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15th Oct 2023

Kathryn Thomas opens up on ‘disgusting’ abuse which led to garda involvement


Kathryn Thomas

By Jody Coffey

“It was really graphic and disgusting language and really targeted.”

Kathryn Thomas has detailed a time when the Gardaí had to get involved following an encounter where she was on the receiving end of “disgusting” and “misogynistic” abuse.

The Operation Transformation presenter bravely opened up about how she received ‘reoccurring’ and ‘graphic’ letters from a number of ‘very odd’ men during her time presenting on Winning Streak.

This prompted RTÉ to report the correspondence to Gardaí.

The Carlow native got candid about the experience in an interview with The Sunday Independent, saying it was “weird. Just very weird stuff. Clearly they had been watching you on TV and then would write a letter every week.

“It was really graphic and disgusting language and really targeted. It was mostly sexual. How f**king dare you wear a skirt that short? It was misogynistic. They would say, ‘You have it coming to you’. And for a time, that was reoccurring.”

RTÉ contact gardaí over “misogynistic” abuse towards host Kathryn Thomas

The Rose of Tralee host described these letters as something that made her ‘skin crawl’ and admitted she wasn’t the only member of staff at RTÉ to fall victim to correspondence of this nature.

“I know of colleagues of mine who have got text messages… how did they get their number? That’s a worry,” she confessed.

Kathryn said these letters, which, at her request, are first opened by members of RTÉ staff in the post room, turned into ‘nasty’ direct messages on social media, something she has had to develop a thick skin against.

“Now anyone can get into your phone and, if you allow it, get into your head. A lot of the backlash for Operation Transformation was happening [on social media].

“That was where there was really nasty s**t coming in to my DMs on Instagram about my involvement with the show. I’m in this game for 25 years so I know how to handle that. Everybody is entitled to their opinion about the work you do — but I think there is a level of respect here that has sadly been missing in the UK press for decades.”

“Couple that with the accessibility of [high-profile] people through social media and that is dangerous for Holly [Willoughby]. No career is worth that.”

Thomas was referring to Holly Willoughby’s shock departure from her role as host on This Morning after 14 years due to a kidnapping plot.

The mum was left shaken after a man threatened to kidnap and murder her and ultimately decided to put her and her family’s safety first by stepping down from the presenting role.

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