Standards – what standards?
“A Conservative councillor who defended the disgraced Presidents Club and accused the Financial Times of exaggerating the behaviour of its guests at a men-only dinner is being forced to stand down from a senior role.
Tina Knight’s comments on BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine programme, in which she dismissed reports of widespread groping at the event and said that the “real harassment” took place at women-only functions, prompted a furious online reaction and a protest over the weekend.
Vine interviewed Knight, the chair of the standards committee at Uttlesford council in Essex, and Madison Marriage, the FT reporter who went undercover as a hostess and reported allegations of sexual harassment that left some hostesses in tears.
Knight said any hostess at the event would have to be a “real airhead” not to expect “ribald” behaviour of the kind she knew from her rugby club in Saffron Walden. She said to Marriage: “You’re obviously a reporter because you are exaggerating … If she’s upset that’s one thing; she should not be speaking for others.
“If you want to know real harassment then you go to a women-only function and you see real behaviour that would absolutely make men look like saints … This belittles real sexual harassment … rape and that sort of thing … when somebody can’t deal with a drunken man.”
She said the £2m raised for charity at the event was “astounding”, and claimed men were more generous and competitive when “imbibed with lots of liquor”. ”