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'I am truly sorry': Hook issues 'unreserved' apology after uproar over rape comments

The presenter’s remarks about the “personal responsibility” of rape victims were met with sustained criticism.

Updated at 2.45pm 

GEORGE HOOK AND his employer, Newstalk, have issued unreserved apologies for comments made by the veteran broadcaster on his High Noon show yesterday.

The presenter’s remarks about the ”personal responsibility” of rape victims were met with sustained criticism on Twitter in the past 24 hours.

Campaigners and former abuse victims said Hook’s comments were ignorant and dangerous, and his Newstalk colleague Chris Donoghue described the remarks as “disgusting”. Multiple posts by Twitter users called for him to be taken off air.

Speaking about a case in the UK this week in which a Commonwealth Games swimmer was accused of raping a 19-year-old woman, Hook said yesterday:

She was passed around, went the story. And apparently she went to bed with one guy and he goes out and another guy comes in. She doesn’t want to have relations with the second guy but he forced himself upon her. Awful.
But when you then 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. She has no idea of his health conditions, she has no idea who he is, she has no idea what dangers he might pose.
But modern day social activity means that she goes back with him. Then is surprised when somebody else comes into the room and rapes her. Should she be raped? Course she shouldn’t. Is she entitled to say no? Absolutely. Is the guy who came in a scumbag? Certainly. Should he go to jail? Of Course. All of those things.

He went on to ask: “But is there no blame now to the person who puts themselves in danger?”

The presenter continued:

There is personal 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 her room and the daughter that goes out, stays halfway sober and comes home, I don’t know. I wish I knew. I wish I knew what the secret of parenting is.
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.
A stream of the programme was still available to listeners on the station’s website this afternoon.

hook1 George Hook Source: Newstalk

Responding to a post of a transcript of Hook’s comments on Twitter, Chris Donoghue wrote:

Someone needs to go to town on hook. It’s disgusting.

In a further Twitter post this morning, Donoghue, who was recently appointed Group Political Editor of the Communicorp group of radio stations, said:

Thanks for msgs, I’m not trying to be a hero or outspoken. It’s a basic thing for everyone to stand for. Rape is never a victim’s fault.

“Victim blaming at its worst and complete ignorance as to its impact on women who have been raped,” Orla O’Connor of the National Women’s Council of Ireland wrote on Twitter.

Author Louise O’Neill called his remarks “toxic”.

Former senator Maíria Cahill – a victim of abuse and a subsequent cover-up within the Republican movement – wrote that she was “fuming” over Hook’s comments.

Cahill also posted the text of an email of complaint she was writing to Newstalk in which she wrote that Hook’s remarks were “dangerous in terms of encouraging rape victims to report their rapes”.

She also said she had been asked to appear on Hook’s show on Monday to discuss the comments.

cahill

The following statement was issued to TheJournal.ie by Newstalk’s PR company at lunchtime:

Newstalk has today issued an unreserved apology for George Hook’s comments about rape on the station yesterday. Managing Editor, Patricia Monahan said today that comments made were “totally wrong and inappropriate and should never have been made”.
George Hook has apologised for his comments. He said: “I wish to apologise unreservedly for comments I made about rape on my radio programme on Newstalk yesterday. It was unacceptable to suggest in any way that blame could be attributed to victims of rape. I apologise for the comments which caused hurt and offence, and for this I am truly sorry”.
  • Rape Crisis Centre 1800 778 888
  • Samaritans 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org
  • National Suicide Helpline 1800 247 247 – (suicide prevention, self-harm, bereavement)
  • Aware 1800 80 48 48 (depression, anxiety)
  • Pieta House 01 601 0000 or email mary@pieta.ie – (suicide, self-harm)
  • Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 19)
  • Childline 1800 66 66 66 (for under 18s)

Read: Claim George Hook spoke about HPV vaccine in ‘ill-informed and irresponsible’ manner rejected >

Read: ‘Very strong winds’ on the way as Met Éireann issues weather warning for west >

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