Katherine Ryan has described the ‘pushback’ she received after speaking out against a male comedian she accused of being a sexual predator.
While she was purportedly pushed to divulge the identities of the ladies allegedly targeted by the individual in issue, she stated that she refused.
Katherine, 40, said in a television interview with Louis Theroux, 53, last year that it was an open industry secret that a specific individual had committed sexual assault.
Comedian Katherine told documentary maker Louis at the time: ‘No one has perpetrated any sexual assault against me, but this person, I believe very strongly – many people believe very strongly – is an open secret, is a perpetrator of sexual assault.
‘I, in front of loads of people, in the format of the show said to this person’s face that they are a predator.’
Katherine went into further detail on a new episode of Desert Island Discs, which aired on Sunday October 1 but was taped on Wednesday September 6, about what happened when she faced the issue of working with the unnamed man.
When asked by host Lauren Laverne about speaking out about the alleged sexual predator, Katherine stated: ‘I got a lot of pushback – like, “Why won’t you say who it is?” – 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’m reluctant to talk about it.’
‘Because it was another comic, right?’ Lauren asked.
‘Well it’s, you know, 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,’ Katherine continued.
‘It’s funny how people go straight to accusing, “You’re the problem, you won’t give his name.” And it’s like, we’re not the problem.’
Katherine described the decision she had to make between working with someone she suspected of sexual assault and turning down a job.
‘Those were my options, so I wrestled with that. I thought, “What am I meant to do in this instance? Am I meant to go and be near someone that I think these things about.”’ she questioned.
The comic stressed that the individual in issue did not assault her and that she had never been assaulted in her life.
The TV star continued: ‘But the choice is, do I go to work with someone that 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? And that was really difficult for me. 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?’
In the end, Katherine settled on a compromise – to work alongside the man in question, but to ‘let him know under no uncertain terms what I think of him’.
‘I’m not going to smile and look like I’m allowing this behaviour. I’m not going to let him think that I don’t know and that everybody he works with is going to let him get away with it. So that is the attitude that I took into the show,’ she recollected.
‘And did I do the right thing or the wrong thing? I still don’t know, but I just felt like, “Why should I stay home? He should stay home. But if he’s going to be there, I’m going to be there. And I’m going to tell him what I think.”’
Katherine told Lauren that the man ‘didn’t have an obvious reaction’ when she confronted him, while other people found her remarks to him ‘funny and courageous’.