Ireland’s national broadcaster, RTÉ has apologised for airing an offensive mocked-up news report as part of its New Year’s Eve programming. The segment attracted hundreds of complaints from Catholics and other denominations.
The satirical sketch, created by Waterford Whispers News, featured a former RTÉ news reporter Aengus Mac Grianna reading a report explaining that God had been arrested over “sexual harassment scandals.” Archbishop Eamon Martin (above) denounced the segment on Twitter, calling for its removal.
Despite the apology, the segment has not been removed from the RTE player online, where it carries a warning notice. It has also been pointed out by commentators that an unequivocal apology would have been more appropriate than the statement outlined.
The piece read: “The five-billion-year-old stood accused of forcing himself on a young middle-eastern migrant and allegedly impregnating her against her will, before being sentenced to two years in prison, with the last 24 months suspended.”
A man dressed as God is seen being led away by a member of the gardaí, and is heard shouting “It was 2,000 years ago.”
In a statement, the national broadcaster said, “RTÉ acknowledges that a number of viewers were offended by elements of the Waterford Whispers sketch segment in the RTÉ One New Year’s Eve countdown programme.
“RTÉ recognizes that matters which can cause offence naturally differ from person to person, within comedy and satire in particular.
“Having reviewed the feedback and complaints received up to this point, RTÉ wishes to apologise to those who were offended by the segment.
“The formal complaints received by RTÉ are being entered into our complaints system and will be responded to in accordance with the relevant statutory process,” the statement added.