NEWS
29/05/2018 00:03 BST | Updated 29/05/2018 10:18 BST

Martha Kearney Recalls 'Horrible And Humiliating' Sexual Harassment

'I hope #MeToo will make a difference.'

John Phillips via Getty Images
Martha Kearney attends the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction last year.

BBC presenter Martha Kearney has revealed the “horrible and humiliating” sexual harassment she suffered as a young reporter.

The Radio 4 ‘Today’ programme host said she encountered the unwelcome advances of bosses who were “powerful people” as she rose through the ranks as a broadcast journalist.

Kearney, 60, recalled to the Radio Times how she experienced the wandering hands of older managers during the 1980s.

It was horrible and humiliating, she told the publication in an interview. 

I didn’t complain. It was the world of work, the rough and tumble of the newsroom. The young women I work with at ‘Today’ have zero tolerance. I hope #MeToo will make a difference. 

Asked whether she ever snapped at the perpetrators, she said: No, and I regret that. I wish I’d felt stronger, less intimidated, but in my 20s, bosses were powerful people. 

She added: “I feel very strongly that a bullying culture at work stifles creativity.

“People know when they’ve made mistakes and feel very bad about it. They don’t need to be bawled out in a newsroom.

“If somebody has made a mistake in my brief I don’t need to shout, You idiot, because they know that themselves and feel dreadful about it. Bullying just doesn’t work. It’s dying out.

Asked about the atmosphere behind-the-scenes of ‘Today’, where she joined from the ‘PM’ programme two months ago, Kearney said: “This might surprise you but there is a spirit of camaraderie.

“That has surprised me and I’ve been very appreciative of the way they have all been so helpful.

“When I’ve looked slightly rabbit-in-the-headlights, or I’ve not had my script to hand, they have stepped in for me.

The 2-8 June issue of the Radio Times is available now.