RTÉ receives 1,300 complaints over Katie Hopkins interview

Controversial columnist defends Donald Trump during ‘Late Late Show’ appearance

RTÉ has received 1,302 emails criticising Katie Hopkins’s appearance on The Late Late Show on Friday night to discuss the US election.

A social media campaign had urged TV viewers not to watch the programme due to the controversial journalist’s appearance.

The former reality TV star, who writes a column for British tabloid the Daily Mail, has been a vocal supporter of Republican president-elect Donald Trump throughout his election campaign.

During her appearance, Ms Hopkins said: “People in America are sick of not being listened to. They’re sick of people like you who live in the media bubble and you just have this echo chamber around your head and you’re just listening to your own echo.

“You’re not hearing people who really want their jobs and manufacturing back. They don’t want migrants coming into their country.

“The reason Donald Trump has done a brilliant job and won is because [ordinary Americans] want their jobs back.

“They don’t want immigration and they don’t necessarily want a Muslim overload in their country and they’re very happy they have . . . the right to bear arms and they’re happy the Supreme Court will be kept as a conservative supreme court.

“Americans looks at Europe and they laugh at us, they are sad for us. We have not achieved multiculturalism.

“We’re a nation of ghettos and they point at Europe . . . and say we do not want to be like that. There are too many Muslims let in and as a result we have Islamist extremists on our streets,” she said.

Addressing comments made by Mr Trump about groping women, Ms Hopkins said she was not offended by his language.

“I would rather be grabbed by the pussy than have a pussy for president.

“I am very happy with that language. Look, none of us are that polite behind closed doors. My girlfriends have ruder language, real men have ruder language.

“That was a private conversation from eight years ago before he was running for president. While [Bill] Clinton was in the Oval Office, Monica Lewinsky was on her knees and Hillary stood right by her,” she said.

In her most recent column, Ms Hopkins had said Mr Trump’s victory has “crushed the lefty luvvies, useless pollsters, multicultural mafia and gender Nazis who refuse to listen to regular people”.

Ms Hopkins was also a prominent campaigner for the Leave side in the Brexit referendum earlier this year and has frequently voiced extreme views against migrants and asylum-seekers.

In October, the Council of Europe said a column by Ms Hopkins headlined: “Rescue boats? I’d use gunships to stop migrants”, and which referred to migrants as “cockroaches”, amounted to hate speech.

Social media

A number of people said via social media they would not watch The Late Late Show on Friday because of the decision to invite Ms Hopkins.

Filmmaker Lenny Abrahamson said he never watched the programme as a matter of taste. “Now I’ll avoid as a matter of principle.”

The Rape Crisis Network said it was "disgraceful" for The Late Late Show to book "professional bigot Katie Hopkins", while RTÉ journalist Philip Boucher-Hayes tweeted: "Unless Katie Hopkins is coming on The Late Late Show to say, 'Sorry, I've got it all terribly wrong', I don't think we need to hear her again."

RTÉ said Mr Trump himself expressed many controversial views during the presidential campaign.

“Katie Hopkins is one of his most vocal supporters in the UK. She’ll be giving her take on why his message resonated with American voters, and her promise to move to America in the event of a Trump victory.

“The American election and its aftermath has been and will continue to be covered extensively across a range of RTÉ’s output.”