Brian Edwards Media

Target this week – Public Service Television or Gratuitous, Voyeuristic Sleaze?

[This post produced some strong responses from readers who considered I was being unfair to the producers of Target by accusing them of deliberately appealing to the prurient interests of viewers in order to gain higher ratings. The following piece appears in today’s Sunday Herald – along with a photograph of the cleaner masturbating. We’re told that the item, described by the show’s producer as ‘just so dramatic we thought we really can’t not show it’, has gone viral on the Internet.]


Regular watchers of Target, TV3’s answer to Fair Go, will know that hidden camera footage of tradesmen doing various jobs in the ‘Target house’ while the actor/owners are out, has been a regular feature of the programme. My guess is that these segments are the principal, if not  the only reason why people watch the programme.

The tradesmen, you see, aren’t just judged on their workmanship or pricing, but on how they behave when they think they have the house to themselves. And, on that score, Target has certainly been an eye opener. Fossicking through cupboards and drawers and reading owners’ diaries and personal mail are at the lower end of their  invasions of the owners’ privacy. Somewhat more serious is perving over and occasionally sniffing the lady of the house’s bras and panties. And, to cap it all, masturbating.

This week’s programme had that and more. To summarise:  

A cleaner, there to clean the carpet throughout the house and remove a stain in the bedroom does the following:

  • Opens all the wardrobes, cupboards and drawers in the bedroom;
  • Spots a (conveniently placed?) small plastic laundry basket in the corner; takes out four pairs of women’s panties which he sniffs;
  • Spots a (conveniently placed?) sports bag in which he finds and then sniffs more panties and a bra;
  • Wanders round the house with the panties before tossing them back in the basket:

[Commercial Break, followed by  item on an unsatisfactory mowing franchise ]

  • Cleaner fires up the computer in the lounge;
  • Finds owner’s perfume which he sprays on the panties;
  • Connects to broadband and begins watching porn;
  • Retrieves sprayed panties which he sniffs, then undoes his pants and begins playing with himself;
  • Ejaculates in panties which he then puts back in the laundry basket;
  • Does some work;
  • Watches porn for 18 more minutes before masturbating again;
  • Tidies himself up and finishes the job.

[Commercial Break]

There follows a full summary of the story in Part One, including all the ‘disturbing’ visuals. Carly Flynn reports that Target contacted the police and has supplied them with the programme’s footage. They are investigating. The cleaner has been sacked by his employers who also generously refunded the $150 charge for the job. Carly then offers some helpful advice to viewers on how to avoid this sort of outrage happening to you.

Throughout the programme Carly expresses outrage and righteous indignation about the carpet cleaner’s behaviour. It’s hard to disagree with those sentiments.

But what of the motivation of the programme-makers? Are their hands entirely clean?

Well, here’s my cynical but reasonably well-informed view: If all the secretly filmed tradesman did a great job and behaved like saints, the segment would never have made it to air. At the very least they needed to do poor quality  work and preferably over-charge as well.

But the tradesmen have been more accommodating than that. They’ve lounged about when they should have been working, read stuff that was none of their business, skived off during the job, cut corners, done crap and sometimes dangerous work,  done naughty and sometimes very naughty things and generally provided Target (and us) with a peephole view of humanity at its near worst. That’s why the programme rates and the producers and TV3 know that’s why the programme rates. Men behaving badly are Target’s bread and butter.

So behind all this outrage and righteous indignation are less noble motives – ratings and the money that ratings produce. The more shocking and disgusting the activities the tradesmen get up to, the more the programme’s producers really like it. I’ll bet my bottom dollar that when they first saw the carpet cleaner footage, they leapt for joy. Not only was the story guaranteed to rate through the roof, stories about it would  be in the papers, on blogs, in reviews, in letters to the editor and, of course, on Facebook and Twitter.

This was gratuitous, voyeuristic sleaze masquerading as public service television. But, if you watched it, that makes you (and me) willing consumers of gratuitous, voyeuristic sleaze masquerading as public service television. Maybe neither the producers of Target, nor the lovely Carly, nor you or I should be railing against such disgusting TV fodder. After all, they dish it up and we lap it up.

