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Blindboy Boatclub made remarks about Holy Communion that some found offensive. RTÉ/Twitter
blindboy boatclub

BAI rejects complaints over Rubberbandit calling communion 'haunted bread' on the Late Late Show

In all, 11 complaints were received after Blindboy Boatclub’s appearance on the RTÉ show.

THE BROADCASTING AUTHORITY of Ireland (BAI) has rejected 11 complaints that were made following the appearance of one half of the comedy duo Rubberbandits on RTÉ’s the Late Late Show.

The complaints related to comments made during a panel featuring Rubberbandit member Blindboy Boatclub, writer Stefanie Preissner and writer Michael Harding, in which communion bread was referred to as “haunted bread” and the concept of eating the body of Christ as “cannibalism”.

In the show, which aired in January of this year, Blindboy Boatclub said:

Anyone who I know who goes to midnight mass is not going there for haunted bread. They’re there because their grandmother is making them go, or because their whole family is there. Everyone who goes to midnight mass is half-cut anyway.

Preissner then said, speaking of her experience as a child: “The body of Christ is a very scary concept. It’s cannibalism, like. I don’t know if I want to be eating this.”

Blindboy Boatclub also made reference to Jesus as a “ghost”, which some of the complainants to the BAI took offence to.

The varying complaints alleged that the comments were “hurtful and offensive”, and that they mocked religion.

One complainant said that the comments “crossed a line into, not merely, gratuitous offence, but sheer nastiness, hatred and contempt for the Roman Catholic faith and for those who sincerely profess it”.

RTÉ took a similar approach to each complaint. It starts by saying that presenter Ryan Tubridy brought up a topic that he had explored in his radio show that some people aged in their 30s were returning to the Catholic Church.

It said: “The broadcaster states that, as someone from that age group, Blindboy Boatclub of the Rubberbandits was first to reply, and he did so in the language of his generation and his satirical character.

The broadcaster states that the point he was making, to put the language to one side for a moment, was that in his view, people of his generation are not returning to the Church and that attendance at Christmas Eve midnight mass is not an accurate barometer of religious conviction and there are many other reasons to attend that particular ceremony.

“The broadcaster states that in neither case did the guests deride or criticise the views of others, or their faith, but rather expressed their own difficulty with a core tenet of Roman Catholicism.”

Taking the panellists’ discussion as a whole, the BAI said that while the particular comments were deemed offensive by those who had complained, its committee “considered it legitimate for a panellist to articulate their own personal views”.

It said that Blindboy Boatclub apologised to panellist Michael Harding for the offence that his comments may have caused at the time, and rejected complaints about Preissner’s “cannibal” remark because “it was clear she was describing her thoughts as a child”.

It did not uphold any of the 11 complaints on the matter.

Read: Rubberbandits do 1916 and Louise McSharry’s ‘F**k Cancer’ – RTÉ2 unveils new season

Read: The Rubberbandits called Newstalk live after taking ‘legal ecstasy’…

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