RTÉ rapped over Tiernan

A STANDARDS watchdog has upheld eight complaints about comedian Tommy Tiernan for offensive comments about disabled people and others on the Late Late Show and also criticised host Gerry Ryan for egging him on.

The Broadcasting Complaints Commission (BCC) noted complaints against the comedian’s taste in jokes during the October 24 show.

One mother of a Down’s syndrome boy said she found “his jeering at people with disabilities was in very bad taste”.

The complainant noted how Tommy Tiernan, in a joke about buying a motorcycle from a disabled person recovering from a road crash, had mimicked the person in a “spasticated fashion,” using sounds like he was brain damaged in a way that was “insulting” and which went far beyond the boundaries of humour.

RTÉ defended the comedian’s joke saying: “The motives in telling the joke were to embrace people with disabilities not to stigmatise or stereotype them.”

The BCC found that the joke went “beyond acceptable standards”.

It said Gerry Ryan had “actively engaged in the jokes being told by the comedian and in effect urged him on irrespective of manner or content”. At no stage did Ryan challenge or attempt to curb what was being said by the comedian, concluded the commission.

Pavee Point, the Traveller support organisation, was among complainants who took offence at Mr Tiernan’s remarks about having sex with a Traveller.

His comment that he had “got flies in his face the last time he rode a Traveller”, was “disgusting,” the BCC heard.

The BCC ruled the Traveller joke was totally inappropriate, went beyond acceptable standards and was also derogatory to the Traveller community.

RTÉ claimed the Traveller reference was in the context of “a ridiculous concept for a movie”.

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