Thereâ€™s no doubt that the current witchunt against BBC presenters was in part exacerbated by the right-wing press seizing this morsel of bad BBC press like a rabid pack of hounds. The rest of it is just the general publicâ€™s hankering for a good old self-righteous lynching. But what was the crime that ignited this moral rage? Joking about an old manâ€™s suicide? Talking of oneâ€™s sexual partner in pejorative and sexist terms (and making a point that it was consensual. And here’s us thinking he’d gone and raped her). Or was it the sympathy for a man whose honour had been violated via a sexual encounter with a female relative? What disgusted me about the Brand-Ross prank, but not enough for me to call for their dismissal, was its underlying misogyny. And it seems the complaints were in tandem with this. So many people were outraged because they sympathised not so much with his granddaughter but with Sachs himself.
Worryingly, even the left-wing press has taken this line. Peter Tatchell surprised me when he said in the Guardian:
It is not as if Baille is some innocent convent girl. She admits she slept with Brand and she works as a “burlesque dancer” in a group called Satanic Sluts. Yet she claims Brand’s jokes have damaged her public image and hurt her feelings. Oh please!
So because sheâ€™s not ashamed of her sexuality, we can talk about it in pejorative terms, sheâ€™s fair game. Had she been an â€˜innocentâ€™ virgin, we should presumably call for blood when her honour is violated. I, for one, am outraged.
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Filed in: Media,Sex equality