A UK TV hostess on the Jewellery Maker show broadcast on satellite TV was fired after a viewer complained that she and her young daughter saw her “make a rude hand gesture” (i.e., “gave the finger”) and found it “disgusting.” The hostess sued alleging sexual harassment.
Huh? What does sexual harassment have to do with making rude gestures on live TV?
The truth is stranger than fiction, of course. Seems that her finger rose only after studio colleagues made sexually offensive comments through her ear piece while she was live on air, and she directed the finger at them. She said that she had no idea that her gesture was seen by TV viewers.
She testified before the Birmingham Employment Tribunal that “I was shocked and extremely offended to be called a fucking big whore and a bitch on my earpiece. There’s always the odd distraction joke among the camera crews during transmission, but it’s usually innocent and friendly. I’ve never been insulted before by such crude language.”
After a two-day hearing, the tribunal awarded her damages of £3,250 for sexual harassment.
An article in The Guardian from which our post was derived is no substitute for a court opinion which we have not seen. If any of our friends across the pond can provide it we would be most grateful — perhaps we could then make some sense out of this story.