Sunday 22 September 2019

'Trial by media isn't a good thing' - Al Porter condemned groping in interview prior to allegations

Comedian made remarks in interview with Hot Press conducted prior to allegations surfacing against him

Al Porter. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Al Porter. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Al Porter addresses the issue of sex scandals in a new interview with Hot Press, which was conducted prior to allegations being made against him publicly.

The 24-year-old comedian has resigned from his radio show at Today FM and will no longer appear in the Olympia Theatre Christmas panto in the wake of several complaints of inappropriate behaviour.

He may also now face a Garda investigation after a former patient of St Patrick's Mental Health Services made a formal complaint about his conduct.

Speaking to Hot Press contributing editor Olaf Tyaransen days before the allegations surfaced Porter addressed the issue of sex scandals in the entertainment industry.

Cover of the new Hot Press in stores from Friday, 24 November 2017 which carries an in-depth interview with Al Porter
Cover of the new Hot Press in stores from Friday, 24 November 2017 which carries an in-depth interview with Al Porter

The comedian said we are at a "watershed moment culturally" and added that he believed a lot of people going forward would change their behaviour.

On the issue of groping someone without their consent, he said, “I don’t care how provocatively a woman dresses, or how late at night she arranged to have a business meeting with you. Or whether it was in your hotel room or not. If you’re grabbing her and she doesn’t want it, you’re in the wrong.”

He also revealed that he has been subjected to unwanted contact in gay bars where men had "grabbed or pulled" him and kissed him when he "wasn't expecting it".

Many allegations against figures in the Irish and international entertainment industry have surfaced on social media, and this is something Porter feels is wrong.

“Trial by media isn’t a good thing," he says in the Hot Press interview.  He said that anyone who has been assaulted "should be able to trust the Gardaí to investigate it on your behalf and for justice to prevail."

Many victims of abuse and sexual assault are sharing their stories with the hashtag #MeToo.

“What I would be worried about is that #metoo drags people into that group that don’t belong in it," Porter told Tyaransen.  "I know that might sound like I’m defending these people but I’m not. I’m just saying equally, actual victims of abuse have to use this moment to have their voice and to try and give a sober comment on it because there is no point getting caught up in hysteria either.”

He adds, "I’m not trying to be apologetic for people who have behaved inappropriately in the past but it’s important for people to know what was and wasn’t reciprocal, what was and wasn’t consensual.”

Porter also speaks about Woody Allen and Kevin Spacey in the wide-ranging interview which also touches on his life, work, family and his ambitions.

The full, in-depth interview with All Porter can be read in the new Hot Press in stores from Friday November 24.

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