SYDNEY (JTA) – Australia’s public broadcaster apologized after a radio host asked his listeners to play a word association game involving Hitler and fan-forced ovens.
Host Tom Ballard initially refused to apologize for the Aug. 9 prank broadcast on triple j, the Australian Broadcasting Corp.’s youth radio station, saying on Twitter the day after the broadcast, "If you don’t like the show, just don’t listen."
But the station issued a statement later Aug. 10, saying it "apologizes unreservedly for any offense caused," and Ballard also said that he "sincerely apologized" for the joke which "offended and upset a lot of people. That’s not what I like doing," he said. "I like making people laugh and I like making people happy."
The prank had spurredd Dvir Abramovich, the director of the Center for Jewish History and Culture at the University of Melbourne, to lament in the Sydney Morning Herald the following morning that there seems to be "no aspect or symbol" of the Holocaust that is "not subject to perverse abuse and cheap trivialization."
Fan-forced ovens were the ovens in which the corpses of Holocaust victims were burned after the victims were led into the gas chambers and told they were going to have a shower.