Katherine Ryan Reflects On 'Pushback' After Calling Out Male Comic She Believed Was A 'Predator'

"It’s funny how people go straight to accusing, ‘You are the problem. You won’t give his name.’ We’re not the problem."
Katherine Ryan in November 2022
Katherine Ryan in November 2022
via Associated Press

Katherine Ryan has said she received “a lot of pushback” when she made the decision to call out a fellow comedian she believed to be a “predator”.

Last year, the Canadian comic made headlines when she appeared on Louis Theroux’s interview series, during which she referred to an “open secret” about a former male colleague.

I informed him to his face that he was a predator,” Katherine said of the undisclosed comedian.

“I think [by predator] I mean perpetrator of sexual assault. But it is very dangerous for us to have this conversation. I’m happy to have it, but it is a litigious minefield. Because lots of people have tried to nail this person down for their alleged crimes. And this person has very good lawyers.”

She added: “This person, I believe, very strongly, and so do a lot of people, it’s an open secret, is a perpetrator of sexual assault. And I, in front of loads of people, in the format of the show, said to this person’s face that they were a predator. Again and again.”

These comments apparently did not make it into the final cut of the show in question.

During an interview on Sunday’s edition of Desert Island Discs – recorded in the first week of September – Katherine was asked by host Lauren Laverne about her previous comments and the reaction to them..

“I got a lot of pushback, like, ‘Why won’t you say who it is?’,” Katherine said.

“It’s because everyone knows who it is. What they’re asking me for is the women’s names. And that’s what I won’t give and that’s why I was reluctant to talk about it.”

She added: “There are a few women’s names that I think investigators are looking for and that’s what they’re asking me for. No one’s asking me for his name.

“So it’s funny how people go straight to accusing, ‘You are the problem. You won’t give his name.’ We’re not the problem.”

Later in the interview, Katherine said she’d “wrestled” with the “really difficult” decision to work with the comedian in question.

“The choice is, do I go to work with someone who I think is very problematic and do I stand near them and laugh and smile and look like I am allowing this kind of person to still be on television, or do I stay home?” she recalled.

“That’s what I wrestled with the most. Because I believe that this person was or is dangerous, but also what am I going to change if I stay home?

“My compromise was, alright, ‘I’m gonna go, but I’m going to let him know under no uncertain terms what I think of him. I’m not gonna just smile and look like I’m allowing this behaviour’.”

Towards the end of last month, Katherine requested that the media respect her decision not to be included in certain narratives within the press.

“I have nothing else to say about anything,” she said during an episode of her podcast Telling Everyone Everything.

“Apart from, I guess, passing observation, when a woman says ‘no I don’t want to engage in that conversation and I have no comment on that story, no I won’t be confirming or denying or participating about anything in the news right now’, her consent is not valid.”

Later, she added: “Why is my consent totally unimportant when we are speaking a lot in the press right now speaking about the importance of consent? No is a full sentence, ladies, gentlemen. No.”

Listen to Katherine Ryan’s full interview on BBC Sounds here.


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