Tag Archives: George Hook

Kevin Myers

Today.

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland released its latest decisions on broadcasting complaints.

In respect of a complaint made against RTE’s Morning Ireland – in which former Sunday Times columnist Kevin Myers was called a “holocaust denier” by one of the show’s presenters – the BAI upheld the complaint.

RTE has reported that it is considering a response to the finding.

BAI’s summary of the complaint – by Karl Martin – states:

The complainant states that one of the presenters on this programme described Mr. Kevin Myers as a ‘Holocaust denier’. The complainant states that this was an absurd claim based on a newspaper article written by Mr. Myers over eight years ago under a misleading headline that he didn’t write.

The complainant states that Mr Myers took issue with the word ‘Holocaust’ on account of its Greek origin, meaning ‘destroy by fire’. He stated that there was no single Holocaust because it took many forms; Jews were shot in pits, beaten to death, frozen and starved to death, burnt alive in their homes and synagogues and gassed.

The complainant maintains that it is quite clear from the newspaper article that Mr Myers believes that there was a Nazi genocide of the Jews – he typically and pedantically takes issue with the word. The complainant adds that Mr Myers has written many times about the Holocaust and the suffering of the Jews and that it is ridiculous and offensive to label him as ‘Holocaust denier’. The complainant states that no senior member of the Irish Jewish community has called him ‘a denier’.

In support of his complaint, the complainant submits the following:-

a) A copy of a statement issued by the Jewish Representative Council defending Mr. Myers from, inter alia, the claim that he had denied the Holocaust in an article eight years ago.

b) A copy of the Guardian newspaper’s correction to its earlier description of Mr. Myers as a Holocaust denier.

c) A copy of The Times of Israel published defence of Mr. Myers by the Jewish blogger, Mr. Jonathan Hoffman.

The complainant states that despite all of the above, the broadcaster still claims that it was correct to refer to Mr. Myers as having previously written a column in which he “denied the Holocaust”. The complainant states that this is, to quote the Jewish Representative Council, “an absolute distortion of the facts” and is based on the selective use of certain phrases taken out of context.

RTE’s response to the BAI is summarised as follows:

“The broadcaster states that the references to Mr. Myers in this context relate to articles written by Mr. Myers for the Irish Independent and Belfast Telegraph newspapers in 2009. In reaction to commentary on the articles following Mr. Myers’ final Sunday Times newspaper column, the Irish Independent immediately removed the article in question from its website.

The Belfast Telegraph had not, at the time of replying to the complainant, removed its version of the article. These are quotes taken directly from the article:-

“There was no holocaust (or Holocaust, as my computer software insists) and six million Jews were not murdered by the Third Reich. These two statements of mine are irrefutable truths.” “It is an offence in Germany to say that six million Jews did not die in the holocaust. Very well then, I am a criminal in Germany.” “I’m a Holocaust denier.”

“The broadcaster states that these are Mr. Myers’ own words. He may have then qualified his headline statements by then writing that there certainly was genocide waged against the Jews by the Nazis, in what he describes as “one of the most satanic operations in world history.”

The broadcaster maintains that if he is being referred to around the world as a Holocaust denier, it is because he described himself as such.

The broadcaster refers to the contents of this article as unarguable evidence that the statement by the presenter that Mr. Myers had “previously written a column in which he denied the Holocaust” was accurate and fair, did not misrepresent Mr. Myers and was not in any way misleading to listeners.

In its decision to uphold the complaint, the BAI said:

“While noting that Mr. Myers had described himself as a ‘Holocaust denier’ in a typically provocative newspaper article that he had written, it was evident from the article as a whole that his description did not in fact amount to a statement denying the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of the Nazi regime.

Rather, the article was a comment on how language is used and the criminalisation of individuals or groups who engage in Holocaust denial. In this context, the comments by the presenter were considered to lack fairness to Mr. Myers and both misrepresented his views in a manner which would likely mislead audiences as to his views. Accordingly, the complaint has been upheld.

Read the decision in full here

UPDATE:

Meanwhile…

George Hook

A complaint about comments made by George Hook last September on his then High Noon show on Newstalk has also been upheld.

On September 8, 2017, Mr Hook had made certain comments in light of a court case concerning a sexual assault.

Mr Hook said:

“But when you look deeper into the story you have to ask certain questions. Why does a girl who just meets a fella in a bar go back to a hotel room? She’s only just barely met him …. then is surprised when somebody else comes into the room and rapes her.”

