Al Porter out of his panto role | Comedian steps down after groping allegations

Al Porter out of his panto role

Comedian steps down after groping allegations

Al Porter is stepping down from his role in pantomime this year following allegations he groped fellow comedians.

The camp stand-up had been due to appear in Pantomime Polly and the Beanstalk  at Dublin’s Olympia Theatre from December 15.

Porter had appeared in pantos for 14 years, starting as a child star, and wrote this new show with fellow comedian Karl Spain.

In an official statement, the producers and promoter of the show, Pat Egan Management and Spotlight Producitons, said: ‘Due to recent developments, Al Porter is standing aside from his role in this year’s Pantomime Polly and the Beanstalk at the Olympia Theatre. A replacement star will be announced shortly.’

The news comes after Porter issued a statement on social media saying that he had ‘come to the personal decision that I need time away from the spotlight after decades in the entertainment industry’ in the wake of the allegations.

He also resigned from his daily radio show on Today FM, but insisted his actions came in ‘light-hearted and good-natured circumstances’, and that he did not mean to upset anyone or cause distress

The statement said: ‘I have been completely taken aback by reports in the media and on the social networks over the weekend, and by the scale and tone of the vitriol.

‘While my conduct, which had been in keeping with my flamboyant and outrageous public persona may be regarded as offensive and unacceptable by many people, I at no time intended to upset anyone.

‘Up until now, I had been unaware of these complaints or the impact of my conduct and I am truly sorry for any distress I may have caused in what I had regarded as light-hearted and good-natured circumstances.

‘Although, on legal advice, I cannot comment on specific allegations at the present time, I nonetheless sincerely apologise to anyone I may have genuinely offended.’

Amid the allegations from fellow comedians, Porter is said to have sent unsolicited sexual messages to a musician who appeared on his Today FM  show.

The other allegations made against Porter, now 24, relate to his backstage behaviour at comedy shows over the past five years. They are:

  • Davey Reilly said Porter ‘put his hand straight down the front of my jeans’ after paying him for a gig in Dublin in 2014. He also alleged Porter put his hand down the back of his trousers in the bathroom of the Gilded Balloon in Edinburgh in August 2015.
  • George Fox said Porter ‘grabbed me by the crotch’ at a Dublin comedy night in 2012. And in 2014, when Fox was with his girlfriend, Porter is alleged to have put his hand down his trousers and said: ’‘How come you don’t get hard for me?
  • Conor O’Toole said Porter ’grabbed my balls’ in 2014 as he sat on the stairs at the Ha’penny Bridge comedy club in Dublin with other comics.
  • And Eoin O’Faogain, a musician and writer, said Porter put his hand down his trousers in October 2015.

The accusers all say Porter stopped when they reprimanded him, and that he passed the contact off as a joke.

An episode of the Irish version of Blind Date, which Porter hosts, was pulled by TV3 at the weekend. The future of the show, which had been commissioned for a second series, has not been confirmed.

Published: 20 Nov 2017

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