Dawn French: We need to arm young women against sexual predators

The comedian tells the latest issue of Radio Times that at drama school, "actresses need to learn what’s OK and what’s not"

Dawn French

Dawn French has said that she believes young women and actresses in the entertainment industry need to be armed with the right information in the wake of the alleged Harvey Weinstein sexual assaults.

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The comedian and presenter said that although “of course” men needed to change, she was going to do everything she could to “arm all of the young women” in her life on how to deal with potentially dangerous or compromising situations.

“I think that we should be arming our young women,” French tells the latest issue of Radio Times. “They should have a script as to what to do. So if they’re asked to go to an audition at a hotel, they say no. If they go and then they are told, ‘It won’t be here in one of these public rooms, you’re going to Mr Weinstein’s bedroom,’ then they say no.

“Or otherwise, you’re walking up corridors to his bedroom. He’s answering the door in his bathrobe. You’re now entering his bedroom. Now we’re going into the next part of it where you’re totally compromised because you’ve already done all those things.

“But there are out-points all along the way,” she continued. “And we, the mothers, we, the friends, we, the agents, we, the casting directors, have to say this. At drama school, actresses need to learn what’s OK and what’s not, and have a checklist of what you do and what you don’t do, and leave at that point. Leave, leave, leave.”

Asked if she thought men needed to change, the Vicar of Dibley and French and Saunders star added: “Of course they need to change. But I can’t stop Harvey Weinstein.

“But I can arm young actresses, just like I would arm my own daughter, telling her not to walk in the streets on her own, get in a cab… All those lessons that we give our young women, and that people gave us, we can choose to ignore them if we like. But I am going to arm all the young women around me as much as I can.”

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Read the full interview with Dawn French in the Christmas double issue of Radio Times magazine, on sale now

Radio Times Christmas Cover 2017