Lauren Laverne: ‘Rolf Harris bit me and it wasn’t considered a big deal’

The broadcaster said that the incident was “icky and nibbly”

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The Independent Online

Lauren Laverne has recalled the “icky” moment when Rolf Harris bit her – and “it not being a big deal”.

The presenter and DJ was interviewing Harris on television when the incident took place.

“When I shook his hand instead of shaking back he pulled me towards him and grizzled into the side of my neck,” she wrote in a column for the Guardian.

“As I recall I shoved him off, made light of it and proceeded with the interview. I remember it as icky, nibbly. Very beardy.

“But mostly I remember it as unremarkable. And that’s a problem – the problem when it comes to the media at that time. It’s not just that he bit me – it’s that neither I nor anyone else around me thought much of it when he did.”

Harris, 84, was jailed earlier this month after being found guilty of 12 counts of indecent assault against four victims between 1968 and 1985. He was given a prison sentence of five years and nine months.

“It is possible for an evil to be – in the words of George Orwell – 'something too normal to be noticed'. The phrase 'hiding in plain sight' has been applied to Harris and Savile,” continued Laverne.

“It’s an apt one, especially as it involves an inability to see what is plainly there as much as it does cunning.”

Laverne added that she wasn’t sure if Harris biting her “was my worst experience that week”, going on to recall an incident where a musician called her a “fat f**king b***h” in her dressing room after she joked about his festival outfit.

“I didn’t complain about that either. It seemed like a one-off,” she said.

“Now I’m not sure it was. I think about my friends’ stories from those days. Make-up girls, runners, researchers, other presenters… Everyone’s experiences are the same, or worse. Like confetti – tiny fragments of apparently isolated, random awfulness that turn out not to be isolated or random, actually… everywhere.”