That’s showbiz folks.

[If you want to watch or rewatch the programme, here’s the link.  Don’t say we didn’t warn you!]



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  1. 1

    Watched Target twice years ago and never since. Couldn’t stand the oleaginous, sanctimonious crap. Reminds me of the old Truth newspaper.

  2. I didn’t watch it and never do, I do watch Fair Go though. I heard about it in the cafeteria at lunch time as several people had seen it. I found it all distasteful and wished it wasn’t being discussed whether it happened or not.

  3. I have never watched Target and obviously didn’t see this episode. However, if these acts occurred as reported, then this broadcast went far beyond advising the public of potential workman misdemeanours. This involves a criminal act and rightly should have been referred to the police. Deciding to broadcast as a supposed public service, and at 7.30 pm, should make the producer an accessory to the act and facing similar charges.

  4. We usually view Target; however after seeing their promo for this weeks programme on 3 News prior, we decided to give the show a miss. This turned out to be a good decision. Even the promo, in my view, was not suitable for screening in the time slot we viewed it.

  5. I used to watch it years ago when it had the older man (forget his name) fronting it. I gave up watching as I got sick of the sanctmonious poturing of the presenters.
    I didn’t watch last night but saw the excerpt on the nws tonight. Unpleasant but why is it on the national news??

  6. I prefer Fair Go but do catch Target every now and then including this programme. While the man’s actions were offensive, I believe that the show was right to expose (sic) him. Anyone who takes these sorts of gross liberties in someone else’s home deserves all the ridicule he will inevitably attract. Remember that it wasn’t only the serial panty sniffing and masturbation – he searched through the woman’s drawers and cupboards then wired up the client’s computer to watch porn on the net as well. He clearly knew his actions were very wrong or he wouldn’t have cleared the browser history once he’d finished.

    Yes the production company milked (sic) the footage… intelligent viewers probably find that condescending but that’s what almost all cheap New Zealand TV shows do these days. Endlessly cutting back and forth between two or three scenes means you can spin 5 minutes of footage into 10 = super cheap tele. Most of the output from Touchdown, Great Southern TV, et al follows this formula now. It is ‘dumbed down TV’ but that’s what we get served in Godzone these days. Sadly and most viewers are so used to the technique they don’t seem to notice or care any more.

    I have to take issue with one of your comments Brian – you suggest that the soiled underwear being ‘conveniently placed’ implies some form of entrapment. Most homes will have dirty washing sitting in baskets somewhere. The location of the basket does not give a contractor carte blanche to sniff the contents, nor to leave a deposit behind. Workers trusted with access to private homes should never behave in this way… period. Lock the bugger up for a while and name him to ensure that he’s unlikely to be employed in a position of trust again.

    With the ratings this episode attracted, I wonder if there’s any truth to the rumour that Target is planning a ‘Wanker of the Week’ slot in upcoming episodes? ;-)

  7. 7

    Surely Brian’s essay is the product of a retired mind, which, so easily, because so free-lanced, fulminates against one poor working man caught in a sting. Sexual expression is notoriously problematic and various. All characterisation is a projection of a part of ourselves – anybody can be at some time in ther lives nabbed in a morally compromising situation, and I suspect that those who rail against another’s egregious offending are trying to eliminate a painful personal memory of something equally offensive. Lack of awareness of that vulnerable human fact leaves us with Brian’s holier than thou attitude to the poor sod caught. Are you saying, Brian, that in your seventy plus years you’ve never done anything that, if there’d been cameras there to produce evidence of it, you wouldn’t be embarrassed? If so, then it’s Saint Brian. You need some Freud.

    BE: And you need some manners. As to your question, like most other males I’ve done things in private I wouldn’t have wanted seen on camera. But never in someone else’s house!

  8. If wanking is against the law then we are all in big trouble. When I’m up for sentencing I will need to ask the court to take 7,343 further offences into account.

