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06th Dec 2017

Gabriel Byrne tells of ‘sex pests’ working in RTE in the 1970s

'There are still a few people walking around the place.'

Jade Hayden

gabriel byrne

Gabriel Byrne has spoken out about “sex pests” who he says worked in RTE in the 1970s.

The actor said that a climate of “abject sexism” existed at the national broadcaster during his time there and claimed that some of those involved are still “walking around the place.”

Byrne also said that his then-girlfriend experienced sexual harassment from two RTE producers who “made her life an absolute misery.”

Speaking on RTE Radio 1’s Today With Sean O’Rourke, he said:

“The climate of abject sexism there was absolutely ridiculous, and there are still a few people walking around the place. I don’t know what you’d call them – sex pests?

“People just kind of laughed, saying ‘There he is doing his thing again.’ One of those guys made her life an absolute misery through his sexual improprieties.

“Nobody thought ’Oh My God’ or that this was really appalling behaviour. It was just the climate that it was at the time. Nobody questioned it.”

Byrne also said that reporting the behaviour was “never an option” and that his girlfriend had to laugh it off.

According to him, not all men working for the broadcaster were guilty of sexual harassment, but “a percentage” were.

“Your job as a woman, if you were lucky enough to get in there, was avoiding these people who took it as their right to say ’I’m entitled to you.’”

Byrne also spoke candidly about his time working with disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

The Into The West star told O’Rourke that he had heard rumours about Weinstein’s behaviour but that he didn’t know what to do with the information.

“It is a very difficult thing for a rumour to land in your presence. What do you do with a rumour? If you pass it on and it is not true then you’re contributing to something that defames the person.

“If it is true and something did happen then it is not your job to call out the person because you weren’t there. You have to wait for the person themselves to be courageous enough to do that.”

The actor added that he and most people he knew were aware that Weinstein was “a sleazebag.”

Byrne went on to speak about a time during filming for The Usual Suspects where “something inappropriately sexual” occurred concerning fellow star Kevin Spacey.

He said that he does not consider Spacey to be a friend of his.