Anne Robinson asks why women in power have not spoken out before on sexual harassment

Anne Robinson asks why women in power have not spoken out before on sexual harassment

Broadcaster Anne Robinson has sparked fury after wading into the sexual harassment row by discussing the “fragility of women who aren’t able to cope with the treachery of the workplace”.

Anne Robinson asks why women in power have not spoken out before on sexual harassment

The former host of The Weakest Link was joined by the Royal Court theatre’s artistic director, Vicky Featherstone, in a discussion on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Over the weekend Prime Minister Theresa May ordered a Cabinet Office inquiry into whether International Trade Minister Mark Garnier had breached the ministerial code over claims that he asked his Commons secretary to buy sex toys and called her “sugar tits”.

Maria Miller (Yui Mok/PA)
Maria Miller (Yui Mok/PA)

And former culture secretary Maria Miller claimed earlier this month that she had been sexually harassed “numerous times”.

“Even a former female cabinet minister is now telling us how bad it is,” Robinson said.

“It’s the first time she’s spoken out …These women are there to protect other people.

“Why has this come to us now? Why haven’t they been fighting for some sort of recognition of this behaviour? Why?”

Robinson added: “In the early days, 40 years ago, there were very few of us women in power and, I have to say, we had a much more robust attitude to men behaving badly.

“Now what seems to have happened, the glass ceiling has been shattered but running alongside that is a sort of fragility amongst women who aren’t able to cope with the treachery of the workplace.

“It shouldn’t be happening but, on the other hand, why have women lost confidence and why do, certainly MPs, a PA to a trade minister, feel they have to get and buy sex toys when they’re asked to? I despair.”

She added: “How come the Prime Minister, only 24 hours ago, decided this was a problem … What has happened is it has become inconvenient to ignore it anymore…

“It shouldn’t be going on but it would be helpful …. if women, particularly older women and women in power, stopped it being tolerated. There needs to be a collective amongst women.”

Her comments provoked outrage.

@gailf wrote: “Now we have Anne Robinson blaming women for not speaking out – she clearly doesn’t understand the balance of power in all cases. If you speak out people don’t believe you.”

@Peasoup wrote: “Anne Robinson is a dinosaur who should not be given air time.”

@tealtastic wrote of the broadcaster, who also spoke on the issue on Victoria Derbyshire’s TV show: “Shame on Anne Robinson. This is classic victim blaming. Absolutely disgusted. Get her off the air.”

Her comments come in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein allegations, and as actor Kevin Space apologised for any “inappropriate drunken behaviour” with a 14-year-old in 1986.


More in this Section

Collapsing tree narrowly misses pedestrians at London crossroadsCollapsing tree narrowly misses pedestrians at London crossroads

Hot dog champions set world records at famous food festHot dog champions set world records at famous food fest

Boris Johnson leads UK-wide applause for NHS to mark 72nd anniversaryBoris Johnson leads UK-wide applause for NHS to mark 72nd anniversary

Scottish independence support ahead in polls for ‘sustained period,’ expert saysScottish independence support ahead in polls for ‘sustained period,’ expert says


Lifestyle

On June 26, we sat outside the first bar to open here since lockdown began on March 15. There are only two bars in the valley. Cafes serve drinks, but these are bar-bars, the kind that stay open after midnight.Damien Enright: Fruit trees are laden with their bounty as we prepare to leave

In October 1986, 52 mute swans, living peacefully on the Tolka in Dublin, were drenched in diesel oil accidentally released into the river. Swan-catchers went into action; only one bird died before they reached it.Richard Collins: Human crisis will offer chance for wild animal research

It's a typically Irish summer’s day of sunshine and occasional showers. Travel restrictions have been eased again and we venture forth to one of nature’s gems, Gougane Barra, deep in the mountains of West Cork.Donal Hickey: Gougane Barra has peace and wildness

When the ferryman pulls away from the pier and the salty spray of the sea hits your face the feeling of release from the mainland is deeply pleasurable. Your island awaits. Whether for a day trip or a holiday, the lure of the islands is as magnetic as ever.The Islands of Ireland: The lure of the less-visited

More From The Irish Examiner