Irish state broadcaster apologises after TV comedy show depicts God as rapist

'God' being escorted by police in a comedy skit.
'God' being escorted by police in a comedy skit. Photo credit: RTÉ

Ireland's state broadcaster has apologised after a TV comedy sketch depicting God as a rapist sparked outrage.

In a mock news report on RTÉ's New year's Eve Countdown Show, a newsreader describes God as being the latest prominent figure implicated in a sexual harassment scandal.

The newsreader said: "The five-billion-year-old stood accused of forcing himself on a young Middle Eastern migrant and allegedly impregnating her against her will, before being sentenced to two years in prison, with the last 24 months suspended."

The clip ended with a line that Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, who is serving a 23-year sentence in the US for rape and sexual assault, had "requested for a retrial in Ireland". 

The segment led to more than 1000 complaints to RTÉ and was condemned by Ireland's Catholic primate archbishop, Eamon Martin.

In a tweet, Martin said he was "shocked" that the programme's producer or editor "didn't realise how deeply offensive was a mocking 'news report' accusing God of rape & reporting his imprisonment".

"This outrageous clip should be removed immediately & denounced by all people of goodwill."

In a statement, RTÉ apologised to those who were offended.

"RTÉ recognises that matters which can cause offence naturally differ from person to person, within comedy and satire in particular. Having reviewed the feedback and complaints received up to this point, RTÉ wishes to apologise to those who were offended by the segment."

Despite calls for the broadcaster to remove the clip from the RTÉ Player, a warning will be attached to the footage instead, to advise viewers that the material may cause offence.

The 23-second comedy sketch was made by Waterford Whispers News, a satirical news website.

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