Loose Women, a British talk show similar to The View, recently asked their audience a question: “Is it ever a woman’s fault if she is raped?” Now, the show and its parent channel ITV are being investigated by the U.K. broadcasting regulator agency.
The show usually seems to cover innocuous hot topics: older men dating younger women, interviews with One Direction, hard-hitting questions like “What’s your favorite Rod Stewart song?” The sexual assault question was prompted by the new memoir from Pretenders singer Chrissie Hynde, who partially blames herself for her own rape at the hands of a biker gang when she was 21. In an interview, she said that one “can’t paint yourself into a corner and then say whose brush is this? You have to take responsibility. I mean, I was naive… They’re motorcycle guys! If you play with fire you get burnt. It’s not any secret, is it?”
It’s sad to hear victim-blaming rhetoric from a victim of sexual assault; it’s even sadder to hear it as a poll given to viewers on a national television show.
According to the Guardian, 87.85 percent of Loose Women viewers said rape is not the woman’s fault.
Ofcom is likely to consider the poll under section 2 of the broadcasting code covering harm and offense. Section 2.4 of the code says: “Programmes must not include material (whether in individual programmes or in programs taken together) which, taking into account the context, condones or glamorizes violent, dangerous or seriously antisocial behaviour and is likely to encourage others to copy such behaviour.
Now, because viewers were like “Oy,” ITV has taken the poll down, deleted the corresponding tweet promoting the poll, and apologized, somewhat.
“We always want to know what our viewers think about topical issues, however, we accept that the wording of the online poll was misjudged and we apologise for any offense caused.”
As Katie Russell of the Rape Crisis England & Wales center said, Loose Women could’ve taken Hynde’s newsworthy statements and raised awareness about rape and how the act affects its victims: “Instead, they’ve reinforced myths and stereotypes with this ill-considered, insensitive and insulting poll.”
The producers are behind this show either need to be replaced or given classes on how to produce content about sensitive topics without sounding like old sexist men who just love to dole out shitty advice over a pint.
Contact the author at Hillary@jezebel.com.
Image via Youtube.