RTÉ’s new radio presenters The 2 Johnnies are accused of posting ‘virulently sexist’ video

Holly Cairns highly critical of comedy duo over their promo clip

Johnny McMahon and Johnny O’Brien are The 2 Johnnies

One of the car stickers highlighted in The 2 Johnnies video

thumbnail: Johnny McMahon and Johnny O’Brien are The 2 Johnnies
thumbnail: One of the car stickers highlighted in The 2 Johnnies video
Fionnán Sheahan

A VIDEO containing “virulently sexist” material promoting a new RTÉ radio programme with ‘The 2 Johnnies’ has been condemned.

The video featuring two new RTÉ presenters contains several crude references to female genitalia.

Social Democrats TD Holly Cairns says RTÉ presenters should be calling out sexist comments “not laughing along with them and certainly not promoting them”.

The national broadcaster told the Irish Independent the comedy duo have been brought through their guidelines and social media polices.

Johnny McMahon and Johnny O’Brien began hosting a new drivetime show on 2FM under their stage name, The 2 Johnnies, on Monday.

RTÉ hired the Tipperary natives due to their “incredible chemistry and content”.

However, the programme was being promoted by the comedy duo in a video that portrayed women in a negative light. The video was put up on social media 90 minutes before the start of their first show last Monday.

The innuendo-laden video came from The 2 Johnnies podcast, which is separate from their new RTÉ show.

But RTÉ’s 2FM is clearly referenced in the video and in social media posts to promote the RTÉ show: “Drive It with The 2 Johnnies Monday-Friday 3pm-6pm RTÉ 2FM.”

Other social media posts also specifically reference the station “Hear us on 2FM”. The video has since been deleted.

In the video the presenters read out and comment on a series of vulgar car stickers sent in to them by listeners of their podcast.

Among the slogan read out during the piece is “Workin’ the land and droppin* the hand”; “Tyres are like women, no good unless they are squealing” and “Hocus Pocus, I got your girl in my Focus”.

One of the car stickers highlighted in The 2 Johnnies video

Other stickers included: “If you can make a girl laugh and giggle, you can make her cheeks clap and wiggle” and “She’s not a princess, she’s a sl*t”.

The Irish Independent has chosen not to publish other offence remarks made during the podcast.

The duo, known as Johnny Smacks and Johnny B, have other similar videos on social media featuring car stickers, but these do not contain a reference to RTÉ.

Ms Cairns, the Social Democrats social justice spokesperson, said there was a national conversation recently about violence against women in which men were implored to call out sexist and misogynistic comments when they see them.

"It is therefore bizarre to see two prominent podcasters, and 2FM broadcasters, promote a segment on their podcast in which they read virulently sexist slogans while laughing uproariously.

“Sexist comments, in which women are objectified and demeaned, are incredibly insidious and contribute to a toxic culture in which women feel unsafe. Dressing these remarks up as banter or jokes does nothing to dull their damaging impact,” she said.

“The 2 Johnnies may feel it is hilarious to refer to women as a “sl*t” on their show, but women and girls routinely experience that word being roared at them in the street or directed at them on social media platforms – and it is not particularly funny when it happens.

“Presenters on RTE should be calling out comments like these – not laughing along with them and certainly not promoting them.”

When contacted, RTÉ did not offer any view on the appropriateness of the video and its association with its music radio station.

"In advance of The 2 Johnnies first show on 2FM Monday 21st February, the two presenters were brought through RTE's broadcast guidelines and social media polices. The tweet that was brought to our attention this afternoon had already been removed from The 2 Johnnies social media account. RTÉ 2FM received no complaints,” a statement from the broadcaster said.

Efforts were made to contact The 2 Johnnies and their management company.

RTÉ hired the comedy duo on the back of their podcast.

“We have been listening to the 2 Johnnies for the last number of years and 2FM is thrilled to welcome them to the station. The lads have incredible chemistry and content. I believe the 2FM audience will love them,” Head of 2FM Dan Healy said in a press release.