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George Hook has been suspended from Newstalk

It follows widespread condemnation of his comments about rape on his lunchtime show on Friday.

Updated 12pm

VETERAN BROADCASTER George Hook has been suspended from Newstalk, it has been confirmed.

It follows widespread condemnation of his comments about rape on his lunchtime show on Friday. The presenter asked “is there no blame now to the person who puts themselves in danger?”.

Hook, who has been a mainstay at Newstalk since it was set up as a Dublin-only station in 2002, has been under sustained pressure in the wake of his comments.

Both the presenter and Newstalk offered full apologies on Saturday after his remarks were met with widespread criticism from former abuse victims and campaigners.

Newstalk tweeted today that Hook had been suspended in the wake of the controversy.

“Newstalk can confirm that George Hook has been suspended from his duties at the station,” the broadcaster tweeted.

The process re: his comments last week is ongoing.

Longtime Newstalk contributor and presenter Ciara Kelly is in Hook’s seat for his slot.

Tweet by @Ciara Kelly Source: Ciara Kelly/Twitter

Opening the show today, Kelly said: “Many of you will be aware George is off today.”

She said she and the show’s team were “still here and still proud to be making great radio”.

“And for those of you who haven’t noticed, yes, I am a woman.”

Pressure

The Communicorp station has come under strong pressure since the comments, after the Dalata Hotel Group terminated its sponsorship deal with Newstalk.

The Irish Times reported last night that Tesco had ceased its advertising during Hook’s lunchtime High Noon programme.

Earlier this week, the dispute spilled out onto the station’s airwaves, when singer Mary Coughlan cut short an interview with evening presenter Ivan Yates, telling the broadcaster it “wasn’t the first time” Hook had made such negative comments against women.

Presenter Sean Moncrieff tweeted that it had been an “incredibly difficult week” at the station.

“This has been an incredibly difficult week at Newstalk. But I’m immensely proud of the professional and brave staff here,” he said.

The 76-year-old has been a fixture in the Irish media landscape since he began appearing on the RTÉ television rugby panel in 1997.

He joined Newstalk when it was established as a Dublin-only station fifteen years ago and presented drive-time Right Hook until a schedule revamp last year resulted in him moving to weekday lunchtime.

It’s understood he was given a contract for more than a year when that schedule change was made – although management would not give a definitive statement on the duration of his deal when questioned at a media event in June last year.

Before moving into broadcasting Hook ran a catering business, specialising in catering for the film industry. He also coached rugby with London Irish, Connacht and The USA Eagles – leading the team at the 1987 Rugby World Cup.

His views on women have landed the presenter in the headlines a number of times over the years - including this run-in with Collette Fitzpatrick on TV3 and a contentious interview with Senator Ivana Bacik in which he raised the the subject of “implied consent”.

Those comments prompted a clarification from the presenter the following day.

With reporting from Cormac Fitzgerald

Read: George Hook has been suspended from Newstalk

Read: Dil Wickremasinghe will not present Newstalk show on Saturday over George Hook comments

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