A well-known Hollywood producer attempted to coerce broadcaster Laura Whitmore to his hotel room in London.
Popular Irish broadcaster, actress and model Laura Whitmore has revealed details of the sexual harassment and degrading treatment she has suffered throughout her career in a hard-hitting op-ed in Irish magazine Hot Press.
The Co. Wicklow native spoke strongly against the media circus that revolves around attempts to get up-skirt shots of her and constantly linking her to men as “someone’s possible bit on the side,” revealing incidents in which she had men touch her inappropriately in public places and writing about a run-in with a well-known Hollywood producer in which he tried to get her to visit his hotel room.
The 32-year-old also revealed a story of an anonymous friend who was raped by someone they both knew and worked with, a case her friend “Sara” decided not to report because of the power and influence the man held over her career.
“In a sense, the ‘Me Too’ movement is just the tip of the iceberg,” Whitmore claims, reliving the humiliation she has been made feel by the “female-shaming culture that seems to be acceptable.”
“Why do we love to degrade women? ‘Oh well look what she was wearing, she was asking for it.’ How is this a justification??! It isn’t. Ever,” she writes.
“Pretty much every man I’ve ever crossed paths with, I may as well have been photographed straddling – from friends, to work colleagues, to actual boyfriends.”
“This is supposed to be a measure of my worth? Not the fact that I have a first-class honours degree in journalism; that I was selected as an MTV host ahead of thousands of applicants; that I have worked bloody hard in this industry and made a successful career, bought a house, supported my family, been a faithful girlfriend and lived a life as best I could, trying to be a kind person and standing up for others when I could?”
In particular, Whitmore mentions an incident at the BAFTAs two years ago in which a Hollywood producer, who she claims it was well-known that you should not spend any time alone with, attempted to pursue her.
“I had met him over the years at film events and he always gave me time, introduced me to his colleagues and wife and said he thought I was very good at what I did, which was immensely flattering,” the presenter states.
“Later when whispers of ‘you’re a very pretty girl’ were made, alarm bells rang. He was a well-respected man in the industry, but it was almost common knowledge not to be alone with him (and I’ll argue against anyone who refutes that). I only met him in a professional manner and never took him up on his offers of theatre or dinner, when he invited me.
“In hindsight, I’m glad I didn’t. The day after the Baftas, he found out the hotel, and the number of the room I was staying in.
“My mate and I thought we had slept in when the phone rang – but it was the producer asking could I meet him at his hotel later that day. I said I couldn’t as I was working, which was true. If I’m honest, there was a part of me that hoped he really did think I was good at my job and wanted to help – but I’ve been in the industry a while now and you learn to be careful.”
Laura Whitmore is a popular broadcaster in Ireland and England who first found success when she was chosen from thousands of applicants for the role of MTV News anchor in Europe. She has since worked extensively with MTV, ITV, BBC and RTÉ, as well starring in the stage drama “Not Dead Enough.”