WARNING: This article contains language some may find offensive.
Radio shock jock Kyle Sandilands has been accused of discriminating against Christians over comments made in 2019, including when he said the Virgin Mary had been “chockablocked” behind a “camel shed”.
The comments are now the subject of legal proceedings in Canberra brought by a member of the city’s Christian community, whose allegations are outlined in a recent decision by the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT).
Mr Sandilands is the co-host of The Kyle & Jackie O Show breakfast program on the commercial radio station KIIS106.5 which is broadcast live into Sydney.
During a live broadcast on the morning of 18 September 2019, he said he was “calling B.S. on the immaculate conception” when discussing the mother of Jesus Christ.
“[The Virgin Mary] lied obviously and told everyone, ‘No, I got pregnant by a magical ghost’,” he said.
“The damn husband believed that bulls-t story and then run around and telling everyone ‘My son is the son of God’.
“Bulls-t. Someone chockablocked her behind the camel shed. And she lied and everyone believed her for thousands of years.”
He said he believed “Jesus was the first Criss Angel”, referencing the famous US magician, and referred to the prophet Moses by saying “some other bastard parted some ocean”.
He was challenged on his opinions by Jackie O.
“You might believe everything that’s written down 2000 years ago to be absolutely accurate and good on you, you’re dumb. That’s all I’m saying. Dumb as dog sh-t,” Mr Sandilands said.
The next day, footage of the comments was posted onto Kyle and Jackie O’s social media accounts as well as an account for KIIS106.5. After a number of complaints, the footage was removed later that day.
In October 2019, Maronite Catholic Community member and long-time Canberra resident Khalil Farah filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission about the comments, alleging religious vilification of Christians.
“Sandilands, throughout the broadcast of the Kyle and Jackie O program, made a number of derogatory, derisive and offensive comments directed at biblical miracles, the fidelity and honesty of the Virgin Mary, and the intelligence and gullibility of people of the Christian faith,” he alleged.
“His crude, crass demeanour was deployed to garner controversy, to mock Christians and Christian beliefs for the purpose of cheap humour, and to invite his audience to share in his ridicule of ‘dumb as dog-sh-t’ Christians.
“In the aftermath of the comments by Mr Sandilands, myself and members of our religious community read and heard significant ridicule against our beliefs which echoed Mr Sandilands’ vile comments.”
The matter was referred to ACAT and in February 2021, Mr Sandilands asked ACAT to dismiss the complaint, arguing it lacked the jurisdiction to deal with it, partly as the comments were not made in Canberra.
However, on 28 September 2021, Mr Sandilands’ application was rejected.
“The Tribunal has found that the challenges made by [Mr Sandilands] do not satisfy the Tribunal that the claim is bound to fail under the relevant tests for summary dismissal that apply under ACT law,” Senior Member Professor Peta Spender said.
The matter will be listed for further directions. Senior Member Spender noted the comments made by Mr Sandilands would not be in contention.