Complaint over dance with ‘clear sexual overtones’ partially upheld

Audience members walked out during ‘The Voice’

Kian Egan during the third live Show of The Voice of Ireland in The Helix in March

Kian Egan during the third live Show of The Voice of Ireland in The Helix in March


The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland has partially upheld a complaint over a dance routine containing “clear sexual overtones” featured on RTÉ One’s The Voice of Ireland.

While it was ruled that having that type of dance was justified’, the audience was not given sufficient warning and the programme “did not demonstrate due care appropriate for the time broadcast and the audience viewing.”

The performance featured Voice contestant Danica Holland performing the song Do What You Want by Lady Gaga with several dancers.

It was reported that several audience members walked out during the performance.

The complainant said she was “appalled” that RTÉ would sanction the dance routine that was broadcast on Sunday evening at 6.30 pm on March 23rd.

The complainant said that her young children had watched the routine, and she was “tired of them being subjected to increasing amounts of sexuality”.

“The complainant states that when one of the judges likened the routine to ‘a scene from Basic Instinct’ it reinforced her opinion of the programme,” the judgment read.

Producers of the programme, Screentime Shinawil responded by stating that public attitudes to matters of sexuality have changed dramatically in recent decades in Ireland and The Voice of Ireland “reflects a diverse and modern Ireland”.

They added that the dancers in the show were never sexually explicit as this term “implies intercourse and nudity which most certainly is not the case”.

The BAI noted that the dance routine “was led by and informed by the song and its lyrics, and both dealt with themes of human sexuality”.

It noted that children and adolescents who were watching the programme at the time broadcast, were “not likely to have the maturity to assess and negotiate the boundaries of appropriate sexual behaviour, including the complexities of adult sexual behaviour portrayed in the song and the dance routine”.

However, the BAI threw out the complaint over exposure of children to the dance.

Just over 12 per cent of The Voice’s audience are aged between four and 17, meaning that it does qualify as a children’s programme.

Complaints against RTÉ’s Drive By with Colm Hayes, Morning Ireland, The Centre, and Republic of Telly and The Right Hook on Newstalk, were all rejected.

Under the Broadcasting Act 2009, viewers and listeners can complain about broadcasting content, which they believe is not in keeping with the BAI’s broadcasting codes and rules. Complaints must be made within 30 days of the date of the broadcast.