Panti's Abbey speech goes viral with 200,000 hits
A video of gay equality campaigner Rory O'Neill giving an impassioned speech about the nature of homophobia has gone global with 200,000 online views in just two days.
In the video, Mr O'Neill appears on stage as drag act Miss Panti Bliss during the Abbey Theatre's production of 'The Risen People' and discusses the prejudices gay people in Ireland encounter on a daily basis.
Mr O'Neill was invited to give the speech after RTE publicly apologised and paid damages to some members of the Iona Institute, Breda O'Brien and John Waters, for comments he made during an interview on Brendan O'Connor's 'Saturday Night Show' on January 11.
Last weekend 'The Saturday Night Show' held a debate on marriage equality. At the same time Mr O'Neill made his speech in front of the Abbey audience. "I thought it would be a good way to tell my side of the story," Mr O'Neill told the Irish Independent. "I'm thrilled with the response."
Mr O'Neill's emotive video has received a huge response online, even appearing on website 'The Huffington Post' and garnering support from US drag queen Ru Paul, columnist Dan Savage and BBC chat show host Graham Norton. According the @PantiBliss Twitter account, even Madonna has reached out with a message of support following the video going viral.
Watch the Independent.ie interview with Rory O' Neill above, filmed one day before his impassioned speech at the Abbey Theatre.
Yoghurt for breakfast. Wrote some e mails. Message from Madonna about my speech. Walked the dog. WAIT WHAT?— Panti Bliss (@PantiBliss) February 5, 2014
A total of 1,373 complaints have been filed in relation to RTE's handling of Mr O'Neill's interview.
An RTE spokesperson said: "The vast majority relate to RTE's apology and the reported payment of €85,000 to damaged parties."