Ann Widdecombe and Amanda Barrie had only been in the ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ for a few hours when they faced their first backlash over comments made about sexual assault allegations levelled at Harvey Weinstein.
Viewers have accused the pair of victim blaming after claiming the Hollywood producer’s alleged victims had a “choice” in the situations they found themselves in.
During a conversation on Wednesday (3 January) night’s show, ex-‘Coronation Street’ star Amanda argued: “When it comes to the Harvey Weinstein bit, I think someone should have said, it’s not really worth it, darling. I’d rather not get the part.”
Former Tory MP Ann concurred, saying: “I tend to agree. There was a choice there,” Ann concurred.
Amanda continued: ”[Sexual favours] were always indicated, but if you’re stupid enough to go to bed with someone because you want the part, you just don’t get it!”
Journalist Rachel Johnson then pointed out that many actresses were - in Amanda’s words - “stupid enough”, to which Ann responded: “That’s on them. That was down to them. They had a choice.”
Model Jess Impiazzi was quick to defend the victims, telling her housemates: “I would be terrified if I was in an audition and a man came at me,” Jess argued. “I would be awfully terrified… If a big man came at me, I’d be terrified.”
“Oh no, darling,” Amanda interrupted.
US reality star Malika Haqq went on to say: “It’s not always the big bad cop. “Sometimes I saw people subjecting themselves, in situations and scenarios where you don’t see it coming.
“All of a sudden you end up doing something you really, truly wouldn’t want to end up doing. But you’re doing it, and you realise, I have a choice in that very moment.”
Ann and Amanda’s comments proved controversial, with many on social media condemning their views:
A number of women have accused Weinstein of sexual harassment, abuse, and - in three cases - rape.
When the first reports emerged in early October, he apologised for inappropriate behaviour an enrolled in an outpatient rehab programme, but has “vehemently denied” all accusations of rape.
‘Celebrity Big Brother’ continues on Thursday at 9pm on Channel 5.
Useful helplines and websites:
- Victim Support - Visit victimsupport.org.uk or call 0808 168 9111 Sexual Abuse Referral Centres - Find a SARC
- Rape Crisis - Visit rapecrisis.org.uk or call 0808 802 9999 The Rape and Abuse Line - Visit rapeandabuseline.co.uk or call 0808 800 0123 (answered by women) or 0808 800 0122 (answered by men).