Parents have expressed outrage following comments made by Nova radio hosts Kate, Tim and Marty about a child with a rare genetic disorder.
The trio aired a segment on October 14 titled ‘What have you got that’s big?’, following media coverage of a 16-month old US baby with Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome, which can cause overgrowth of various parts of the body.
Little Paisley Morrison-Johnson was forced to undergo two rounds of life-saving tongue reduction surgery, just to be able to eat, breathe and smile uninhibited.
However, according to the mother of a child in Paisley’s BWS support group, the South Dakota girl became the butt of “cruel and horrible” jokes made by the radio hosts, who reportedly compared her appearance to “a comedy act”.
“I am appalled at you Kate Richie as someone I have followed since my childhood, who is also a mother, that you could make such disgraceful comments about our babies,” Vanessa Whitelaw wrote in a public Facebook post.
“‘A comedy act’ you say. HOW DARE YOU!!!”
As well as suffering similar problems with her tongue, the Melbourne woman’s daughter was also born with her bowel on the outside because it was simply too large to fit inside her tiny body.
“My daughter along with Paisley that you giggle about, has overcome more adversity and shown more courage in her life than all three of you put together,” she wrote.
“I am disgusted to think that this unempathic [sic], insulting, uninformed chatter seems to count for entertainment. This is a very low blow.”
The episode podcast has been deleted and re-uploaded minus the offending segment, but it’s been reported the trio also used phrases including, “If you thought your kid was ugly jump on Instagram and look at this” and “the tongue is a put-off” when discussing Paisley’s condition.
Whitelaw is among dozens people who have contacted the station directly or publicly criticised the comments on social media, which ultimately lead to an on-air apology.
Nova Entertainment also issued Whitelaw and others with the following written response to their complaints:
Nova Entertainment's apology. Image: Facebook.
Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome affects roughly one in every 1 in 13,700 children around the world, and cruelly is often also associated with a dramatically increased risk of developing cancerous and non-cancerous tumours.