Summer Heights High: articles

Call to cut ABC show's rape joke

A NEW Australian comedy is under fire for insulting rape victims and the disabled.

Advocacy groups are angry the first episode of the ABC's Summer Heights High contains a "rape joke" and cruel references to the handicapped.

They want the references cut before the show airs next month.

The mockumentary's rape joke comes when a teacher says the school playground once had huge bushes.

"But we had a girl raped behind them, so we had them removed and the kids have done an anti-rape mural, which is nice," he says.

In another scene the teacher is approached by an intellectually disabled student who he contrasts with the "normal kids".

He then discusses appropriate touching of students, hugging the boy and saying that is fine.

The teacher then puts his hands on the boy's bottom and says: "That sort of thing - not fine."

The Down Syndrome Association of Victoria criticised jokes at the expense of the disabled.

And Centre Against Sexual Assault convenor Judy Flanagan wants the offending comments cut.

"There's nothing humorous about rape. It's a serious criminal offence and has a profound impact on the victims," Ms Flanagan said.

The ABC's TV head of arts, entertainment and comedy, Courtney Gibson, said the target of the humour was the teacher, whose "bigotry and prejudices are exposed."

Summer Heights High is comedian Chris Lilley's follow-up to We Can Be Heroes.

By Liam Houlihan
August 12, 2007
Sunday Herald Sun