My thoughts on Paul Henry

I never watched Paul Henry when he was hosting TV One’s breakfast show so I don’t have any strong opinion on his skill as a presenter, I do however, know about the controversy he stirred over various comments or opinions he made public which were well publicised in the media. 

From the outside looking in it seemed that Paul Henry was someone who missed an opportunity because he appeared to get a kick out of picking on people who didn’t fit into what he thought was ‘acceptable’. Here was a man who had one of the biggest public platforms for exposure in our country and he used it to single out overweight people, people who didn’t have a certain look and of course the final blow to his job - the comments he made which some felt were racist. Unfortunately this intelligent man allowed himself to become the ‘shock jock’ of TV in an attempt to draw a bigger audience. 

Paul Henry reminds me of a friend I had when I was younger, she was one of those people who was the life of the party and it was always a fun time when you would go out with her. She was an entertainer, a comedian-type character and often had everyone in fits of laughter. But there was one problem with the way she entertained people, it always came at a cost of one person in the group. 

Don’t get me wrong, giving your good friends a ribbing about something is a part of just about every good friendship but one of the underlying, unspoken rules of doing this is that you only ever give your friends a hard time in an area you know they are secure within themselves. When a friend knows they are a good sportsperson you can give them a hard time about a mistake they made when they were playing a game but if a friend is insecure about their weight this is a no-go area for a playful comment. This was the problem with this particular mate, she would make people feel terrible about themselves in social settings just so she could make herself feel better and get a few laughs. 

When my friend was giving someone a hard time for a laugh, there was always an underlying fear that she would direct her energy at you and bring your own personal insecurities to the forefront of the group, you hoped that someone else would be the victim that night. After a while I started to question my friendship with this person, whilst she was fun to be around I did feel bad that I was laughing at others when I knew it was hurting them. I thought long and hard about whether I needed someone like this in my life, in the end I decided that it would be better to move on from that relationship and move towards people that cared about those around them and accepted who they were and what they wanted to be in this life.  

I imagine that a lot of people reading this may have people in their lives who actually make them feel bad about themselves, it’s the person who gives you a hard time in the area you are insecure about or they plant seeds of doubt about your abilities, they may even go that one step further and just be spiteful or cruel. Do you need people like this in your life? Although this can be a hard question to ask yourself, I feel it’s an important one to work through.  

The negative cost of these relationships can be massive and can restrict you in so many ways. Maybe it’s time to consider moving away from these people but at the same time you can consciously move towards people who are secure in themselves and get value from making others feel good about themselves. Imagine how your life would be different if you were surrounded by these types of people. 

I see that Paul Henry has recently made a comeback with a TV3 late night show, I hope he has decided to make a shift in how he uses this new platform but I won’t know as I won’t be tuning in.  I decided long ago to surround myself with people who make my life better and don’t promote making others feel bad about themselves, this was definitely a good move for me. Maybe it’s something you could do as well.  


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Bevan Eyles