'It’s not OK' - Radio presenter subjected to far-right hate over drag queen alter-ego

Karl Dawson, who has a drag alter-ego in Dame Stuffy, said a photo of him interviewing Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has circulated in a far-right group
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

13.45 27 Feb 2024

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'It’s not OK' - Radio presente...

'It’s not OK' - Radio presenter subjected to far-right hate over drag queen alter-ego

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

13.45 27 Feb 2024

Share this article

A 98FM radio presenter has spoken out against online hate after a far-right group targeted him over his drag queen alter-ego.

Karl Dawson said the image of his alter-ego Dame Stuffy interviewing the Taoiseach has now become the focus of hate and anti-LGBTQ propaganda.

He said the comments are "disgusting and disturbing", with one user suggesting he take his own life.


Mr Dawson's alter-ego Dame Stuffy interviewed Leo Varadkar last June at Government Buildings for Pride.

He told Lunchtime Live he was told by a friend that the image was being used on Instagram.

"I went on and it was in a group that was pro-Irish, pro-this, pro-that, anti-LGBT - all that sort of stuff," he said.

"This picture has been circulated a few times now and it's literally been the focus of hate and anti-LGBTQ propganda. 

"It was put up the other day in this group referencing the referendum that's due to happen".

Mr Dawson said he has yet to read up on the referendum and decide how to vote.

"It has now turned into this whole thing about anti-trans stuff being directed at me.

"I'm an entertainer, I'm a drag queen, I'm not transgender."

Radio presenter Karl Dawson speaking on Lunchtime Live. Radio presenter Karl Dawson speaking on Lunchtime Live. Image: Newstalk

Mr Dawson said he tried to talk to some of the people who were messaging him.

"The people in these groups, they're so full of misinformation, they will not listen to reason," he said.

"I tried to talk to the guy [who told me] to kill myself last night, I asked him what his issue was.

"He got back to me and said, 'I don't hate gay people, I just hate people like you'.

"What does that mean?"

"You hate me because you think that I'm transgender, or you hate me because I'm a drag queen or you hate me because I'm an entertainer?

"Another guy I tried to talk to... asked me was I voting in this referendum, and I said I have to read up about it first because I don't know what way I'm going to vote.

"I said that to him and he said to me, 'I bet you're still voting Yes anyway' - or something like that.

"Regardless of my answer he wouldn't listen to it".

98FM presenter Karl Dawson 98FM presenter Karl Dawson. Image: X/@KarlDDawson

Mr Dawson said it is not the first time he has had to deal with hateful comments.

I was walking into a gig at Christmas time and a guy got up from a table and said, 'Are you one of them Trannies?'

"Then I went upstairs and I told jokes for an hour to a room of 300 people with that in the back of my head.

"The gig went great but that was all I could think about in the car on the way home.

"We have to put up with this abuse day in and day out and then we're still expected to go out and entertain and put on a show.

"'Just brush it off, you'll be fine' or 'Don't engage with them, forget about it'

"As strong as I am, I spent the entire day yesterday scrolling and deleting comments and trying to be like 'I'm fine, it's OK'.

"But it's not OK," he added.

Last year Mr Dawson was due to perform an event at a GAA club but he had to pull out due to threats from far-right groups.

Listen back here:

Anyone affected by issues raised in this article can contact the Samaritans on 116-123 or email

Main image: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Karl Dawson's alter-ego Dame Stuffy at Government Buildings in June 2023. Image: X/@KarlDDawson

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Dame Stuffy Far-right Group Karl Dawson Lunchtime Live Radio Presenter Referendum Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

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