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Dublin: 4°C Sunday 17 January 2021

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

Wickremasinghe said that her immediate reaction upon hearing Hook’s comments were that he “has gone too far”.

Dil Wickremasinghe
Dil Wickremasinghe
Image: Newstalk

BROADCASTER DIL WICKREMASINGHE will not present her radio show on Newstalk this weekend over the comments made by George Hook about rape during his own show last Friday.

The presenter of Global Village said on Twitter that she was “deeply unsatisfied with the management of Newstalk” as she felt the station “has been unsupportive and unwelcoming of female presenters”.

“I feel unable to share the airwaves with an individual who has no regard for the duty of care we have to the public and as such will not be presenting Global Village this weekend and management understand my position,” she said.

Hook 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 during the week.

Wickremasinghe said that her immediate reaction upon hearing Hook’s comments were that he “has gone too far” and that the station would at least suspend him.

She outlined her own experience of sexual abuse and violence, saying that victim blaming is “unacceptable, irresponsible and dangerous”.

I felt compelled to voice my discontent to management and conveyed to them that I didn’t feel I could share the same airwaves with George Hook until a formal disciplinary action was taken. Like many of my colleagues, I felt as a station we need to take a strong stance to show that we have a social conscience and do not condone victim blaming.

She said she hoped Newstalk’s investigation into the matter would conclude within the next few days so that she could return to presenting Global Village on Saturday 23 September.

With reporting from Daragh Brophy

Read: Newstalk staff letter demands Hook be taken off air immediately

Read: ‘I have a plan now’: Singer Mary Coughlan walks out of live Newstalk show over Hook rape comments

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Sean Murray

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