Belfast Telegraph

Naked Attraction’s Anna Richardson bares all over sexual harassment in film and TV

She launched a libel case against Arnold Schwarzenegger more than a decade ago following an alleged groping.

Presenter Anna Richardson has claimed the “toxic” film and TV industry has failed to improve its approach to sexual harassment more than a decade after she alleged she was groped by Hollywood star Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The Naked Attraction presenter and partner of former Bake Off star Sue Perkins said she ended up on out-of-work benefits after the allegation was made public.

“Nobody’s learnt a thing,” she said following the release of a study investigating the prevalence of harassment and bullying in the TV industry in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

“When all the allegations came out about Weinstein I sort of sat at home and metaphorically rolled my eyes and went ‘Here we go again’,” said Richardson.

“The industry hasn’t changed.”

bpanews_0fb69454-27ee-488b-853f-aadc6f74d3cc_embedded219330537
Richardson with parnter Perkins and actress Tracy-Ann Oberman at the RTS Awards (Yui Mok/PA)

In 2005 Schwarzenegger failed to block a court action brought by Richardson who alleged she was libelled by the then-governor of California and his campaign workers Sean Walsh and Sheryl Main in an October 2003 article in The Los Angeles Times.

She had claimed the article implied she “deliberately and dishonestly fabricated” the allegations that the Terminator star touched her breast when she interviewed him at London’s Dorchester Hotel in December 2000, as part of his promotional tour for the film The Sixth Day.

She eventually agreed an out-of-court settlement with the actor and his aides.

Richardson was speaking as part of a panel discussion on Friday, organised by the Edinburgh International TV Festival in partnership with Channel 5 News.

She also claimed she had been a victim of female-on-female bullying when her former woman boss had told her to “look f***able”.

“I’m ashamed to say I didn’t take it to the very, very top … I was really worried I would get labelled again as being difficult. So I just let it go,” she said.

Asked if she had considered leaving the industry, Richardson said: “That’s partly why I’ve trained as a hypnotherapist … because it can be toxic.”

“This industry preys a little bit on people being compliant and I worry about that deeply. I don’t care who you are – it’s not OK,” she added.

She urged anyone who had suffered harassment or bullying to go to the “very, very top and make them listen”, before adding “take legal action”.

“The one thing I want people to take away from today is that everyone has the power to stand up and say no,” she said.

The EIFT and 5 News study found more than half of the 315 industry TV figures surveyed had experienced sexual misconduct in the workplace

It also found that more than two-thirds said they had been bullied in the workplace – the majority of whom did not report it as they feared negative repercussions on their career.

Former High Court judge Dame Janet Smith – who led the Jimmy Savile inquiry – joined Richardson on the panel and said she was “not surprised” by the results.

She added that a major problem was the “culture of fear” which exists across the media world as well as a lack of job security.

The report found:

– The majority of those who had suffered harassment reported it had occurred within the last five years.

– 84% of those who had experienced sexual harassment did not report it.

– Less than half of those surveyed – 47% – understood their rights in respect of taking action at work if confronted with bullying or sexual harassment.

EITF director Lisa Campbell said: “We need to make a change, and talking about these issues is the first step to addressing and stopping them for good.”

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph