George Hook has admitted that his broadcasting career “ended” after he made controversial comments about rape while live on air last September.
The broadcaster was infamously suspended by Newstalk in 2017, for comments he made during his High Noon show about a rape case.
Following his suspension, George returned to the airwaves with a new weekend show, but the former rugby pundit has since decided to retire from the station after 16 years.
Speaking to The Irish Sun about his decision, George explained: “It’s actually very simple. I’m 77. If any other 77-year-old said I’m retiring, then you wouldn’t think about it.”
“77 is a good age. One of the things I will say, and I’m hesitant to say it, but I’m actually in good shape. I’m in good shape mentally, I’m in good shape physically.
“Physically, fingers crossed, there’s nothing wrong with me apart from recovering from 40 years of playing rugby. I can live with arthritis, because the arthritis doesn’t prevent me from hitting a golf ball.
“I can write a speech and more importantly I can remember the speech. So I had to think about it and in a way, my career ended last September. That’s when my career ended as a five day a week broadcaster in a prime-time slot,” he confessed.
“I’d been there since day one, I’m one of the only survivors. I had never, in that period, not been the number one broadcaster.”
“So there I was in that position. Now it’s not the way I wanted it to end, but it ended. And I think Newstalk were very good to me. I don’t have any ill-will towards Newstalk.”
After serving his suspension and apologising for his comments, George said it was crucial for him to return to the airwaves to prove that not everyone hated him.
He said: “What it means, to me, which was very important, is when my career effectively ended, if you believed the newspapers, the entire population of Ireland hated me.
“It clearly would appear after nine months of radio that the entire population doesn’t hate me, and that people want to hear me! And I’ve proved that to myself, not to Newstalk, not to the Irish Sun newspaper or anyone else, I proved it to myself.”
“One of the things about September — September 9, 2017 — was the damaging effect on my family was far greater than it was on me,” he explained.
“To be honest, I’m big enough, ugly enough, old enough to take whatever they want to throw at me, and I can take it. But that wasn’t fair to my family. It wasn’t fair to them to be picking up the paper.”
He added: “My PR guy said to me, George they’re going to be looking to stuff for the Sunday (papers) . . go away for the weekend. So I came home to Ingrid and said, look why don’t we go away for the weekend. She says — typical German — ‘I’m not going to be driven out of my house! Let’s go to SuperValu and get stores for the siege.’”