A storm of controversy exploded yesterday when George Hook blamed a 19 year old rape victim for what happened to her. His station Newstalk has now issued an unreserved apology...
Newstalk has today issued an unreserved apology for comments about rape made by George Hook on the station yesterday.
The station’s Managing Editor, Patricia Monahan said today that comments made were “totally wrong and inappropriate and should never have been made.”
George Hook has also apologised for his comments.
“I wish to apologise unreservedly for comments I made about rape on my radio programme on Newstalk yesterday,” he said.
"It was unacceptable to suggest in any way that blame could be attributed to victims of rape. I apologise for the comments which caused hurt and offence, and for this I am truly sorry.”
SHARP INTAKE OF BREATH
The controversy arose when Hook extemporised – as is his wont– on the case of the 19-year-old woman who alleges she was raped by a former member of the British swimming team. She claims that she was raped by the man after having consensual sex with a different man – who was the swimmer’s friend.
“She was passed around, went the story,” Hook said on-air. "And apparently she went to bed with one guy and he goes out and another guy comes in. She doesn’t want to have relations with the second guy but he forces himself upon her. Awful.”
So far, you might say, so good. But Hook’s reactionary views on issues to do with sex and sexuality surfaced next.
“When you then look deeper into the story, you have to ask certain questions,” he went on. "Why does a girl who just meets a fella in a bar go back to a hotel room? She’s only just barely met him. She has no idea of his health conditions, she has no idea who he is, she has no idea of what dangers he might pose.”
That much, he might just have got away with, as an ignorant and tasteless kind of prurience. But he had more to say.
“But modern day social activity means that she goes back with him,” he mused. "Then is surprised when somebody else comes into the room and rapes her.”
At which point a sharp intake of breath is required. And a question: what is this creepy guy trying to say?
"Should she be raped?” he asked. "Course she shouldn’t. Is she entitled to say no? Absolutely. Is the guy who came in a scumbag? Certainly. Should he go to jail? Of Course. All of those things.”
And then another whopper.
“But is there no blame now to the person who puts themselves in danger?” he asked.
GEORGE HOOK'S STANDING
The bullshit wasn’t done yet.
“There is personal responsibility, because it’s your daughter and it’s my daughter,” he said. "And what determines the daughter who goes out, gets drunk, passes out and is with strangers in her room and the daughter that goes out, stays halfway sober and comes home? I don’t know. I wish I knew. I wish I knew what the secret of parenting is.
“But there is a point of responsibility. The real issues nowadays and increasingly is the question of the personal responsibility that young girls are taking for their own safety.”
The obvious victim-blaming involved sparked a furious reaction on Twitter.
“I get that @NewstalkFM wants to lead on ‘opinion led content’,” Amnesty Ireland’s Colm O’Gorman said, "but @ghook increasingly stupid, ignorant rants are grossly irresponsible.”
Orla O’Connor, the director of National Women’s Council of Ireland was also quick to react, describing Hook’s comments as “Victim blaming at its worst and complete ignorance as to its impact on women who have been raped.”
She was joined by the NWCI’s official Twitter account.
“George Hook’s comments are dangerous, and a perfect encapsulation of rape culture,” they stated. "His comments enable rapists.”
Meanwhile, Chris Donoghue, who is the group political editor at Communicorp – the Denis o’Brien owned company which owns Newstalk – also broke ranks. “Someone needs to go to town on Hook,” he said in a tweet. "It’s disgusting.”
It now looks as if that is the general conclusion within the Newstalk ranks. Just how it will affect George Hook’s standing within the station remains to be seen.
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