Panti’s Back On



Panti Bliss aka Rory O’Neill (above) appeared on RTÉ One’s ‘Saturday Night Show’ and talked to Brendan O’Connor about his life.

On Sunday, our Lars Biscuits posted a short clip from the interview and an accompanying transcript.

Last night, RTE asked us to remove the video of the interview as “concerns have been raised about its content”. [We have asked who raised the concerns and are awaiting a reply from the station].

They further cautioned: “You are hereby put on notice that the publication and continued publication of this interview and any transcripts thereof may be defamatory.”

So we totally freaked out and removed the post.

We are unable to embed the video for copyright reasons but have reposted the transcript (below) as we believe the question of what is a homophobe is one of opinion, the subject is one of public interest, the opinion is based on facts stated or known (e.g. Breda,/John/Iona’s opposition to gay marriage) and it appears to be honestly held.

Therefore (until we hear otherwise)…

Rory O’Neill: “…but of course I’ve met people who have just absolutely had awful, terrible experiences coming out to their families and..”

Brendan O’Connor: “And but a lot has changed hasn’t it since then like?”

RO’N: “So much has changed. And I think em a small country like Ireland sometimes we get a bad rap because people think “oh small conservative country blah blah blah”. But actually I think a small country like Ireland changes much faster than a big country because absolutely…I’m..think about it every single person in this audience has a cousin or a neighbour or the guy that you work with who is a flaming queen. I mean you all know one. And it’s very hard to hold prejudices against people when you actually know those people. And Ireland because it’s such small communities grouped together, everybody knows the local gay and you know maybe twenty years ago it was okay to be really mean about him but nowadays it’s just not okay to be really mean about him. The only place that you see it’s okay to be really horrible and mean about gays is you know on the internet in the comments and you know people who make a living writing opinion pieces for newspapers. You know there’s a couple of them that really cheese..”

BO’C: “Who are they?”

RO’N: “Oh well the obvious ones. You know Breda O’Brien [Irish Times Columnist] today, oh my God you know banging on about gay priests and all. The usual suspects, the John Waters and all of those people, the Iona Institute crowd. I mean I know just…Feck Off! Get the hell out of my life. Get out of my life. I mean..[applause from audience] why…it astounds me…astounds me that there are people out there in the world who devote quite a large amount of their time and energies to trying to stop people you know, achieving happiness because that is what the people like the Iona Institute are at.”

BO’C: “I don’t know. I don’t know. I know one of the people that you mentioned there which is John Waters. I wouldn’t have thought that John Waters is homophobic?”

RO’N: “Oh listen, the problem is with the word ‘homophobic’, people imagine that if you say “Oh he’s a homophobe” that he’s a horrible monster who goes around beating up gays you know that’s not the way it is. Homophobia can be very subtle. I mean it’s like the way you know racism is very subtle. I would say that every single person in the world is racist to some extent because that’s how we order the world in our minds. We group people. You know it’s just how our minds work so that’s okay but you need to be aware of your tendency towards racism and work against it. And I don’t mind, I don’t care how you dress it up if you are arguing for whatever good reasons or you know whatever your impulses…”

BO’C: “Because it is what you believe, it’s your faith or that, yeah?”

RO’N: “…it could be good impulses..and you might believe that these impulses are good because you’re worried about society as a whole and all this rubbish. What it boils down to is if you’re going to argue that gay people need to be treated in any way differently than everybody else or should be in anyway less, or their relationships should be in anyway less then I’m sorry, yes you are a homophobe and the good thing to do is to sit, step back, recognise that you have some homophobic tendencies and work on that. You know stop spending so much of your life you know devoting energies to writing things, arguing things, coming on TV to do anything to try and stop people achieving what they think they need for happiness.”

We offer a right of reply to anyone mentioned.

Previously: Panti At The Abbi

Fauxdelma Healy Eames

Also: Ignorance is Not Panti Bliss (Matthew Mulligan, Trinity News)

83 thoughts on “Panti’s Back On

  1. droid

    Fair play.

    Reading the transcript again it seems that Waters doesn’t really have a leg to stand on. Would make for an interesting court case though.

