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

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

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.”

Read more: Rolf Harris found guilty of indecent assault
Rolf Harris: The letter that sealed his fate
Rolf Harris: A hypocrite who warned against paedophiles
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, - 1 Year contract

£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Human Resource Officer and Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Recruitment Genius: Project Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This privately-owned company designs and manuf...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence