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Sunday 10 December 2023 Dublin: 11°C
RTÉ screengrab Brendan O'Connor on the Saturday Night Show
Brendan O'Connor

RTÉ apologises for ‘distress’ caused by Saturday Night Show guest’s comments

Brendan O’Connor apologised for comments made by a guest on the show two weeks ago, understood to be Rory O’Neill, aka Panti.

Updated 8pm

BRENDAN O’CONNOR has apologised on his Saturday Night Show on RTÉ for any ‘distress’ caused to a number of columnists, including John Waters, by a guest’s comments two weeks ago.

It is understood that the guest in question was Rory O’Neill, who performs as the character Panti.

O’Neill had appeared on the show two weeks ago, but the day after the performer’s appearance he revealed that it “has been taken off the RTÉ player because someone I mentioned is upset… Legally upset”.

It was later put back on RTÉs online player, with O’Neill’s interview cut short.

O’Neill was interviewed on the Saturday Night Show at the time by presenter Brendan O’Connor, and spoke to him about homophobia in Ireland. During their conversation, a number of Irish newspaper columnists were mentioned by O’Neill.

RTÉ told on 15 January:

Last weekend’s The Saturday Night Show was removed from the Player due to potential legal issues and for reasons of sensitivity following the death of Tom O’Gorman as would be standard practice in such situations.

O’Gorman was not mentioned by O’Neill at any point during his interview on the Saturday Night Show.

Last night, O’Connor apologised for comments made two weeks ago on the show, and also drew attention to “democratic debate”.

The full apology was as follows:

Now, on the Saturday night show two weeks ago comments were made by a guest suggesting the journalist and broadcaster John Waters, Breda O’Brien and some members of the Iona institute are homophobic. These are not the views of RTÉ and we would like to apologise for any upset or distress caused to the individuals named or identified. It is an important part of democratic debate that people must be able to hold dissenting views on controversial issues.

O’Neill tweeted today that he was “confused” after watching O’Connor make the statement, and said: “No idea who the last line directed at. Am I the one with dissenting views or Iona et al?”

- First published 15.49

Read: Part of The Saturday Night Show removed from RTÉ Player over ‘legal issues’>

Read: John Waters has resigned from the Broadcasting Authority>