  9. What he did was not great but if there were no cameras no one would have ever known a crime was committed.

  10. I don’t think Target has a monopoly on gratuitous, voyeuristic sleaze: all channels seem to be on a race to the bottom. It is odd: presumably TV1 makes a dollar out of its Sunday night lineup, which is the oasis in what is otherwise a desert. Why can’t it maintain this sort of standard on other nights, instead of treating us to swearing chefs and other trainwrecks?

  11. 11

    The strategic placement of the basket of dirty laundry was there for a purpose. Normally, you’d put your socks, undies etc, etc in a receptacle that’s either in the bathroom or the laundry. The whole scene was staged and the lingerie was one of the props. You can’t help but get the feeling that the Target team, laid bait. But not expecting a miscreant pervert to go as far as he did. And talk about Carly’s blow-by-blow running commentary in all its excruciating detail. All credit to her for not hyperventilating.

    I’m sort of ambivalent about this. On the one hand (excuse the pun) a tradesman has temptation placed in his way; and on the other, it serves as a warning to all tradies to be on your guard. Because, you never know if an electronic eye is watching you.

    Whether you feel that the this was an unholy contrivance in the making or a wake-up call for tradespeople and homeowners alike, TV3 “milked” this for all it was worth. And that includes the salacious promos preceding the actual screening. We knew in advance that we were in for a rare visual treat.

  12. Re “After all, they dish it up and we lap it up.”

    Not quite. Not through want of trying, milk was not spilled.

  13. I watch Target most weeks, not only when they advertise masturbating tradesmen, and I can tell you that they regularly show tradespeople who do a good job, and praise them for it.

    I think it’s fair enough they warn us about businesses that treat customers poorly, tradespeople that do shoddy work or invade our privacy, or cafes that will sell our kids alcohol,

    If watching someone sniff and masturbate into an unsuspecting woman’s panties gives you a vicarious thrill, perhaps it says more about you than the programme.

    BE: I don’t recall mentioning ‘a vicarious thrill’. If you don’t think that promoting a show as containing the most disgusting think ever seen on the programme isn’t aimed at attracting a large audience, then you really must be naive about the media.

  14. I chose not to watch it. Too close to dinner time. And as you said, too voyeuristic for my tastes. Too much of the *ick* Factor.

    What I found annoying is that TV3 then circumvented my decision not to watch it by repeating the segment on their 6PM news, and other occassions.

    I guess my only other option is not to watch TV3 at all. Which would be a shame, as their 6PM news segment has become more indepth, politically, than their TV1 rival.

    By the way, Brian, I found this bit in your opening piece… interesting,

    “But what of the motivation of the programme-makers? Are their hands entirely clean?”

    Probably cleaner than the trademan’s.

  15. Watch it occasionaly.For me the problem isnt with the program ,but some of the trade persons actions.I think it was about time some of these practices were given a public forum.Is this a case of shoot the messanger?Although I didnt watch the item in question I also think a little bit of editing may have been warranted.

  16. I fear the Target seniors also have that man’s DNA on their hands – the trap was clearly set, and I wonder how much good, honest, hard-working non-self abusing footage was deleted before they found this diamond?

    In addition, I can’t imagine any contractor stupid enough to spray perfume around in the manner described, and to leave such clear and damning evidence of misdemeanor behind: are you sure HE wasn’t an actor from a ficticious cleaning company, hired to inject (!) some life into a flagging format?

    Finally Brian – were TV3 your client, wouldn’t you advise them to spin their golden moment out with a teaser such as “the next bit is so disgusting, we’ll have to broadcast it after Nightline, so stay tuned, folks….!”?

    BE: No, I have no suspicion that the cleaner was an actor. I’m sure the item is entirely above board and that this is the case with all the hidden camera items on the programme. I did find the placement of the laundry basket and the bag, both with items of women’s underwear, ‘convenient’. But I have absolutely no evidence for that suspicion. And the fact remains that, even if they were there to tempt some tradesman, the cleaner’s behaviour would have been no less reprehensible.

    TV3 is not our client.

