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'People spat on me, I didn't leave my house for months' - Eoghan McDermott on Fairytale of New York and Caroline Flack's death

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Radio presenter Eoghan McDermott. Photo: Mark Stedman

Radio presenter Eoghan McDermott. Photo: Mark Stedman

Radio presenter Eoghan McDermott. Photo: Mark Stedman

Irish broadcaster Eoghan McDermott has revealed that he has been spat on in the street and didn't leave his house for months following abuse.

The RTE presenter opened up about his struggles in the public eye following the death of his friend, Love Island host Caroline Flack last week.

Flack died by suicide last Saturday and her tragic death has prompted McDermott and others to urge people to be kinder to each other.

McDermott spoke candidly on The Late Late Show last night about how he developed social anxiety in the wake of his controversial call for Fairytale of New York to be censored in 2018.

On his 2FM slot McDermott tweeted about two gay colleagues, one of whom was in favour of censoring the word f****t from the festive song, while the other wanted it to not be played at all.

The TV and radio presenter, who has described himself as marmite in the past, said that he didn't leave home for months after his sentiment on The Pogues' song was misconstrued prompting outrage international controversy.

"It wasn't like anyone wanted to argue they just wanted to go, 'you're this, you're that', this guy spat at me on Harcourt Street," he recalled.

"It went beyond the phone and into the real world.

"I didn't leave the house for three months. I got social anxiety."

McDermott said that people shouldn't be subjected to abuse just because they are in the public eye.

He said that before her death, his friend Flack, with whom he "stayed in touch and saw each other a few times a year", knew she had a strong support system around her but was "pummelled" with abuse.

"I was shocked, I am shocked," he said.

"She knew she was loved and had a really strong gang of people looking out for her right up until she died. It wasn't that she didn't feel she had a network she could plug into it was just that she was pummelled and pummelled and pummelled and ridiculed too hard until it became too much. She had people to lean on and it wasn't enough.

"Caroline would regularly be in tears because she had this gig, the biggest show in the UK, she was the face of it and she'd sit and just cry because people would call her fat and (say) 'you suck at your job and you're no good.

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Tragic: Caroline Flack

Tragic: Caroline Flack

Tragic: Caroline Flack

"It was absolutely relentless and I was very aware of that for her, being quite polarising," he continued.

"Of course she saw that stuff. Maybe there's this misconception that as your profile rises your ability to insulate yourself from that kind of nastiness rises.

"She was just a girl with a flat in London who did telly."

Mr McDermott urged people to imagine their loved ones in the shoes of someone they are about to bully and to "be a little kinder".

"If you wouldn't like it said to your brother or your sister or someone you would put yourself on the line for, maybe just try take a step backwards and be a little kinder."

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article please contact Samaritans on freephone 116 123, text 087 260 9090 (standard rates apply) or email jo@samaritans.ie or contact Aware helpline 1800 80 48 48 or Pieta House on 1800 247 247.

Online Editors