Wednesday 22 November 2017

BAI registers eight complaints against Newstalk after George Hook's comments about rape

Stirring up trouble: George Hook
Stirring up trouble: George Hook

Sasha Brady

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has confirmed it received eight complaints against Newstalk in relation to George Hook's comments about rape.

The comments were made on Mr Hook's High Noon radio programme on Friday and the broadcaster has found himself in a storm of controversy since.

Speaking about an ongoing rape case in the UK, Mr Hook was accused of victim blaming when he remarked: "Is there no blame now to the person who puts themselves in danger?"

Dalata Hotel Group, which owns Clayton Hotels, has cut sponsorship with his show and on Monday, singer Mary Coughlan walked out of a Newtalk interview with Ivan Yates as protest.

The BAI confirmed to Independent.ie that it has received eight complaints against Newstalk in relation to the comments.

"At this point, the BAI has registered eight complaints against George Hook on High Noon broadcast on September 8," a BAI spokseperson said.

"It is BAI’s policy to direct complainants to the relevant broadcaster in the first instance and the BAI has communicated this to the interested parties. Complainants who are unhappy with a response from the broadcaster can refer their complaint to the BAI.

Speaking on RTE's This Week, Ms Blackwell said Mr Hook had to be "called out" on the comments he made because "people are outraged".

A number of people took to social media to vent their anger and rape survivor Dominique Meehan wrote on Independent.ie that Mr Hook "should have known better".

"I have no sympathy for him whatsoever, he is a man in his 70s who has been on the radio for a number of years and he should have known better," she said.

"When I heard his comments and I saw a prominent voice in the media saying that I had a responsibility not to get raped, it was so painful."

Mr Hook opened Monday's High Noon by saying he "should never have made" the remarks.

He said: "It was wrong of me to suggest that any blame could be attributed to those victims, or that they bear any responsibility in the crimes committed against them."

Mr Hook said he now understands that he "played a part in perpetuating the stigma".

He concluded: "Everybody has the right to enjoy themselves without fear of being attacked - and as a society, we have a duty to our daughters and granddaughters to protect that right. On Friday I failed on that duty of care - a failure I deeply regret, and for which I am truly sorry."

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