Television presenter Helen Skelton has revealed that she was groped by an interviewee during a live broadcast. Skelton, who was pregnant at the time of the incident in 2014, said she didn’t immediately complain because she felt ‘really awkward’ and did not want to be perceived as ‘difficult.’
‘Basically, this guy grabbed me on the arse when I was presenting live telly. I felt really awkward about it. I was pregnant at the time as well. I didn’t really know what to do,’ she told The Telegraph.
‘It’s intimidating and you don’t want to be the person who is being difficult and awkward,’ she said, adding that she didn’t want the incident to define her and her work ethic. ‘That’s just the culture that television breeds. No one wants to be difficult. You want to bring solutions, not problems. We are all “happy, happy…” she said.
Skelton, who did not refer to the programme, sporting event or interviewee by name, revealed that it was her fellow presenter Colin Murray who raised the issue, ensuring that the man in question was punished for his actions.
‘[Colin] kicked off and said that needs dealing with,’ she said. ‘It was handled brilliantly because of that. I’d never thought about complaining. I don’t want it to become my identity. The man in question was punished. There was a line drawn under it, and that was that.’
While it’s reassuring to learn that the incident was dealt with promptly, Helen’s anecdote highlights the fact that sexual harassment can only fully be tackled with a change in attitude from all sides: by not wishing to be considered ‘difficult’ or for the incident to ‘become her identity,’ Skelton felt unable to complain herself. It’s a situation that will doubtless be familiar to others working in less high-profile careers.