TV & Radio

Saturday 2 August 2014

Broadcaster claims he is victim of online bullying campaign after cancelling Keith Barry appearance on his show

Ralph Riegel

Published 14/04/2014|11:59

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Neil Prendeville
Neil Prendeville
Keith Barry
Keith Barry
Neil Prendeville
Neil Prendeville

A BROADCASTER has claimed he was the target of a vicious online bullying campaign after he controversially cancelled a planned appearance by magician Keith Barry.

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Neil Prendeville’s comments came as he insisted that Cork radio stations were no different to Dublin stations in refusing to have the same celebrity on competing programmes within 60 minutes.

The Waterford magician slated Redfm on social media after they cancelled a scheduled appearance after he featured on rival station 96fm.

The ‘Brain Hacker’ star admitted he was dumbfounded when, after driving to Cork with less than three hours sleep, he was informed at the Redfm studio his appearance was no longer required.

He then posted his frustrations on his Facebook page and also took to Twitter to say how annoyed he was.

But Mr Prendeville hit back and insisted Mr Barry was informed in plenty of time via his PR firm that his appearance would be rescheduled for another time.

The broadcaster also said he was “very hurt” by some of the messages posted about him on Facebook and Twitter by angry fans of Mr Barry.

“To threaten someone with Twitter or to engage in Twitter or Facebook attacks – this is bullying,” he said.

“I have chosen not to live in this parallel world. It has been annihilating. This is online bullying and that is wrong…it jeopardises innocent people and it jeopardises their jobs,” he said.

Mr Prendeville was off the air for five months in 2010/2011 after a controversy over a lewd act on an Aer Lingus flight from London to Cork.

The broadcaster later said that his relationship with alcohol had become “reckless” and vowed to learn from his mistakes.

He said he was “very hurt” at some online references to the incident over the past few days.

“(That was) back in the dark, dark days. (Does anyone) really think they need to remind me of the past?”

“I am not a prima donna – I am the most unlikely prima donna around. I’ve had my fall to earth with a big, big bang. It almost killed me,” he said.

“I lost my job, I lost my income. I put my family through hell. But I made it through thanks to the support of my family and the kindness of Cork people. It was the closest thing I have ever seen to a miracle.”

“There is not a day that I don’t think of the past – there is not a day that I do not hate myself for the hurt that I caused those that I love and those that are close to me.”

But he refused to apologise for his stance on programming quality.

He insisted that Redfm would never have agreed to Keith Barry’s slot had they known the same act would be on 96fm minutes earlier.

The Redfm star said he was shocked when Mr Barry then publicly warned his celebrity friends off the Cork station.

“I believe he is a superb mentalist and the best the country has ever seen. Go and see his shows, buy his DVDs because he in a performer in a different league,” he said.

But Mr Prendeville said comedian Jon Kenny was treated in precisely the same fashion when he appeared on Redfm last week only to be informed that a 96fm appearance wouldn’t take place until a later date.

Irish Independent

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