The This Morning presenter sparked a big response on social media...
Holly Willoughby has been praised by This Morning viewers for speaking up when a guest made some pretty controversial comments regarding the recent #MeToo campaign.
Of course, there’s been a huge conversation around sexual harassment over the past few months.
Sparked, in part, by the investigative news article that exposed Harvey Weinstein and his actions in Hollywood, the #MeToo campaign has seen women across the globe come forward to detail different levels of abuse and harassment that they have suffered, both in the workplace and in other social situations.
Now, another group of women have decided to fight against this movement, coming together to sign an open letter.
Journalist Anne-Elisabeth Moutet, one of the French women that signed the letter, took a guest spot on ITV’s This Morning this week. Unsurprisingly, the segment caused quite a stir when it aired, and it has since continued to rack up views on YouTube.
Describing the #MeToo campaign as a ‘social media lynching’, Anne explained her view that the hashtag had turned into something of a ‘witch hunt’.
Host Holly Willoughby quickly pointed out that the outpouring of #MeToo responses, surely, only highlighted how far-reaching the problem was, offering a lot of women the confidence to have a voice for the first time. Anne replied: ‘I do not think that women did not have a voice before, many women had a voice before, in fact one of the signatories of our letter was gang-raped…’
Explaining that she hated the idea that women could be seen as ‘weak’, Anne added: ‘Men will try it on. Sometimes women will give signals that they want it to be tried on. And other times it will be clumsy or unpleasant or stupid.
‘And, yes, I can tell them by myself “please do not do this again”, and if you’re not my boss I think that’s where it should stop. I don’t think you should be vilified on social media, I don’t think you should lose your job…’
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A little later in the debate, Holly brought up the case of Kevin Spacey. The 36-year-old mentioned that Anne might have told a researcher that if the actor was to be found guilty of the allegations made against him, she was of the belief that the actor shouldn’t be forced to ‘hide in a corridor and lose his livelihood’.
Anne tried to clarify her point: ‘I believe in the legal process and he has not been proven guilty…
‘If I get this correctly – and I have not gone over his case as a lawyer, which I’m not – there was a party when he was 26…’
When Philip Schofield cut in to point out that the accuser was only fourteen at the time that the alleged incident was said to have taken place, Anne said that she believed that other allegations that have come to light are ‘worse’ because ‘a party in the 1980s, people behaved….were gay at a time when it wasn’t so acceptable.’
‘I’m not sure that’s sort of a defence actually,’ Holly hit back angrily.
After Anne tried to bring the conversation back to harassment in the workplace, Phil asked whether it would be different if it took place in a bar.
The journalist replied: ‘In a bar, there are many things you can do. Does the climate in a bar make it impossible for you to defend yourself?’
Holly sighed, uttering ‘wow’ as she sat back in her chair. At this point, Phil brought the interview to a close.
Fellow guest Debbie Arnold – who has previously spoken out about alleged sexual misconduct she has experienced – was just as shocked by Anne’s stance.
Backing Debbie up at an earlier point in the interview, Holly had pointed out that everyone should be able to tell the difference between right and wrong interactions: ‘For me it’s quite clear I think. If you’re a normal human being you know what is appropriate.’
Viewers took to social media to praise her handling of the interview. ‘Fair play to @hollywills & @Schofe discussing the #metoo campaign! Anyone who feels uncomfortable with any touching or coversation can say so at the time. If it continues after ‘stop’ or ‘no’ then it is harassment [sic],’ one wrote.
‘@hollywills thank you for defending us against the women who are somehow, unbelievably, against #metoo #ThisMorning,’ wrote another.
With many – women and men – often feeling reluctant to speak out about their own experiences of abuse or harassment (normally through fear of not being believed), it’s important to continue this conversation and support those that do speak up.