The saga of my chum Mr Methane being falsely accused of humiliating the Romanian people by farting their national anthem on Britain’s Got Talent (which I mentioned in blogs here and then here) has, in theory, come to a sudden end with the Romanian TV station involved, Antena3, being fined £10,000 lei (roughly £2,000) by CNA, the country’s National Audiovisual Council.
This followed complaints to the regulatory body by the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the President’s Office and by Mr Methane himself.
It seems to me to be quite an insignificant fine for a TV station (which had basically stolen the Britain’s Got Talent footage without paying for it, let alone the fact they re-dubbed the sound to make political capital out of it).
Mr Methane is certainly not satisfied. He tells me:
“I don’t think the fine reflects the personal injustice I suffered at being misrepresented by seeming to make a political statement which I of course never made, which then infuriated Romanian citizens and caused them to have anger towards me.
“That issue still needs to be addressed by a full-blown apology from the television programme or even an invitation to perform the Blue Danube (the original tune farted in Britain’s Got Talent) live on their show so people can see and hear the truth. You have to be in the studio to smell it!
“I have sent my own complaint in to CNA and I’ll give them time to address it and get back to me but, if nothing satisfactory is received within the next few weeks, then I’ll be asking Equity to take the matter further as I think the current fine has been fast-tracked by the ruling political party and takes only their own narrow political issues into account with no regard to the very real wider human injustices that I have suffered.”
One of the most extraordinary things I find in the whole surreal saga is the speed with which the Romanian regulatory body acted. The programme was transmitted last Thursday evening; the decision and fine by the regulatory authority happened this Thursday. In Britain, our regulatory body Ofcom would have taken months.
The saga of my chum Mr Methane – the world’s only professionally performing flatulist – outraging the Romanian nation by seeming to fart the Romanian national anthem on TV show Britain’s Got Talent – which I blogged about here two days ago – continues apace.
TalkbackThames, the producers and copyright holders of Britain’s Got Talent have confirmed that Antena3, the Romanian TV station which broadcast the doctored clip, did not have rights to the clip and Mr Methane has lodged an official complaint with the First Secretary at the Romanian Embassy in London.
This is Mr Methane’s e-mail to the embassy:
From: B.O. Productions Ltd
Sent: Tuesday, 11 October 2011, 12:50
Subject: Complaint about Romanian TV show Stirea Zilei
Dear Mrs Bianca Mina,
I wish to register a complaint about one of your broadcasters Antena3 and, in particular, a Current Affairs programme called Stirea Zilei (News of the Day) hosted by Gabriela Vranceanu Firea.
On Thursday 6th October 2011, presenter Gabriela Vranceanu Firea was hosting a serious political debate which included former Romanian Prime Minister Adrian Nastase. In this debate they used footage of my Britain’s Got Talent appearance but overdubbed the Blue Danube tune with the Romanian National Anthem: it appeared to viewers that I was farting to your national anthem. This upset Romanian citizens who wrote to me and left messages at YouTube before realising it was a fake.
I have checked with TalkbackThames, the production company that makes and owns Britain’s Got Talent and they say they did not license this footage to be used by Antena3.
I object to what Antena3 and Stirea Zilei did because I was used to make a political statement when in fact I do not know the political situation in Romania. The fake transmission enraged Romanian citizens and caused them see me as an object of hate when in fact I had not done anything and I was not involved in anyway.
I would like to think that the Romanian Government has some regulation of its media and that it can register my complaint and correct the injustice by getting the show to transmit a full blown apology for inciting hatred against me by using copyrighted footage without permission and altering it thereby creating a fake impression to viewers that was totally false.
You can see more information including footage of the show here.
I was amused to see Mr Methane ask for a “a full blown” apology…
How apt. How very apt.
Mr M has now received a reply to his email from the Second Secretary at the Romanian Embassy in London:
Dear Mr Oldfield,
The only regulator for the audio visual sector in Romania is the National Audiovisual Council of Romania known as CNA.
Their job is to ensure that Romania ’s TV and radio stations operate in an environment of free speech, responsibility and competitiveness. You can file a complaint by submitting a letter directly to the address:
CONSILIUL NATIONAL AL AUDIOVIZUALULUI — CNA
Bd. Libertatii Nr. 14, Sector 5
I hope this information will be useful, should you require any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact us. For what is worth, I can assure you that the Romanian Ministry for Foreign Affairs already sent a complaint in this case.
I can but surmise the reason that the Romanian Ministry for Foreign Affairs has “already sent a complaint in this case” is that, I am told, the TV station in question – Antena3 – supports the opposition party in Romania and that they want to cause embarrassment and aggro to the station.
According to My Man in Bucharest (yes, I have one) one of the participants on the TV discussion show – “a quite well-known journalist and political commentator in Romania” – suggested after the Britain’s Got Talent clip was screened that, among other things, the Romanian government should sue the British show’s producers or Mr Methane himself for defaming Romania.
Now, perhaps, the Romanian government has the TV station in its sights.