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Andres Poveda
Tommy Tiernan

FreeNow pulls sponsorship from The Tommy Tiernan show after comedian's taxi driver joke

The comedian has apologised privately to RTÉ presenter Emer O’Neill and said he will not continue to use the joke in his act.

LAST UPDATE | 22 Jan 2023

TAXI COMPANY FREENOW has ended its sponsorship of The Tommy Tiernan Show on RTÉ One after the comedian made a joke about taxi drivers in the zoo, which he has since acknowledged was offensive.

The joke was highlighted by RTÉ presenter Emer O’Neill, who posted on Instagram after seeing Tiernan perform at a show on Vicar Street earlier this week.

O’Neill said that the gig was “a night that was to be fun until a way too close to the bone joke by Tommy Tiernan”, and that the joke had been his first of the night.

FreeNow announced yesterday that it was concluding a significant sponsorship deal with the actor and comedian’s RTÉ show, as it was “disappointed about the comments made at his Vicar Street gig regarding taxi drivers”.

“We decided to conclude our sponsorship of the show last week but will continue to work with RTÉ on other projects going forward.”

“Prejudice of any kind towards taxi drivers is unacceptable,” the company’s statement added.

O’Neill has published correspondence from Tiernan on her Instagram in which he apologised for the hurt he had caused by the joke and said he had dropped it from his set.

“It was never my intenttion for this to happen and I take full responsibility for it. You were right to call it out as offensive and I will do my level best to make sure that something like this never happens again,” his email read.

O’Neill also shared dozens of messages and comments harassing her for her comments regarding the joke.