Monday 20 May 2019

Seven complaints on 'comparing cyclists to farm animals' rejected

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

Allison Bray

Seven complaints over calls for cyclists to be "binned" during a discussion on pet hates on 'The Late Late Show' have been rejected by the broadcasting watchdog.

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland's (BAI) compliance committee considered a total of eight complaints alleged to have breached the authority's code during its most recent hearings in March and April.

But all eight complaints were rejected, including seven against the so-called 'Bin It' episode which the talk show ran as part of a New Year segment delving into what things or issues people would like to 'bin' for 2018.

One complainant said the way cyclists were described on the show was offensive to cyclists as well as "harmful to efforts for road safety, improving the environment and public health".

He pointed to panellists on the show "comparing cyclists to animals, describing cyclist behaviour as calculated deliberately to 'piss people off'".

Another complainant said referring to "arrogant cyclists" could "encourage frustration and anger against vulnerable road users", which is dangerous and "irresponsible".

Another complainant claimed that the episode "promoted mistaken myths against cyclists and the programme presenter encouraged and magnified this 'hate speech' which he claimed was aimed at 'dehumanising people who cycle'.

He also claimed that a panellist referring to cyclists in the same context as one would describe sheep, cows and other farm animals as objects blocking the road was arrogant and that the overall tone of the discussion was offensive to people who cycle and would "promote violence and aggression towards cyclists".

RTÉ responded that the episode was "a comedic and light-hearted segment in which guests were asked to nominate their 'pet hates' and this editorial context was made clear to the audience".

"The main editorial goal was to amuse the audience partly through comic exaggeration, and was not intended as a serious discussion on road use or traffic safety," RTÉ said.

The BAI agreed the show is a light entertainment programme and that the comments made were the personal views of the guests and not an incitement of hatred towards cyclists, noting the tone was "humorous and light-hearted".

Irish Independent

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