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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Katie Gallagher

RTE’s newest recruits The 2 Johnnies forced to issue apology after being blasted for 'sexist' content

RTE’s newest recruits ‘The 2 Johnnies’ have apologised after they were accused of airing ‘sexist and insulting comments’ in their podcast, and clips used to promote their new 2fm radio show.

The video clips in question were snippets from their latest podcast on Spotify, titled ‘Hocus Pocus, Your Girl’s In My Focus’, where the duo, known as Johnny Smacks and Johnny B, discuss a number of crude references about women on car bumper stickers.

In a segment they called ‘Irish Car Stickers’, the Tipperary natives - real names Johnny McMahon, 30, and Johnny O’Brien, 35, - read out some of the sticker slogans sent in by listeners, such as: “Workin’ the land and droppin’ the hand #Keephercountry”.

The 2 Johnnies (RTE)

Others included: “Tyres are like women, no good unless they are squealing” and “She’s not a princess, she’s a sl*t.”

Reacting to some of the slogan's they were sent in, the duo said: "Jesus, I don't know who gets that and thinks it is a good idea. Scandalous."

Following backlash over the segment, the comedy duo have issued an apology.

In a statement, they said: "We would like to apologise for the content which appeared on our social media, these posts were offensive and should never 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. John O’Brien and John McMahon"

It comes after number of TD’s have condemned the clips, which were used on social media to promote their new RTE 2fm drivetime show which launched on Monday, and have called for the national broadcaster to address the matter.

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

“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.

“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.”

The comments come after Social Democrats TD Holly Cairns said RTÉ presenters should be calling out sexist comments “not laughing along with them and certainly not promoting them”.

The controversy comes just days after the podcasters turned presenters kicked off their new drivetime show on 2FM on Monday.

The segment clips came from their award winning podcast on Spotify, which is separate from their new RTÉ show ‘Drive It with The 2 Johnnies’.

However, as the pair had been promoting their new radio gig through the clips shared on social media just hours before they took to the mic for the first time, Deputy Cannon is calling on their bosses within the national broadcaster to address the comments.

The member of the Oireachtas Committee on Gender Equality and the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Tourism, Culture, Arts, Sport and Media, said: “The video was used to promote their new drivetime RTÉ show, and while it has been deleted, there has been no acknowledgement of fault or reason given for its removal.

“At a time when we are having a national conversation about toxic masculinity and standing up for women and girls, often on RTÉ programmes, this raises many questions. Was the video compliant with the principles of RTÉ 2FM? What is the station’s opinion on the language used by the men?

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

“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,” concluded Deputy Cannon.

All traces of the short clips in question have been removed from social media, however the full conversation can be heard on their latest podcast.

Announcing the news of their appointment earlier this month, Head of 2FM Dan Healy said the pair were hired on the back of their podcast success.

“We have been listening to the 2 Johnnies for the last number of years and 2FM is thrilled to welcome them to the station.

“The lads have incredible chemistry and content. I believe the 2FM audience will love them.

The pair will have a special studio made for them to broadcast from their home county in the coming weeks.

Dan added: "2FM is moving house for evening drive and we are off to Cahir!

“So with the show coming daily from South Tipp, it really proves that 2FM is 'The Sound of The Nation'.”

The duo were absent from their radio show on Thursday evening.

In a statement, RTÉ said that the matter is under review.

RTÉ said: "RTÉ believes in dignity and respect and does not tolerate material or attitudes of this nature.

"The 2 Johnnies will not be on air today while we review the matter."

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