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Irish comedians call for change in the industry – as sexual misconduct claims come to light

Multiple claims were made on social media

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Irish comedians have called for change in the industry, after multiple sexual misconduct allegations came to light on social media this week.

In statements posted on Twitter on Friday night, an unnamed entertainer was accused of sending unsolicited photos of his genitals, and being emotionally abusive and manipulative.

An up-and-coming Irish comedian, using the Twitter handle @karolinecelly, began the conversation by sharing a thread about her experience.

She claimed that a comedian “emotionally abused” her, and repeatedly sent her unsolicited photos/videos of women performing sexual acts on him.

She did not name the individual in any of her tweets, and she has since made her account private.

After her tweets started circulating on social media last night – well-known Irish comedian Davey Reilly released a statement of his own on Twitter.

The comic said he was “remorseful” and “embarrassed” over his behaviour in the past, but didn’t state exactly what he was apologising for, nor did he reference the tweet he was alluding to.

He wrote: “This tweet is about me.”

“Every day I regret my actions. Embarrassed and remorseful for the pain caused. For the past number of months I have been receiving addiction therapy and attending online meetings to address my behaviours. Far too late, I know.”

Irish comedian Davey Reilly

“Convinced myself that I’m not a malicious dude so how I was acting couldn’t be malicious. To justify it to myself. Held others accountable but not myself.”

“Manipulation, hypocrisy, and cowardice, reckless disregard for the health of others. Behaviours I saw in peers that I was vocally critical of, but ignoring in myself. Regretted every day.”

He added: “I would love to say I didn’t intend to hurt anyone, but I did hurt them so ultimately those intentions were/are a part of me. It’s no way to treat anyone at all. I’m sorry.”

Goss.ie has reached out to David for comment and clarification regarding his apology.

Although David did not specify what his statement was in relation to, YouTube channel TRY later released a statement on their page, saying he would no longer appear on their channel.

David also lists RTÉ and BBC as previous employers.

Following the tweets, a number of Irish comedians have called for change in the industry – including former Republic of Telly host Kevin McGahern and RTÉ star Alison Spittle.

Alison Spittle and Kevin McGahern | Brian McEvoy

Kevin tweeted: “Irish Comedy needs an enema. If you’re running a show and have abused your position, step down before you’re pushed.”

“I’m ashamed to be part of an industry that treats women so shitty and I hope this is a chance for us to rebuild something better.”

Meanwhile, Alison tweeted: “Irish comedy needs a purge, lads. I stand behind anyone that’s telling their story. I’m so sorry you’ve been let down. It’s a disgrace.”

Since allegations came to light on Twitter, many other women have started sharing stories of abuse within the Irish comedy scene – sparking a wider conversation about the culture within the industry.

#IrishComedyAbusers began to trend on the social media network, as more shared their own experiences.

“A ‘comedian’ in the Irish comedy scene took advantage of me while I was drinking, subsequently made my life hell in my first writing job and poisoned the well for me being rehired,” one Twitter user wrote.

“Seeing tweets RE misogyny in Irish comedy,” another wrote.

“At an open mic gig when I was 16, a well-known comedian in his 30s kept asking one of my pals for sex. I reminded the group of our age and the other well-known comedians thought it was gas. One of them had jokes about it at the next gig!”

Soon after, more stars of the Irish comedy scene came out to support the multiple women sharing their stories online.

Fiona Frawley wrote on Twitter: “The Irish comedy scene needs to be burnt to the ground and built back up again without the threat of abuse lurking in quite literally every corner. I believe you all. I’m so sorry.”

In light of the allegations, comedian Shane Clifford wrote: “Says a lot about how genuinely grim the Irish comedy scene is when women even have to be careful around the ‘nice’ guys in so called safe spaces. Peace and love to everyone.”

Fellow comic Laura O’Mahony also tweeted: “To all who have suffered abuse and all those that are speaking out about the Irish comedy circuit. I see you. I hear you. I believe you. I am an ally and a friend here to help get those powerful voices heard. Silence no more. Enough is enough.”

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