Ryan Tubridy interviewing Stefanie Preissner, Michael Harding and Blindboy Boatclub, of The Rubberbandits, on the Late Late Show on January 6; from the BAI’s most recent report on complaint decisions
The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has announced its most recent decisions concerning complaints from the public.
It reviewed and rejected 11 complaints it received about Blindboy Boatclub, of The Rubberbandits, referring to the eucharist as “haunted bread” and Stefanie Preissner saying how, as a child, the eucharist being described as body and blood conjured up images of cannibalism, on the Late Late Show in January.
In reference to one of the complaints, the BAI decided:
The Committee noted the discussion as a whole. In this respect, the comments that were deemed by the complainant to be offensive were articulated as part of a broad conversation on faith, which arose from the presenter asking the panellists about the manner in which they spent the Christmas period.
The first contributor, Mr. Michael Harding, outlined how he shied away from the traditional Christmas dinner and instead ate Indian food. He noted his fondness for Diwali, the Indian festival of lights and commented on the beauty of this festival.
The conversation turned to Mr. David Cambers of The Rubberbandits who detailed his Christmas celebrations in a surrealist manner that is the hallmark of the artistic/comedy act of which he is one member.
Finally, Ms. Stefanie Preissner spoke about her disillusionment with the commercial nature of Christmas festivities. The conversation then progressed to a discussion about the Catholic belief and practice, in terms of the decline of vocations and the rise and impact of secularisation on Irish life and faith, the issue of how young people have responded to a decline in traditional Catholic faith and practices and the question of where they can find spiritual ‘refuge’, if at all or indeed if even necessary.
It was at this point in the programme that one of the contributors also featured made reference to The Eucharist as ‘haunted bread’.
While not agreeing with the contention by the broadcaster that this panellist was speaking for his generation, the Committee considered it legitimate for a panellist to articulate their own personal views. In this instance, his views dealt with a religious tenet which rests on a belief in the real presence of Jesus Christ in The Eucharist, a belief which may be difficult to reconcile for those who hold other religious beliefs or or no religious belief and one which the panellist did not appear to hold.
At that point in the programme, the other contributors reflected on this topic. Ms. Preissner spoke about how, as a child, The Eucharist being described as the body and blood of Christ conjured up images of cannibalism.
Mr. Harding spoke about how, over time, the belief in Transubstantiation has for some become difficult to understand, either for those who may only value the empirical or those who value only their own perspective regardless of facts.
Mr. Harding also spoke about the value of belief once it is not a belief that is imposed on others. Learning that Mr. Harding was a former priest, Mr. Chambers apologised for any offence that his description of The Eucharist may have caused him.
The Committee did not agree with the view of the complainant that Ms. Preissner was equating The Eucharist with cannibalism as it was clear that she was describing her thoughts as a child.
Regarding the comments by Mr. Chambers, the Committee considered his comments an expression of his own views rather than a comment on the views of others and did not agree that they were intended to mock the faith of others.
Regarding the view of the complainant that a reference to the attendance at Christmas midnight mass of people who are ‘half-cut’ with drink as being offensive; the Committee considered this a humorous reference to what may, on occasion, have been the experience of some parishioners at Christmas.
Read the complaints and decisions in full here
Previously: Maligning The Host