‘Sorry yes, quitting no’: ‘Dumb’ Kyle facing backlash
Kyle Sandilands has again apologised for offensive comments he made about the Virgin Mary while declaring he won't be quitting, nor will he be fired in the wake of the controversy.
"Am I going to quit? No. Am I going to get fired? No," Sandilands told listeners on his KIIS FM breakfast show.
"Am I sorry? Absolutely I am sorry because as I've said, I never intended to purposely upset anyone. Obviously I have upset people and I am sorry for it. There is nothing else I can do. We have all made mistakes in our life and this is just one of the many I have made."
The KIIS FM shock jock conceded his comments were "dumb", saying he "truly believes that we all have the right to believe in whatever we want to believe in and no other person has the right to make us feel less for believing whatever we believe in".
On September 18, the 48-year-old joked that the Virgin Mary, who is adored in both Christian and Islamic faiths, wasn't actually a "virgin" at all and described her as a "liar" who got knocked up "behind a camel shed".
He also suggested those who believe the words of the Bible were "dumb as dogshit".
Listeners were quick to call for Sandilands to be fired and he subsequently received death threats from those angered in the wake of the comments.
Sandilands said he received hundreds of calls from irate listeners.
"I am the dumb one for saying it. What I didn't realise until I started taking these calls is that I had stepped on the belief of other people and that is what I had done wrong," he said.
"It was a joke and it was a hugely bad decision … poor taste … I didn't plan that joke, I didn't write it down. I was just spit balling live here doing what I do and I didn't realise the gravity of it and it really upset a lot of people."
He continued: "Truly from the bottom of my heart, never do I want to make someone so angry that they don't want to listen to the show or they don't want to listen to me, nor do I want them to be so enraged that they are threatening to kill people over something that I've said."
Sandilands was due to return to Sydney at the weekend after a pre planned non radio ratings survey period week holiday in Los Angeles, where he has a home. Instead, he opted to remain in the US to broadcast from there.
Co-host Jackie O Henderson also apologised.
"I had our loyal listeners reach out to us over this over the holidays and I was reading some of the messages and I really felt so terrible that we had hurt them so much," Henderson said. "I have apologised to a lot of those people because look, I laughed along … we laugh sometimes at something that is inappropriate. We are sorry to those people because it is never our intention on this show to upset people. That really upsets me that those people have been hurt and we really do apologise for that."
Sandilands ended the segment by declaring that producers would re-play the audio from the apology later in the show.
"I want as many people to hear the truth of what we think and then make up your mind," he said. "If you want to stay with us, then we love that. If you think that nup we are finished, then whatever, go along your merry way. There is nothing else I can do or say other than this is what I truly think and believe."
Subsequently, Sandilands and Henderson invited listeners to call in to the show and give their honest feedback in light of his apology leading to one man, John, arguing that the radio host needed to be more careful.
"Well you know everyone has their beliefs but keep you opinion to yourself mate," he told Sandilands who rebutted that it was just a "joke".
"Even if it's a joke. I'm not going to go to a nation of Buddhists and say, 'I believe it's all a heap of s**t,' even if it's for a laugh," John said.
"When you're a radio host and have almost the whole nation listening to you it's a big difference."
Long time listener, Vicky, called in to accept Sandilands' apology, saying Christians have a duty to forgive.
"I am a Christian and your apology does make a difference because you're on air and everyone can hear it," she said.
"I absolutely love the show, I listen to you every day and laugh at all your jokes, this is definitely something I don't want to lose".
"As a Christian you do learn to forgive and move on."