Katherine Ryan has told Louis Theroux it is an “open secret” that a prominent male TV personality is an alleged sexual abuser – but many on Twitter have demanded she “name and shame” the individual.
Katherine Ryan and Louis Theroux have made headlines following the “dangerous” conversation they shared during this week’s episode of his self-titled BBC Two series, Louis Theroux Interviews.
Reiterating her previous claims that a prominent male entertainer’s reputation for sexual misconduct is an “open secret” in the entertainment industry, Ryan told Theroux: “It’s very dangerous for us to have this conversation.
“I’m happy to have it, but it’s 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, so am I going to put my mortgage on the line by saying who this person is or entering into any conversations like that?”
She added: “We’ve seen what happens to the people who talk about alleged predators.”
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Stressing the fact that it’s “not my story to tell”, Ryan continued: “This person, I believe very strongly – many people believe very strongly – is an open secret, is a perpetrator of sexual assault.”
The comedian went on to claim that she had confronted the man several times during the recording of a comedy programme some years ago over his behaviour.
“I, in front of loads of people, in the format of the show, said to this person’s face that they are a predator,” she said.
Ryan alleges that the exchanges were not included when the programme was broadcast.
It is not the first time that Ryan, who has featured on series including Have I Got News For You, 8 Out Of 10 Cats, Mock The Week and A League Of Their Own, has broached this subject.
Indeed, she shared the same allegations earlier this year with Sara Pascoe on her Prime Video series, Backstage With Katherine Ryan, recalling: “I called him a predator to his face and in front of everyone every day.”
Ryan added at the time: “What am I supposed to do? It’s such a messy thing because I don’t have proof.
“What, am I not supposed to feed my children because of someone else?”
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Not unexpectedly, there has been a huge reaction to Ryan’s comments on social media. And, while a number of people have focused on trying to uncover the alleged abuser’s identity for themselves, others have lambasted Ryan for failing to “name and shame” the perpetrator herself.
Responding to these individuals on Twitter, columnist, screenwriter and author Terri White tweeted: “‘KATHERINE RYAN SHOULD NAME THE PREDATOR SO THE POLICE CAN STOP HIM’ shout those oblivious to [the fact that] a) men with means using litigation to silence and intimidate and b) less than 1% of reported rapes end in conviction.”
“Women use whisper networks because they’re our only means of protection,” White added.
It’s a valid point. Indeed, stats have shown that the highest ever number of rape complaints were recorded by police in the year ending March 2022: 70,330. In that same time period, however, charges were brought in just 2,223 rape cases.
This means that only one in 100 rape complaints recorded by police in 2021 resulted in a charge that same year – let alone a conviction.
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Still, though, people assume that there is a spate of “false” accusations, and this is in spite of the fact that, as Katie Russell, national spokesperson for Rape Crisis England & Wales, previously told Stylist, “False [sexual assault] allegations are very rare. By contrast, the experience of rape and other forms of sexual violence and abuse is much more common than most people realise.”
Russell explained: “The impacts on survivors are significant and long-lasting, and the vast majority of those who are subjected to these serious, traumatic crimes never report to the police.
“Among the reasons survivors tell us they don’t report are fear of not being believed and of being treated like the one under suspicion. The criminal justice process is long and difficult and it’s not something people routinely put themselves through for petty reasons.”
One can only hope that with people in the spotlight such as Ryan prepared to step up and offer their support, these victims might feel able to come forward in the not-so-distant future.
If you would like more information or support, visit Rape Crisis UK – or, alternatively, call 0808 802 9999 (usual opening times are noon – 2.30pm and 7-9.30pm any day of the year and also between 3-5.30pm on weekdays).
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