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Monday 15 July 2019

'I've received 400-500 pieces of hate mail' - Mary Coughlan on her 'George Hook walkout'

Mary Coughlan on the beach in Bray. Photo: Tony Gavin
Mary Coughlan on the beach in Bray. Photo: Tony Gavin
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Singer Mary Coughlan has said she received 400-500 pieces of hate mail after she walked off air during an interview with Newstalk in protest over controversial comments made by George Hook.

Ms Coughlan was was due to appear on 'The Hard Shoulder' with presenter Ivan Yates.

However, she cut the interview short because she was unhappy with George Hook's comments about rape on his September 8 show.

The singer, who was abused as a minor, previously said she had to "take a stand" for women and men who have been raped and sexually assaulted.

Speaking on RTÉ's 'Cutting Edge' on Wednesday night, she told how she received a lot of hate mail following the walkout.

She also spoke about her own experience with abuse and how she was made feel "ashamed" about what happened to her.

"I carried shame with me all my life. Even when I was 7, I remember making my Holy Communion and I felt dirty and ashamed. And I remember being in a bath the night before my holy communion and I was deliberately trying to hurt myself to get out of going. People were telling me 'you should be ashamed of yourself for the stuff that you did'...I felt ashamed and I didn't even know why."

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.

The comments were met with widespread condemnation and Mr Hook issued apologies on air on two occasions.

Following George Hook's comments, he was suspended from his weekday lunchtime High Noon show.

However, he will come back on air in December when he takes over a new weekend slot.

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