2fm’s ‘kick in the testicles’ question ‘not justified’, says regulator

Complaint about Eoghan McDermott’s chat with RTÉ boss Dee Forbes upheld in part

2fm drivetime presenter Eoghan McDermott: ‘Kick in the testicles’ question is ‘not justified’, says broadcasting regulator.

2fm drivetime presenter Eoghan McDermott: ‘Kick in the testicles’ question is ‘not justified’, says broadcasting regulator.

 

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland has upheld in part a complaint about a RTÉ 2fm interview in which RTÉ director-general Dee Forbes was asked who she would like to kick in the testicles.

The question was asked on the Eoghan McDermott Show and had been used on previous occasions as part of a regular “quickfire” feature on the drivetime radio programme.

However, the broadcasting regulator’s complaints committee has now ruled that the question, although “clearly intended to be light-hearted”, is “not justified”.

A majority of the committee agreed with a complainant who said it condoned violence towards men. The complainant also said the question was offensive and discriminatory towards men, but these elements of his complaint were not upheld.

The interview with Ms Forbes took place on March 8th, International Women’s Day, and was billed by Mr McDermott as a conversation with the most powerful woman in RTÉ.

To the question “who would you like to kick in the testicles, living or dead”, the director-general answered “nobody”.

When Mr McDermott protested her apparently diplomatic reply, saying “stop that”, Ms Forbes repeated “no... nobody”.

RTÉ 2fm said the specific question was one of several posed during a regular entertainment feature on the Eoghan McDermott show and had been asked of both male and female participants in the past.

It told the regulator that it had not intended to cause offence but acknowledged that offence had been caused in this instance, stating that it would take the feedback into account for future reference.

Court report

A separate complaint made by a defendant in a court case was upheld in part against an edition of the RTÉ Six-One news in January.

The complainant said the report on the news bulletin had included details of his arrest, charges and court proceedings, but did not mention certain details from the defence case or the fact that he had been acquitted of some charges prior to the broadcast. He said the report was not accurate, objective or impartial.

RTÉ responded that the report was based on court copy supplied by a freelance at 1.51pm, detailing the morning’s court proceedings. It said it had received further copy at 6.23pm, too late for the report to be updated before it aired. Full details of the case were on the RTÉ website.

The broadcaster said the report was accurate and fair having regarded to the circumstances and facts known at the time of preparing and broadcasting the content. It also said its reports could not cover every detail from a court case, but that there had been no misrepresentation of the facts.

The regulator’s committee upheld the complaint in part, saying it “did not feel that sufficient steps were taken” by RTÉ to ensure the accuracy of a report that had been prepared several hours earlier. However, it did not agree that the report was misleading.