Irish regulator rejects complaints about ‘haunted bread

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has rejected 11 complaints about a panellist on The Late Late Show referring to the Catholic Eucharist as ‘haunted bread’.

A member of comedy hip-hop duo The Rubberbandits made the remark during a discussion about faith, including the decline in traditional Catholic faith and practices in Ireland.

The BAI rejected the complaints that it caused harm and offence and found that it had not breached the principle of the Code of Programme Standards dealing with respect for persons and groups in society (Principle 5).

The BAI took into account that the segment aired at 11.20pm, well after the watershed, and that the comment was made in the context of a discussion about religion. The panellist was entitled to express his own views, and the BAI did not take the view that he intended to mock others.

It also considered that audiences would have been familiar with the comedic style of The Rubberbandits, with which the comment was in keeping. It took the view that while the remark was offensive to some, it was editorially justified and did not infringe the Code. However, the BAI noted that the presenter could have demonstrated greater sensitivity to the potential for offence when dealing with the comments. All complaints were rejected.