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Kirstie Allsopp told to stop using word ‘darling’ amid sexual harassment fears

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Anna Brech
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Kirstie Allsopp - herself a victim of sexual harassment - is frustrated by TV bosses who object to her use of the word “darling” on Location, Location, Location

Presenter Kirstie Allsopp was told to stop using the word “darling” by TV executives who fear the word could be seen as sexual harassment.

Allsopp - who fronts the hit property show Location, Location, Location - said the concern raised by unnamed Channel 4 bosses was “ridiculous”.

The house-hunting expert was recently sent a diversity document outlining her use of language on the programme, which she co-hosts with fellow property mogul Phil Spencer.

“It said that use of affectionate terms such as ‘darling’ constitute sexual harassment,” Allsopp tells the Times, in an interview this week. 

“I said, ‘This is ridiculous.’

“It’s belittling an incredibly important document about disability language, sexist language, racist language. That’s what frustrates me about this whole debate,” she adds.

Kirstie Allsopp and her co-presenter, Phil Spencer

Kirstie Allsopp and her co-presenter Phil Spencer

Part of the enduring appeal of Location, Location, Location is the banter shared between Allsopp and Spencer; something that both presenters admit involves lots of euphemisms and “silly jokes”.

Allsopp said some scenes that they filmed together in the past, including one in which Spencer makes a quip about looking up her skirt as she climbs a ladder, would be deemed unacceptable by today’s standards. 

She says it’s important that we should make a definition between the lighthearted digs she and Spencer share on-screen, and the kind of sexual misconduct associated with Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein

“It’s really important that anyone who has been in a compromising situation in the workplace where they feel unhappy and bullied should be able to stick their hand up,” she says. “Phil making a silly comment about looking up my skirt is not that.

“There is a difference and we all need to know the difference. Funny as it would be seeing Phil hauled up, it’d never happen. A man more respectful of other women I literally have never come across.”

Kirstie was sexually harassed by a colleague over two decades ago

Appearing on the TV programme Question Time in November, Allsopp revealed that she had been sexually harassed by a colleague 25 years ago.

Allsopp said she told the man in question to “f**k off” after he came up behind her and did a pelvic thrust. She then ended up with a warning for her reaction, rather than him.

“This isn’t about sex this is about power,” she said. “It’s about people who are senior to people and exercising control over them.

“And when it happens you remember it forever… I am quite a robust person and I am quite capable of telling people to eff off and I remember it.”

Images: Rex Features

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Anna Brech

Anna Brech is a freelance journalist and former editor for stylist.co.uk. Her six-year stint on the site saw her develop a vociferous appetite for live Analytics, feminist opinion and good-quality gin in roughly equal measure. She enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content but has a soft spot for books and escapist travel content.

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