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To: TVNZ

TVNZ, pull the FBoy Island NZ show immediately!

Dear Simon Power (CEO, TVNZ),

New Zealanders demand better from our public broadcaster. We demand that TVNZ pull the FBoy Island NZ show immediately. Why? Because it normalises and champions predatory and dangerous sexual behaviour that harms people, particularly young people.

In July this year, Project Gender released our research results on the state of online dating and sex in Aotearoa.

We ran a nationwide survey and heard from over 830 New Zealanders about their experiences with people they had met on a dating app.

Many of the results were concerning, in particular:

- 30% - nearly one third - of the people we heard from had been choked/suffocated during consensual sex in the past 12 months

- This rose to 43% when we looked just at those aged under 30

- Slightly under half (47%) of those that had been choked/suffocated said it happened without their consent at least once

Let’s talk a bit more about what our research told us about consent during sex.

29% of those who had been on dates in the past 12 months had been pressured into doing something sexual they weren’t comfortable with. Most commonly, this occurred by the other person:

“Wearing you down by repeatedly asking you to do it”
“Making promises about the future of your relationship”
“Suggesting that you’re boring i.e. “vanilla”, prudish”
“Being unhappy and moody unless you agreed to do it”

We have shared Project Gender’s research with sexual violence advocates and researchers, and together we’re working (most of us pro bono) to try and address the psychological and physical safety risks that these results highlight. Part of the solution, we all agree, is consent law reform and education about what healthy, positive sexual activity looks like, which especially targets our rangatahi.

Your decision, as our state broadcaster, to air in the coming weeks a reality TV show called FBoy Island NZ is not only disappointing, it is dangerous. In your show, 20 young men vie for the attention of three women who must decide if they are “nice guys” or “Fboys”, meaning men who act as if they’re entitled to sexual encounters and who often use manipulation in order to have sex with women. Not to put too fine a point on it, you’re essentially gamifying predatory sexual behaviour.

Unsurprisingly, an abuser has been found among the line up of FBoys who made it through the auditions: the Herald on Sunday just broke the news that one of the men who was going to star in the show “appeared in court last year charged with suffocating a woman he admitted to police he lured to his home because she was drunk and he hoped to have sex with her”.

Why is this important?

We believe that New Zealand can be a country where all women are safe, seen and celebrated. As a broadcaster, you have a responsibility not to perpetuate stereotypes that have a high likelihood of harming women. It is 2022 and we deserve and demand better.

Simon, you’re better than this, TVNZ is better than this.

Sort it out, Simon. Pull FBoy Island NZ today.

Tania Domett, Erin Jackson and Angela Meyer for Project Gender

Updates

2022-10-16 11:38:11 +1300

PART 2 of 2:

Thank you to TVNZ for being willing to listen and engage constructively: we are excited to work with you and the team to see engaging and responsible programming on our screens. And, thank you for ALL of the support from the 6,000 people who added their voices to our calls to #SortItOutSimon.

We can confirm that #SimonIsStartingToSortItOut - but, we still encourage you to add your voice to our calls for action, so that we can continue to advocate for better decisions to be made around programming. Ngā mihi.

2022-10-16 11:37:56 +1300

PART 1 of 2:

On the 13th October, we met with Simon Power, CE of TVNZ, & two of his team members. It was an open, honest and fruitful kōrero - we spoke to why ‘FBoy Island’ is such a problematic concept and the harm that it perpetuates. They listened, asked questions and thanked us for bringing the voices of over 6,000 people to them.

Simon has committed to working with us at a strategic level to help TVNZ apply a gender lens across their content development and support them to, in his words, ‘get it right’. We’ve been invited to host a bespoke wānanga with TVNZ’s commissioning editors to share our research and insights into what women and rangatahi want from our state broadcaster.

2022-10-10 22:39:18 +1300

5,000 signatures reached

2022-10-06 11:29:01 +1300

1,000 signatures reached

2022-10-06 07:22:13 +1300

500 signatures reached

2022-10-05 19:19:44 +1300

100 signatures reached

2022-10-05 18:37:11 +1300

50 signatures reached

2022-10-05 17:44:05 +1300

25 signatures reached

2022-10-05 17:05:11 +1300

10 signatures reached