  17. “Normally, you’d put your socks, undies etc, etc in a receptacle that’s either in the bathroom or the laundry”

    I must have missed domestic science that day – my laundry basket has always been in my bedroom. It’s a hangover from flatting situations in which everyone takes responsibility for their own laundry.

    “On the one hand (excuse the pun) a tradesman has temptation placed in his way”

    Really? That’s like saying shop workers have an excuse to rob the till or men have an excuse to rape wopmen who dress in a way that exposes flesh, because, you know, adult human beings are incapable of exercising self-control.

    There are no excuses for the man’s behaviour.

    BE: I agree. See my reply to Zinc.

  18. I usually watch Target (though I prefer Fair Go) because its food product survey regular spot is so worthwhile.

    The “Trap a Tradie” spot less so, mainly because they have never yet filmed in my area, so it is of no use whatsoever to me – except for the quickly-learned lesson to always stay home when a tradesman is present!

    But there was something about the way they promoted the bejeezus out of this particular episode that warned me to stay well clear, and I’m glad I didn’t view it. The promos verged on lascivious. Also there were the enticement elements that Brian alludes to. I’m not defending the disgusting tradesman for an instant, but I think you are right BE in pointing out the voyeuristic sleaze element in this programme, and the Channel’s being complicit in this.

    Clean up your own act, TV3.

  19. I now live across the ditch and became aware of this episode through social media.
    Didn’t think more of it until I saw a tweet from TV3 that advised that the episode had been “unblocked” for overseas viewers.

    When I watched it, my first thought was that the producers must have high-fived each other when they saw the footage. However, as a viewer I was overcome by the sense that this was indeed voyeuristic sleaze. The editing/format did a lot to further enhance this feeling.

    The programme objective of consumer advocacy seems to be an afterthought at best.

    It seems clear that TV3 is exploiting this episode to extract maximum publicity mileage.

    After all, why else would they be baiting the international digital market for a programme with inherently local content?

    NB: I have no idea what’s involved in removing geoblocks for ondemandTV. But since TV3 evidently don’t have international rights to the show, I would imagine that there was a degree of effort/cost involved.

  20. “There are no excuses for the man’s behaviour.” To which we all agree 110%.

    Likewise “I don’t think Target has a monopoly on gratuitous, voyeuristic sleaze: all channels seem to be on a race to the bottom”

    I find it remarkable that the ‘Target house’ actor/owners always seem to be out. B quite agree with your salient ‘conveniently placed?’ comments.

    We (well her atually) are shocking with laundry but even my partner doesn’t manage to leave that many items of unmentionables lying around.

    Though I can’t concurr with Zinc; Target/Top Shelf(really!?)/TV3 stand to loose much too greatly if this is a fabrication.

  21. @ Luke

    “Though I can’t concurr with Zinc; Target/Top Shelf(really!?)/TV3 stand to loose much too greatly if this is a fabrication”.

    I’ll break the habit of a lifetime and play plot theorist for once: –

    I reckon the information ‘from the other side’ in the “Sending Murder”/celebrity clairvoyant rubbish that gets on TV is often aided and abetted by the TV producers – so why not go a step further with this “Target” story?

    The News of the World scandal shows that when it comes to making money by boosting ratings/circulation, the only restriction is what you can’t get away with.

  22. i want to mention the fact that this man could easily be identified to his friends and acquaintances by his van,hes white-age around 40, two toned running shoes, red undershirt, pullover blue shirt with emblem and white ring around his shirtsleeves and hes a cleaner. what about his privacy? what about the code of broadcasting? hes denigrated to no end with repeat after repeat tapes. did tv 3 ask for his response? whats the law on private people using hidden cameras to entrap(enticing people to commit crime that he had no intention of committing) im thinking of writing to tv 3 and then to broadcasting authority. anyone else. paul

    BE: I’m inclined to think that if you behave in an illegal or reprehensible way, you forfeit your right to privacy. Consider the case of Dr Morgan Fahey who was caught in a TV sting admitting that he had behaved inappropriately with a female patient and subsequently was convicted and went to prison.

