Real Housewives: Reality TV And Manufacturing Outrage Opinion

Due to a technical glitch: An earlier version of this story was posted in error.

Bravo will be hoping that media coverage over use of the N word on Real Housewives of Auckland will translate into ratings and advertising dollars.

It seems highly unlikely the incident was scripted. Why would anybody want to be shown using such a racist term?



Michelle Blanchard -one of the classier Housewives.
Michelle Blanchard -one of the classier Housewives.

I’m interested in the media coverage of the incident, which appears to have morphed into a publicity stunt for Bravo. Bravo has said before it is purely about entertainment. On the face of it, Bravo is exploiting racism. The channel had refused to meet requests from Sloane and her husband for the racist term to be excluded.

The story came out in the Herald on Sunday. But the news paper covered it for the valid news story that it was – about the legal tussles over Sloane and her husband trying to have the N …… comment left out. But I am slightly unsettled by the role of The Spinoff and its coverage of the incident. It appears to have a promotional relationship with producers (NBC) who make the show for Bravo, an NBC company which operates in New Zealand as a joint venture with MediaWorks.

The Spinoff has become very popular with its mixture of pop culture and liberal content and has embarked on some serious endeavours. Some believe owner Duncan Greive has come up with a sustainable business model in troubled times for media which has a passionate following.

On Sunday Spinoff expressed moral outrage about Sloane’s use of the N word, but does not question Bravo’s decision to run the comment. Apparently it also receives funding from the Human Rights Commission to promote understanding.

Greive said that he and writer Alex Casey saw the episode and “watched in horror and awe as the word instantly shattered the benign silliness of the show, and the huge tensions it unleashes grip the entire episode from frivolous beginning to its impossibly tense conclusion.

The Spinoff
The Spinoff

He was unable to respond as this item was posted.

Such is the symbiotic relationship between reality TV and media. Moral issues are dragged out into the open so they can be abhorred. Offensive comments get wider exposure. A silly housewife says one stupid thing in a pretend TV show. Next thing we have a vile and racist outrage.

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