Further to the suspension of George Hook from Newstalk…
Tom Lyons, Deputy Editor of the Sunday Business Post, was Business Editor at Newstalk in 2006 and 2007.
In yesterday’s paper, Mr Lyons wrote:
My own experience is this: in 2007, Hook banned me from appearing on his programme for having the effrontery to want to break a story. My mistake was to insist he aired extracts from a fascinating speech made by the country’s then richest man, Seán Quinn, about his life and times.
Hook declined. He is entitled to put out whatever he likes, but I would have been remiss as business editor not to try and get an exclusive story on air.
Hook never explained to me why he didn’t like the story, but I knew it would make page one of the papers the following day and that we were ahead of RTÉ.
My instructions from Newstalk, and directly from [Denis] O’Brien, were to break stories and I knew this was a good one.
Eventually Harte managed to get the story on air for a few minutes. Hook was professional on air but he was clearly furious.
Afterwards Harte informed me I was banned from the station’s most listened-to show. When I protested that this was unfair, he told me he was sorry but: “George is George.” I never appeared on The Right Hook again.
Like many I was appalled and disgusted by the comments made by George Hook on his show on Newstalk last Friday.
He unequivocally said that the rape victim in the UK rape case was partly to blame for her own rape.
My immediate reaction was this time he was gone too far and surely the station will react appropriately and at the very least suspend him immediately from the airwaves until a decision is made regarding his future.
Like many other survivors of sexual abuse and violence I didn’t report it or seek support sooner because I thought it was my fault. I actually believed until I was well into my 30s that, at the tender age of 13, I was to blame that my first sexual experience was with a 70-year-old man.
Victim blaming is unacceptable, irresponsible and dangerous. I am deeply disappointed that so far, the only action there has been to address the hurt and distress caused by the comments has been an apology by George Hook and Newstalk.
In my opinion, this does not go far enough, particularly as this is not the first time it has happened. I felt compelled to voice my discontent to management and conveyed to them that I didn’t feel I could share the same airwaves with George Hook until a formal disciplinary action was taken.
Like many of my colleagues I felt, as a station, we need to take a strong stance to show that we have a social conscience and do not condone victim blaming.
For the last decade I have worked extremely hard to create the Global Village show and endeavoured to create a unique radio programme that sheds light on social justice and mental health issues by speaking to the people affected by the issues to raise awareness.
I have always regarded my work on Global Village more than just a job but my own civic duty to spark positive social change one conversation at at time.
Although I enjoy my work as a broadcaster immensely and have some incredible colleagues at Newstalk, I have been deeply unsatisfied with the management of Newstalkas I felt the station has been unsupportive and unwelcoming of female presenters. It is common knowledge that insufficient effort has been made over the years to address the lack of female representation during prime time.
As a result, female presenters are segregated to the weekend schedule. I believe this culture is connected to George Hook’s comments.
I feel unable to share the airwaves with an individual who has no regard for the duty of care we have to the public and as such will not be presenting Global Village this weekend and management understand my position. Most importantly it is my duty as a parent to my two-year-old son Phoenix and four-week-old daughter Xavier to act and be the change I want to see in the world.
I am heartened that there has been a public outrage and Newstalk have launched a full investigation on this matter which I hope will conclude within the next few days so that I can return to presenting Global Village on Saturday, 23rd September.
Newstalk’s Global Village Dil Wickremasinghe released the above statement last night, before Newstalk announced this morning that George Hook has been suspended.
Newstalk has confirmed that George Hook has been suspended from his duties at the station. The process regarding his comments last week is ongoing. It came after the comments were condemned by groups such as the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI). On Monday, George Hook offered a “profound apology” for his recent comments about rape. Newstalk last week issued an unreserved apology for the comments. Managing Editor Patricia Monahan said that comments made were “totally wrong and inappropriate and should never have been made.”
The controversy over comments about rape made on Friday by the Newstalk presenter George Hook took an unexpected turn yesterday when the station began a fightback against its critics.
The radio station has decided not to use any contributors from The Irish Times in response to an article by the newspaper’s columnist Fintan O’Toole. On Tuesday O’Toole wrote that he would not appear on Newstalk again, describing it as “flagrantly sexist”.
Although there was no official statement to The Irish Times from the Communicorp-owned station, the ban was acknowledged by a source at the paper and Newstalk producers have been informed. A spokeswoman for the station could not be reached for comment.
Views, behaviours and individuals that contravened the moral hegemony of 1930s, 1940s and 1950s Catholic Ireland were publicly shamed, silenced and cast out by the thought police of the time. Abhorrent views were censured, stymieing intellectual and social development for decades.
Ireland is, thankfully, a different place now. Some would say our treatment of women has changed radically, but have our underlying social and political attitudes changed so much?
Today’s thought police see themselves as very different to those of 70 years ago. Their agenda is freedom and safety for women and girls.
However, the abhorrent and deeply damaging views of women and girls, articulated by Hook, teenage boys, and our Constitution alike, must be heard. They must be challenged. They must be changed. Simply silencing them will not achieve the safe, free world we want for our daughters.