Friday 25 May 2018

You have a choice: CBB’s Ann Widdecombe on gender inequality in acting

There will be several discussions about gender equality in the house in Wednesday night’s episode.

Ann Widdecombe shared her views in CBB
Ann Widdecombe shared her views in CBB

By Lucy Mapstone, Press Association Deputy Entertainment Editor

Ann Widdecombe has said that actresses have a “choice” about whether or not they engage in sexual activities in exchange for roles.

The former MP also said that she does not think there is a problem with women’s representation in Parliament.

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Ann Widdecombe on CBB (Channel 5)

In footage that will air in Wednesday night’s episode of the Channel 5 reality show, viewers will see the ex-MP and her new housemates discuss disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein – who has been accused of sexual misconduct by dozens of women – and gender discrimination within the acting world.

Newsreader India Willoughby asks Benidorm actress Amanda Barrie if she has ever been discriminated against in terms of casting, to which Barrie replies: “When it comes to Harvey Weinstein … I just think somebody should have said, ‘It’s not really worth it darling, I’d rather not get the part!'”

Widdecombe says: “I tend to agree, there was a choice.”

Willoughby pushes Barrie further, and asks: “Were you ever in a situation where a director made it obvious you wouldn’t get a part unless you succumbed to his charms?”

Barrie says: “It was always being indicated, but that is just – if you’re stupid enough to go to bed with somebody because you want the part … I just don’t get it.”

Journalist Rachel Johnson, Boris Johnson’s sister, says: “Many, many actresses were stupid enough to do that, and ended up big stars.”

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Widdecombe says: “But that’s down to them, they had a choice.”

Ex On The Beach star and glamour model Jess Impiazzi says she would feel “terrified” if she was propositioned during an audition, to which Widdecombe says: “You say no.”

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The conversation moves on to former detective constable Maggie Oliver, who is asked if she felt that the police force was male-dominated.

“I wouldn’t say I was treated differently because I was a woman, but I do feel the old boy’s network is still alive and kicking,” Oliver tells her housemates.

“And if you look around at senior police officers, the vast majority are men and they’ve got a vested interest in keeping it that way.

“So women to get to the top of that profession, you really…”

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Widdecombe then interrupts, referring to the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police: “But Cressida Dick’s managed.”

Johnson says: “That’s only one, Ann. That’s like saying Margaret Thatcher was prime minister, therefore we don’t have a problem with women’s representation in Parliament.”

“Well, actually I don’t think we do,” Widdecombe says.

In another part of the episode, Widdecombe tells Barrie and Willoughby that she “didn’t notice” that she was a woman in a male-dominated world when she was a Member of Parliament.

“I never thought of myself as a woman MP, I was an MP who happened to be a woman, just as I was an MP who happened to be short rather than tall.

“Because I think that every woman in Parliament has got the same right to look every man in Parliament in the eye and know that she got there on exactly the same basis as he got there.”

She adds: “I hate positive discrimination with a passion.”

Viewers will also see Oliver granted immunity from the first elimination, along with Impiazzi and Barrie.

Celebrity Big Brother airs at 9pm on Channel 5.

Press Association

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