'Net bullies attacked me over Barry axe'
Published 15/04/2014 | 02:30
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.
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 for cancelling a scheduled appearance after he featured on rival station 96fm. The 'Brain Hacker' star admitted he was left dumbfounded when, after driving to Cork with less than three hours' sleep, he was informed at the Redfm studio that his slot had been axed. He then posted his frustrations on Facebook and Twitter.
But Mr Prendeville 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 online about him by angry fans of Mr Barry.
"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 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 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.
"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."
He insisted Redfm would never have agreed to Keith Barry's slot had they known he would be on 96fm minutes earlier.
The star said he was shocked when Mr Barry publicly warned his celebrity friends off the Cork station. "He is a superb mentalist and the best the country has ever seen," he said.
Mr Prendeville said comedian Jon Kenny was treated the same when he appeared on Redfm last week only to be informed that a 96fm appearance wouldn't take place until a later date.