CONTROVERSIAL Irish broadcaster George Hook made a ‘Heil Hitler’ salute on a live BBC programme after comparing cyclists to the Nazis.
Hook, who was suspended from Newstalk in September following comments about a rape case in Britain, gave the salute during a debate on BBC Northern Ireland’s Nolan Live.
The 76-year-old was on the show to discuss the behaviour of cyclists on the roads after a report by bike charity Sustrans revealed considerable support for more dedicated cycling lanes in Belfast.
The audience were left in hysterics when Hook accused all cyclists of wearing "Brown shirts” and singing "the Horst Wessel song".
He repeated the word “cult” a number of times and said that cyclists “have a sign”, before giving a Nazi salute.
The Corkonian quipped: “Cyclists want the road, the cycle lane and the pavement, yet they make no contribution whatsoever to their benefit.
The comment was made in response to hate speech against a member of the audience - that was totally lost in a four minute segment
— George Hook (@ghook) November 16, 2017
"I'm now in constant terror that a cyclist will come whizzing along a footpath and knock me down.
“In every urban area in Ireland, cyclists are travelling at twice the speed of a motor car.”
Hook added that the average speed of a car in Ireland is 15kph and claimed cyclists "break every known law of the road".
I understand that he was critiquing cyclists (as usual) but taking the hand gesture out of context is unfair ...
— Tom Keith (@Munster_Tom) November 17, 2017
He also agreed when he was asked whether he thinks "all the crime on the roads is committed by cyclists."
Author and broadcaster Malachi O’Doherty was steadfast in his defence of cyclists.
O'Doherty said that roads were for everyone, and that cyclists were not part of a “uniformed cult”.
The sooner you're permanently out of the public eye/ear the better. You've already done enough damage.
— inkling (@inkling_ie) November 16, 2017
One of the show's producers who was in the audience was then introduced to speak about a Twitter bust-up she was involved in during the summer.
The BBC's Yvette Shapiro tweeted: "Driving anywhere on a summer Sunday is a pain. Roads clogged with lycra warriors pursuing their hobby on everybody else's time."
A number of cycling Twitter users took her to task for the tweet, and she told the audience that her "fairly innocuous" comment “unleashed 48 hours of the most extreme trolling and abuse."