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07th Jan 2021

RTÉ issue full apology following controversial New Year’s Eve sketch

Rudi Kinsella


The comedy sketch saw God implicated in “ongoing sexual harassment scandals”.

RTÉ has issued a full apology following a controversial New Year’s Eve comedy sketch, saying it “did not comply with RTÉ’s own standards”.

In what was a Waterford Whispers satirical news report, presented by former RTÉ News presenter Aengus MacGrianna, God is described as being “the latest figure to be implicated in ongoing sexual harassment scandals”.

Archbishop Eamon Martin took to Twitter to complain about the sketch which he said “accuses God of rape”.

The RTÉ Editorial Standards Board has since found the sketch did not comply with the provision in the RTÉ Journalism & Content Guidelines regarding sensitivity to people’s religious beliefs.

RTÉ has said the following steps will be taken as a result:

  • RTÉ will make a voluntary disclosure of non-compliance to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) and engage with the authority in this process
  • RTÉ will request the Editorial Standards Board to review the processes involved in the broadcast and report on same
  • RTÉ will remove this sketch from the RTÉ Player
  • RTÉ will carry a public statement and apology, with due prominence, acknowledging this sketch did not meet the standards expected of the national broadcaster.

Dee Forbes, the Director General of RTÉ said: “We accept the findings of the Editorial Standards Board that this sketch was not compliant with our own guidelines or with our obligations under the relevant codes.

“On behalf of RTÉ, I fully apologise for that. We will now review the processes involved and engage constructively with the BAI.”