RTÉ presenter Ray D’Arcy has “gone into hiding” and missed his daily radio show on Radio One today after he faced backlash from Niall Horan fans when Dustin the Turkey made “outrageous” comments about the singer on a skit on RTÉ Comic Relief last Friday.
A segment from the three-hour charity special featured a reunion of The Den featuring Zig and Zag, Dustin the Turkey and Ray D’Arcy.
One Direction superstar and Mullingar native Niall Horan featured in the skit with a virtual performance from his London home and he was interrupted mid-performance by Dustin, who said that he preferred Horan's former bandmate Harry Styles.
"We wanted Harry Styles. You're only getting a minute-and-a-half! I didn't realise people from Mullingar had teeth,” said the puppet.
However, this was not received warmly by dedicated Niall Horan fans online and presenter Ray has been targeted on Twitter by fans worldwide, with the hashtag #RTERayShowRespectNiallHoran trending for several hours.
Dustin tweeted earlier today, saying that he was not "a fighter".
"Lads..... I'm a lover* not a fighter...." he wrote.
He added that he loves Niall Horan, Americans and "the craic". He concluded with the hashtag #BeKind and returning to his earlier asterisk, added: "Just ask @KimKardashian."
There was anticipation to hear Ray’s views on the situation on his weekday slot on Radio One today, due to kick off at 3pm.
However, as Joe Duffy was finishing up Liveline shortly before the hour, he announced that Ray has gone “into hiding” and will not be up next to present his usual slot.
“Ray is not on today, because he’s in hiding because of the comments made by Dustin about Niall Horan which were completely outrageous.
"So, there’s no Ray for the foreseeable future which is terrible casualty given that the whole thing was so funny," he said.
Kathryn Thomas stepped in to present Ray’s show today and it is understood that Ray is off on his holidays this week.
Over 1.4 million viewers tuned into the comedy show on Friday night.