TalkRadio host James Whale has been “suspended pending investigation” after appearing to laugh when a guest described being sexually assaulted.
Journalist Nichi Hodgson said she was left humiliated after disclosing her rape during a conversation with Whale on his evening show, which he co-hosts with Ash Gould.
In a video clip of the broadcast, the radio presenter can be seen appearing to laugh as she describes being assaulted.
In the most damning part of the video Hodgson is describing how she was orally raped by a man who jumped into a taxi she was in following a party in January this year.
Originally posted on YouTube and Twitter by TalkRadio, the video appears to show Whale mouthing “orally raped” to someone off camera, laughing and then shaking his head as Hodgson continued to describe her experience.
He goes on to quiz her on how she reported it to police, and then criticise her for how she handled it. He later asked: “Are you not concerned that unless you did go further with this then this brute could actually do it to other women?”
Hodgson responded that she went as far as she could but the police couldn’t find out who had attacked her.
In an article for The Guardian, Hodgson said she felt she had been interrogated, ridiculed and had her journalistic integrity called into question by Whale.
In a statement, TalkRadio said the manner of Whale’s interview with Hodgson did “not reflect the values” of the station.
“This incident saw regrettable errors made by both the production and presenting teams and we are taking measures to ensure that they are not repeated again,” the statement concluded.
Shortly after broadcast, the entire conversation was made available on YouTube and tweeted directly at Hodgson, but it has since been removed. TalkRadio has also published a news article about the conversation, which has also now been taken down.
The video and audio have however, been shared widely on social media.
Twitter user Rob Ward said Whale was an “appallingly misogynistic, patronising prick”, adding that he should be sacked.
Another, Liame Beattie, said that Hodgon’s article was “brave and frankly heartbreaking” and showed “exactly why we still have not moved past victim-blaming when it comes to sexual assault”.
Hodgson wrote: “Using every sneeringly dismissive and misogynistic trick in the book, he made the matter of my sexual assault an interrogation of my behaviour.
“When I attempted to cite my journalistic credentials as proof of being perfectly placed to talk with authority about both dating practices, and the matter of my own assault, he said: ‘It doesn’t matter what you are, you’re speaking as a woman.’”
She continued that Whale “had the opportunity to let his listeners understand what it feels like to be sexually violated, to learn what may happen if you go to the police (who were nothing but supportive yet realistic with me) and to facilitate a nuanced discussion about what respectful sexual advances should look and sound like”.
“Instead, his interrogation of me became part of the continuing problem, the very reason for why those who experience assault will continue to keep quiet about it,” she said.
Hodgson had initially been invited on the show to discuss comments made by author Jilly Cooper last week, in which she suggested the #MeToo movement had made men afraid to flirt with women.