  23. @KImbo

    Perhaps it’s my naive optimism; myopically hoping us Kiwis are better than that.

    You’re spot on re ‘Sensing Bullshit’. A truly wonderful website Silly Beliefs explicates just what dangerous trash it is. Including blatant connivance on the part of producers and crew.

  24. Though I can’t concur with Zinc; Target/Top Shelf(really!?)/TV3 stand to loose much too greatly if this is a fabrication.

    Of course it’s not a fabrication. The man was in court on Wednesday morning. And the idea that a pair of knickers dug from some way down inside a covered laundry basket represent entrapment of any kind is just lunatic.

    The methodical manner of the cleaner’s actions actually suggested that he’d done it before, probably more than once. In that sense, Target has clearly done the community a favour by capturing evidence that has already taken him out of that job and will presumably convict him.

    Did they have to show it? Well, yes, they did. The hidden-camera sting is part of the format: it’s predicated on showing what you get. Brian, you’re completely wrong about this part (and it is only a part) of the show: good tradespeople are shown alongside the bad — sometimes, everyone’s basically good.

    And this time, the producers got something they really didn’t expect. I gather people there were pretty taken aback and it was quickly decided this needed to go the police. The fact that they managed to work it out with the police that they could broadcast the evidence is remarkable. They also had to produce something that could safely play at 7.30pm — you may have noticed the word “masturbate” is never spoken.

    I didn’t find myself wanting to crack jokes on Twitter after seeing it — I found the video sad and disturbing. But I’d absolutely defend Target’s right to show it.

    Disclosure: Target is made out of the same office as Media7, but I haven’t really discussed it with anyone there. I’m just a bit alarmed at some of what people are claiming here.

    BE: If your comment had been rather less dismissive, Russell, I might not have bothered replying. But if you really believe that this item (which was promo-ed to death) wasn’t first and foremost about titillation and ratings, maybe it’s time you took down your (normally well-deserved) shingle as a media commentator.

  25. whats the law on private people using hidden cameras to entrap(enticing people to commit crime that he had no intention of committing) i

    Seriously, if you think this was “enticing” this man do do what he did you’re insane.

    The computer he’s now charged with misusing wasn’t even connected to the internet on his arrival. He actually had to plug it in.

  26. @ Russell Brown

    “Of course it’s not a fabrication. The man was in court on Wednesday morning.”

    So what? Streakers at sports events are sometimes promised a financial incentive that will more than cover any fines.

    It is unlikely that this guy caught on camera is a schill – but not beyond the realms of possibility. No doubt it has already happened in one form or another in the candid camera format, and you can be very certain if the ratings popularity of this genre increases, it will most certainly happen at some point in the future. Just like pro-wrestling, and celebrity mediums…

    And no – they didn’t have to show it, anymore than when TV exercises self-restraint with terrorist executions of hostages, suicides, or celebrity sex tapes.

    Alan Wilkinson was right about the salacious yet sanctimonious style of the Truth in the days of strict censorship, which Target channels: “School girls in sex-romp – read inside how to make sure it doesn’t happen to your daughter”!

  27. dr. fahey not the same brian. they knew he committed these sexual crimes before and did a sting. target was fishing for this guy or someone like him. entrapment. what about if a owner of an apartment block puts a hidden camera in one of his apartments to bathrooms or bedrooms. when he gets caught the police are all over him. whats the difference with a private tv station doing the same. and i am not insane russell by the way they have used this house 3 times for entrapment in the bay of plenty and the local neighbors now warn tradesmen of target stings. a local electrician was suspicious and found the camera in the smoke alarm. so tradesmen/women are alot more wary now. paul

  28. I am in total agreement with Russell here. Target have done the community a service. Brian, of course it’s all about the ratings. I don’t usually watch Target, so thank you for the link. I have to admit that I did find it slightly entertaining, for want of a better word. I certainly did not feel at all voyeuristic while watching either. I find that an odd accusation. The fact is this individual, sad and pathetic as he may be, is also a creep who obviously had no respect for the homeowner, and the fact he was trusted to be alone in her home. As Russell has said, this individual had almost certainly done this sort of thing before, and would have continued with his arrogant and disrespectful behaviours if he’d not been caught out this time. I find it remarkable that other posters have even expressed some sympathy for him. He deserves none at all. Before Target came along there would have been many in NZ who would have had no idea these sorts of things could happen. It can be about both ratings and enlightening the general public. Those motives needn’t be in conflict.

