Newstalk Radio’s George Hook upset many listeners when he seemingly blamed rape victims for being raped. In his Sept. 8 program for the Irish radio broadcaster, he brought up a UK rape case and suggested it was the 19-year-old victim’s fault. Hook did comment it was “awful” and “course she shouldn’t” be raped, however, his comments about “personal responsibility” angered listeners.
“Why does a girl who just meets a fella in a bar go back to a hotel room? She’s only just barely met him. She has no idea of his health conditions, she has no idea who he is, she has no idea what dangers he might pose,” he said on air.
“There is personal responsibility because it’s your daughter and it’s my daughter,” Hook said, according to the Sun. “And what determines the daughter who goes out, gets drunk, passes out and is with strangers in her room and the daughter that goes out, stays halfway sober and comes home, I don’t know. I wish I knew. I wish I knew what the secret of parenting is. But there is a point of responsibility. The real issues nowadays and increasingly is the question of the personal responsibility that young girls are taking for their own safety.”
Hook and Newstalk apologized for his comments, with Newstalk tweeting an apology Sept. 9. The apology was also posted on Newstalk’s website. Newstalk’s managing editor Patricia Monahan called his comments “totally wrong and inappropriate.” Likewise, Hook said his comments were “unacceptable.” iMediaEthics has contacted Newstalk to ask if the apology will be on air and if there is any disciplinary action for Hook.
Read tweets critical of Hook’s comments below. We’ve e-mailed Hook to ask what went wrong with his comments and if he will apologize on air.
The full statement, published on Newstalk’s website, reads:
Newstalk has today issued an unreserved apology for George Hook’s comments about rape on the station yesterday.
“Managing Editor, Patricia Monahan said today that comments made were ‘totally wrong and inappropriate and should never have been made.’
“George Hook has apologised for his comments. He said:
“‘I wish to apologise unreservedly for comments I made about rape on my radio programme on Newstalk yesterday.
“‘It was unacceptable to suggest in any way that blame could be attributed to victims of rape.
“‘I apologise for the comments which caused hurt and offence, and for this I am truly sorry.'”
One of the show’s sponsors, Clayton Hotels, criticized Hook’s remarks, the Irish Independent reported. Clayton Hotels parent company Dalata’s CEO Pat McCann is quoted as telling the Sunday Business Post that the comments were “totally unacceptable” and would factor into “whether we will continue to sponsor the programme.”
McCann told iMediaEthics by e-mail yesterday, ” I can also confirm that we will attempt to cancel the contract from tomorrow. If it is possible then that is what will happen.”
This isn’t Hook’s first controversial commentary on rape, the Times of Ireland reported. In 2015, he said of a case where a woman was raped by her boyfriend, “You are sharing a bed with somebody, sexual congress takes place on a regular basis because you are living with somebody. Is there not an implied consent therefore that you consent to sexual congress?”