Complaints about anti-cyclist 'hate-speech' on Late Late Show rejected

The country’s broadcasting watchdog has rejected seven complaints from viewers about a “light-hearted” segment on The Late Late Show that referred to cyclists.

The compliance committee of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) rejected the seven complaints, relating to the January 12 show, in which three panellists were invited to state what things they would “bin” for the new year.

One of the panellists, Today show presenter Maura Derrane, nominated cyclists and referred to “three or four cyclists abreast on a country road”.

Complainants said the way cyclists were discussed was offensive and harmful to efforts to have a mature and constructive debate on cycling.

One complainant argued that the presenter, Ryan Tubridy, had “encouraged and magnified this ‘hate-speech’.”

RTE said it was “a comedic and light-hearted segment”, that it was not a serious discussion on road safety, and that “the main editorial goal was to amuse the audience”. 

The RTÉ response to the BAI did acknowledge an error in referring to cyclists two abreast and said that this practice is not illegal.

The BAI committee unanimously rejected all seven complaints, noting that “the tone of the segment was humorous and light-hearted, with a focus on cyclists who demonstrate particular behaviours”.

No complaint made in the latest report was upheld. 

One complaint rejected by the BAI’s Executive Complaints Forum concerned an Apres Match of the Day sketch from last November, which involved the visit of Pope John Paul II to Galway, in 1979.

A complainant argued that it “profaned the sacredness of mass and the Eucharist”, but RTÉ said the programme was a satirical look at life in the 1970s.

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