    1. Sgt. Bilko

      +1, an exemplar of fair comment. RTE are some gutless shower. Pointing out that Waters is a screaming a-hole isn’t the second cousin, thrice removed of defamation.

      1. Sgt. Bilko

        Although, if I remember correctly, BS trimmed my comment on the original post to remove my accurate and fair description of Waters as a [Redacted].

  2. cousinjack

    The religious right is really digging in.
    RTE what a pathetic bunch of goons or are they now the keepers of the states morals

  3. Mister Mister

    LOL, my own editing inadvertently removed a disparaging description of the man. My subconscious obviously doesn’t want me sued.

  4. Michael B

    Well done Broadsheet!

    The likes of Waters and O’Brien may use their platform to espouse a personal (or paid for) opinion and they are welcome to do so where free speech reigns. However their opinions are offensive to me as a gay man and while it has been a long time since I’ve read anything either of them have tapped into print, the last time I checked their opinions bordered on hate speech. But thats commentary in the media for you – you take the good with the very very bad and my offence is no reason to gag them in a world where I can buy other papers and read other articles.

    The Iona Institute however is a whole other ball game – a severely backward thinktank that borders on the insane. Their ultra-conservative ethos is constantly playing catch up with wider society, changing its attitude towards gays, single mothers and whoever else they deem unworthy just in time to seem like their opposition is reasonable. Their opposition is however unreasonable, and whenever one of their mouthpieces is wheeled out in the name of ‘balance’ I switch off. Bringing someone from Iona out in the name of balance in a gay rights debate is like bringing the spanish inquisition out while debating religious tolerance.

    1. Daisy Chainsaw

      Their opinions are offensive to me as a straight woman too.

      They made a lifestyle choice to be [Redacted] They can’t expect decent people to be sympathetic towards them when they go around flaunting it.

      1. Deirdre O'Byrne

        (start sarcasm)
        You cannot expect decent people to be sympathetic towards the heterosexual lifestyle choice when there are so many heterosexuals out there flaunting it holding hands and even kissing in public! Ewww! That is something you pretty much never see homosexuals do. The flaunting of the heterosexual lifestyle choice is outrageous! Outrageous, I tell you, and us decent people are utterly outraged!
        (end sarcasm)

        Just out of curiosity – when did you decide to be straight?

    2. Joe Rodgers

      Well said, Michael B. Having read this transcript I cannot see what all the fuss is about, I’m no barrister, but I cant see the defamation. Iona institute, Waters and Breda O’Briens articles are rife with bigotry and homophobic arguments.
      They seem ok when they have a large media platform and pulpit to shout from, all one way preaching, but when someone heckles their intolerant rants, they run and hide behind a solicitors letter?

      1. Pedanto

        That’s a terrible piece, though. Not a single citation for his sweep through five centuries of history, and some of is just nuts. He claims the Church opposes premarital sex because women who wait till marriage have more sex and therefore more opportunities to conceive. How could that possibly work? If the pope said something that asinine we’d hoot him off the dais.

  5. Mr Jones

    Fair play to Broadsheet and to Rory for this.

    There’s nothing defamatory about any of these statements, and it looks like John Waters is taking a leaf from the Iona Institute’s book by sending solicitor’s “confetti letters” in the hope that Broadsheet can be intimidated into taking down this material.

    If John Waters decides to sue Rory, RTE or Broadsheet for defamation, he’ll lose. And I’ll happily contribute to Broadsheet’s legal defence.

    1. NiallOK

      Presumably you won’t have to contribute to Broadsheet’s legal defence, as the losing side would be footing the bill.

      Fair play to Broadsheet – and to Rory for standing up for truth and honesty. I’d say I’m looking forward to Waters’ witty retort in his Times article, but I’m never looking forward to his Times article…

  6. andyourpointiswhatexactly

    Have any of you looked at Rory’s twitter feed? Yer man Richard Waghorne’s certainly has a “view” on this:

    Richard Waghorne ‏@richardwaghorne · 13h
    @Zoddub Rory should be silenced anyway as he is a despicable hate-mongering bigot. Be that as it may, his comments today disgust.