    BE: I expressed no sympathy in my post for the man. And I agree entirely that his behaviour was appalling. I actually said in the post: “Throughout the programme Carly expresses outrage and righteous indignation about the carpet cleaner’s behaviour. It’s hard to disagree with those sentiments.” But of course almost nobody bothers to read posts carefully. And the only acceptable position for most is that you have to be all for or all against. Bugger seeing both sides of an argument.

    That said, Russell’s conjecture that the man has “almost certainly” done this before, is precisely that – conjecture. You say you’re entirely in agreement with Russell, but you agree with me that “it’s all about the ratings” and you found it “slightly entertaining”. You also say you “don’t normally watch Target”, but you watched this programme. Was that because you’d seen the promos or because I’d classified it at gratuitous, voyeuristic sleaze?. As for Target, this item was merely the latest in which tradesmen have behaved in a sexual manner in strangers’ homes. Except for the extremity of the behaviour, there’s nothing new about it. It’s part of Target’s staple diet. Any viewer who had watched Target in the past would have been well aware of the dangers of leaving tradesmen unattended in your home. The great thing about producing a programme like Target is that you get to show disgusting behaviour while railing against it. Oh, and why was it necessary to show all the man’s behaviours twice in the one programme?

  29. The guy is really sick – to do something like that in someone else’s house indicates severe mental distress. But what TV 3 did is impose a medieveal punishment like the stocks on the poor fellow. He needs medical help. What about his family? How many lives are going to be affected by the decision to publically humiliate him? Is our media so cynical that there is no ethical brief in their programming decsions?

  30. Thank you Russell for your intelligent analysis. There are two issues being discussed here.

    1. The actions of this individual and should he be exposed on television?

    I’ve already argued that this guy overstepped the mark by a country mile and deserves whatever ridicule comes his way. The person questioning whether his privacy has been breached must be living on a different planet to me.

    2. The general dumbing down of television in NZ. Most people seem to agree that the now familiar style of stretching out footage through endless repetition is boring and exploitative, but that’s NZ commercial tele for you in the 2000s. It’s also one of the reasons that TVNZ-7 should be saved, but that’s another story.

    I’m proud to say that I worked on the Morgan Fahey story for TV3 many years ago. While Fahey’s privacy was certainly breached, the woman involved was a previous Fahey victim who confronted him about his crimes. She bravely did this after Fahey and his lawyers had ridiculed our first programme where we concealed victims’ identities – that brought about a huge public backlash against 20/20.

    In a landmark decision the Appeals Court decided that the breach was acceptable as it was in the public interest. Many more victims came forward as a result of the programme, and Fahey eventually went to jail. I’d argue that this case deserves exactly the same justification.

    The producers did not set up this segment to entrap any one individual and Target’s format has followed this style for years. While they’ve bagged their share of lazy workmen, this guy really takes the cake (and I wish I could come up with a more appropriate metaphor).

    On the one hand (sic) you have a medical professional who was also the deputy mayor of ChCh abusing vunerable woman over many years. On the other hand (even sic-cer) a cleaner rifling through personal possessions, accessing and deleting files on a customer’s computer, then leaving his mark by soiling her underwear. As far as I’m concerned they’re both sleazeballs whose activities deserved to be exposed “in the public interest”.

