One week after airing, the RTÉ Editorial Standards Board found that the sketch about God has caused "undue offence" to some viewers.
Waterford Whispers and newscaster Aengus MacGrianna joined forces to cause uproar amongst some RTÉ viewers during the mock New Year's Eve special broadcast.
In the sketch (which you can see below), MacGrianna reports that a man pictured in all white - God - is the latest public figure to be caught up in a sexual harassment case. He's seen causing an awful ruckus for one sole Garda trying to apprehend him outside of court.
Naturally, there were a number of complaints lodged against RTÉ, totalling some 3,500 emails and 1,250 calls according to the broadcaster.
RTÉ has this afternoon released a statement confirming their actions in light of the broadcast, and the complaints received. Citing that the satire "did not comply with RTÉ's own standards, and broader regulations", the RTÉ Editorial Standards Board has agreed that the Waterford Whispers sketch was wrong for regarding "due respect" for religious beliefs.
They also found that the sketch was in breach of Broadcasting Act 2009 and the BAI Code of Programme Standards in relation to material that causes "undue offence".
The result is that RTÉ will be removing the New Year's Eve programme from the RTÉ Player. They will also release a public statement and apology acknowledging their mistake with viewers who complained.
Dee Forbes, the Director General of RTÉ said today: "We accept the findings of the Editorial Standards Board that this sketch was not compliant with our own guidelines or with our obligations under the relevant codes. On behalf of RTÉ, I fully apologise for that. We will now review the processes involved and engage constructively with the BAI."
Just in case you missed it the Waterford Whispers sketch the first time around, here it is.
RTÉ Waterford Whispers God Video pic.twitter.com/wWjgOZFNG2
— [Dave Leahy] (@daveleahy) January 2, 2021