Another day, another PC gone mad story in the Daily Mail. It’s a good example of the misogyny that lies at the heart of the Daily Mail (much more on this next week…), the sort of story that huffs at you: ‘You can’t even show academic papers to ’em anymore without being accused of ‘harrassment’. The headline is suitably misleading: ‘Academic accused of sexually harassing woman colleague… by showing her research paper on the sex life of fruit bats‘. As soon as you read this you just know there must be something more to it than that, and you’re absolutely right.
Once we get past the view of the accused – Dr Dylan Evans – who is given 7 paragraphs to defend himself – we then hear from Dr Rossana Salerno Kennedy – the accuser – who states:
‘This is not the first time that Dr Evans has raised sexual subjects with me. The previous week, he came to my office uninvited to me the book that he is reading-about the life of Casanova.
‘He said he admired Casanova because he had slept with hundreds of women, he was a gambler and he was able to play different roles in different situations.
‘Since he arrived at the school last year, Dr Evans has often come to my office, generally early in the morning and always uninvited, to talk mainly about himself.
‘On many occasions he used unwelcome patting, hugging, kissing on the cheeks and touching behaviour with me; he also used to make compliments on my beauty or the way I was dressed.
‘I told him that I do not appreciate compliments as they do not mean anything to me.
‘I have been tolerant and given him the benefit of the doubt, but am no longer willing to excuse his behaviour.
‘These events are causing me great distress and have made the workplace unpleasant for me.’
It is just another example of the Daily Mail using a headline to scream about something ludicrious that just doesn’t bear any relation to reality. Sexual harrassment is a serious issue, yet here it is being trivialised by a national newspaper who once again hammer home the narrative that sexual harrassment cases are always trivial and silly. It is no surprise that Dr Evans is painted as the victim here, given that the Daily Mail is a newspaper with an abhorrent attitude towards women (again, much more of this later…).