    BE: I’ve never expressed any concern about the man’s privacy being violated, nor have I defended his actions in any way. It’s a total red herring. Target has been showing less extreme versions of this behaviour for years. It is, as I’ve said, part of its staple diet. If any viewer of the programme doesn’t know by now that tradesmen can engage in deviant behaviour in your house while you’re out, I’d be amazed. I’m also amazed to find people suggesting that this an example of the sort of public service television supporters of TVNZ7 want. This segment is as good an example as you’ll find of commercial, ratings-driven, lowest common denominator television. It may serve as a warning to viewers, but its main function is to sell audiences to advertisers. Why was it promoted so heavily? Why were the pictures of the man sniffing and masturbating repeated? In the public interest? I don’t think so.

  31. “The guy is really sick – to do something like that in someone else’s house indicates severe mental distress.”

    I don’t think the guy has to be “really sick” to indulge in such behaviour – some people have different parameters from most of us. It’s not so much in whose house he was which makes this man so disgusting, Gerard – rather it’s whose knickers that is the issue.

    I’m prepared to believe we’ve all got different ideas and demands when it comes to sex. What you saw is not far removed from playing with your girlfriend (or vice versa) in the cinema, or copulating at 5280 feet ASL in the dunny on an aeroplane.

    Of course, soiling a stranger’s privacy is a level which most of us would consider vile in the extreme, and THAT’S what makes this saga so disgusting.

  32. Thanks for another thoughtful comment. Like many I choose not to watch Target. I wonder how we would feel if we had hidden cameras snooping on us while we worked, only to have the embarrassing bits cherry picked and played at prime time?

  33. So Brian, you are offended by the program makers apparent glee (in your mind) that they captured this unfortunate incident on camera? As far as the ratings are concerned I guess it was good for the show. But so what? I didn’t watch the show, but did see a news item about it. I didn’t seek out the show online, and only watched it as you had kindly provided the link. I also agree with Zinc. What was disturbing about the behaviour was not so much the acts the tradesman performed in the home of a stranger, but rather the total breach of trust and the invasion of privacy they entailed. It’s very likely that this was part of the thrill the cretin got out of behaving the way he did. Given that this behaviour started almost immediately after the homeowner departed, I’d be fairly certain it was not the first time he had done this. Of course that is conjecture, but it seems likely. I don’t quite follow how you could conclude that watching this was in any way voyeuristic. This tradesman was in the home of a stranger. He should have been on his best behaviour and had no rights to privacy. Sure, he would be within his rights to scratch himself given he was on his own, but what he did went way beyond that. So perhaps the program makers were indeed high-fiving each other in self-congratulation when they saw the footage they had. But does that really matter?

    BE: There’s no point in going on and on about how bad this fellow’s behaviour was. I don’t disagree. If you don’t think the heavy promotion of the item was all about appealing to our prurient interests, have a look at the item in today’s Sunday Herald.

  34. I am afeared that after our serial wanker stands bsfore the judge to be sentence, part of him may never stand again,

  35. @Brian “BE: I’ve never expressed any concern about the man’s privacy being violated, nor have I defended his actions in any way. It’s a total red herring.”

    To clarify, I wasn’t suggesting that you were worried about the cleaner’s privacy. My statement relates directly to the “what about his privacy?” comment made by Paul (18 May – 17:57).

    BE: Fair enough.

  36. 36

    The guy should sue TV3 for a share of the ratings earnings. They obviously stole his creative IP without payment and then gratuitously turned him in to the fuzz.


  37. While nobody can condone what the tradesman did, I also believe the programme makers carefully place items of potential interest in places where the tradesmen are likely to go – mostly these are conveniently out of (hidden) camera shot.

    What should be remembered is that the houses in which these segments are staged and filmed are not the regular abodes of the actors that are in them. They are houses rented for the purpose of filming and set up just the way the producers want them. All the items in the house are effectively props and I’m told that some of them are definitely not what you’d expect to find being left lying around when tradesmen are booked.

  38. Just yesterday I was discussing this issue with one of my staff who told me her mother had invited herself to be part of a programme called “How Clean is Your House” or something similar.

    A programme exec turned up to see if the house was dirty enough, armed with his own cockroaches, dirt, dust, grime and rat droppings…..!

