Belfast Telegraph

George Hook moved to new radio slot following rape comments controversy

Broadcaster George Hook has been moved to a new slot on Newstalk radio following his controversial comments about rape.

The presenter secured a new position after being suspended from his weekday lunchtime High Noon show.

The station confirmed he will come back on air in December when he takes over a new weekend slot.

In a statement Newstalk said it has concluded a review into the circumstances that led to Hook's comments on rape.

"The station confirms that George Hook will be stepping down from his lunchtime slot," it said.

"He will return to the station in December 2017 when he will take on a new weekend show. Newstalk will shortly be announcing a replacement for the lunchtime show."

Both Hook and the Newstalk m anaging editor Patricia Monahan offered unreserved apologies after the broadcaster referred to a rape case in the UK and questioned why the woman had gone back to the hotel room of a man she had just met.

Hook questioned her "personal responsibility" and asked if she should be blamed for putting herself in danger.

He was suspended a week later following widespread condemnation from groups such as the National Women's Council of Ireland and the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre.

The Dalata Hotel Group, whose Clayton brand was a main sponsor of Hook's High Noon show, pulled out of the deal.

Newstalk is part of the Communicorp media group owned by Denis O'Brien.

Orla O'Connor, director of t he National Women's Council of Ireland, called on Newstalk to issue their broadcasters with guidelines for discussing and reporting on domestic and sexual violence.

She described Hook's remarks as " unacceptable victim blaming".

"It is crucial that Newstalk send a strong message that Mr Hook's comments are utterly unacceptable," she said.

"Violent men are socialised and enabled by women's inequality, and by a culture which erases the actions of perpetrators by focusing culpability on the victim. The damage done by these comments is very real, and they must not be repeated.

"It is clear that more needs to be done by Newstalk, and that the station must find a way of countering the impact of these comments on women."

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