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Complaints made to RTÉ about Panti Bliss trailer before Six Nations rugby and the Angelus

Both complaints were rejected by the BAI.

The film was broadcast on Easter Sunday last year.
The film was broadcast on Easter Sunday last year.
Image: Youtube/UniversalPicturesIreland

TWO COMPLAINTS MADE about RTÉ’s broadcast of a trailer for The Queen of Ireland, a documentary film about Panti Bliss, have been rejected by broadcasting authorities.

The complaints were made in March of last year with one complainant referencing the trailer’s broadcast before a Six Nations rugby match and the other saying the programme’s broadcast on Easter Sunday “could be interpreted as mocking those whose religious views”.

The documentary was directed by Conor Horgan and told the story of activist and performer Rory O’Neill and his involvement in the marriage equality referendum.

In its latest report of complaints made to it, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) says the complainant felt the trailer for the programme was inappropriate for the time it was broadcast.

“The complainant states that he was watching RTÉ 2 with his two boys (aged 7 years) when the trailer for The Queen of Ireland was shown.”

He states that the trailer was shown in the afternoon prior to the broadcast of the international rugby match. The complainant states that showing one or more ‘drag queens’/transvestites’ displaying what he states were provocative and controversial sexual behaviour during the afternoon period coming up to the rugby match, was not appropriate.

The complainant goes on to say that he “takes responsibility” for the content his children watches and he belived the afternoon to be “a safe viewing period”. The complainant also said that “he was himself shocked” that the trailer was broadcast.


In the second complaint, the individual said that the trailer and film “both promote same-sex relationships” and that the trailer should not be shown before the watershed.

The trailer was broadcast just before the Angelus on RTÉ’s Six One News.


“It offends against the commonly held standard of parents who do not want the promotion of same-sex relationships to their children prior to the commencement of the watershed,” the complaint reads.

The complaint also describes O’Neill’s activism as “radical”.

The documentary itself was broadcast on Easter Sunday last year and although the complainant does not explicitly object to this, he says it may have been “unwise” to do this.

He states that while this decision is a judgement call for RTÉ to make, that part of the trailer which describes the film as being aired on Easter Sunday endorses and promotes to children this triumphalist message, and the message that the religious views of those who were amongst the 38% who voted against the referendum are no longer relevant.

RTÉ response

The national broadcaster made a number of similar responses to both complaints both to the complainants and to the BAI.

RTÉ maintained that the trailer in question was edited so as to ensure there were “no scenes or references of a sexual nature” and that there was no “offensive or harmful language” contained in them.

RTÉ stated that the trailer did not “promote same-sex marriage” as alleged, but rather reported on events that had occurred. In response to the second complainant, RTÉ stated:

The complainant would appear to believe that these factual developments in lrish society should be kept from children and that the wish of a particular parent such as himself.

RTÉ also said that it was not prevented from advertising post-watershed programming during pre-watershed times and that this was “common practice” and “editorially justified”.

“As homosexuality is not illegal in the State, and as the content was neither harmful nor inappropriate, the committee did not agree that the references in the trailer would offend against general community standards,” the BAi said in rejecting the complaint.

Both complaints were rejected unanimously.

Read: Complaint against George Hook rejected after he called texter a ‘s**t’ >

Read: See the Ophelia warnings on TV on Sunday? That was Ireland’s emergency broadcasting system in action >

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