RTÉ offered an apology over a sketch broadcast during its New Year's Eve programme, after several religious leaders decried it as blasphemous.
The sketch, which was produced by satirical news outlet Waterford Whispers, showed former RTÉ news anchor Aengus MacGrianna delivering a report that showed God being arrested for "forcing himself on a Middle Eastern migrant and impregnating her against her will", describing him as "the latest figure to be implicated in ongoing sexual harassment scandals."
The sketch included a scene of God - in trademark white robes and beard, no less - being led away in handcuffs, calling out that "it was 2,000 years ago!" to cameras. The sketch also included a line about Harvey Weinstein requesting a re-trial in Ireland for his own convictions of rape and sexual assault in light of God receiving a two-year sentence with the remaining 24 months suspended.
The Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, Eamon Martin, called on RTÉ in a series of tweets on New Year's Day to remove the clip from circulation, describing it as "outrageous", "blasphemous", and "deeply offensive."
In a news item on RTÉ's own website, they confirmed that they have so far received 1,110 complaints about the sketch. The statement also added that "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. The formal complaints received by RTÉ are being entered into our complaints system and will be responded to in accordance with the relevant statutory process."
Here's a clip from the show featuring the joke in question. The show is still available on RTÉ Player also.
RTÉ Waterford Whispers God Video pic.twitter.com/wWjgOZFNG2
— [Dave Leahy] (@daveleahy) January 2, 2021