Thursday 13 December 2018

Today show presenter recalls ‘humiliating’ sexual harassment as young journalist

Martha Kearney hopes #MeToo will embolden those who face the same behaviour at work.

By Joe Nerssessian, Press Association

Broadcaster Martha Kearney has recalled the “humiliating” sexual harassment she encountered as a young journalist as she shared her hope for the #MeToo movement.

The presenter, a new addition to Radio 4’s Today programme, revealed she had to put up with men touching her bottom during her time as a Westminster correspondent at LBC in the 1980s.

Kearney, 60, said she regretted never confronting her bosses over the behaviour in an interview with the Radio Times.

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She told the magazine: “It was horrible and humiliating.

“I didn’t complain. It was the world of work, the rough and tumble of the newsroom.

“The young women I work with at Today have zero tolerance. I hope #MeToo will make a difference.”

She added: “I wish I’d felt stronger, less intimidated, but in my 20s, bosses were powerful people.”

The former World At One host also revealed she had been talking to the BBC’s director-general, Lord Tony Hall, about “bringing people from different backgrounds into the BBC”.

On the gender pay gap at the corporation, she said it was time to see whether bosses would make good on their promises.

“There was anger and shock when the pay figures came out,” she said.

“Now the BBC is moving in the right direction, but the pace may not be as fast as we’d like.

“I’ve done enough stories about equal pay over the years for Woman’s Hour to know about the structural problems there are, and the need to make workplaces more family-friendly and so on, but there’s something else going on, I think it’s unconscious bias at all large organisations.”

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The full interview is in Radio Times, out now.

Press Association

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