THE Voice presenter Eoghan McDermott has defended his 'gay' jokes during Sunday's show -- saying he was just trying to be like Gerry Ryan.
The RTE man has sparked a furious reaction after joking that judge Bressie was "100pc gay with Kian [Egan]".
Gay activists were "shocked" by the jibe which McDermott says was pre-approved by producers.
Editor of Gay Community News, Brian Finnegan, told the Herald: "It was like watching a car crash. I was absolutely shocked and appalled. I am even more shocked to hear that a joke like that could be approved. I thought Eoghan might be a nice guy messing around, just naive, because people can make mistakes on a live show, but to allow that to go on is mad."
Today FM radio host Ray D'Arcy also criticised the presenter saying the comments displayed on queue cards were "completely inappropriate and completely out of place on a family show before 8 o'clock on a Sunday evening".
And judge Bressie said: "Eoghan is a good friend of mine. I can defend his character but I can't defend what he did."
McDermott told the Herald that he was advised to make some controversial jokes, to see how the public would react.
"We tried everything out in rehearsals just to see how it sounds, so the producers always hear the jokes before we go live.
"They really wanted to push it to see the feedback, and some of the jokes landed and some of them didn't. Some people will think the jokes are funny and some people will think they were disgraceful, that's just the way it is."
Eoghan said he saw himself in a similar category to tragic RTE star Gerry Ryan.
He added: "He was just a master. But lots of people said that they hated him and they didn't get him, they would say they didn't understand the things he did."