Keith Walsh has defended Jennifer Zamparelli, after she received major criticism for planning an “open discussion” on face masks on her RTÉ 2FM show.
On Monday, Jennifer said she would be discussing wearing face coverings during Tuesday’s show – asking those who are refusing to wear masks during the coronavirus pandemic to get in touch.
However, inviting anti-maskers onto the programme caused uproar on social media, as many believe they shouldn’t be given a platform – given that mask wearing is mandatory, and has been proven to slow the spread of the deadly virus.
Now, Jennifer’s former co-presenter Keith has jumped to her defence – telling The Herald: “I don’t think there’s any harm in having a discussion on it.”
“Are we that afraid of having a discussion and letting someone come on air and having someone say, ‘I don’t think we should wear a mask because it’s going to give you lung cancer?’
“We can then look up the facts ourselves and ask the doctor or listen to Jim Bob on the radio or you can listen to the health experts.
“We have to be able to talk about things. If I’m on Twitter, I don’t not follow people because they don’t say the same things as me.”
After receiving backlash online, Jennifer decided to scrap the planned segment on Tuesday morning, and the radio host said she understood why people were so “angry and upset”.
The Irish Mirror has since reported that RTÉ received 28 complaints about the planned segment, and one person complained about it not going ahead.
An RTÉ spokesperson confirmed: “RTÉ, through the Information Office, was contacted by 28 members of the public who were unhappy with the proposed item.”
“1 member of the public was unhappy that the item did not go ahead.”
Meanwhile Keith announced on Monday that he would be leaving 2FM after seven years, previously presenting early morning programme Breakfast Republic with Bernard O’Shea and Jennifer – before taking over the 5pm-7pm slot on Saturday’s and Sunday’s.
“So long 2fm, it’s been a blast,” he wrote on Twitter, “We had 7 great years together and I enjoyed every last one.”
“In that time, I did a bit of radio, completed 2 marathons, travelled to Kenya, Palestine and Malawi, made a few TV shows, did a bit of acting and wrote a play.
“But it’s time for me to take a leap of faith, time to see what else is out there,” he continued.
— Keithy (@KeithyWalsh) September 14, 2020
“Big shout out, radio style, to all of my 2fm colleagues and friends, you are great people and you are doing great work.
“Special shout out to Jennifer, Bernard and Lottie [Ryan], we’ll meet again. As for me, keep an eye out for my podcast, book, documentary and please come to my play, details of all to be announced very soon.
“Thanks for listening and thanks for your support, you have given me a platform and I can’t wait to use it. So long and thanks for all the fish.
“‘I trust the next chapter, because I know the author’”, he quoted.
On this week’s episode of Goss Chats, Goss.ie CEO Ali Ryan chats with award-winning makeup artist and MRS Glam creator, Michelle Regazolli Stone.
The celebrity MUA opens up about the ups and downs of living through the pandemic, and how her makeup range saved her.
#GossChats is sponsored by top Irish aesthetic clinic Haus of JeJuve.
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On this week’s episode of #GossChats @itsalirose chats with award-winning makeup artist and @mrsglambymichelle creator @mrsmakeup_ie The celebrity MUA opens up about the ups and downs of living through the pandemic and how her makeup range saved her. #GossChats is sponsored by @haus_of_jejuve