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BAI rejects complaints made over Peter Casey's appearance on The Late Late Show

Complainants had alleged Ryan Tubridy was “biased” against Casey during the segment on the show following the Presidential Election.

Posted by on Monday, 14 October 2019

THE BROADCASTING AUTHORITY of Ireland (BAI) has rejected three complaints made in relation to the treatment of former presidential candidate Peter Casey when he appeared on RTÉ’s The Late Late Show last November. 

Complainants said Tubridy demonstrated “bias”, gave a “threatening” response with treatment that “bordered on abusive” in the segment with Casey on the Friday night show on 2 November. 

In its latest publication of complaints handled, the BAI said the interview conducted by Tubridy was conducted in a manner which didn’t contravene “the requirements for fairness, objectivity or impartiality”.

During the presidential campaign, Casey had said that Travellers should not be recognised as an ethnic minority because they are “basically people camping in someone else’s land”, and that Travellers are “not paying their fair share of taxes in society”.

He was challenged by several members of the Travelling community on these views during the interview on the Late Late Show.

Asked why he thought it was acceptable to “victimise Travellers further”, Casey defended himself. 

“I was not victimising anyone. I’m all about inclusion. We need more inclusion. By marginalising a community, it’s wrong,” he said.

Complaints

Complainants took exception to how Tubridy conducted the interview, in particular a section where Casey asked the presenter if he had lost control to which Tubridy replied: “I have absolutely not Peter and I’ll tell you something, if I do, you’ll know all about it.”

The BAI said: “The complainant believes that the presenter’s response was unacceptable and undermined the fairness of the interview. The complainant believes the presenter demonstrated bias in his treatment of the guest.”

In the case of another complaint, the BAI said: “The complainant believes that the presenter’s response was threatening and displayed bias towards the interviewee.”

In its response, RTÉ said that the interview came following Casey’s strong performance in the Presidential Election, where he came in second place. 

Casey was “fully briefed” on the format of the programme, and was aware the audience would be participating. 

“The broadcaster is of the view that, given the interviewee’s comments about the Traveller community, and in the interest of fairness, it was appropriate to allow members from that community to participate,” the BAI said. 

Decision

In rejecting the three complaints, the BAI noted that Tubridy was “robust” in his questioning but that it is “often the role of the presenter to challenge the views of guests when discussing matters of public controversy or current debate”. 

It also said that Casey was notified of the format of the segment and was given “ample time” to offer his own opinions and respond to challenges during the programme. 

“In this respect, the Committee considered the approach was proportionate and fairness was achieved,” the BAI said. “The Committee did not view the broadcast as infringing the requirements to be fair, objective or impartial.”

With reporting from Conal Thomas

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Sean Murray

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