“Is there no blame now to the person who puts themselves in danger? There is personal responsibility. You then of course read that she passed out in the toilet and when she woke up the guy was trying to rape her. There is a personal point of responsibility, because it’s your daughter and it’s my daughter.

“And what determines the daughter who goes out, gets drunk, passes out and is with strangers in a room and the daughter that goes out, stays half way sober and comes home. I don’t know … but there is a point of responsibility. The real issues nowadays and increasingly, is the question of the personal responsibility that young girls are taking for their own safety.”

The complaint to the BAI was made by Fiona O’Toole, who summarised her complaint as follows:

The complainant states that it was not appropriate for the presenter to blame an alleged
victim of sexual assault for the fact that she was raped. The complainant states that it is irrelevant that she chose to go back to a hotel room with one man; she should not be raped by a second.

The complainant expressing the opinion that the presenter believes that the victim is responsible for this assault is offensive and harmful. The complainant states that
nobody would suggest that men who are mugged walking down Grafton Street in Dublin are responsible for being mugged and it is not appropriate for the presenter to blame women (and their parents) for rape rather than the rapist and their parents for how they raised them.

Newstalk’s response to the BAI was…

The broadcaster states that the day following the initial broadcast, Saturday 9th September, the programme presenter and Newstalk issued an apology for the on-air remarks.

On Monday 11th September, the presenter, while on-air, issued a further, more detailed,
apology. The broadcaster states that an internal process within the station in relation to the comments was undertaken and, on Friday 15th September, it was confirmed that the
presenter had been suspended from his duties at the station while the process was
ongoing.

The broadcaster states that on the 22nd September it was confirmed that the
process which reviewed the circumstance that led to the presenter’s comments had
concluded and Newstalk confirmed that the presenter would be stepping down from his
lunchtime slot and would return in December when he will take on a new weekend show.

In upholding the complaint, the BAI stated:

“In the case of the programme that is the subject of the complaint, the Committee noted that it is aimed at an adult audience and the programme and presenter’s sometimes provocative style are well established and understood by the audience.

The Committee also recognises that it is permissible in broadcasting to deal with the question of personal responsibility in covering issues of crime and criminal behaviour. However, this topic was raised in the programme in the context of a then ongoing UK court case about rape and the issue of personal responsibility was described by the presenter as “the real issue” in this matter.

As such, the Committee considered that the manner and context of raising the issue of personal responsibility in the context of a specific case of alleged rape caused undue offence and there was a strong possibility of causing distress to audience members who might personally identify with this issue.

In considering this complaint, the Committee acknowledged that the broadcaster subsequently undertook remedial action and has accepted the substance and validity of the complaint.

It also noted that the presenter explicitly stated that he does not condone rape.

However, the broadcaster had a responsibility to take greater care to prevent the possibility of undue offence and harm, including taking timely corrective action where content is likely to have caused offence.

The Committee was of the view that the broadcaster had failed to take corrective action in a timely fashion, action which may have ameliorated the undue offence caused. Given this and given the content of the programme, the Committee has decided to uphold the complaint.

Decision can be read in full here

Von Hook.

Iron Cross with oak leaves for for blowhardness.

Kitty Holland, of The Irish Times; Denis O’Brien, owner of Communicorp

Last night.

At the Gate Theatre, Dublin.

Further to Denis O’Brien-owned Communicorp – which includes Newstalk and Today FM – banning all Irish Times journalists from the group’s radio stations…

…Following the newspaper’s columnist Fintan O’Toole saying he would no longer go on Newstalk in the wake of George Hook’s comments about rape…

… Kitty Holland, who is the Social Affairs Correspondent at The Irish Times, “confronted” Mr O’Brien about the ban…

Fair play. In fairness.

Thanks Sandra

Yikes.

Previously: High Noon Stand-off

Update:

Radio group owned by Denis O’Brien bans ‘Irish Times’ journalists (Irish Times)

Harsh.

Previously: George Hook on broadsheet

George Hook

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.

High Noon For Hook: Lyons On Newstalk (The Sunday Business Post)

Tom Lyons

Meanwhile…

On Facebook…

A page called Bring Back George Hook has, as of this morning, gained 1,153 likes.

Bring Back George Hook (Facebook)

Previously: Hook Suspended

Dil Wickremasinghe

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 Newstalk as 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.

Dil Wickremasinghe

Previously: Suspended Hook

George Hook

Newstalk reports:

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.”

George Hook suspended from duties at Newstalk (Newstalk)

UPDATE: