RTE have issued a full apology to a Wicklow man shown on the Nine O’Clock News walking past a protest being held by Gay rights group LGBT Noize,
writes Gerry McBride.
Yesterdays march was held in protest of what the group described as the silencing of the debate about homophobia on RTE, rising from an incident on the Saturday Night Show in which Rory O’Neill (aka Panti Bliss) made complaints against several public figures.
The march attracted some 2,000 supporters and passed off without incident, until coverage of the protest containing footage of married father of two John Cunningford aired on the evening news.
“I was in Dublin yesterday buying a new hat”, the 43 year old lorry driver told The Potato. “I parked in the Stephens Green carpark and walked out into this scrum of gays protesting about something or other. I passed no remarks and headed on to Grafton Street minding my own business.”
“I get home last night and sat down to watch the Nine O’Clock news, and what do I see? In their footage of the gay march, there’s me walking through the background. It looks like I was standing up for Gay rights, when I was at no such thing! I’m a married man with kids, but this makes me look like I’m a homo. I was straight on the phone to RTE, demanding an apology”.
Following Mr. Cunningfords threat of legal action, the national broadcaster quickly issued the following statement;
“We at RTE would like to apologise for any distress caused to a Mr. John Cunningford, rising from the broadcast of the Nine O’Clock news on Sunday the 2nd of February. During a feature on the LGBT Protest held in Dublin yesterday, we broadcast a clip of Mr. Cunningford as he walked by in the background. We understand the implications this may have had for Mr. Cunningford, and would like to offer our sincerest apologies”
Although neither party would confirm it, it is believed that a substantial settlement was reached to compensate for damages to Mr. Cunningfords image.