Monday 20 November 2017

'Slim to no chance' of comeback for George Hook as talks set to focus on pay-off

'Once they are off, the hardest thing for them is to get back on air'

George Hook
George Hook
Niamh Horan

Niamh Horan

George Hook is unlikely to return to his show on Newstalk and his career at the radio station is now effectively over.

Sources at the station yesterday disclosed that lawyers were determining whether Mr Hook had breached his contract by his controversial 'rape case' broadcast.

Mr Hook (76), who has also engaged lawyers, is understood to believe he was not in breach of contract and negotiations are now expected to turn to his pay-off this week.

A Newstalk source said: "The hardest thing is to get somebody off the air. That has been done. George Hook is off the air.

"Once they are off, the hardest thing for them is to get back on air. The chances of George Hook returning to the air at Newstalk are now slim to none."

Station insiders said the investigation was expected to reach a conclusion early this week.

Meanwhile, there is concern among Newstalk staff that if the matter is not resolved sooner rather than later, collateral damage could be caused to other shows.

A source told the Sunday Independent: "All week our inboxes have been full of people saying 'we really like your show but we can't listen to Newstalk any more after what has happened'.

"Staff in here are nervous enough about their future and now with this backlash and sponsors pulling out some of us feel that George should do the decent thing and just go."

Newstalk managing editor Patricia Monahan yesterday rubbished claims that there was systemic sexism at the station.

She said the idea that female representation failed to count if it is not heard on air was "insulting".

The controversy over Mr Hook's comments escalated with the withdrawal of advertisers from his lunchtime show and the refusal by another Newstalk presenter to go on air this weekend. Tesco confirmed on Thursday evening that it had ceased advertising during Mr Hook's lunchtime programme, High Noon.

Speaking at Fine Gael's 'think-in' in Co Tipperary on Friday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: "I strongly disagree with the comments that he made. Nobody who is raped or sexually assaulted is ever responsible for that in any way.

"So I totally disagree with and abhor the comments that he made.

"He has since then of course apologised, apologised profusely and I think he does understand that what he said about this issue and on that occasion also in the past is unacceptable.

"I think it's indicative of attitudes that still exist in Irish society that need to change."

Speaking during High Noon on September 8, Mr Hook discussed the case of a 19-year-old woman who alleges that she was raped by a man after having consensual sex with a different man.

Sunday Independent

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