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Hot Topic NBR Focus: GMO
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Henry lashes out at wrong columnist

Paul Henry attacks NZ Herald journalist John Drinnan for an article he didn't write.

Campbell Gibson
Thu, 09 Jul 2015

Paul Henry has harshly criticised the wrong columnist for a Herald on Sunday article that pointed out his show is rating lower than Sesame St on some days.

The notorious broadcaster lashed out, blaming NZ Herald media columnist John Drinnan, calling him “that man of evil words," "stupid" and a “twat.” His co-host Hilary Barry chimed in, and said, “silly old John is interviewing his typewriter again.”

(See video or transcript below)

The article appeared on June 28 in gossip column Spy, without a by-line. Spy is written by Ricardo Simich and Pebbles Hooper (who has since resigned for other reasons).

Mr Drinnan does not write for the Herald on Sunday.

He took to Twitter to defend himself, calling his critics confused.

An article criticising Mr Drinnan also appeared on Cameron Slater's blog, Whale Oil.

Media commentator Bill Ralston says this is dangerous territory for MediaWorks.

"It's a fairly dangerous thing for any TV or radio host to get stuck into someone without knowing the facts and actually getting it wrong. Normally you would expect the broadcaster to come out with a very fast apology.

"I wouldn't expect John to sue over this but it's still just a matter of fairness... If it happens again with someone who has a greater propensity to sue, TV3 could be out of a lot of cash."

NBR ONLINE requested comment from MediaWorks but none was received by deadline.

It is not the first time Paul Henry has lashed out at the Herald for articles about his show’s ratings.

A day after the show’s launch in April, an article appeared in the Herald titled “Paul Henry loses breakfast ratings battle.”

In response, Mr Henry called the Herald “a bunch of twats” and said its journalism was “shite.”

That article was also anonymously written.

RAW DATA: Paul Henry lashes out at wrong columnist

Paul Henry: I was in Tokoroa at the Robert Harris coffee shop on Sunday and the newspaper was there. That man of evil words, what’s his name? That stupid guy? John Drinnan.


John Drinnan had written this thing about me. There was a picture of me and Big Bird and I thought that was going to be flattering and of course it was.

Luckily though, Maria Tutaia was on the opposite page in her undies and so I thought who’s even going to see the hideous John Drinnan story about me and Big Bird because Maria’s distracting me.

In fact she distracted me and I thought, shall I read the story about oh... [glances to right]

Shall I read what Jo... oh [glances to right again]

What’s Jo... oh [glances to right again]

(Discussion about Maria Tutaia photo shoot. 45 seconds later...)

PH: Anyway, on the opposite page, to Maria’s undies there was a picture of me and Big Bird and it was basically just John Drinnan saying no one is watching this programme.

It would bother me except for the fact that he’s a twat and he’s just wrong.

Here’s the thing, no-one is watching the programme apparently and yet all these people came up to me – and this is in Tokoroa – and as I was leaving they were blowing their horns and everything and threatening me with knives. No.

(All laugh)

They were blowing their horns and waving ‘oh we watch your show all the time in the morning’ and I thought: ‘No you don’t, I’ve just, John Drinnan can’t be wrong, you don’t, it’s not me. Who do you think I am?’ Y’know it just goes to show you

Hilary Barry: Silly old John interviewing his typewriter again.

PH: Are there tablets for that he could be taking?

Jim Kayes: There are.

PH: I’m not talking cyanide pills, Jim. There just must be tablets.

Campbell Gibson
Thu, 09 Jul 2015
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Henry lashes out at wrong columnist