Top Irish broadcaster Ryan Tubridy has opened up about being called a “f****t” and a “paedophile virus” in a menacing incident in Dublin.
Tubridy admitted that he was in “two minds” about whether he should share the story, but ultimately decided to tell listeners about his experience.
The radio host said he was walking around the Dublin suburb of Dun Laoghaire with his eldest daughter when a young man aged in his mid-20s approached him.
“He passed by and just as he passed by, he says, ‘Tubridy, you f****t,’” the presenter said.
“I had two things I could do with that. I could stop and ask him why he would do that or I could keep going and not cause a fuss, but to be honest with you, I think I would have let myself down if I didn’t challenge him.
“It was a physical risk because he was a big guy and if you know me, you know that I’m not one of those.
“But I was fed up with it, because even though I spent lovely times in Kenmare recently and Clifden – not a bother at all – unfortunately on my own doorstep it’s becoming more of a problem with young men in their 20s.”
Tubridy ultimately decided to confront the man and asked him why he had used the homophobic slur.
“I said, ‘Can I ask you why you’d say that?’ And he said, ‘Because I don’t believe in your beliefs.’ And I was trying to figure out what my beliefs were that I’ve said so publicly that caused him such a problem, and I said, ‘Which beliefs?’ And he said, ‘Your beliefs.’”
Tubridy said the man was “squaring up” to him, adding that the exchange quickly became “menacing”.
“I knew I was goosed to be honest with you if he threw a punch and I just have to accept it as part and parcel of the job. And he said, ‘Because of your beliefs.’ I said, ‘What beliefs?’ He said, ‘All your beliefs.’
“And I thought, ‘Well this isn’t going to go anywhere, I’ll leave you to it.’”
A second man called Ryan Tubridy a ‘paedophile virus’ just moments later
Tubridy “walked away” unhappy that he had failed to engage the man in meaningful conversation – but he was targeted just moments later by another young man.
Later in his walk around Dun Laoghaire, a man “emerged from a particular building” and started “roaring” at the popular presenter.
“You’re the virus. You’re a paedophile virus, that’s what you are, you’re a virus,” the man shouted at Tubridy.
Tubridy approached the man and asked why he was hurling abuse at him, but there was “no talking” to him.
The exchange ended with the assailant walking backwards down the street, covering his face to avoid identification by cameras, as he shouted abuse.
Tubridy told RTÉ Radio 1 listeners that the incident was “very disheartening”, adding that he hoped in his “naivety” that he would be able to engage the men in conversation.
He suggested that young men like those who targeted him in Dun Laoghaire are “clearly disempowered”.
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