Connolly 'very proud' of abusing photographer

Fans not so impressed...

Billy Connolly says he has ‘no regrets’ about reducing a photographer to tears by verbally abusing her during his live show

The comic is said to have called Valerie O’Sullivan, the in-house photographer at the INEC venue in Killarney, a ‘fucking cunt’ after she strayed into his eye-line.

She had previously obtained permission from Connolly’s Irish promoters to document Thursday’s gig.

According to reports, Ms O’Sullivan was ‘clearly distressed’ by the exchange, and left the venue in tears.

But Connolly was unrepentant, telling RTE Radio: ‘I told her to go away but she wouldn’t, so I told her to go away properly - in a Glaswegian fashion. It only takes two words.’

Asked if he regretted the incident, he said: ‘Certainly not. I'm very proud of it.’

He showed a similar attitude on his Twitter feed, positing: ‘I seem to have caused a little ripple on the Lakes of Killarney," he wrote on his Twitter feed. "By telling a photographer to get the Hell out of my eye line. No regrets.’

Connolly later added: ‘The photographer from Killarney seems to have run to the media weeping about the big bad comedian who gave her a hard time.Boo Hoo.’

According to members of the audience Ms O’Sullivan was sitting on the steps about halfway down the auditorium when the comedian made some remarks about photographers making money out of him. He is said to have told her to, “Get the fuck out of here’, before dropping the C-bomb.

Audience member Caroline O’Sullivan told the Irish Examiner: ‘I could only describe it as an abusive tirade. It was shocking,.

‘Initially, some members of the audience thought it was part of the show, but they soon realised this one woman was being singled out for an absolutely mortifying and appalling experience.’

Comments on Connolly’s Facebook page also voiced disappointment.

Cathy Scannell said: ‘ The way you spoke to the woman in the audience was absolutely awful. So very disappointed in you. Way over the top to the point of being embarrassing both for the woman and a high percentage of the audience I would say. I do not go to any performance to watch members of the audience being humiliated like that and I will not be going to any of your shows again.’

And Carol Carroll said she was left with a bitter taste in my mouth after the very rude and unnecessary treatment of an audience member’/

Local politician Michael Healy Rae is calling on the public to boycott Connolly's shows until he apologises for the incident.

In a statement, the INEC said: ‘Valerie O’Sullivan has been the in-house photographer for the INEC and Gleneagle Hotel Group for the past 20 years

‘As our official press photographer and as part of our ongoing public relations strategy she was engaged to photograph the recent Billy Connolly performance for INEC exclusive use.

‘Permission had been granted for same in advance by Billy Connolly’s Irish promoter. The success of Valerie (right)as our in-house photographer and her popularity with visiting artists is due to her discreet demeanour, professionalism and unobtrusive nature. ‘

‘Valerie is a highly regarded professional photographer and also a highly respected member of the Killarney community, a tireless volunteer and supporter of local charities and groups.

‘The numerous messages of goodwill and support that we have received is testament to the high regard in which she is held within the local community.

‘The INEC regret any upset caused to Valerie.’

Published: 5 May 2013

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