Thursday 24 May 2018

George Hook steps down from lunchtime show... but will return to Newstalk later this year

George Hook. Photo: Tony Gavin
George Hook. Photo: Tony Gavin
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

GEORGE HOOK is to step down from his lunchtime slot on Newstalk following his controversial comments about rape earlier this month.

However, in a statement issued by the station, it has been confirmed that the 76-year-old will return for a new weekend show later this year.

"Newstalk has now concluded the process which reviewed the circumstances that led to George Hook's comments on rape recently," it said. 

"The station confirms that George Hook will be stepping down from his lunchtime slot. He will return to the station in December 2017 when he will take on a new weekend show. Newstalk will shortly be announcing a replacement for the lunchtime show.

"Newstalk will not be making any further comment on this issue."

The presenter was suspended from his position last week, a week after he made controversial comments about a rape case in the UK.

Mr Hook's comments on his show were made while he discussed the case of a woman (19), who alleges she was raped by a former member of the British swim team.

"Is there no blame to the person who puts themselves in danger?" he asked.

Four days later, singer Mary Coughlan walked out of the Newstalk studio mid-interview in protest. The singer said her three daughters were behind her decision to walk out in protest at the remarks made by Mr Hook.

That same week, Newstalk presenter Dil Wickremasinghe said she would not host her show this weekend in protest at the comments and the alleged failure by management to act in the case.

She accused bosses of being "unsupportive and unwelcoming" of female presenters.

Before being taken off the air, Mr Hook issued an unreserved apology.

"I made comments about rape on the programme that were totally inappropriate and unacceptable and I should never have made them," he said.

Pat Kenny later defended his Newstalk colleague, describing him as "a decent man" who is "genuinely contrite". 

Mr Kenny said: "I listened to his apology and he meant it, he is genuinely contrite. He is devastated by this. He realises what he said didn't come out right and accepts that some people were hurt."

Mr Kenny also stressed that he was "not in any way trying to espouse the point of view that [Hook] articulated".

However, Mr Hook increasingly came under pressure as advertisers began to withdraw support.

The Dalata Hotel Group withdrew its sponsorship from Newstalk as it could not "support any radio station that allows inappropriate and hurtful comments to be made".

The sponsorship for 'High Noon' was believed to be worth up to €250,000. Other firms, such as Tesco, followed suit.

A number of complaints have been made to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland regarding Mr Hook's comments, including one which was received from the Women's Council of Ireland.

  • If you have been affected by this article, you can contact the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre’s National 24-hour Helpline on 1800 77 8888, or see their website on http://www.drcc.ie/

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