Comedian Jo Brand stood up for women in a big way on Friday.
Brand was the only female panelist on “Have I Got News For You,” a BBC comedy show that quizzes guests on the week’s news. When journalist Ian Hislop brushed aside allegations of sexual harassment in the British Parliament as not being “high-level crime,” Brand put the man to task.
“If I can just say – as the only representative of the female gender here today – I know it’s not high level, but it doesn’t have to be high level for women to feel under siege in somewhere like the House of Commons,” Brand told the men.
A number of high-profile cases of sexual harassment allegations have dominated the news in recent weeks around the world. In the United Kingdom, British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon resigned on Wednesday after harassment allegations against him emerged.
In addition to accusations against Fallon, a list has circulated of almost 40 members of Parliament who have had sexual harassment complaints against them in the last five years. British Prime Minister Theresa May has encouraged victims of harassment in the government to come forward, saying that the issue can no longer be tolerated.
“Actually, women, if you’re constantly being harassed, even in a small way, that builds up and that wears you down,” Brand said on the panel.
Sexual harassment is a common issue faced by women in the workplace, part of the reason why misconduct is severely underreported. Harassment is a normal part of women’s daily lives, especially at work, and the risk of reporting for many typically outweighs the reward.
Brand apologized for her candor on the show, but Hislop defended her statement.
“No, and as you point out with four blokes sitting around you we’re hardly in a position to say, ‘That’s rubbish,’” Hislop said on the show.