Tuesday 20 March 2018

Is silencing Hook really the answer?

The Newstalk presenter's comments on rape were wrong, but they should spark debate not banishment, says Brendan O'Connor

George Hook. Photo: Mark Condren
George Hook. Photo: Mark Condren
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

I'm not going to defend what George Hook said, and I'm certainly not going to argue that words don't matter. His comments about an alleged rape victim taking some blame for her attack were wrong and they clearly caused a lot of hurt. Hook is aware of this himself. He has accepted he was wrong. He has apologised. The question now is whether he should be silenced. According to reports this weekend, it is likely he will be.

There is an appetite for this these days. Those who like to see people who have wrong opinions banished might feel they are on a roll. John Waters has disappeared from the national scene. Kevin Myers was fired by lunchtime for stupid and wrong comments about Jews and women. Could Hook be next? And who will be next then?

Some are saying there was a valid argument hidden in what Hook was saying - that it's OK to tell women to be careful. The whole 'personal responsibility' thing. But that is not what Hook said. There is a difference between general advice and specific blame after the fact.

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