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Newstalk staff letter demands Hook be taken off air immediately

“Misogyny should never be normalised,” according to a draft letter signed by around 20 staff.

STAFF AT NEWSTALK have drafted a letter to management calling for George Hook to be taken off air in light of his comments about rape last Friday – but were asked by the company earlier today not to proceed with it.

TheJournal.ie understands that the letter was due to be handed to station bosses this morning, but that a meeting was then called and staff informed that a ”process” to respond to the issue was taking place and that it would conclude shortly.

The letter, which has been signed by around 20 staff, says that the longer Hook remains on air, “the more reputational damage this station will suffer: damage that will unfairly reflect on the hardworking and professional staff at Newstalk”.

“Misogyny should never be normalised,” the draft letter says. It goes on to call upon management to ”defend the reputation of the station and the reputation of the staff at Newstalk by removing Mr Hook”.

News of the letter’s existence is likely to increase pressure on management to resolve the issue to the satisfaction of the company and the majority of staff sooner rather than later.

A spokesperson for Newstalk confirmed to TheJournal.ie that a process to respond to Hook’s remarks had been under way since Friday. The meeting today was to inform staff of those proceedings, the spokesperson said.

No letter from staff had yet been presented to management, according to the spokesperson.

Widespread condemnation 

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 at the start of his High Noon programme on Friday afternoon.

Referencing a UK case in which a Commonwealth Games swimmer was accused of raping a 19-year-old woman, Hook asked “is there no blame now to the person who puts themselves in danger?”.

Hook and Newstalk offered full apologies on Saturday after his comments were met with widespread criticism from former abuse victims and campaigners. However, the Communicorp station has come under further pressure since then, after the Dalata Hotel Group terminated its sponsorship deal with Newstalk yesterday.

The dispute spilled out onto the station’s airwaves yesterday too, 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.

hook1 George Hook. Source: Newstalk

The letter has been signed by both presenting and production staff at the station.

This is the full text:

We the undersigned wish to express our utter repudiation of the views expressed by George Hook on High Noon last Friday.
We also wish to express our profound disappointment with management in Communicorp at their failure to deal with this issue swiftly and decisively. The longer George Hook remains on air, the more reputational damage this station will suffer: damage that will unfairly reflect on the hardworking and professional staff at Newstalk.
Misogyny should never be normalised, and we call upon management
at Communicorp to defend the reputation of the station and the reputation of the staff at Newstalk by removing Mr Hook.

It’s expected management’s process to deal with Hook’s comments will conclude in a matter of a short number of days, if not sooner.

Read: Hook apologises for rape comments: ‘It was wrong to suggest any blame could be attributed to victims’ >

Read: ‘A victim is never to blame’: Chris Donoghue addresses Hook rape comments on Newstalk show >

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