Friday 6 December 2019

Michael Murphy reveals he experienced 'quite serious personality clashes' at RTE

Newsreader Michael Murphy's on his last day in the RTE newsroom
Newsreader Michael Murphy's on his last day in the RTE newsroom

Michael Murphy has revealed he experienced 'quite serious personality clashes' during his career at RTE.

The 65-year-old broadcaster left RTE last month after 43 years when his rolling contract was not renewed.

Speaking to presenter Ivan Yates on Newstalk, he said: “There was a rough period in RTE for me personally. 

“I had been a producer/director for ten years and the cut and thrust of programme making was very, very rough indeed. I experienced some quite serious personality clashes.”

When Mr Yates queried whether those clashes constituted bullying, Mr Murphy said they had not.

He added: “At a programme meeting once somebody looked straight across the table at me and said, ‘I think you’re a fool’. 

“I talked about it in my first book, ‘Five in the Afternoon’, and that was a pivotal moment for me.  I knew it wasn’t true but it does tend to undermine, it hits into all the doubts we have about ourselves.”

He said it’s important to have doubts about ourselves, because if we don’t it’s indicative of a “psychotic” condition.

“But when somebody looks you in the eye and calls you a fool it resonates with all those anxieties and doubts you have about yourself,” he said.

Last December Mr Murphy expressed his disappointment that he was only offered a six month extension to his rolling contract with RTE News.

At the time he said: “They called me in and sort of said, ‘because of your age, you may not be receiving a contract'. It was left as vague as that.”

“I did receive one in the end, for six months. I don't worry (but) I don't know if it will be renewed. I'd be fine if it wasn't though, there are other irons in the fire.”

The 65-year-old psychologist – who overcame cancer - has been working part-time at the national broadcaster for 40 years, as a continuity announcer, a newsreader and a producer.

Mr Murphy previously appeared on the John Murray Show in April and, during the course of the interview, he claimed his rolling contract was not being renewed because he was “old and gay” and said he was moving to Spain to read the news on a five-year deal.

However, RTE later dismissed the interview as a joke and said it was an April’s Fools prank.

In the lengthy interview, Mr Murphy claimed that RTE had discriminated against him because of his age and sexuality.

“In the RTE newsroom at the moment, they are organising a policy against LGBT discrimination. And yet here they are discriminating against an older gay person. I think that is absolutely disgraceful. If there is any hint of discrimination, it must be got rid of. You can’t get rid of one bit and get rid of another bit.”

However, a spokesperson for RTE said: “The whole thing was a joke. It was all a bit of a laugh.”

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