Fashion designer Paul Costelloe branded 'repugnant' for saying Irish emigrants are 'damaging' young English virgins

  • Top designer made the remarks on live radio show in Ireland in February
  • Irishmen are 'doing great and damaging virgins... and good luck to them'
  • He denied chauvinism but the remarks prompted a watchdog complaint
  • Broadcasting Authority of Ireland ruled comments caused 'undue offence'

By Dan Bloom


A top fashion designer has been slammed by a broadcasting watchdog after he praised young Irishmen for 'damaging English virgins'.

Paul Costelloe - whose designs are sold in House of Fraser and John Lewis - provoked outrage with the remarks about Irish emigrants in London, where he lives.

'The English, they love us and they hate us, you know, you just have to put up with that,' he told a live radio show in his native Ireland.

Anger: Irish-born Paul Costelloe, pictured on the catwalk at London Fashion Week with two models, told a radio show young Irish emigrants to England 'are doing great and damaging a lot of young English virgins'

Anger: Irish-born Paul Costelloe, pictured on the catwalk at London Fashion Week with two models, told a radio show young Irish emigrants to England 'are doing great and damaging a lot of young English virgins'

Response: The RTÉ presenter then asked Mr Costelloe if he was a chauvinist, which he denied
Response: The RTÉ presenter (pictured with former Miss World Rosanna Davison) then asked Mr Costelloe if he was a chauvinist, which he denied

Challenged: The RTÉ presenter asked Mr Costelloe (pictured with former Miss World Rosanna Davison) if he was a chauvinist, which he denied. But the Irish radio watchdog said the broadcaster could have done more

'Certainly the Irish are never short of chatting up and, you know, we have that skill and I’m sure these young guys are doing great and damaging a lot of young English virgins, so there you are, and good luck to them.'

 

Presenter George Lee questioned whether the designer was a 'chauvinist' - which he denied.

It was then alleged a text message to the show complaining about Mr Costelloe was 'laughed off'.

Born in Limerick, the designer built his empire from wealthy Knightsbridge in west London

Born in Limerick, the designer built his empire from wealthy Knightsbridge in west London

The comments on RTÉ's The Business show in February drew two official complaints to the broadcaster, one of which was elevated to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.

The upset listener, Barbara Smith, branded the remarks repugnant and dangerous to women.

RTÉ agreed a number of listeners were offended by the comments, but said they could be construed as a flamboyant and heavy-handed description of young Irish men living in London.

The broadcaster insisted it was a throwaway remark during a 'fast-moving' live programme on a side issue to the main thrust of the interview.

But the watchdog disagreed, saying the show could have used a delay button or used the presenter to deal with on-air risks.

The watchdog's ruling said: 'It was the opinion of the committee, following its review of the material, that the manner in which sexual relationships were described by the guest would cause undue offence and that the programme makers had not taken due care in the way in which the comments were handled during the programme.

'In particular, it was the view of the committee that the presenter’s tone and his answer to his own question in respect of whether his guest had displayed chauvinism did not display due care in respect of the sensitivity of listeners who, in the opinion of the committee, might reasonably view the comment as offensive.'

Born in Limerick, the designer has been at the helm of British high street fashion for decades and established his brand at a flagship store in Knightsbridge, west London.

In 2010 he was picked as one of six Irish fashion designers to be honoured on a postage stamp.

An RTÉ spokesman told MailOnline: 'To the best of our knowledge there were two complaints sent in relating to the Paul Costello interview.

'We have no further comment to make in relation to the BAI decision which we accept.

'The full statement of the BAI decision will be broadcast shortly before The Business programme starts tomorrow morning.'


The comments below have been moderated in advance.

Could be his Ratner moment if other news outlets pick up on it. Why do people jeopardise their business and integrity for a cheap laugh? Big mistake. If the tabloids fancy getting stuck in, he's probably sold his last frock this side of The Irish Sea

15
133
Click to rate

These people who claim to have British women on a plate only get trashy ones. Same the world over.

17
152
Click to rate

As an Irish woman I am very embarrassed by this comment. How dare he speak of (a) the women of the UK in that manner and (b) speak of Irish men in this way. Totally distasteful in every respect, even if it was said in jest. We love English people and I think this was Paul Costello's twisted way of saying the Irish men like the English women but it's unacceptable language to use and as I said already, from an Irish person and a woman..an embarrassment.

23
225
Click to rate

Paul Costelloe - whose designs are sold in House of Fraser and John Lewis ++++++++ LOL, no wonder I have never heard of him, House of Frazer and John Lewis?

24
95
Click to rate

he's a fashion designer with a shedload of free publicity now, haha!.

44
44
Click to rate

the name costello (close to costelloe) has origins in Ireland apparently...

9
37
Click to rate

Can't take someone who dresses like Dr. Who seriously.

9
95
Click to rate

Oh God, he's an awful eejit...he should just keep his mouth shut. I think his comments are misogynistic and offensive to women of any nationality. Stop concerning yourself with young women's virginity, you odious man.

14
211
Click to rate

Twerp.

9
117
Click to rate

Hey Paul just stick to designing will you, thanks!!

12
106
Click to rate

The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.

By posting your comment you agree to our house rules.

Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now