RTE’s Emer O’Neill leaves Tommy Tiernan gig after extremely racist joke

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The Tommy Tiernan show returned back to RTE this week with the Meath man interviewing Roy Keane on his show on Saturday evening, but one thing that is making headlines about the comedian is that RTE’s Emer O’Neill left one of Tommy Tiernan’s shows at Vicar Street at being offended by a racist joke.

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Speaking to RSVP this week the mother of two said the following;

“He starts the joke, and he starts talking about penguins looking like nuns with the rosary beads and I thought ‘nice one’ and I’m laughing.

“Then he talks about the wolves and their fierceness or their strength (reminding him of the Irish) – this is all paraphrasing because this just happened – and then he goes ‘then I went to the ‘African Savannah’ and my heart sank a little bit as soon as I heard the word ‘Africa’.

“I just thought ‘please don’t do this to me. I’m literally one of the only people of colour sitting here full of a room of white people’.

“And then came the savannah and taxi drivers. He acknowledged that the room was full of white people” and said that everyone is laughing so it mustn’t be a racist joke.”

“I was like a statue. I was processing what was said. When he said, ‘I’m here in a room full of white people’, I wanted to say ‘well hey, I’m not white’ but nothing came out.

“I wanted to stand up because what he said was not right. Not everybody who is African is a taxi driver. I have a degree in education.

“I wanted to leave but I was scared because I felt that if I stand up now after him saying ‘See you are all laughing, it’s not racist’ and I stand up, I already could hear two women beside me saying ‘oh look at her, she does not seem happy with that’ so I already knew that people had spotted me in a room.

“It was probably four minutes after he said it. By the time I stood up, people probably would’ve forgotten about it. But for me, I was not able to stand up in that moment because I was afraid that he would say something or that someone in the crowd might shout something. I’ve been in situations over the course of 37 years to know that that is generally what happens to me.

“I did not feel safe to stand up and walk out at that moment. I was also embarrassed because I felt so bad for my friends that their night was ruined over the potential that we were going to have to leave.”


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