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Top RTE executive defends €85k payout over homophobia claims


Panti Bliss

Panti Bliss

Panti Bliss

A SENIOR RTE executive has told staff that all options were looked at before they paid out €85,000 to six people amid claims made on the Saturday Night Show that they were homophobic.

Journalists John Waters and Breda O'Brien are all understood to have been recompensed as was David Quinn, head of the Iona Institute, and other institute members.

The claim of homophobia was made by drag artist Rory O'Neill, who performs under the stage name of Miss Panti, during an interview in which he referred to the debate on legislation for same-sex marriage and adoption.

Glenn Killane who is managing director of television at RTE told colleagues in an e-mail that the broadcaster was not engaged in censorship but had "fallen foul of Ireland's defamation laws".

"Over the last week a number of people have approached me questioning RTE's apology to John Waters and members of the Iona Institute following the receipt of six legal complaints and you will, no doubt, have seen the ongoing debate on this subject," he said.

"I want to reassure you that RTE explored every option available to it, including right of reply. Legal advice was sought and all avenues were explored, including an offer to make a donation to a neutral charity."