Katie Hopkins Late Late Show Open Letter

I just sent this to complaints@rte.ie:

I am writing to object in the strongest possible terms to Katie Hopkins’ upcoming appearance on the Late Late Show. RTÉ extracts a licence fee which provides both a financial buffer against having to race to the bottom and a civic obligation not to do so.

Hopkins incites hatred, against some of the most vulnerable people in society and those whose societies have been torn apart. I do not need to enumerate her many disgusting statements (referring to refugees as “cockroaches” etc.) because they are the very reason she has come to the attention of RTÉ and the Late Late Show researchers. Having Hopkins as a guest is utterly cynical. Everyone involved knows that she will provide no insight on any important issue. If I am wrong in my assertion please explain and I will publish the response on my blog.

I object, not because I am personally offended, but because she is not a serious journalist. She is paid to express offensive opinions and therefore has no incentive to even believe what she writes. As an opinion columnist she doesn’t seem to be obliged to do research to back up her statements. She stirs the basest of emotions: fear, anger and resentment and we are currently seeing where this leads in the USA.

The only thing setting her apart from faceless Twitter trolls is her platform on Rupert Murdoch’s media empire. The Sun incited hatred against Irish people when we were the terrorists du jour so I hope RTÉ can find other justifications for her inclusion.

I challenge Late Late producers and researchers to show the Irish people evidence of research or journalistic diligence in any of her writing. I am not seeking to hamper free speech but ask that the she be held to the same standards as other public figures discussing some of the most serious issues of our time. Her claims that refugees are ‘cockroaches’ and that “Gypsies are ferrel humans” are, by their nature, unprovable and therefore outside the realm of constructive discussion in the realm of hate speech.

There has been much talk of ‘balance’ on RTÉ in recent years. Please tell us the name of the guest who will be providing balance to Ms Hopkins tomorrow night. I could suggest an ISIS supporter who thinks all non-Muslims to be vermin – this opinion is just as valid as Hopkins’ appraisal of those fleeing ISIS. RTÉ could invite someone who has done research into the complex topic of the refugee crisis (an Amnesty International member perhaps) but your colleagues may not wish to bore their audience.

I think your audience  deserve better. RTÉ owe the public an explanation and illumination as to what this guest can contribute. What merit in her writing did Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein (UN high commissioner for human rights) miss when condemning her denigration of refugees?

The people of Ireland are also entitled to know how much Hopkins is being paid for her appearance.

Gavin Prior

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