Monday 18 June 2018

'There was one Irish broadcaster who would sit beside you and remove his clothes below the waist'

Terry Prone speaking on Friday's Late Late Show
Terry Prone speaking on Friday's Late Late Show

Mary McDonnell

COLUMNIST Terry Prone likened former Irish media figures to Harvey Weinstein as she revealed the “terrifying” sexual harassment she suffered when launching her career in the 1960s.

The co-founder of the Communications Clinic joined a long line of high profile women who have shed light on abuses by powerful men in the wake of allegations against the disgraced producer.

In a strong statement on The Late Late Show on Friday, she claimed an Irish radio host would sit beside her naked from the waist down in studio when she was a teenager.

Speaking on a panel with former Senator Fidelma Healy Eames and journalist Kitty Holland, she said: “I can remember at 16 going and doing work in the entertainment business and I was immediately taken aside by older women who said: ‘Don’t get into the lift with ‘head the ball’…They said: ‘He will take you down to the basement, he will put one finger on the button so that the lift can’t move and his hand will go up your skirt.

“There was this guy, if you were doing an interview live on the air, or if you were more likely reading a short story or something, he would come in and sit down beside you and he would remove all of his clothing below the waist.

“He was a professional broadcaster. He’s dead, we don’t have to worry about it. The odd thing was that it became a kind of idiosyncrasy, it was kind of like local colour - that’s what he does - terrifying. And then what you have is the kind of PR around people like Weinstein.”

Harvey Weinstein
Harvey Weinstein

Ms Prone, who has worked in the business since she was 15, launched a scathing attack on Weinstein and the idea that he grew up in a different era. 

She said: “This is not dinosaur, this is scumbag. No there wasn’t a lot of it about. I was there. It was never at that kind of violent, disgusting, persistent, power-grabby level."

Irish filmmaker Lenny Abrahamson has also hinted that Irish men in the industry abused their power.

In a series of tweets on Wednesday he said "powerful abusers" in Ireland will be hoping their colleagues remain silent as dozens of claims continue to be levelled against Weinstein.

The Room Director said: "Right now, here in Ireland, there will be powerful abusers relying on the silence of colleagues. Let’s hope their time is up.

“All of us have a duty to expose the harassers and resist the culture of accommodation that grows around powerful men.

"The closer we are to power ourselves, like the senior executives in Weinstein’s company, the greater our responsibility.”

Oscar-winning actress, Brenda Fricker, who worked with Weinstein during the production of My Left Foot said “there was something dangerous” about the Hollywood mogul.

She said: “I disliked him intensely” and added: “There really was something repulsive about him and he would have been very aware of my dislike for him.”

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