Allowing Radio Cymru presenter back on the air leaves a sour taste in the mouth

Andrew ‘Tommo’ Thomas. Picture by Radio Cymru

 

Llinos Dafydd

I was surprised at the BBC’s announcement today that Radio Cymru’s Andrew ‘Tommo’ Thomas will be returning to presenting after only two weeks off the air.

According to Golwg 360 and Pink News, Tommo made off-colour comments about rape while presenting at the Gŵyl Nôl a Mla’n festival in Llangrannog, Ceredigion on the 8th of July.

Radio Cymru took him off air while a complaint by a member of the public over the over the alleged comments was investigated, and he was replaced by presenter Elen Pencwm.

Tommo has apparently “unreservedly apologised” to Gŵyl Nôl a Mla’n. But surely, it’s those his comments have offended who deserve an apology.

If Golwg 360’s report is accurate, that Tommo has only been off the air for two weeks suggests that Radio Cymru is not taking the offensive nature of his comments entirely seriously.

As a victim of rape, I know the physiological trauma that this crime can cause, which has stayed with me my entire life, and that it should not be taken lightly.

This is sadly not an uncommon crime. After I spoke up last year about my own rape at the age of 14 I was contacted by countless women who had been through a similar experience.

The one thing we all had in common was a feeling that rape wasn’t taken seriously as a problem, and that there was considerable stigma attached to the victim.

By reducing comments about rape to mere ‘banter’ we further normalise rape and turn it into a joke that isn’t to be taken seriously.

As a BBC presenter, Tommo needs to set an example for his listeners, and the BBC itself needs to make clear that it takes the issue seriously as well.

Taking a presenter off the air after a complaint is standard procedure and allowing Tommo to return after a mere two weeks suggests that Radio Cymru feels that the matter isn’t to be taken entirely seriously.

Elen Pencwm is doing an excellent job in his place and should have been allowed to continue for the time being.

I’ve been a fan of Tommo in the past but I certainly won’t be tuning in in the future.

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daffy2012
Guest

I’m sorry to hear of your ordeal.

Since you weren’t a witness to what was said or the context it was made, I think you should reserve your ‘judgement’.

Ceri Bethlem
Guest
Ceri Bethlem

Why should the author of this piece reserve judgement?
She has suffered rape herself, I couldn’t even imagine the pain she goes through every time someone makes light of such an incident.
Good on her for not cowering, and for stepping forward to show the other side of such “humour”.

Emyr
Guest
Emyr

I look forward to Welsh independence. It will mean that I will no longer have anything in common with people like you.

Gareth
Guest
Gareth

Wow!

woganjonesblog
Guest

An independent Wales will have all sorts of people in it I hope and, alas, it will not cure human nature. Tolerance, love and understanding will always be needed.

Emyr
Guest
Emyr

Indeed it will, but my desire for an independent state means that I unfortunately share an opinion with a [keep this civil – Ed] like daffy2012. I look forward to not have to have anything in common with him.

kim erswell
Guest
kim erswell

I’m glad, Tommo’s back. The reality is – in the non P.C world that most of us live in we – men often make off coloured remarks: That dosn’t make as misongynists, racist or rapists. It’s something that men say amongst others in private conversation- usually jokingly. What is sadder though is trial by, Twitter, public “often prejudiced” opinion, without right of the victim being allowed to make honest right of reply to their peers.

leigh richards
Guest

Not sure what kind of world you live in but speaking as a man i’ve never spoken ‘jokingly’ about rape – and i’ve never heard other men joke about rape either.

kim erswell
Guest
kim erswell

I’m surprised at that, Leigh. When I had the good fortune to work in, Pen-y-Groes, off coloured jokes seemed to be part ot the currency. I clearly remember people in the local pubs making jokes over, Jimmy Saville and former Welsh international, Ched Evans (later found innocent) amongst others – including sheep ones. Yet, I remeber no one condoning such disgusting acts by men who actually carry out such evil violation of our women folk or men.

Dafydd ap Gwilym
Guest

Well said, beat me to it and totally agree with you.

Dylan Llyr (@dylanllyr)
Guest

Um. If you tell crap rape jokes, then yes it does make you a misogynist. “It was a joke!” isn’t some bloody magical incantation.

