Controversial radio host Kyle Sandilands has been suspended from his station following comments he made about comic actress Magda Szubanksi.
Sandilands sparked outrage for saying Szubanski could become skinny if she was in a concentration camp.
“There’s a huge difference between freedom of speech and being a decent human being,” Jeremy Jones, from the Australia/Israel Jewish Affairs Council told SBS.
“I don’t know whether he thought at all,” Jones added. “It’s very unusual to hear that kind of insensitivity from someone who has been entrusted with a position in broadcasting.”
“When someone’s mouth or brain is that out of control, you wonder whether they’re in the right industry.”
Jones said an invite had been extended to Sandilands to visit the Sydney Jewish Museum.
“It’s not a punishment, but it might help him to learn why other people don’t do this,” he said.
“You can make jokes about most things, but with Magda’s family … Sometimes it takes a shock to the system to realise you’ve done something wrong.”
Sandilands apologised for the comments late yesterday, saying he did not mean to cause offence.
His suspension comes only weeks after he and co-host Jackie O sparked a furore over a segment in which a 14-year-old girl, who was hooked up to a lie detector, revealed she was raped when she was 12.
Some major sponsors withdrew advertising from the Austereo group, the owner of 2DayFM, and Kyle and broadcaster Jackie O went off-air for two weeks.
Szubanski, who is a spokeswoman for a weight loss company, has lost 25kg since she appeared on the comedy series Kath and Kim.
Her family is of Polish origin, a country where many of the worst Nazi concentration camps, including Auschwitz, were located.
Sandilands joked yesterday that Szubanski’s work with the weight loss campaign was not finished.
“Magda could have another run out of it,” he said on 2Day FM.
“She could get another season out of them, easy … she’s not skinny.”
Jackie O suggested Szubanski might not be able to lose any more weight due to her build.
“That’s what all fat people say,” Sandilands replied.
“You put her in a concentration camp and you watch the weight fall, like she could be skinny.”
Sandilands offered an apology late yesterday, saying he did no mean to cause offence.
“It was not my intention to upset anyone and I sincerely apologise to anyone offended by my comments,” he said in a statement issued by Austereo.
Szubanski brushed off Sandilands’ on-air comments, but said they were offensive to those who had suffered in concentration camps.
“I couldn’t give two hoots about what Kyle says about me, but to trivialise what happened to people in concentration camps is abhorrent,” she said in a statement.
The head of Austereo Group Ltd Peter Harvie has previously admitted he does not listen much to Sandilands and Jackie O.