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God, we're sorry; RTE apologises after complaints over 'blasphemous' comedy skit.

Byline: IAN MANGAN and CORMAC O'SHEA

RTE has apologised for showing a controversial sketch about God that got more than 600 complaints.

The segment, broadcast on the New Year's Eve special, showed "God" being led away by gardai for "sexual harassment" offences.

In a statement yesterday, the national broadcaster said: "RTE recognises that matters which can cause offence naturally differ from person to person, within comedy and satire in particular.

"Having reviewed the feedback and complaints received up to this point, RTE wishes to apologise to those who were offended by the segment.

"The formal complaints received by RTE are being entered into our complaints system and will be responded to in accordance with the relevant statutory process."

The New Year's Eve Countdown Show screened the clip, from satirical site

Waterford Whispers, where a man in a white robe is led to court.

Ex-RTE broadcaster Aengus Mac Grianna told viewers: "In another shocking revelation this year, God became the latest figure to be implicated in ongoing sexual harassment scandals.

"The five-billion-year-old stood accused of forcing himself on a young Middle-Eastern migrant and allegedly impregnating her against her will.

"He was sentenced to two years in prison with the last 24 months suspended."

The sketch was met with fury online, with the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland Archbishop Eamon Martin slamming RTE for showing the "blasphemous" clip.

He tweeted the sketch was "deeply offensive", "outrageous" and "insulting to all Catholics and Christians".

Social Democrats TD Roisin Shortall yesterday welcomed RTE's apology but also slammed the drama saying "while we all favour free speech I don't think its ever acceptable to joke about rape".

Aontu spokesperson Becky Kealy also called on the broadcaster to remove the content from the RTE Player.

The Association of Catholic Priests said last night: "The portrayal of God as a rapist is deeply offensive.

"In light of such provocative insensitivity, the ACP would like RTE to commit to a review of their polices and approaches to reporting on the Christian faith, and to make the results and relevant recommendations open to public review."

news@irishmirror.ie

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STORM Mirror on RTE show and, below, Roisin Shortall and Aengus Mac Grianna

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Author:IAN MANGAN and CORMAC O'SHEA
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 3, 2021
Words:366
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