DCU students are echoing the calls of minority advocacy groups around Ireland for RTÉ to scrap its new comedy programme ‘The Centre’ due to its offensive humour.
Over 500 people have now signed an online petition requesting that the show be taken off air.
The sitcom is in its first season and follows the lives of workers in a fictional Dublin community centre. It has been criticised for making fun of the travelling and transsexual communities in particular.
“I understand that comedy makes fun of different groups of people,” said DCU LGBTA Trans* Officer Shannon O’Hara.
“But there is a difference between joking and making fun of a person… making fun of someone can have a lasting impact on them,” she said.
“I think that the media has a massive role to play in people’s perceptions of the trans* community,” O’Hara continued, highlighting how “shows like ‘The Centre’ only further reinforce the completely wrong, stereotypical view that Irish society has of trans* people.”
RTÉ released a statement after receiving 24 complaints relating to The Centre’s transgender character, saying she is “accepted unreservedly” and “while comical, is actually a positive LGBT character”.
Incoming Trinity College Dublin LGBTA Officer Damien McClean is waiting on a response to an open letter of complaint he sent to RTE about the programme.
“RTE has not only a corporate responsibility, but as the national broadcaster, it has a responsibility to uphold the values of the Irish population,” McClean told The College View. “RTE has not followed through on this.
“The Queer community do not want special treatment: we want equal treatment.”
Advocacy group for the travelling community in Ireland, Pavee Point, also expressed their concerns to The College View.
The Centre “makes too many targets out of too many groups that we should be inherently trying to protect as opposed to just making a mockery of”, a spokesperson for the organisation said.
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