Bethan
Guest
Bethan

It is never a joke. If you’re in company that thinks it is ok to have a laugh about it, please speak up instead of joining in. Make the world a better place.

MR C D EVANS
Guest
MR C D EVANS

If you look up the definition of misogynist, I’ll think you find it does.

Cain
Guest

Sorry, but what does “usually jokingly” mean???? Usually implies, a lot of the time, so some of these words among men you think is ok is actually not jokingly. So…men talk about how they’re going to rape people to other men in pubs? Is that what you’re saying?

Roberto
Guest
Roberto

Some very important points raised here. I agree that there is no place in public or private life for jokes about something that ruins lives. Personally I think the term unreserved apology includes everyone that may have been offended.

Dylan Llyr (@dylanllyr)
Guest

How wonderful that there are always men ready to charge in to tell women who have been raped that they’re wrong to complain about other men making light of rape. Christ alive.

Dafydd ap Gwilym
Guest

For some things, perhaps, an ‘unreserved apology’ may be considered enough, but that can only be considered and, possibly, accepted by that person or persons offended. Please do not try and normalise yet another evil!

flofflach
Guest
flofflach

a non PC world speaks to me of not caring, of being prepared to have a laugh at anothers expense, or of being unkind or just not concerned about the language used and the attitudes it might reveal, unwilling to understand that language offends and that some words have been used to oppress or insult. The thought that people are prepared to joke about rape or make homophobic remarks behind closed doors is not pleasant. Is Tommo the victim here? Probably not, as he has not declared he didn’t make offensive remarks. Perhaps a public apology for saying things that… Read more »

glasiad
Guest

I often enjoy listening to Tommo in the afternoon as he seems to exude a natural south-walian joie de vivre. So I was dismayed to learn he had been suspended from his show regarding a complaint made about some comment or joke he made. A search online reveals that he have may have made a comment or a joke about rape, or he may have made a comment or joke of some other sexual nature, or he have may have made a comment or a joke about homosexuals, or he have may have made a comment or a joke about… Read more »

Nic
Guest
Nic

Does it really damage anyone’s quality of life if they do NOT make jokes about rape, race, sexuality etc? Personally, I don’t think so. But the fact that it DOES ‘improve’ others’ lives if people refrain from making such jokes means we have 2 very good reasons to not make these kinds of jokes, even if you’re one of those for whom arguments about ‘appropriateness’ are not reason enough. If you can’t get through life and have a very good time without making light of rape then there’s something wrong perhaps?

Jonsi
Guest
Jonsi

Tommo shouldn’t be allowed back purely on the basis that he’s cr@p.

iantoddu
Guest

Does anyone know what he said? I can’t seem to find it anywhere.

Alwen
Guest
Alwen

Thanks for writing this article. Women shouldn’t have to share their personal and painful experiences of being raped to be taken seriously over matters like this. People in Welsh speaking communities are far too comfortable sweeping incidents that make others feel uncomfortable or marginalised under the carpet especially if that person is considered ‘important’.

Meg Browning
Guest
Meg Browning

Can somebody please inform us what was said! Otherwise nobody knows what to think of this. And I realise it means repeating something possibly very distasteful, but otherwise we really do all have to shut up. I am fervently against rape jokes and making light of anything so repugnant, but we are being asked to form an opinion based on other people’s opinions of what may or may not have been a misogynistic ‘joke’. We have a snowball of mere opinion which results in generalised attitudes to the specific incident, and I am not comfortable with that. People need to… Read more »

leigh richards
Guest
iantoddu
Guest

I agree, Meg Browning. Unfortunately, according to Golwg360, “mae BBC Cymru wedi gwrthod cadarnhau natur y gŵyn” (“BBC Wales has refused to confirm the nature of the complaint”), so it seems that no more information will be given about this unless someone who was there puts it out on social media. Which seems a bit odd. Depending on what you read, the Daily Mail (yuck!) said it was joking about terrorism, Pink News said Homophobia, and also rape, and Golwg360 says it was remarks of a sexual nature- and had heard confirmation that it was remarks about rape from people… Read more »

daffy2012
Guest

From what I understand, he didn’t stand ‘on stage’ and told a joke about rape. I read on twitter an account of someone who was there who said that there were some ‘idiots’ there and Tommo somehow reacted towards their idiocy. These idiots also apparently threw beer at over of the performers (by all accounts Yws Gwynedd) who was in the middle of a performance. But of course, all of this is hearsay. Pretty much like all the prejudiced outpourings here.

woganjonesblog
Guest

It seems we can’t really comment here unless we know what he said. Unless we know this is the only comment we can post.

daffy2012
Guest

What do you mean by ‘off-colour’ comments?

