BBC presenter under fire after accidentally grabbing woman’s breast live on air

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Kayleigh Dray
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BBC News Presenter Ben Brown has been criticised on social media after he appeared to grab a woman’s breast during a live broadcast.

Brown, who was reporting on the Labour Party’s 2017 manifesto, had been interviewing BBC assistant political editor Norman Smith when a woman walked into frame and waved at the camera. She also announced that, as a proud Jeremy Corbyn supporter, she found the manifesto to be “absolutely fantastic”.

In the clip (below), viewers see Brown attempt to sweep her out of the way with his arm in a bid to stop her from interrupting the broadcast. However, his hand lands on her right breast and he continues to try and move her backwards.

The woman, clearly taken aback by the incident, stares down at his hand for a moment, before stepping smartly backwards and whacking him across the shoulder.

She then walks off camera.

Viewers watching the broadcast soon took to Twitter to criticise Brown’s behaviour – and he has since attempted to explain the situation via his own social media feed.

“Unfortunate interruption of broadcast in Bradford,” he wrote.

“[I] just tried to minimise disruption but [it can be very] tricky live on air.”

He added that his grabbing of the woman’s breast had been “completely unintentional”.

Reactions to the post have been mixed, with a number of people coming forward to support Brown.

“That silly woman shouldn’t have been there,” wrote one woman. “If it hadn’t been a boob it wouldn’t even be a story.”

Another said: “Looked like an accident. These things happen.”

Others, however, remained upset with Brown for his behaviour and for not straightforwardly apologising.

“Perhaps a direct apology, Ben. Real men respect women – shameful behaviour,” wrote one.

Another user added: “Why put hands there in the first place though? Also, once you put your hand there, you knew what you [were] touching so why not take your hand off?”

“He has a voice,” pointed out one. “He didn’t have to grope her. Most normal people ask folk to move out their way politely.”

And one insisted: “You have no right to put your hands on anybody, let alone a woman on her breast. You didn't recoil or apologise and just carried on.”

Images: BBC News


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.