A RTE ‘mockumentary’ about Hollywood star Colin Farrell and adverts on TV3 for Irish Psychics Live and tarot card phone line 7th Sense have all been rapped by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission (BCC).
The fake fly-on-the-wall satire ‘The Unbelievable Truth – Colin Farrell’s darkest secrets’ was labelled a tasteless and vulgar display which made a mockery of the Catholic faith in a complaint by a priest.
A scene from the fictional programme showed a man dressed in priest’s vestments pretending to handout Holy Communion to a group of men. But instead of saying Body of Christ, the character announced Body of Colin Farrell.
And in a further affront a close-up showed it was Viagra, not sacred hosts, that was being handed out.
The priest said no reputable broadcasting body would insult the religion held by the majority of the people.
RTÉ said the programme, narrated by comedian Colin Murphy, was by its nature iconoclastic, designed to attack popular or traditional beliefs, presenting fictional biographies of high profile Irish celebrities.
The station said: “The objective of the sequence complained of was to satirise the much-publicised sexual prowess of Colin Farrell, and was not intended to mock the institution of the Eucharist.”
RTÉ acknowledged they had pushed the boundaries but the BCC upheld the complaint and said: “The manner in which a sacrament was used for a laugh in this section of the programme went beyond acceptable standards.”
The other complaints were brought against ads on TV3 by one man, Ray Di Mascio, who insisted they were basically fortune-telling chatlines.
The voice-over in the Irish Psychics Live ad stated: “Love, happiness, discover your destiny.”
Despite the company behind it, Realm Communications, claiming fortune telling did not apply to Irish Psychics Live because no-one claimed to have magic powers the BCC upheld the complaint.
Tarot reading chatline, 7th Sense, faced a similar complaint that fortune telling must not be advertised on TV. But the company insisted it only provided tarot card services which it added was a skilled discipline not requiring psychic powers and that many people believed in it.
The BCC said 21 complaints were considered or adjudicated upon. Four complaints were deferred for further consideration and three complaints were upheld and 14 rejected.
Among those dismissed were claims that RTÉ’s hit presenters Podge and Rodge breached rules on taste and decency.