ICC World T20 - Men
Stokes' mother unknowingly broadcast on NZ radio
After being assured she was off-air, a call from Ben Stokes' mother was broadcast by a NZ radio station
6 April 2016, 12:52 PM AEST
A pair of New Zealand radio hosts has been suspended after they broadcast a conversation with the mother of England allrounder Ben Stokes, who believed she was off-air at the time.
Jeremy Wells and Matt Heath, from NZ radio station Radio Hauraki, had been discussing the final over of the World T20 final, where Stokes was hit for four consecutive sixes by the West Indies’ Carlos Brathwaite, as the Caribbean side pulled off a thrilling victory.
When Deborah Stokes, who resides in New Zealand where her son Ben was born and raised, called in to complain about her son being “bagged” on the station, she was put straight to air despite Heath assuring her she was off-air.
A “brassed-off” Mrs Stokes went on to defend her son, accusing the station of making fun of him and failing to mention the support he had received from numerous high-profile cricketers.
Just a hiccup, @benstokes38! Happens to all great players who put their hands up under pressure! You are a STAR! Braithwaite take a bow! 🙌🏼— Kevin Pietersen (@KP24) April 3, 2016
“They have never met (Ben Stokes), they don’t know him,” Mrs Stokes said. “And maybe if they had tempered the inappropriate remarks and name calling with some quotes of some supportive tweets he’s received from some very well-known cricketers and just your ordinary Joe Bloggs cricket supporters, maybe…”
Heath then interjected, and suggested he was writing the complaint down in order to alert the show’s hosts.
“I don’t know whether they realise he was actually born and bred in New Zealand,” Mrs Stokes went on. “And quite frankly has family all over the country.
“And for those who listen to your station, for them to sit and listen to their cousin and their grandson being bagged like that is absolutely unconscionable and I’m his mother and I’m totally brassed off.”
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As Mrs Stokes, who was herself a prominent cricketer in NZ, continued on to stand up for her son, Wells and Heath continued to allow her to believe the conversation was a private one.
Heath finished the call by confirming Mrs Stokes’ objections will “get righted on the show”.
After learning the audio of their conversation had been broadcast, Mrs Stokes called back to complain.
A spokesperson for New Zealand Media and Entertainment condemned the actions of the hosts and said the pair had been suspended.
“Matt and Jeremy are famous for identifying where the line is and then ignoring it, however putting Ben’s mum to air without her knowledge, albeit defending her son, was obviously well over that line,” NZME Group Program Director Mike McClung said in a statement to news.com.au.
“They’ve been suitably reprimanded, and are off-air tomorrow.”