Friday 6 December 2019

RTE gets 31 complaints after Late Late Show dummy 'birth'

The segment on the Late Late Show that has caused controversy and complaints
The segment on the Late Late Show that has caused controversy and complaints

RTE said it had received 31 formal complaints in the wake of the Late Late Show airing a controversial segment featuring a birthing simulator called Lucina.

A spokeswoman confirmed that it had received dozens of complaints about the item, which was broadcast on Friday night.

It also received lots of feedback on social media as the item met with a decidedly mixed reaction.

The Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services Ireland (Aims) said it was disappointed and dismayed at the "poor judgment" expressed by the Late Late Show editorial team for the feature.

Eyebrows were raised after a teaching robot - named Lucina - was brought into the studio to demonstrate to viewers how medical students learn about childbirth and labour as part of their training.

Master of the Rotunda Hospital Professor Fergal Malone was joined by Dr Catherine Finnegan, tutor and specialist registrar at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) department of obstetrics and gynaecology, and medical student Ciara Malone, to simulate a delivery.


Host Ryan Tubridy interviewed Prof Malone for the item, as medical student Ciara demonstrated how the dummy "gave birth".

However, Aims said it was disappointed at the feature.

"As the representative body for maternity service users in Ireland, Aims calls on RTE to apologise and also looks to the Broadcasting Authority to comment on the piece," a spokeswoman said.

She criticised the segment which showed the robot lying on a bed with her entire lower half exposed whilst she was told to "push into her bum" and "keep going" by a medical student in order to produce a fake baby out of her fake body.

"There are so many things wrong here, it's hard to know where to begin," she said.

The spokeswoman commended the empathy shown by Joe Duffy on Liveline, where the show held a series on the issue of maternity services in Ireland.

However, Aims criticised RTE for airing the Late Late Show piece, saying it did not have any regard for how it would affect women.

Neither the RCSI or the HSE would comment any further when contacted, given the reaction from Aims.

The HSE said the subject was a matter for RTE.

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