Jo Brand shoots down all-male Have I Got News For You panel over sexual harassment jokes

The host of the BBC panel show had to explain to the four male panellists why they should take stories of sexual harassment claims in Westminster seriously

Have I Got News For You host Jo Brand  (Hat Trick - Photographer: Richard Kendal)

Jo Brand delivered a ringing rebuke to Have I Got News For You’s all-male panel after they appeared to downplay claims of sexual harassment in Westminster.

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The BBC audience cheered guest host Brand after she pointed out that it didn’t take “high level” crime for women to feel “under siege in somewhere like the House of Commons”.

In a segment looking at a recent headline – ‘Tory MP takes his personal trainer to the cinema’ – Have I Got News For You team captain Ian Hislop said, “Some of this is not high level crime, is it, compared to say Putin or Trump?”

Brand however cut Hislop off, saying, “If I could only say that as the only representative of the female gender here today, I know it’s not high level but it doesn’t have to be high level for women to feel under siege in somewhere like the House of Commons.

“And actually for women, if you’re constantly being harassed even in a small way, that builds up and that wears you down,” she continued to cheers from the audience.

“Sorry, I thought I was on Question Time for a minute,” she concluded.

Hislop responded, “No, and as you point out with four blokes sitting around you we’re hardly in a position to say, ‘That’s rubbish’.”

Hislop and fellow team captain Paul Merton were joined by comedian Miles Jupp and journalist Quentin Letts, a line-up which viewers deemed misjudged given the topic under discussion on the BBC satirical show.

In another section, when Letts called journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer “a big strong girl”, Brand replied, “She’s a woman, Quentin, she’s not a girl”.

In August this year, BBC Radio 4 revealed that it would be making a predominantly-female topical comedy series called Where’s the F in News, led by Have I Got News For You producer Jo Bunting.

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Watch the full episode of Have I Got News For You on BBC iPlayer here.