A complaint about an episode of reality television show New Zealand's Next Top Model in which contestants posed topless in a mud pool has been dismissed by the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA).
The episode, broadcast on TV3 in August, included shots of contestants posing for a female photographer, wearing bikini bottoms and accessories.
Some of the girls were topless but their breasts were covered in mud and concealed by steam from the pool.
16-year-old Michaela told the judges she was religious and "felt kind of bad".
"I don't think that's going to stop me from a lot of things as long as I have confidence in myself and confidence in the Lord," she said.
A viewer complained about the episode, saying she was "disgusted and disappointed to see a 16-year-old girl being exploited".
Broadcaster TVWorks said the contestants' comfort and wellbeing was taken very seriously.
"They have female chaperones with them 24 hours a day, their stylist on this particular occasion was a woman, as was the photographer.
"The models are free at any time to opt out of any situation with which they feel uncomfortable, so far this has not been the case."
The BSA ruled the nudity was effectively masked by the mud and did not breach standards of good taste and decency.
"No attention was drawn to her breasts; the transition between shots was relatively swift, and the camera tended to focus on the girl's face. We consider that the poses were non-sexual and were presented in an inoffensive way," it said.
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