Channel 5 presenter Matthew Wright has been accused of “disgusting victim blaming” after he criticised an aspiring MP for speaking out about the sexist abuse she has received online.
According to the 22-year-old, she has been asked what bra size she is, whether she would perform a striptease and which sexual acts she would be willing to do to “get votes”.
But 51-year-old Wright said he was “struggling to feel much sympathy for Emily” because she should not have left “revealing” photos online.
“Leaving such images on social media was naive to say the least,” the Wright Stuff host told viewers.
“Bosses keep telling us quite openly that they routinely check Facebook profiles when hiring new staff.
“While she has every right to wear as much or as little as she likes, and likewise to post as many pictures as she chooses, she has to accept that the world of social media is full of inadequate perverts who get their kicks out of trolling people.”
He added that this could explain “why Owen has since set her Facebook settings to private”.
Owen quickly hit back at Wright’s comments, tweeting that “rape threats are never ok”.
In a longer statement on Facebook published this morning, she said the “abusive” comments she has received since speaking out have been “unacceptable”.
“I am a young woman who has put her head above the parapet and stood up for what I so passionately believe in,” she wrote.
“No one deserves to be shot at for calling out such disgusting behaviour.”
Owen continued: “People saying it’s normal to have such vile and disgusting comments and messages though are wrong. It is not normal.
“I won’t be silenced because sexism is not okay!”
Wright’s remarks also led to a flurry of outrage from viewers on social media, who said the host was “blaming Emily Owen for the vile, sexist & misogynistic abuse she has received online”.
Welsh Labour councillor Jennifer Burke-Davies tweeted: “How dare a woman stand for Parliament, she must absolutely expect to receive such abuse?
“What a crock of old crap. Give me a break.”
She then went on to say Owen was right to speak out, calling Wright’s comments “backward victim blaming”.