‘Where Is George Gibney?’ Podcast Delivers a Substance-Free Climax

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PREVIOUSLY:

“George Gibney Didn’t Vanish (full text from the Irish news site Broadsheet),” August 27, https://concussioninc.net/?p=14564

“No, Britain’s Guardian Newspaper — I Didn’t ‘Try Unsuccessfully to Have George Gibney Deported From the United States.’ Also, There’s No Past Tense About It.,” September 9, https://concussioninc.net/?p=14576

“George Gibney’s Family and Friends in High Places: Still the Elephant in the Room of Anglo-Irish Media Coverage of the ‘Vanished’ Sex Criminal Irish Olympic Swimming Coach,” September 13, https://concussioninc.net/?p=14585

“Anglo-Irish Media’s George Gibney Stench Gets Worse: Celebrated Editor of Irish Times Was Father of Supreme Court Justice Who Helped Gibney Escape Justice (Also, of Course, Father of Gibney’s Lawyer),” September 21, https://concussioninc.net/?p=14609

“When George Gibney Lived in Colorado (And Even Coached Swimming There), Two Suburban Denver Police Departments Learned All About Him. They Kicked the Can Down the Road.,” September 27, https://concussioninc.net/?p=14614

“‘Where Is George Gibney?’ Podcast Probably Won’t Explain His Vulnerability to American Criminal Charges in His 1991 Rape and Impregnation of a 17-Year-Old Irish Swimmer in Tampa — So We Will,” September 30, https://concussioninc.net/?p=14626

“Not Making Waves” (full text from Ireland’s Broadsheet), October 6, https://concussioninc.net/?p=14638

“‘Where Is George Gibney?’ How About ‘Where Is Peter Banks?'”, October 7, https://concussioninc.net/?p=14642

“Mark Horgan BBC Podcast Nails George Gibney Cohort Peter Banks For the 1993 Job Offer Letter That Enabled the Rapist Irish Olympic Coach’s U.S. Visa,” October 8, https://concussioninc.net/?p=14649

“Let’s Start Cataloging the Open Questions Left by the BBC’s Exposure of Peter Banks As an Architect of George Gibney’s Flight From Ireland to the U.S.,” October 9, https://concussioninc.net/?p=14654

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by Irvin Muchnick

In 2006, Clare Murphy of RTÉ television’s Prime Time confronted George Gibney on camera as he was getting into his car in Calistoga, California. Predictably, the Irish Olympic swimming coach in exile ignored Murphy’s questions and drove off. Still, it was a novel and powerful “get” in the wake of the program’s already screened testimony of some of Gibney’s survivors, including his 1991 rape victim during a training trip in Tampa, Florida.

For reasons no Irish friend of mine has ever adequately explained, this nationally broadcast video, which intuitively should have been available via a routine archive request, became some kind of state secret. Finally, in 2017, an anonymous correspondent mailed me a disk of the network’s raw footage of this segment, and I uploaded it to my YouTube channel.

Now along comes Mark Horgan, in the final pre-packaged episode of his BBC podcast series, with an extended, squirrelly, far less professional copycat.

And as he did 14 years ago, Gibney ignores the questions and drives away.

I recently praised Horgan’s coup in pinning down former Gibney assistant coach Peter Banks as the generator of an American job offer letter in 1993, and thus the enabler of his visa and green card.

But let’s not put too fine a point on how smarmy the whole enterprise turned out. After hours of huffing and puffing by Second Captains, after hundreds of column inches from their publicists, Where Is George Gibney? served up hype heaped upon hype.

Where is George Gibney? Why, he’s right here!

In collaboration with producer Ciarán Cassidy, Horgan spends half or more of the newest 28-minute episode pumping hot air into this empty Coke bottle. There is theme music. There is the souped-up dramatic “negative space” of radio silence. There are murmurs about the rush of adrenaline for this supposed “last chance” to nail Gibney.

Additionally and absurdly, there is an alert by BBC legal in London that Florida residents enjoy the “Stand Your Ground” statute, which legalizes gun-toting — as if the pathetic Gibney in his 70s, upon being ambushed by a reporter, might morph into homicidal racial profiler George Zimmerman, and Horgan into disenfranchised and soon-dead African-American teenager Trayvon Martin.

Look, it is easy to believe that Gibney was discomfited in some way. But it is impossible to buy — because so self-styled and without evidence — the proposition that this scene was imbued with the existential anguish occupying Horgan’s fantasies of what it must be like if he were ever allowed to play a journalist on global radio.

Such has been the podcast method from the start, however. First, promise an elephant. Then, string along an audience unfamiliar enough with the whole sordid saga, and with the depth of the complicity of institutions never called out, that it will gush over just about anything simply checking the boxes of Gibney For Dummies. Finally, deliver a mouse.

Previously in the series, Horgan twice unfurled the same clip of a clerk at an Altamonte Springs church who remembered Gibney purchasing votive candles at the parish gift shop. With pointless innuendo, the interviewee wondered aloud how he could possibly maintain a credit card in good standing.

The Second Captains crew also tracked Gibney to a role, either paid or volunteer, at a Knights of Columbus chapter-affiliated hospice. Again, the producers left dangling a dubious snippet, so let us help resolve it. Gibney abused youth athletes; hospices serve dying old people.

Oh … but surely, at least, the podcast followed through on its tease of answering whether this disgraced figure coached swimmers in America?

Actually, no. Gibney did coach when he first got to the U.S., in Colorado. Where Is George Gibney? might have chosen to so enlighten its listeners — except that would have required putting on the spot interview subjects bearing real responsibility and something weightier than random gossip value. Like, you know, police, government officials, organized sports officials.

Did they report on the investigation by federal agents of Gibney’s activities, through a Catholic charity, with a medical mission giving him access to children in Peru? Dream on.

But Horgan did bag that sympathetic fellow Irish coach who put up Gibney’s bail 27 years ago, and now has been forced off  the board of Swim Ireland.

Next up for the podcast is a special question-and-answer episode, followed by a two-part “real time” wrap-up in December.

After the Peter Banks breakthrough, I emailed Horgan to congratulate him (and diplomatically did not question the omission of the fact that Banks was an executive of the American Swimming Coaches Association). I also shared with Horgan a new and active investigation of Gibney by Dublin gardai. I now share it with readers, as well.

In 2017, a woman told Concussion Inc. that Gibney molested her in 1982, when she was 11, during a private swimming lesson, arranged by her father, at the pool of what was then called the Burlington Hotel in Dublin’s Ballsbridge district.

In the woman’s account, which I found 1,000 percent credible, Ger Doyle, a junior coach serving as the pool “lifeguard,” looked on. Doyle would go on to join the Gibney-plus roster of abusive Irish swim coaches who went to prison. Doyle committed suicide this May.

Upon reading of Doyle’s death — she saw the headline in the tabloid Daily Star and at first thought it must be Gibney — the 1982 victim decided to do what she didn’t do three years ago. She told the Garda detective who had contacted her, through me, that she was ready to swear out a formal complaint.

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  • “Why Is George Gibney — No. 1 At-Large Pedophile in Global Sports — Living in Florida? And Who Sponsored His Green Card?”, January 27, 2015, https://concussioninc.net/?p=9797

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