Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Panti vs RTE: My Two Cents

Hi!

As I've mentioned before, I'm going to try and keep all the baby-related things on the blog for Wednesdays, and I do have one coming up in a bit, but I had to get this out and on here because my blood is still boiling.

If you haven't heard about Panti VS RTE, you can read about it here: http://www.thejournal.ie/rte-no-comment-damages-saturday-night-show-1287287-Jan2014/

I wanted to write something but I didn't know where to put it, so I sent it in an e-mail to rte. No doubt nothing will come of it, so I'm putting it down here too just to add my support for Rory and my horror at the prospect that one cent of mine will go to funding that organisation.

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Hi,

As someone who pays their Television Licence fee on time and without complaint despite rarely watching RTE programming, I am outraged that there is even the most minute of possibilities that one cent of my money may have gone to John Waters, Breda O'Brien, or The Iona Institute.

You are responsible for inviting guests on to your talkshows - be it the Late Late, Marian, or The Saturday Night Show. It is up to you to ensure that those guests are treated fairly and without bias. On the night in question when Rory O'Neill (Aka Panti Bliss) was a guest on The Saturday Night Show, he was specifically asked by host Brendan O'Connor to clarify who he was referring to when he mentioned homophobia in the media. Perhaps Mr. O'Connor could do with a lesson in presenting if you wish to avoid this kind of situation in the future. 

For RTE to first use the death of Tom O'Gorman as a reason for removing the interview was laughable, considering his name hadn't even been mentioned - but to then award damages to John Waters (who gets paid to write some of the most misogynistic drivel I've ever had the misfortune to read), Breda O'Brien (who stated in an article published in the Irish Times on 11/01/14 that there is "no hatred" in calling homosexuality "intrinsically disordered" and then referred to a homosexual person as "a gay"), or David Quinn & The Iona Institute (who seem to have an inordinate obsession with homosexuality and make it their mission to tell others what they can and can't do with their lives) is downright appalling.

I am disgusted, but sadly not shocked. You have proven yourselves to be what I have long suspected of you - a company full of back-slapping, fearful cowards who are not doing a service to the public. You are doing a disservice to much of the country, especially the LGBT community. By issuing an award to those who have threatened legal action shows that you will support a vile organisation promoting prejudice, bigotry, misogyny and homophobia over someone who promotes equality and justice for the gay community. Rory O'Neill was asked to name names by one of your employees. You failed O'Connor in this situation too, by making him read out that ludicrous apology. He is employed by you to ask questions and present an unbiased opinion. In doing a U-turn on this, you made him look ridiculous, as if he had been chastised by the Headmaster.

Homophobia, by its very definition in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is "irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals". Therefore by leading a campaign to disallow same-sex marriage or adoption based solely on the fact that both individuals are of the same sex, are Mr. Quinn and his Iona Institute not, indeed, homophobic?

In speaking to the Irish Catholic yesterday, David Quinn stated "The accusations had to be challenged. They were aimed at closing down debate on same sex marriage and adoption." [Source: http://www.catholicireland.net/rte-apologises-homophobic-accusations-saturday-show/]

The Provision of Services section in the Public Service Broadcasting Charter states that RTE, in the case of its programming, will "maintain and cherish its freedom from political control or influence and from all other vested interests, whether commercial, religious, social or cultural."

I will no longer publicise or support any RTE programming. I will no longer follow your social media accounts. I will not be tuning in to see your news, your soaps, or your endless repeats. I will not listen to your radio stations. I will not be watching any of your one-sided debates in the run up to the debate on same-sex marriage.



Sharon Leavy

Twitter@shannairl


3 comments:

  1. I'm glad you decided to share this on the blog as well as with RTE, Sharon.

    Things were always going to be tough in the run up to next year's referendum on marriage equality, but this apology from RTE and the decisions to pay damages has made things all the more difficult. At the back of every same-sex marriage advocate's mind will be, if I put myself out there to discuss this topic on TV and radio and to talk honestly about my experience (particularly if they are members of the LGBTQ* community) will I face legal action from The Iona Institute? And that's how this referendum will be won, by people talking about their experiences and what the option to marry (if they so choose) will mean to them. I hope it doesn't put people and groups from running the campaign they want because their voices are needed now more than ever.

    I can't say I'm surprised by the actions of John Waters and The Iona Institute crowd though. Their entire argument against same-sex marriage, that it's not in the best interests of children, will be null and void before the referendum if the of Minister Shatter's upcoming bill on guardianship rights for same-sex couples raising children. So, Iona et all are clutching at straws because they have no other argument. The one they do have is bullshit anyway.

    *and breathe*

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  2. Fantastic letter, I had missed this whole thing so just caught up on it there! Madness, you'd swear we were still in the 1920's sometimes, RTE really has a thing or two to learn!

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  3. Woah I had not heard of this! That is insane! Typical RTE! Some chatshow (Ryan Tubridy?) had an interview with Richard Dawkins before and it was the most one sided thing I've ever seen - makes me embarrassed to be Irish!

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