Al Porter takes ‘time away from spotlight’ amid grope claims

Comedian Al Porter is to take “time away from the spotlight” following a weekend of allegations of unwanted groping and advances by the broadcaster.

Yesterday, The Sunday Times published the claims of an unnamed student in his mid-20s who told the newspaper that, while he was a patient in a Dublin mental health a hospital in 2015, he was kissed and groped by Mr Porter.

It comes after on Saturday, four men told the Ireland edition of The Times that Mr Porter groped them without their consent.

The hospital incident is alleged to have taken place while Mr Porter was visiting St Patrick’s Mental Health Services while engaging in an awareness-raising event. Yesterday, the hospital said it was unaware of any incident until the media reports.

Mr Porter yesterday said he “cannot comment on specific allegations at the present time” due to legal advice, but that he was “taken aback” by the news reports, social media comments, “and by the scale and tone of the vitriol”.

Conor O’Toole, a comedian who was one of the men to make an allegation against Porter, was critical of his comments on the tone of the coverage.

“My apologies to Al Porter for calmly and accurately describing my experience. Wow. Sorry I was a bad victim bud,” Mr O’Toole tweeted.

Mr Porter began hosting the weekday lunchtime show on Today FM earlier this year, a job for which he reportedly earned a €140,000 salary.

On Saturday, the station said it agreed that Mr Porter would “take some personal time” away from the show in light of recent events.

However, last night, Today FM issued a two-line statement to confirm it had accepted Mr Porter’s resignation, and said it would not comment further on the matter.

Mr Porter recently hosted TV3’s version of Blind Date. The station pulled a scheduled repeat of the series finale on Saturday, saying it would be “inappropriate” to broadcast the episode in light of the allegations.

Mr Porter has co-written and is cast to star in the Olympia Theatre’s annual pantomime Polly & The Beanstalk, with the production scheduled to run for a month, encompassing 43 performances.

The Irish Examiner has contacted the Olympia in Dublin with queries as to the status of the pantomime in light of the allegations against Mr Porter, but has yet to receive a reply.

In a statement, St Patrick’s Mental Health Services said it was unaware of any incident until the allegations were published in the media.

“No allegations, complaints or concerns have been made to St Patrick’s Mental Health Services by service users or staff in relation to these matters,” it said. “The organisation would encourage the people making these allegations to report them directly to the Garda Síochána and to the organisation itself so that they can be thoroughly investigated.”



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