Victoria Derbyshire has been widely praised online for exposing Ukip candidate Carl Benjamin, who is being investigated by police for suggesting he might “rape” MP Jess Phillips.
A confrontational Benjamin appeared on the show, accusing Derbyshire of “misrepresenting what happened”, and insisting that his comments were a “joke”.
Benjamin – who is in the race to become MEP for the south west – had previously tweeted that he “wouldn’t even rape” the Birmingham Yardley MP.
But in a recent video on his Sargon of Akkad YouTube channel, he said that “with enough pressure I might cave”.
At one point, Derbyshire asked: “Why do you think you’ve had kippers and milkshakes thrown over you while campaigning?
Benjamin quipped: “Because you’re radicalising people by lying about me”.
The candidate recently had a milkshake thrown over him during a stop in Totnes.
Derbyshire hit back: “So there is a link, you say, between language and acts of violence”.
He later added that he “didn’t care” that he was a hypocrite.
He claimed he had spoken to a survivor “very recently” who he said “thanked her” for helping her to take control of what happened to her, and accused the media of bullying Phillips “with jokes that I made”.
As Derbyshire read out a selection of questions from viewers, Benjamin, who interrupted the journalist several times, accused her of making up the questions.
Following the interview, a viewer commented saying that Benjamin had “left her in tears” and that he reminded her of her rapist.
Phillips, who appeared on the show last week, tweeted that she felt “sick watching Carl Benjamin chuckling along to people joining in with the language he has given them about putting a bag on my head and raping me”.
Phillips, who said she broke down in tears after hearing about his comments, said in her interview last week: “I realised that I did what all women do in these situations – I had been putting a brave face on it and pretending that it was all fine and that I could cope.
“It dawned on me that, for four years essentially, this man had made a career out of harassing me. And I felt harassed.”
She added: “It’s a different thing when he’s standing on the same platforms that I’m standing on, that he will potentially go to parliament himself as an elected representative when he’s said these things.
“And I just cannot believe that our system is so weak at the moment that that is allowed to happen.”