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Friday 20 October 2017

Show loses two more advertisers as Newstalk host Hook awaits fate

Controversial radio presenter George Hook is suspended
Controversial radio presenter George Hook is suspended

Two more advertisers have deserted George Hook's radio show amid reports lawyers are trying to determine if the controversial Newstalk presenter breached his contract.

Printing and graphic design franchise Snap and the Mental Health and Wellbeing Summit both confirmed they had stopped advertising with Hook's High Noon radio show.

Condemnation

The Mental Health and Wellbeing Summit said it had pulled its advertising from the programme and Snap has refused to allow its ads to be broadcast during Mr Hook's show.

Last week, Ireland's largest hotel group Dalata - the show's main sponsor - pulled out, followed by Tesco.

It came after widespread condemnation of Mr Hook's comments about the UK case of a 19-year-old woman who alleges she was raped by a man after having consensual sex with a different man.

Last Friday, Newstalk confirmed they had suspended Mr Hook from High Noon.

Station insiders told the Sunday Independent an investigation is expected to reach a conclusion early this week.

It is understood that lawyers are determining whether Mr Hook had breached his contract with his controversial remarks.

The 76-year-old, who has also engaged lawyers, is understood to believe he was not in breach of contract and negotiations are now expected to turn to his pay-off this week.

There is also concern among Newstalk staff that, if the matter is not resolved sooner rather than later, collateral damage could be caused to other shows.

Over the weekend, Newstalk managing editor Patricia Monahan rubbished claims that there was systemic sexism at the station.

She said the idea that female representation didn't count if not heard on air was "insulting".

Meanwhile, Minister of State Mary Mitchell O'Connor has said Mr Hook's controversial comments about rape are representative of a "deeply embedded culture of misogyny, sexism, double standards and victim blaming".

Clear

She said it is essential that the "realities around consent" are made "crystal clear" to future generations.

"George Hook's comments were a disgrace. There is no simpler way to say it," Ms Mitchell O'Connor said last night.

"While we have to welcome his apology, we also have to highlight that every time a statement like this is made it gives silent assent to others who share the same backward, insulting view," she added.

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