The Thai ambassador to Australia has sent a strongly worded letter of complaint to the producers of Network Ten show Have You Been Paying Attention?, accusing them of making light of the Thai king’s death.
According to ambassador Chirachai Punkrasin, an October 17 episode of the comedy quiz was seen to be “mocking” the Thai people, who are currently grieving the death of their beloved leader.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej passed away on October 13 at the age of 88 after a long illness, prompting the Thai government to ban alcohol out of respect.
Mr Punkrasin accused the panel of comedians of being “very inappropriate, disrespectful, and certainly not amusing”.
“While it may not be the intention of the Network 10 to cause offense, the programme needs to show great cultural sensitivity and media professionalism when it deals with a topic that makes reference to another country, institution and culture,” the letter said.
The official Twitter page of Have You Been Paying Attention?, which is hosted by Tom Gleisner, addressed the letter and said the segment would be removed from reruns.
In a statement to The New Daily, Network Ten apologised for the segment, which has been removed from its website and social media channels.
“Network Ten has written to the Ambassador of Thailand in Canberra to apologise for the comments made on the program,” the statement said.
“In no way was any disrespect intended and we sincerely regret any distress caused.
“The video has been taken down from Ten’s website and other social channels, and will be edited to remove this segment, prior to the episode being broadcast or made available again.”
The Thai embassy confirmed to The New Daily the ambassador had sent the letter and that Ten had removed the offending material.
The New Daily understands the segment in question involved contestant Sam Pang joking about Thailand’s popular ping pong ball sex shows in relation to the king’s death.
The people of Thailand take slights against their monarch very seriously.
@smithj_43 You think it's so funny????
Thai people very sad about lost our king.
Thailand is not country of "sex" like you think!!!
— Muga (@mugajang) October 18, 2016
Earlier this week, a woman was forcibly made to kneel in front of a portrait of King Adulyadej in front of a crowd of hundreds after she insulted him on Facebook.
The woman, whose name is Umaporn Sarasat, now faces up to 15 years in prison.