Vanessa Feltz criticises 'vile' reaction to Rolf Harris allegations

The TV presenter said she had been upset by the 'outpouring of misogyny and hatred'

Vanessa Feltz has hit back at the “vile” response she has received following her allegations against convicted sex offender Rolf Harris.

The 52-year-old TV presenter said she had been targeted by “misogyny and hatred” since she told the Sunday Express that Harris attacked her while they were filming a live episode of The Big Breakfast in May 1996.

Feltz has described how Harris allegedly put his hand inside her knickers while she interviewed him during the “On The Bed” section of the show - and that Harris’ wife Alwen had been in the room at the time.

Speaking to BBC London 94.9, she said: “The kind of reaction I have had, I found so upsetting. I was upset by the outpouring of misogyny and hatred and you know 'who would want to assault Vanessa Feltz'.”

Feltz said she remained silent at the time because “I thought it only happened to me”.

“I didn’t even think of going to the police,” she said.

"I didn't want to break up a marriage, I didn't want to have a terrible effect on his career, and also I thought it wasn't that serious: after all I'd managed to stop it in the nick of time."

Video: Rolf Harris sentenced to five years and nine months in prison

Reflecting on that decision, Feltz said: "I regret it because I didn't know that it was happening to lots of other people. If I had known, I suppose I would have reacted differently."

She explained that she had come forward after the police had contacted her to testify against Harris. Scotland Yard reportedly obtained footage from The Big Breakfast to support her claims, but the evidence was not used in the disgraced entertainer’s trial because adequate notice was not given to defence lawyers.

Rolf Harris arrives at Southwark Crown Court, London before the veteran entertainer was sentenced for a string of indecent assaults Rolf Harris arrives at Southwark Crown Court, London before the veteran entertainer was sentenced for a string of indecent assaults Harris, 84, was sentenced to five years and nine months in jail for a series of sex attacks on girls as young as seven or eight.

Feltz said she had been unable to speak out until after the conclusion of the trial, but had not been paid to tell her story and was “absolutely shocked” by the reaction on Twitter, which was “full of bile and hatred”.

“You think if people react like that, you can see why people don't come forward. I'm 52 and I can handle myself, but imagine if I was a seven-year-old child, or 12 or 17,” Feltz added.

“I'm not saying just if it's someone famous, but imagine if it was your dad, uncle or teacher.”

Singer Linda Nolan has also come forward publicly to make allegations against Harris.

She told the Mirror Harris groped her breasts in a corridor when she was just 15 and on tour with her sisters.

The star, 55, said she was in a dressing gown and was on her way to get ready for a performance when Harris pounced on her backstage at the concert in South Africa in 1975.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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 - West London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment & HR Administrator

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Business Partner

£55 - 65k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: A HR Manager / HR Business Partner i...

Recruitment Genius: Senior HR Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company's vision is to be t...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map