herald

Thursday 15 November 2018

'People said I should hang myself with my own ties over rape remarks' - Hook

Broadcaster George Hook
Broadcaster George Hook

George Hook has revealed he was told to hang himself by vicious trolls over comments he made about rape on his Newstalk show last September.

The broadcaster (76) will be returning to the station for the first time today and said that despite the criticism he has received, he cannot wait to get back on the airwaves.

"People have suggested I should hang myself with my own ties. That I'm a disgrace to my family," said Hook.

"If you're anonymous, you can say anything. The point is, what you do with that.

"It doesn't affect me because I know those people wouldn't say it to my face."

The Cork man said all of the hate mail he received since the controversy has been anonymous, but many fans of his show have also sent their support.

"I did not receive one letter from a person saying, 'My name is Joe and I don't like what you said'. Anonymity gives people great courage," he said.

"I went into Newstalk this week to do some work on the programme and there's another box full of mail I have to reply to and, by and large, it's people wishing me well."

The broadcaster left his Right Hook show on Newstalk following an internal investigation over comments he made on-air about rape.

Regret

The remarks were made while he discussed the case of a woman who alleges she was raped by a former member of the British swimming team.

Hook insisted he will still voice his opinion on his show but expressed regret at the way he phrased his comments and was sorry that what he said had hurt people.

"I think people listening, if they hear a different kind of person, who isn't me, they're not going to listen," he told the Herald.

"I think people listen to me on the radio because they like George Hook. Having said that, if I had my time over again, would I have said what I said on September 8? No I wouldn't.

"I will be conscious of not being clumsy. What I said, I could have said it a different way and it would have been different. The mistake was the way I said it.

"It's not going to stop me talking about something, it's just going to make me pause for a moment to think about how I'm going to say it."

The radio host feels political correctness is going to prevent people from voicing their true opinions for fear of causing offence.

"The problem with political correctness is people will become increasingly afraid to say what they believe," he said.

"I wouldn't want to present a radio programme that every week says, 'Are we only going to say here what the twitterati wants us to say?'

"If radio, television and newspapers are decided by the twitterati, then it's time to give up," he added.

The broadcaster's new show, Hook's Saturday Sit-In will air weekly from 8am to 10am.

"When you put George Hook behind a microphone, everything lights up. I'm never happier than when I am behind the microphone," he said.

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