Graham Norton ‘furious’ at RTÉ 'homophobia pay-out'
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Graham Norton ‘furious’ at RTÉ 'homophobia pay-out'

GRAHAM Norton has slammed RTÉ’s decision to pay opponents of gay marriage an €85,000 settlement as “absolutely moronic”.

The Dublin-born television star’s comments came after the Iona Institute — a Catholic lobby group — and two leading Irish journalists threatened legal action after being described as homophobic on an episode of the Saturday Night Show.

Last week Norton told Irish music magazine Hot Press he was “furious” about the state broadcaster’s decision, adding that opponents to gay marriage were “out of touch” with new Ireland.

“I’m not registered to vote in Ireland but I do pay the licence fee there,” he said, adding:  “RTÉ settling wasn’t gutless, it was absolutely moronic.”

Last month, Irish impersonator Panti Bliss had named four members of the Iona Institute, along with two Irish newspaper columnists John Waters and Breda O’Brien, saying they were “horrible and mean about gays”.

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These parties claimed they had been defamed and threatened to sue the broadcaster.

Norton said he was disappointed that the journalists had decided to take legal action instead of examining why they might be accused of homophobia.

Although he said he has no desire to get married himself, Norton added: “I want to ask these people, ‘Why are you so scared and intimidated by the idea of gay marriage?’”

Norton has previously spoken about the difficulties he faced growing up gay in west Cork, and said that, having spent his summers there in recent years, he had found it “such a different place”.

“I pretty much spend my entire summer near to where I grew up in Bandon.

“It takes pride in accepting all types of people,” added Norton.

“There’s more than 40 shades of green.”

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RTÉ defended its decision to settle out of court.