Wellington: A pair of New Zealand radio presenters were suspended yesterday for broadcasting a heated conversation with England all-rounder Ben Stokes’ mother without her knowledge.
Radio Hauraki shock jocks Jeremy Wells and Matt Heath had been mocking Kiwi-born Stokes’ role in England’s loss to the West Indies in the World Twenty20 final on Sunday before the on-air incident. Stokes, who moved from Christchurch to England as a child, conceded four consecutive sixes in the final over to give the Windies victory, making him a target for some New Zealanders.
His mother Deborah called the radio station to take issue with her son’s treatment and found herself talking to Heath, unaware she was on air. She subsequently realised she had been broadcast live and complained to station owner NZME, resulting in Heath and Wells being suspended for a day. "Matt and Jeremy are famous for identifying where the line is and then ignoring it," NZME group program director Mike McClung said in a statement. "However putting Ben’s mum to air without her knowledge, albeit efending her son, was obviously well over that line. They’ve been suitably reprimanded, and are off-air tomorrow."
Stokes moved to England so his father Gerard, a former rugby league international, could take a coaching role. Both his parents have since moved back to Christchurch.