‘Slim to no chance’ of come­back for Hook

Talks set to fo­cus on pay-off

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - - News - Ni­amh Horan

GE­ORGE Hook is un­likely to re­turn to his show on New­stalk and his ca­reer at the ra­dio sta­tion is now ef­fec­tively over.

Sources at the sta­tion yes­ter­day dis­closed that lawyers were de­ter­min­ing whether Mr Hook had breached his con­tract by his con­tro­ver­sial ‘rape case’ broad­cast.

Mr Hook (76), who has also en­gaged lawyers, is un­der­stood to be­lieve he was not in breach of con­tract and ne­go­ti­a­tions are now ex­pected to turn to his pay-off this week.

A New­stalk source said: “The hard­est thing is to get some­body off the air. That has been done. Ge­orge Hook is off the air.

“Once they are off, the hard­est thing for them is to get back on air. The chances of Ge­orge Hook re­turn­ing to the air at New­stalk are now slim to none.”

Sta­tion in­sid­ers said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion was ex­pected to reach a con­clu­sion early this week.

Mean­while, there is con­cern among New­stalk staff that if the mat­ter is not re­solved sooner rather than later, col­lat­eral dam­age could be caused to other shows.

A source told the Sun­day In­de­pen­dent: “All week our in­boxes have been full of peo­ple say­ing ‘we re­ally like your show but we can’t lis­ten to New­stalk any more af­ter what has hap­pened’.

“Staff in here are ner­vous enough about their fu­ture and now with this back­lash and spon­sors pulling out some of us feel that Ge­orge should do the de­cent thing and just go.”

New­stalk man­ag­ing ed­i­tor Pa­tri­cia Mon­a­han yes­ter­day rub­bished claims that there was sys­temic sex­ism at the sta­tion.

She said the idea that fe­male rep­re­sen­ta­tion failed to count if it is not heard on air was “in­sult­ing”.

The con­tro­versy over Mr Hook’s com­ments es­ca­lated with the with­drawal of ad­ver­tis­ers from his lunchtime show and the re­fusal by another New­stalk pre­sen­ter to go on air this week­end. Tesco con­firmed on Thurs­day evening that it had ceased ad­ver­tis­ing dur­ing Mr Hook’s lunchtime pro­gramme, High Noon.

Speak­ing at Fine Gael’s ‘think-in’ in Co Tip­per­ary on Fri­day, Taoiseach Leo Varad­kar said: “I strongly dis­agree with the com­ments that he made. No­body who is raped or sex­u­ally as­saulted is ever re­spon­si­ble for that in any way.

“So I to­tally dis­agree with and ab­hor the com­ments that he made.

“He has since then of course apol­o­gised, apol­o­gised pro­fusely and I think he does un­der­stand that what he said about this is­sue and on that oc­ca­sion also in the past is un­ac­cept­able.

“I think it’s in­dica­tive of at­ti­tudes that still ex­ist in Ir­ish so­ci­ety that need to change.”

Speak­ing dur­ing High Noon on Septem­ber 8, Mr Hook dis­cussed the case of a 19-year-old woman who al­leges that she was raped by a man af­ter hav­ing con­sen­sual sex with a dif­fer­ent man.

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