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'Appalling, alarming and depressing': Threatening email sent to RTÉ presenter condemned

The email was condemened by both the National Union of Journalists and the National Women’s Council.

RTÉ Radio One presenter Katie Hannon
RTÉ Radio One presenter Katie Hannon
Image: RTÉ

THE NATIONAL UNION of Journalists (NUJ) has condemned a threatening anonymous email sent to RTÉ presenter Katie Hannon on Saturday, which warned against her seeking negative comments about men from listeners to her programme.

The email, which was sent ahead of her RTÉ Radio One programme Saturday with Katie Hannon, threatened her with personal consequences if she sought to “solicit” negative comments about men.

“We just got an email before we came on air addressed to me, saying ‘I’m just letting you know that your show will be recorded, and should you interview or solicit negative comments about men, you will have to personally answer for it’,” said Hannon, speaking on her programme on Saturday.

The email stated that there were “close to” 200 men listening in on the programme.

Hannon read the email before a discussion on misogyny with Sinn Féin TD Louise O’Reilly and Co-leader of the Social Democrats, Róisín Shortall.

O’Reilly recalled her own experiences of being harassed by men, even at a very young age.

“I dug this out from my memory, just from talking to friends. I was 11, I think, maybe 12 and a grown man walked past me and looked down and he said, ‘You’ll be ready for a bra soon’, big smile on his face and he walked away,” said O’Reilly, speaking on the programme.

Condemnation

The anonymous letter has been condemned by both the NUJ and the National Women’s Council.

In a statement, Seamus Dooley, the Irish secretary of the NUJ, condemned the “vile” threat and praised Hannon for how she responded to the email.

“The threatening email read out by Katie Hannon was appalling: at once both alarming and depressing,” said Dooley.

“Katie Hannon deserves credit for the skill and dignity with which she responded to a vile threat.

“Ironically the correspondent, in seeking to prevent a discussion on male violence and misogyny made a very strong case for the type of conversation he seems to find so unsettling.”

Orla O’Connor, director of the National Women’s Council, said that the scale of cultural change required to prevent male violence was high as she condemned the threats made against Hannon.

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“It is horrendous to think that conversations about men’s violence against women are ultimately leading to more threats of violence,” said O’Connor.

“The National Women’s Council condemns in the strongest terms these threats to presenter Katie Hannon, which unfortunately show the scale of the cultural change required to prevent male violence and protect women from abuse and harassment.”

Dooley said that female journalists were frequently the targets of online abuse, with Dooley labelling those who target them “keyboard warriors”.

“Female journalists are all too frequently the subject of online abuse from keyboard warriors.

“We must never see such threats as being inevitable or in any way part of the job of a journalist,” Dooley added.

Both Hannon and RTÉ declined to comment on the email.

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Tadgh McNally

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