Royals Visit: Insensitive, Racist Commentary Puts CNN Reporter in Hotseat, Apologises to New Zealand

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | April 16, 2014 12:27 PM EST

American journalist Jeanne Moos from CNN has apologised to the people of New Zealand after her report on the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge poked fun on the traditional greeting the locals gave to the royals upon their arrival.

REUTERS/Woolf Crown Copyright/
Britain's Prince William (3rd L) and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, watch a traditional Maori Powhiri Ceremonial Welcome at Government House in Wellington April 7, 2014. The Prince and his wife Kate are undertaking a 19-day official visit to New Zealand and Australia with their son George. REUTERS/Woolf Crown Copyright/Handout via Reuters

In her report, Moos criticised a Maori representative's traditional dress as not fit for a meeting with Prince William and Kate Middleton. "Is that any way to welcome a future king and queen?" she quipped on shots of a heavily tattooed and near-bare-bottomed Maori warrior greeting the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge when they arrived in New Zealand on Monday.

She further went on to say that a traditional Maori greeting was a "cross between a Chippendale's lap dance and the mating dance of the emu."

Although Moos is known for her satirical tone, New Zealand university student Jay Evett did not find it amusing at all. "Incensed" as a New Zealander, he immediately launched an online petition asking for a public apology.

The reporter's "blatant disregard for, and insensitive commentary concerning, the Maori culture and its customs are inadmissible," Mr Evett said.

"I am aware that Ms Moos is of some repute for her reporting on what appear to be more unusual stories from current affairs. However ... though these practices might seem out of the ordinary for someone who is not familiar with New Zealand or its traditions, there are never any grounds in which to mock these is in anyway tolerable," his petition read.

The online petition flew off the shelves and received more than 25,000 signatures, forcing Ms Moos to apologise eventually.

"Duly noted," she said. "I do humour and satire, and I am truly sorry if the tone of my story offended anyone."

But Evett thinks Moos' apology was "to say the least, lackluster."

"She didn't actually apologise for the content of her report, rather the tone and if people took offence to her tone," he told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat. "There's a lot of racial slurs in there."

"In particular the reference to 'we don't know that it's an appropriate welcome to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge' certainly is a big issue."

He added the reference to the Haka and Afghanistan "by our armed forces was also insensitive to say the least."

Although not a Maori, Ms Moos' report flatly "belittled the culture of New Zealand," Evett said.

Here's the video of CNN's royal bummer quip.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Woolf Crown Copyright/ / )
Britain's Prince William (3rd L) and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, watch a traditional Maori Powhiri Ceremonial Welcome at Government House in Wellington April 7, 2014. The Prince and his wife Kate are undertaking a 19-day official visit to New Zealand and Australia with their son George. REUTERS/Woolf Crown Copyright/Handout via Reuters
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