Friday 15 December 2017

Complaints over Rubberbandit's Holy Communion comments rejected

Blindboy Boatclub, of the Rubberbandits
Blindboy Boatclub, of the Rubberbandits

Alan O'Keeffe

A Rubberbandit who called Holy Communion "haunted bread" during a 'Late Late Show' appearance caused 11 complaints to the broadcasting regulator.

But all the complaints were rejected by the Broadcasting Authority's compliance committee.

The commission stated, however, that presenter Ryan Tubridy could have shown "greater sensitivity" when the remark was made.

The remark, which caused deep offence to many Catholic viewers, was made during a panel discussion by David Chambers, who appeared on the show as the character Blindboy Boatclub, a member of the Rubberbandits.

RTÉ got more than 1,300 complaints, many of which were pre-printed signed letters.

Eleven complaints were lodged with the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, claiming that broadcasting standards were breached.

Co Kerry priest Fr Kevin McNamara wrote to complain to the regulator that the treatment of the topic concerning The Eucharist was "blasphemous" and "exceptionally anti-Catholic".

Mr Chambers's statement "haunted bread - the ghost of a two thousand-year-old carpenter" was deeply upsetting, he said.

That Tubridy then remarked that the phrase was "a great expression" caused further upset, said the priest.

RTÉ had offered an apology to individuals who sent complaints to the station.

The committee ruled that the panel discussion did not breach the code of broadcasting standards.

Mr Chambers had been offering his own views rather than making a comment on the views of others, it ruled.

The committee stated Tubridy "misjudged the offence likely to have been caused" and his own comment "compounded the offence caused to the complainant".

But they did not believe Mr Chambers or the presenter "crossed a line that undue offence was caused to the audience as a whole".

The degree of offence could have been minimised if Tubridy "had demonstrated greater sensitivity".

Yesterday, Mr Chambers took to Twitter to state his book of short stories 'The Gospel According To Blindboy' was coming out in October.

Irish Independent

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