RTÉ’s Emer O’Neill has been subjected to non-stop online abuse since being deployed by Tommy Tiernan

RTÉ presenter Emer O’Neill has said she received thousands of “triggering and traumatic” messages from trolls after speaking out against Tommy Tiernan over a stereotypical joke on one of his shows.

The Bray native left the Vicar Street gig shortly after the comedian shared the offensive joke on stage, later writing online: “A night meant to be fun and filled with laughter turned sour with a joke way too close on the bone”.

Taking to Instagram on Thursday, she revealed that a “horrific torrent of hate speech and threats” flooded her inbox after she called Tommy.


Tommy Tiernan got a lesson from Patrick Kielty

Speaking to the Sunday World, Emer said she “can’t believe the hate she was receiving” but admitted she was “not shocked” by the volume of messages as it wasn’t the first time she had experience something like that.

“I’ve posted a few of the thousands of comments that exist on my Instagram. There are probably around 6,000 comments across different social media and 90 percent of them are things like “Go back to Africa”.

“It came from real accounts run by real people. These are the mums and dads who stand next to you when you play soccer with your kids… These are your family members, these are even people from my town who I know personally and who wrote to me directly.

“The commentary is about leaving Ireland to the Irish and that Africans should go back to Africa and that more black jokes are needed because they are hilarious.

“It was very upsetting and traumatic for people in my community to see this because it really showed how ingrained racism is in our society.

“You talk to people who were born and raised here or who have emigrated here and who call Ireland home. You’d think we’d be proud that people want to live here and call themselves Irish.

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“I am one of the proudest Irishmen you will ever meet. I love our language, my children go to Gaelscoils and it is very important to me that they speak fluently, I love the bodhrán and the tin whistle, I have loved going to fleadhs with my mum and at trad sessions in the to join the pub.”

Tommy has since reached out to Emer to apologize for the joke, which the TV presenter said she was “so grateful for”.

On Friday, Tommy’s reps issued a statement addressing the standup routine that was read aloud on Today with Claire Byrne.

“On Friday, January 6th, Tommy told a joke on stage as part of his stand-up routine,” it said.

“As soon as he received a complaint, he spoke to that viewer to understand what he had done wrong.

“He immediately removed the joke from the set and apologized both personally by phone and email and publicly, addressing it on stage the following night and every night since he repeated his apology.

“Tommy does not condone any negative online comments this viewer has received, certainly not in his defense.”

Emer said the Navan funnyman could take it a step further by not only apologizing to her but also to “the people of Ireland”.

“I’m not going to take that away from him at all because I appreciate that he reached out to me. I think it speaks volumes about the kind of person he is,” she said of the email and phone call she received from him.

“But I definitely told him that a public statement from him would be so powerful for our community.

“I appreciate that he apologized to me. But what about the people of Ireland, our allies and people from the ethnic minority community?

“I think they deserve some kind of recognition because I wasn’t the only one who suffered the consequences of that because a lot of the rhetoric has changed from being a personal attack against me for standing up for what I believe in an attack on our entire community”.

Emer added that she “will not stop” challenging racism in Irish society because she wants to see change for her children.

“My son is growing up going through the same things as me, the same traumas. It’s one of the main reasons I do what I do.

“I want him to be treated the same as everyone else. I want him to be able to live his life without having to constantly wonder where he’s really from or hear the N-word almost everywhere he goes and have the same opportunities as any other Irishman.

“And that’s why, as allies and people in our community, we won’t stop speaking out, no matter how tired some people are of hearing about it,” she added.

https://www.independent.ie/style/celebrity/celebrity-news/rtes-emer-oneill-subjected-to-nonstop-online-abuse-since-tommy-tiernan-callout-42308492.html RTÉ’s Emer O’Neill has been subjected to non-stop online abuse since being deployed by Tommy Tiernan

Fry Electronics Team

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