  39. well you guys win. his wife has left him(maybe with the kids). alls well that ends well i say. reminds me of 30 yrs. ago when two married men(ah thats with woman) are found in the toilet. ruined their lives, marriage and they went to jail. the more things change the more they stay the same. i hope the lawyer(s) nail tv 3 and get it off the air. im done here. paul

  40. I am surprised that no one has discussed the excellent educational aspects of a programme like Target.

    As a small business owner, I for one have learnt several valuable lessons.

    1. The saying “There’s no such thing as bad publicity” is not strictly accurate.

    2. Masturbating at the home of my client could be bad for business.

    3. There might be hidden cameras.

    I have vowed to alter my behaviour accordingly.

    JC: Edited for exceeding my nausea threshhold.

  41. > Target has clearly done the community a favour…

    Except that’s not the function of the programme. I agree with Brian that it’s all about ratings, and having this guy on the show must have been like mana from heaven for TV3. Personally, I didn’t much like the insinuation from Carly Flynn that this guy might have raped the female owner of the property if she’d caught him in the act.

    Yes he probably will be convicted, but will the punishment and the effect on his career and life be proportionate to the crime? I doubt it.

  42. spare us the bloody violins, I’ve never heard so much nonsense. This idiot is a victim now is he? Whatever the effect on his career and life is solely down to him. He should have thought of that before he disgraced himself in the house of a stranger. Don’t want to harp on, but Brian’s criticisms of the Target show are petty. Yeah, it’s all about the ratings. But so what, that should hardly be a revelation, should it? If the fact that these shows rate offends you Brian then don’t watch. Obviously it’s not your kind of show, and the people who watch are not your kind of people.

  43. @ Ross

    No doubt, that his behaviour was despicable in someone’s home, but he did handle laundry that was going to be washed. Had he not been caught out, no one would’ve been any the wiser. I’m not excusing his behaviour for a second, but the consequences (lifelong shame and humiliation, he suffers from family and friends; losing his job; pregnant wife leaving etc), does seem out of kilter to the transgression and violation of trust.

  44. Candy,

    What you say is true of any criminal act…had an offender not been apprehended, we would not necessarily be aware of the offending. You seem to agree that the consequences in this case will outweigh what the offending warrants.

  45. 45

    If the tradesman had done his thing in the toilet and Target had a camera in there who would be breaking the law?

  46. tv. 3 doesn’t care about violations, niceties, trauma to either party.
    they care about popularity and resultant profit.
    neutrality on morality and therefore pretence of morality.
    the show is creepy even before they expose a rat.

  47. I would like to know how target gets away with trading of other companies names for finanical gain ,we can not lawfully use (the Target name to start a TV progamme )but week after week they use different companies names without permisson .The programme has lost its right to exist after putting the cleaner programme on air ,this should have been sent to the police not aired on tv .The programme only has a negitive view not a balanced view .The companies on all the series that have been aired over the years should engage in class action lawsuit for using their business names without permisson .

  48. I started watching target when it started and occasionally still watch if a subject I am interested in comes up. I find the hidden camera segments and the traps set for tradesmen, creepy, so I usually avoid the programme. And I loathe the sanctimonious tone of the presenters. Not to mention the repetitive use of “inappropriate.”

  49. “After all, they dish it up and we lap it up.”

    Exactly! The same situation with those that read the weekly gossips, yet rail against the paparazzi who “killed” Diana.

  50. I think if Target were really concerned about public interest they wouldn’t have screened the footage and just taken it to the Police to right away. This was all about the ratings which is fair enough (after all that is what attracts advertising revenue) but I don’t think that they can really say it is in the public interest given the gratuitous nature of the footage and the time slot where younger viewers will be watching!

  51. This reminds me of a situation years ago when my then-husband was working as a tradesman alone in a house and went to move a cupboard. The door flew open and a rain of sex toys including a blow up doll fell out. His first reaction was to search for the hidden camera.
    It is hard to believe that after years of this type of show, the combination of empty house, attractive owner and easily-found panties didn’t arouse suspicion. But also I am left wondering where the victim is in this.