    1. droid

      Wow, he’s lost the plot completely.

      “Richard Waghorne ‏@richardwaghorne 13h
      @Iconoclast70 @Zoddub I’m not prepared to stay silence while people I know and love in Iona are grossly and unfairly smeared in grief.”

      ‘Grossly and unfairly smeared in grief”… Isn’t that how the Iona Institute likes its dinner served at their annual Vatican banquet?

      1. Atlas

        Especially since these comments precede the tragedy. Mr. O’Neill hardly made those comments with the future death of one of the Iona Institute’s members in mind.

        They’re experts at making victims of themselves, up their with the best IMO.

      2. Joe Rodgers

        Its one Iona guy. I recognise the hate and the language style. He changes names every 10 minutes on the Irish Times boards to make its seem like there’s tons of them. Its one person. Sad, sad sad

  7. Pedanto

    Fair play.

    RTE’s lawyers are incredibly feeble about stuff like this. They don’t have the stomach for a fight, and they don’t give a gnat’s ball about freedom of speech.

    O’Neill calls Waters a homophobe. Then he defines homophobe in a way which is consistent with both Waters’ attitudes and the commonsense meaning of the term. I will obviously defer to your macchiato-scented consigliere, but that doesn’t look to me like a strong case for a libel action.

    1. (Off-Duty) Legal Coffee Drinker

      *Shudders at thought of Tom Hagen moment; checks back of hair for bald patch*

  8. Spaghetti Hoop

    Good on the Broadsters.
    I really enjoyed listening to Rory’s points and admire him. It would be offensive and wrong for RTE to deny this interview to an interested public.

  9. Medium Sized C

    “Hereby put on notice”

    The absolute feckin nerve of these people. Nerve and stupidity.
    “Use words like ‘hereby’ and ‘notice’ and they will think its all serious and leagalish”

  10. Listrade

    The waters (pun?) is muddied by the Journal:

    “RTÉ confirmed its actions in a statement to
    Last weekend’s The Saturday Night Show was removed from the Player due to potential legal issues and for reasons of sensitivity following the death of Tom O’Gorman as would be standard practice in such situations.”

    What have his comments got to do with Tom O’Gorman?

      1. Medium Sized C

        Sorry I replied to the wrong comment.
        RTE’s response claiming its about Iona, that is the bullsh1t.

    1. DaithiG

      That Hitler fella was all right!!!!

      I used to laugh when he drank a glass of milk and his little tash would be white and black, gas times.

  11. Pidgeon

    RTE are idiots. Though funny how this censorship is bad when it is someone but BS randomly removing comments all the time? And not even massively offensive ones.

    1. jean

      Broadsheet have to protect themselves from legal actions; as publishers they can be held responsible for what commenters say. It’s not just offensive tweets but potentially libellous ones that websites have to moderate.

    1. Sgt. Bilko

      They have the sort of entirely unfettered access to just about every journalistic medium in the State that similarly small and unrepresentative lobby groups couldn’t begin to dream of.

    2. Clara B

      Agreed – there’s no doubt they do have a very public pulpit. But a right to reply must be offered by the organisation that broadcast or published the allegedly defamatory comments. Alls I’m saying is – if broadsheet (or rte) want to protect free speech, while keeping the lawyers from the door, then the inclusion of even a short statement from Waters (or whoever else has had their feelings hurt) would suffice.

      1. hullaballoo

        That’s legally incorrect. Offering a right of reply has almost zero impact on the potential for a case to be brought. A lot of the comments here are of far more concern than what Rory said.

        Anyway, fair play Broadsheet, but you might want to have a look at some of the comments here. Especially given that you have already redacted some of them.

      2. Kevin Lyda

        Is a right of reply offered to the various people nipped at by the likes of Waters, O’Brien and Iona when they write in the newspapers? I’ve never seen such text beneath their columns – unlike what Broadsheet did here.

  12. Kiora

    Apparently parts of the interview have been censored on R.T.E. Player also,
    (I do not know how accurate this information is as I have no access to R.T.E. Player.)

