Following allegations of inappropriate behaviour made on social media and in several newspapers, comedian and radio presenter Al Porter released a statement last week resigning from his position at Today FM and stepping aside from his role in this year’s Olympia Panto.
Today HotPress magazine have published an interview with the presenter and panto star, conducted by their contributing editor Olaf Tyaransen, just days before Porter's resignation.
During the course of the interview, Porter speaks about the topic of groping, his opinion on "trial by media" and the #MeToo movement.
Here are some excerpts from the interview:
On the dramatic spate of sex scandals:
“We’re at a watershed moment culturally where what is seen as decent and acceptable behaviour is going to change, but it is important that we note that this is the defining moment and, going forward, I think a lot of people are going to change their behaviour.”
On groping someone against their consent:
“I don’t care how provocatively a woman dresses, or how late at night she arranged to have a business meeting with you. Or whether it was in your hotel room or not. If you’re grabbing her and she doesn’t want it, you’re in the wrong.”
On the general issue of ‘groping':
“I would hate to tar a comedian with that brush, but it is my experience that if you are in a gay bar, if I had a euro for every time I was grabbed or pulled or somebody laid a kiss on me and I wasn’t expecting it at all. That kinda thing happens for right or wrong.”
On why people should be reporting allegations to the police instead of running to the media:
“Trial by media isn’t a good thing. We also still have to rely on the fact that if you have been abused or assaulted you should be able to trust the Gardai´ to investigate it on your behalf and for justice to prevail.”
On the #Metoo drive:
“What I would be worried about is that #metoo drags people into that group that don’t belong in it. I know that might sound like I’m defending these people but I’m not. I’m just saying equally, actually victims of abuse have to use this moment to have their voice and to try and give a sober comment on it because there is no point getting caught up in hysteria either. Trial by media isn’t a good thing.” "I’m not trying to be apologetic for people who have behaved inappropriately in the past,” he adds, "but it’s important for people to know what was and wasn’t reciprocal, what was and wasn’t consensual.”
On the topic of Kevin Spacey:
“It’s not like I didn’t hear stories about Kevin Spacey,” he says. "I was over in London and three or four people told me stories about him, laughing, going, “Isn’t that mad?” This is before it all came out. “What is he like/what a divil” was the tone of what people were telling me.”
Meanwhile The Irish Times have said their interview with the comedian, published in their ‘It’s Christmas’ magazine today, was in advance of the allegations and it was too late to remove it from the print edition.