'context' Ex-2FM DJ Keith Walsh defends The 2 Johnnies amid accusations of sexism
The new drivetime presenters did not appear on their show on Thursday following backlash
Ex-2FM DJ Keith Walsh has defended The 2 Johnnies amid accusations of sexism and insulting women.
John O’Brien and John McMahon, known by their stage name The 2 Johnnies were called out by TD Holly Cairns for their “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 former DJ who was fired from the station he previously branded as "toxic" said:
"I’ll probably not be doing myself any favours here, and it’s not like I need to be sticking up for 2FM, and I don’t even know the 2 lads. But. It’s all about context. Here’s what actually happened.”
"The lads were reading out ‘Dreadful’ car stickers that ‘boy/girl racers’.”
"They were themselves using words like ‘scandalous’ and yes they were laughing but at how bad these stickers were and ‘why would you put them on your car?’ The word ‘sl*t’ was on a car sticker that a girl called Jane had put on her own car about herself - which they clearly state and are surprised about.”
Walsh went on to say that while the comments were not “good” context could change things.
"These stickers shouldn’t exist, people shouldn’t put them on their car. I’d be fairly sure the lads won’t be giving this stuff any airtime in the future,” he explained.
"But if we’re to have a proper conversation about casual sexism and misogyny, then let’s have the conversation.”
“Let it not be about cancelling people. Let’s hear them talk, apologise and then do better,” he said, adding: “that’s the healthy approach in my humble opinion. Men need to do better. Let’s see if we can."
1/3 I’ll probably not be doing myself any favours here, and it’s not like I need to be sticking up for @RTE2fm and I don’t even know the 2 lads. But. It’s all about context. Here’s what actually happened. The lads were reading out ‘Dreadful’ car stickers that ‘boy/girl racers’.— Keith Walsh (@KeithyWalsh) February 25, 2022
Taking to Twitter on Thursday, 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.”
The pair were absent from their drivetime show on Thursday while RTE review the matter.
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