Des Bishop apologises to Traveller community for 'negative' comments 

Des Bishop apologises to Traveller community for 'negative' comments 

Des Bishop: 'I have always wanted to be someone who helped to end prejudice against Travellers in Ireland but I clearly have had a blind spot to my own prejudice.'

Des Bishop has apologised to members of the Traveller community for 'negative' remarks he made against them.

During an interview with presenters Jim Norton and Sam Roberts on SiriusXM in the US, he talked about how Travellers “get violent when drunk” and how domestic abuse is rife within the community.

He said “inbreeding” is a big problem and he also poked fun at the description of them being “poor”.

And he said that while they are “good at selling antiques”, there is a problem with “how they come about getting them”.

Although the comments appeared in an interview which happened in March 2018, they have only recently come to light after being posted by Traveller comedian Martin Beanz Ward.

He asked Mr Bishop to apologise to the Traveller community and he called for “no cancelling or blacklisting, just an opportunity to learn and grow”.

Bernard Joyce, director of the Irish Traveller Movement, said Mr Bishop’s comments were “shocking, degrading and racist”.

Responding to media coverage of those remarks and growing calls for him to apologise, Mr Bishop took to Twitter to say: “I am writing this to apologise to the Traveller community for comments I made on a radio show in the US a couple of years ago.

“I especially apologise to the community in Tuam who were so welcoming to me 15 years ago when we were filming Joy in the Hood.” 

That was a six-part series in which the comedian spent over four months living in “marginalised” areas and hosting comedy workshops in so-called “no go” communities.

“The experience was so positive for me which I am sure makes it even more hurtful for them to hear such negative comments about the community authored by someone who they treated so well,” he continued.

“It is of no consolation that I am so disappointed in myself because I don't believe in these stereotypes that I spoke so freely about on the show.

“I have always wanted to be someone who helped to end prejudice against Travellers in Ireland but I clearly have had a blind spot to my own prejudice.”

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