Maeve Higgins apologises after saying she faked a disability to bring her dog on a flight
The comedian's comments were criticised heavily by autism awareness campaigners.
Maeve Higgins has apologised for making light of assistance animals used by people with special needs.
Appearing on the Good Friday episode of the Late Late Show, the Cork comedian was there to discuss life in New York and her upcoming projects.
However, while talking about taking a trans-Atlantic flight into Shannon with her dog, Shadow, Higgins told Ryan Tubridy that she claimed to have anxiety and that her dog was an assistance animal in order to get around paying the required fee for travelling with a pet.
Saying that she had purchased a fake service-dog vest online, Higgins told Tubridy: "I got my own row on the airplane."
Immediately afterwards, Higgins was criticised by disability advocates for essentially making light of assistance animals.
Clip via - The Late Late Show
Taking to Facebook, Nicole Duggan, who runs the autism awareness blog My Boy Blue and recent campaign, Through Their Eyes voiced her anger at Higgins, saying that "RTÉ and The Late Late Show made a mockery of service dogs" three days before World Autism Awareness Day on 2 April.
"Maeve Higgins sat on the couch and laughed and joked and made it so well known that she does not know what a service dog is!
"Ryan Tubridy laughed and joked with a woman who was insulting EVERY person who has a service dog in this country. Every person who has a disability."
Writing on her blog My Boy Blue, Duggan continued:
"They joked about how she got her pet to come on holidays with her for free by pretending she was a service dog and forging documents."
Bringing up the fact that her 4-year-old son, Riley has autism and is "a major flight risk", she shared a series of photos of her son's companion dog, while saying: "That green coat has changed our lives."
"Maybe RTÉ should redeem themselves and show these amazing dogs, not people who make a mockery of a life changing service for people living with disabilities."
Also expressing anger over Higgins' remarks was the My Canine Companion Autism Service group, which said that "a mockery has now been made for people who genuinely use a service dog for everyday life and travel."
Outraged and disappointed to see on @RTELateLateShow Ryan and @maevehiggins having a laugh over "faking a service dog". A mockery has now been made for people who genuinely use a service dog for everyday life and travel.#dontmakefunofmyjob #latelate pic.twitter.com/HYL245MsdH
— My Canine Companion (@mycaninecompani) March 31, 2018
Anticipating a backlash, Higgins took to Twitter after the interview, sharing a picture of her in a pub afterwards, while adding "unbothered in advance about the comments."
— maeve higgins (@maevehiggins) March 30, 2018
The following day, however, he returned to social media to offer her apologies for the remark, saying:
"Big apologies to anyone hurt or offended by my emotional support dog bit.
"US and Irish categories are different. Much love and respect for people who need, fundraise for and train service dogs and thank you for the information. Will do better."
Big apologies to anyone hurt or offended by my emotional support dog bit on last night @RTELateLateShow. US and Irish categories are different. Much love and respect for people who need, fundraise for and train service dogs and thank you for the information! Will do better!🐕❤️
— maeve higgins (@maevehiggins) March 31, 2018