Laura Bates Praised For Dismantling 'Banter' Claims About Donald Trump's Groping Comments

'Thankfully Laura Bates was the voice of reason.'

Laura Bates has been praised for her response to discussion over Donald Trump’s comments about groping women.

Footage from 2005 obtained by the Washington Post revealed the Republican presidential candidate describing how he “moved” on women.

Trump was recorded saying, among other things: “I am automatically attracted to beautiful women. I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss, I don’t even wait ... and when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”

“Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the Everyday Sexism founder warned about the dangers of conflating comments such as these with the way many men may speak about women.

She said: “Well I think it’s really important that we are unequivocal about the fact that Donald Trump was discussing sexual violence.

“He was talking about using his privilege to get away with sexually assaulting women and what he’s tried to do is deflect that using this kind of ‘banter’, ‘locker room’ excuse, as if to suggest that this is natural, that this is just the way that men talk, which I think is insulting to the vast majority of men. It mustn’t be conflated.”

<strong>Laura Bates, founder of Everyday Sexism</strong>
Laura Bates, founder of Everyday Sexism
Roberto Ricciuti via Getty Images

But BBC presenter Justin Webb seemed particularly keen to discuss the other parts of what Trump said.

He asked Bates: “If you put that on one side though, the specific part of what he was taped saying that was obviously, to you, about assault, if you take the rest of it, is the rest of it acceptable?”

She said: “It’s fascinating that that’s the first response: ‘let’s just put that serious bit on one side’, as if it’s completely separate. Do you mean the bit about describing a woman as a word beginning with B? The bit where he graphically and misogynistically talked about a woman’s breasts?”

Webb responded: “Yeah.”

Bates answered: “I think the fact that those happened in the same breath…clearly there is a relationship between describing women in that way and the suggestion that women’s bodies are there for men to do as they would like with.”

Webb asked Bates if she felt a description which in any sense objectifies women is an assault.

<strong>Trump was heard making obscene comments about women in a tape form 2005</strong>
Trump was heard making obscene comments about women in a tape form 2005

She replied: “Of course that’s not what I said, there’s clearly a connection there between discussion of women in a dehumanising way that describes them as objects there for the taking, and the fact that that conversation immediately segued into a discussion about doing just that.”

Bates went on to explain to Webb that being “complimentary” was not an issue but that comments such as Trump’s simply did not even come close to being compliments.

She explained: “Complimenting someone, which I think we’d all say is acceptable, couldn’t be further from what this conversation was about.

“It matters that if someone at the Today programme has heard these comments, these outrageous comments made by Donald Trump and gone ‘hey, let’s have a debate about whether men should have a safe space to be able to say certain things about women’.

“The reason I say that is because that’s why someone like Donald Trump can get away with this kind of thing and still be on the verge of becoming the most powerful man in the world, because we mitigate it, we downplay it, we brush it under the carpet.”

She received much praise on Twitter for her handling of the conversation...

Trump apologised for his comments but claimed they were “locker room banter”.

They were labelled “horrific” by his Democrat opponent Hillary Clinton.

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