    Back in 2013 when a certain pro-life group were running a nation wide billboard campaign I contacted “The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland” in relation to the offensive nature and insensitive positioning of such billboards, They informed me that they had no power of regulation over any political, social or religious advertising and/or publications which do not have a direct financial element, as it is expressing a point of view on a matter of public interest.
    So I presume that swings both ways ! (pardon the pun).

  13. ZeligIsJaded

    I think the only sensible response is to cancel the Saturday Night Show with immediate effect.

    And remove all traces of it from RTE Player.

    And maybe destroy those Mace ads too.

  14. Joe835

    Brendan O’Connor was the one that used the word “homophobic”, all Rory O’Neill said (or began to say) was that these people cheesed him off. He didn’t directly – or even indirectly – call any of them a homophobe.

    RTE, however, are up poop-creek financially and fear any solicitor’s letters disproportionately. So essentially, thanks to John Waters (allegedly), journalists are preventing freedom of speech on the national broadcaster.


    1. johnner

      Yes it was Brendan that was responsible for the “libel”…Rory simply said they were annoying

  15. Kiora

    If it is “Defamatory” then R.T.E. are the ones who are “Defamatory” as they produced and broadcast the program. Are they completely stupid or are their legal team smoking crack or what ??? That is a question not a accusation!

  16. T.B.

    The irony of Rory saying that Ireland as a small country changes very fast. Ireland is a conservative backwater slow to decriminalise, slow to allow civil partnership, marriage, slow to change hearts and minds. RTE Feck off out of my life!

  17. Spare

    RTE’s removal of the clip smacks of fear and poverty. After the Mission to Prey episode they fear upsetting Catholics, and obviously the financials of the station are woeful so they cannot afford to get sued.

    Incidentally, Fr Reynold’s quite bravery around the whole debacle has been exemplary. He showed a truly Christian attitude of forgiveness and reconciliation. This is marked contrast to the ‘provisional wing’ of Catholic Ireland who have brazenly exploited the incident and used it as a stick to beat RTE with at every opportunity.

    But what about the comments themselves; do the commentators mentioned have an irrational hatred of homosexuals – the answer is completely subjective. The individuals that are accused of the phobia would say no. But the people who feel the effect of the supposed phobia would claim they are homophobic.

    The people and group that O’Connor accused of homophobia are actively engaged in an action that will deprive homosexuals of the chance to marry. As marriage is something that is meant to make people happy it is fair to say that the accused are trying depriving homosexuals of joy and a life lived to its full potential.

    Just a note on the Iona Institutes claims that marriage is a child centric institution; this is subjective, and their attempts at making this the sole narrative are a deception. Marriage is what the participants of the marriage want it to be, no one owns marriage; it predates The State, The Church and what anyone alive today regards as marriage.

    1. mthead

      You have actually turned me back on to marriage as a concept.
      Who says comments sections are a load of rubbish?

  18. Donal O'Keeffe

    “As I said to my new girlfriend when we met the Pope, misandry is behind the aggressive liberal agenda of secularism too. At a time when feminists are hell-bent on their agenda to deny the rights of fathers, their ultimate goal is now clear and obvious: they intend nothing less than to deny the rights of God the Father Himself.”

  19. Frilly Keane

    Panti’s Back Up
    is better btw

    Anyway, I would never have known of Panti if it wasn’t this place.

    So. Anyway.
    Just wanted to also say that transformation pictured above is savage stuff. So fair play to the lad. He obviously takes his job very seriously and works hard at it.Which I think is worth noting. In my book anyway. Who the úck he gets off with is of no interest t’me.

    Besides, he’ll never top Danny La Rue.

  20. Riz

    I call BS. Broadsheet! Fair play te ye. That O’Neill chap is an intelligent man, could do with a few more of him

  21. teal

    If there is nothing false or untrue in the interview above, then what is the problem? Do we need to think up replacement words for ‘bigot’ or ‘homophobe’ because (GASP!) these words make individuals who are expressing views that discriminate against an entire group of people feel bad? If one wants to deny an entire section of society from being able to get married, I am not supposed to call that discrimination…but what else can I call it? A load of sh*te, that’s what.

Comments are closed.