women. “It’s time to move on Bill and look for another job!” says the Society.

Applications for the statutory position of Chief Censor of Film and Literature, currently held by Mr Bill Hastings, closed on the 1st of September 2006. Hastings has indicated to the media that he wants to continue on in the job, which he has held since October 1999. The Society has called on the Minister of Internal Affairs, the Hon. Rick Barker, to replace him and his deputy. Hasting’s second three-year appointment as Chief Censor expires on the 18th of October 2006. McCully’s first three-year term of office expired last year on the 16th of September 2005 and yet she still occupies the position. The Minister has done nothing yet to advertise her position, replace her, or renew her contract.

Prior to his appointment as Chief Censor, Bill Hastings was Acting Chief Censor (from Jan. 1999), Deputy Chief Censor (from Dec. 1998), Deputy President of the Film and Literature Board of Review (1995-98), a part-time examiner for he Video Recordings Authority (1994) and a member of the Indecent Publications Tribunal (1990-94). He and his deputy have been viewing and assessing indecent sexually explicit hardcore porn, sadistic sexual violence, child porn, etc. for over 10 years.

In the Society’s view, both censors must be replaced because they have become desensitised to the corrosive and toxic impact of the objectionable content that pervades the films, videos and DVDs they regularly watch and clear (sometimes with cuts) for R18 viewing. McCully and Hastings vigorously dispute this view and want to hold on to their respective $140,000-plus and $180,000-plus salaries.

In a report entitled “Watching The Defectives” published in the Sunday Star Times, (13 August 2006, pp. 5-6), free-lance journalist Grant Smithies described the “dirty job” Deputy Chief Censor [and her boss] does:

.“IN A typical working week, Nicola McCully might watch a couple of dozen people having sex. Sometimes they might be doing this in twos or threes; other times, there’ll be a roomful, going at it like rabbits. Sometimes they might be going at it with rabbits. And if it’s not sex, it’s violence. McCully looks on as people are murdered, tortured and maimed. Soft human bodies are set on fire, exploded by bombs, cut up and eaten. McCully might crunch her way through a tangy apple as a young man is slowly and gleefully decapitated. Other times a cup of tea might wet the whistle during a gruelling group rape scene. A gingernut with that? Sure, why not? It’s all in a day’s work for McCully, as New Zealand’s deputy chief censor. For the last 10 years or so, she has spent her working week viewing all manners of distressing and depraved things to decide whether we can watch them as well.

“Censorship. It’s a dirty job….why would someone voluntarily sit in a darkened room for days, months, years of their life, watching acts of extreme cruelty, harrowing sexual violence and the more repulsive ends of the porn spectrum?

“McCully estimates that 80% of her team’s work is classifying the kind of sexually explicit DVDs that will end up in sex shops and the “adult” sections of video stores from North Cape to Bluff…. You might have six hours of sex DVDs to classify, and you have to watch them from beginning to end…. Each censor watches the day’s assigned publication in individual viewing booths… Outside the row of booths is a desk piled with porn DVDs with titles such as Buttman Returns” and All Oral 6…"

Earlier this year veteran journalist and television commentator Barry Soper, in introducing a Prime TV item dealing with the Chief Censor’s efforts to secure his third three year term as Chief Censor; highlighted a feature article on him in the Express magazine, a mouthpiece of the Gay and Lesbian community, that proclaims: ”… he’s gay, and his deputy [McCully] is a lesbian”. In it Hastings says:

“… My staff get a diet of the worst, which is not healthy! The vast majority of commercial submissions [over 80% of the material submitted for classification]…are sexually explicit videos and DVDs [porn]. We also get lots of child porn sent to us…” [Express (10-23 May 2006, pp. 12-13)].

In its latest Society newsletter (Sept, 2006) the Society backgrounds in detail its calls for the replacement of Mr Hastings and his deputy (The newsletter can be downloaded from www.spcs.org.nz ). It addresses, among other matters, the question: “Is the Sexuality of a Chief Censor and her/his Deputy Relevant to his/her ability to fulfil the statutory role?” It also looks at: “The spurious claims of the Chief Censor and his deputy that over-exposure to hard-core porn and violence does not lead to desensitisation, but has the opposite effect!”


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