Ex-Kiwi TV host slams government for India race row apology

Wellington (New Zealand), Nov.15 (ANI): A former New Zealand TV host who ignited a diplomatic row with a "racist" mockery of the name of Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, has slammed his homeland for apologizing over the incident.

In his first public remarks since resigning from state broadcaster TVNZ on October 10, Paul Henry said it was "an outrage" that New Zealand officially apologized to India in a bid to smooth diplomatic relations.

"I'm appalled that this country officially apologized," Henry told women's magazine New Idea.

He added: "It was unreasonable for India to seek an apology and worse that we gave one. We are apologising for one person in the country exercising their right to freedom of speech. I think that's an outrage."

Henry, who last month declared Dikshit's name was "so appropriate because she's Indian", said he was not racist and defended his remarks, arguing Dikshit's name was spelled phonetically.

"So where's the greater offence, laughing at somebody's surname or deliberately mispronouncing it so it isn't funny?" he said.

Henry accused TVNZ of encouraging him to be provocative then hanging him out to dry when public opinion turned against him.

"I was the performing snake with the sting in its tail - the better the performance, the greater the encouragement," he said.

Henry has not worked in broadcasting since resigning. (ANI)

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