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Dublin: 14 °C Tuesday 23 April, 2019
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RTÉ scolded over 'unnecessarily sexual dance' on The Voice

However, the BAI decided that the dance was “editorially justified”.

Updated 2.55pm

Source: RTETheVoice/YouTube

THE BROADCASTING AUTHORITY of Ireland has partially upheld a complaint over a dance routine containing ‘clear sexual overtones’ featured on RTÉ One’s The Voice of Ireland.

While it was ruled that having a sexy dance was ‘justified’, the audience was not given sufficient warning.

The dance, described by the complainant as ‘unnecessary’, was broadcast at 6.30pm on a Sunday evening on 23 March.

Audience members walked out of the performance.

The complainant said that her young children had watched the routine, and she was ‘tired of them being subjected to increasing amounts of sexuality’.

“The complainant states that when one of the judges likened the routine to ’a scene from Basic Instinct’ it reinforced her opinion of the programme,” the judgement read.

“Editorially justified”

The BAI noted that the raunchy moves were “editorially justified” as they were “led by and informed by the song and its lyrics”, but that the audience wasn’t sufficiently alerted to the possibility of the programme containing such adult themes.

It also noted that the dance routine was noticeably different to other performances.

The judgement added:

This was evident from the content but also from the reactions of the programme presenter and judges following its completion.

However, the authority threw out the complaint over exposure of children to the dance.

Just more than 12% of The Voice’s audience are aged between 4 and 17, meaning that it doesn’t quality as a children’s programme.

Complaints against RTÉ’s Drive By with Colm Hayes, Morning Ireland, The Centre, and Republic of Telly, as well as one against The Right Hook on Newstalk, were all rejected.

RTÉ had previously received several complaints over its portrayal of a transgender character, Nualla, in The Centre.

A viewed complained to the BAI, claiming that “RTÉ decided to put a man in a dress and wheel him out for the cast in this programme to slag off and then see how the licence fee payers would react”, without consideration of difficulties faced by transgender

She queries if RTÉ know how many gay/lesbian/transsexual and transgendered people, not only in Ireland but in the world, have to put up with this type of ridicule and humiliation on a daily basis.

The judgement details that another complainant stated “that as a transgender person, she is horrified and hurt by the relentless abusive terms and bullying behaviour towards the transsexual character Nualla”, and that the portrayal has no place in modern Irish society.

The BAI rejected this, ruled that the character was not treated differently to others in the series. RTÉ noted that Nualla is “accepted unreservedly by her co-workers and those who use the community centre and is presented onscreen no differently from them”.

“‘Nualla’ is not presented as being representative of transgendered people,” the broadcaster added.

The complaint against Morning Ireland referred to coverage of a report on electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). However, it was rejected the segment was in the context of a report by the Mental Health Commission, with the interviewee being the chairperson, and was limited to “factual outline” of the report.

Read: Audience members walk out after raunchy Voice of Ireland performance >

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Nicky Ryan

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