Sexism storm | 

2 Johnnies apologise for 'offensive' comments as TD calls for RTE to address controversy

“We would like to apologise for content which appeared on our social media"

The 2 Johnnies

Clodagh Meaney

The 2 Johnnies, John O’Brien and John McMahon, have apologised for “offensive” comments in a promotion for their new 2FM drivetime show.

In the promotional video for their new RTE show the pair discuss “funny” car stickers on their podcast The 2 Johnnies.

RTÉ’s 2FM is clearly referenced in the video and in social media posts to promote the RTÉ show as it said: “‘Drive It’ with The 2 Johnnies Monday-Friday 3pm-6pm RTÉ 2FM.”

During the conversation, the pair John O’Brien and John McMahon read out innuendo laden phrases such as: “Workin’ the land and droppin* the hand”; “Tyres are like women, no good unless they are squealing” and “Hocus Pocus, I got your girl in my Focus”.

Taking to Twitter, the pair issued an apology and said their offensive conversation should never had been published.

“We would like to apologise for content which appeared on our social media, these posts were offensive and never should have been published.”

“This is not who we are nor what we stand for. We aim to do better in the future, we are not perfect and we are learning all the time.”

The apology note was signed “John O’Brien and John McMahon.”

The comedy duo were criticised for the sexist content with TD Holly Cairns saying that it was “bizarre” to see “two prominent podcasters, and 2FM broadcasters, promote a segment on their podcast in which they read virulently sexist slogans while laughing uproariously.”

Sexist comments, in which women are objectified and demeaned, are incredibly insidious and contribute to a toxic culture in which women feel unsafe," she said.

"Dressing these remarks up as banter or jokes does nothing to dull their damaging impact.”

“The 2 Johnnies may feel it is hilarious to refer to women as a 'sl*t' on their show, but women and girls routinely experience that word being roared at them in the street or directed at them on social media platforms – and it is not particularly funny when it happens.”

“Presenters on RTE should be calling out comments like these – not laughing along with them and certainly not promoting them.”

Meanwhile, Fine Gael TD Ciaran Cannon has called for RTE to address “sexist and demeaning comments.”

“The use of language that is deeply derogatory and demeaning of women cannot be tolerated by our national broadcaster,” Deputy Ciaran Cannon said.

“Our licence fee cannot be used to fund an undermining of our ambition to make Ireland a more equal and safer place for women.”

“Negative attitudes towards women are wired into our brains early in life, and a station that targets young people should be aware of this and act accordingly,” he continued, adding: “The ‘2 Johnnies’ have a huge following across the country, with a particularly significant influence on young men.”

“Their comments directed at women were demeaning and lacking in basic respect. They objectified women’s bodies, with absolutely no regard as to their personhood.”

“We need answers and reassurance that this kind of material will not be broadcast or endorsed,” he continued.

“When we talk about calling out toxic masculinity, we must consider it in every context. Men in particular must stand up and call it out, even if doing so proves unpopular,” he concluded.

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