New Zealand radio presenters banned for interview with Ben Stokes' mum
Last Updated: 08/04/16 9:14am
Two New Zealand radio presenters have been suspended for broadcasting a heated conversation with England all-rounder Ben Stokes' mother without her knowledge.
Radio Hauraki's 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 programme director Mike McClung said in a statement.
"However, putting Ben's mum to air without her knowledge, albeit defending her son, was obviously well over that line. They've been suitably reprimanded, and are off-air tomorrow [Thursday]."
An audio clip uploaded to stuff.co.nz relayed a woman requesting to talk to someone off air and after being told she was off went on to say: "I just wanted to basically I guess put forward my thoughts with regards to the way they have bagged the English cricketer Ben Stokes this morning.
"I don't know whether they realise he was born and bred in New Zealand and quite frankly has family all over the country. And for those who listen to your station, for them to sit and listen to their cousin, their grandson being bagged like that is absolutely unconscionable and I'm his mother and I'm totally brassed off.
"It's not about the cricket it's about the personal attack on him. They called him arrogant and then they called him some kind of name. They don't know him! They wouldn't have a blooming clue."
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.