Also, are you driving this ‘witch-hunt’ Ifan? You talk of ‘professional journalists’. That’s surely one thing we have very little of in Wales. I for one certainly won’t be supporting nation.cymru if this is the type of article you are encouraging.

Rhiannon M Williams
Guest
Rhiannon M Williams

Diolch, Llinos, for your brave article.
I think that one of its strengths is highlighting that we need to educate people why ‘banter’ like this is not ok. The BBC need to set an example and discuss publicly what happened with Tommo instead of brushing it under the carpet. I for one would like to see/hear a documentary presented by Tommo looking at why he said what he did about rape, and what needs to happen in order for attitudes to change.

dafyddt
Guest
dafyddt

From the little information there is, it doesn’t sound like these comments were made from a ‘public’ platform. However Tommo is a public personality and that comes with certain responsibilities. Through his publically-funded radio show on the BBC he has a bigger voice than most people (and he trades on having a big mouth). If Tommo or his producers or the BBC had any common sense, he would have just issued a public apology for the public relation aspect alone, and this would have limited the speculation and negative reaction if not excused his behaviour. As Llinos has said elsewhere,… Read more »

Aled Jedley
Guest
Aled Jedley

The BBC has broadcast, many times, an episode of Family Guy in which the titular character and “family guy”, Peter Griffin, says this about the “benefits” of joining the US military, “the army’s great! You get to save money for college, there’s free food, and all the brown people you can rape!” Would all of the people outraged about what Tommo may or may not have said please extend their outrage to cover this actual, multiple transgression? By the way, the BBC no longer broadcast Family Guy – it’s now on ITV – so the “triggered” should contact the BBC… Read more »

Catrin
Guest
Catrin

I’m finding it deplorable that people think it’s ok for this man – a public figure to openly joke about rape Which he did! Ok – he obviously didn’t mean it with any ‘malice’ or at least i sincerely hope he didn’t, but c’mon! On stage, at an event with thousands of people…? His job is presenting on the BBC – a public corporation which we pay for. If it’s presenters can’t engage brain before speaking, well i’m afraid they must be in the wrong job. As for the brave young woman who’s put herself up for scrutiny by writing… Read more »

iantoddu
Guest

It’s deplorable for people to tell jokes about rape. It is particularly deplorable to do it in public. It’s deplorable for people to tell a rape victim that she doesn’t have a right to speak on such a matter (and completely nonsensical).

It is perfectly reasonable to want the full facts on any matter before coming to an opinion or passing judgement on it.

iantoddu
Guest

Ifan Morgan Jones, as you have decided to continue making comments, but have removed the ability to reply to them, this is a in response to this comment of yours- ” I’m glad you feel that societal attitudes to rape are important. It’s important not just for those who feel that rape is an issue that should not be joked about, but also those who may have unthinkingly joked about rape without realising the hurt that it can cause. Tommo is a successful radio star. He has his own radio show that reaches thousands of people. He will be back… Read more »

iantoddu
Guest

Copied and pasted the wrong reply there (rather than the one to my comment!), but my remarks to it stand as a response to the “correct” one.

iantoddu
Guest

“I’d be curious about what constitutes an acceptable offensive comment about rape.” I’d be curious to know why you think an individual doesn’t need to know what was said before coming to an opinion of whether it was an offensive comment about rape. (That’s a childish thing for you to say, by the way. I’ve said that it’s deplorable to make jokes about rape.) I have not been asking you to reveal the exact word. It is not even about me wanting to know the exact words. I have been saying that is necessary to have the full facts before… Read more »

Leia
Guest

What’s indefensible does change over time – the N word was not always routinely considered to be as appalling as we now find it. Drink driving used to be viewed as a bit of a foible rather than get the pretty much universal condemnation it now attracts. But its SLOW – in the same way you still find yourself apologising for that one embarassing elderly relative who tends to make still homophobic remarks times more on and the acceptable changes and hopefully society along with it. It’s well past time “jokes” about rape were consigned to the same category. If… Read more »