Comedian Des Bishop has apologised for making ‘negative’ comments about the Traveller community, saying he “clearly had a blind spot” to his own prejudice.
In an interview with presenters Jim Norton and Sam Robers on SiriusXM in the US in 2018, he spoke about the Traveller community, saying “inbreeding” is a big problem and how they often get “violent when drunk”.
Des Bishop also poked fun at a description of them being “poor”, said they “are all on social welfare” and spoke about how domestic abuse is rife within the community.
The comedian added that they are “good at selling antiques” but that it’s questionable “how they come about getting them”.
In the interview Des Bishop also described the community as “rough” and “paranoid” but at a later point says he “always sticks up for” Travellers because they are “hated” by the Irish.
He called this hatred “irrational” and “classic racism”.
The two-year-old interview has come to light after Traveller comedian Martin Beanz Ward has asked Mr Bishop to apologise for the remarks.
Bernard Joyce, director of the Irish Traveller Movement, deemed his comments “shocking, degrading and racist”.
Taking to Twitter on Wednesday afternoon, Mr Des Bishop apologised for the remarks: “I am writing this to apologise to the Traveller community for comments I made on a radio show in the US a couple of years ago.
“I especially apologise to the community in Tuam who were so welcoming to me 15 years ago when we were filming Joy in the Hood. The experience was so positive for me which I am sure makes it even more hurtful for them to hear such negative comments about their community uttered by someone who they treated so well.