Sue Perkins has revealed she was recently the victim of a homophobic verbal attack in London.
The former Great British Bake Off host “burst into tears” after a man verbally assaulted her on Hampstead Heath.
The 51-year-old recalled the frightening moment during an appearance on the Homo Sapiens podcast. She said: “I did have my first homophobic insult in 20 years recently [...] I was on the heath and this guy, I think he said, ‘You f***ing dyke.’”
Perkins continued: “You know when something bad happens and on the bus on the way home you think of all the brilliant things you should have said – in that moment I had that very profoundly.
“At the time, I sort of went right up to him and went: ‘What did you say?’ And he sort of postured a bit almost as if he was going to hit me, almost like an intimation of something physical.”
Perkins said she maintained her composure before asking him again what he had said.
However, the presenter admitted to fearing for her safety. She recalled: “I remember my hand was out because I wanted to keep that distance. Like if you come within the length of my arm I know that something really bad is going to happen.”
The comedian said: “He just sort of buckled a bit and he went, 'I just mean you've got a nice face, why would you...' I just thought, 'What's my face got to do with you?'
“I just said, 'I'm just walking my dog and I'm quiet and I'm in a good mood and I've got love for everyone here and you've destroyed that and you can't take that back today.' And I went off and I burst into tears. It was so shocking and so unusual.”
Perkins revealed that “it had been decades” since she last experienced a similar encounter, stating: “When I was growing up, it was just mutterings. It was all quiet and a cultural thing of that’s just not quite right."
The presenter said she may act differently if it happened again: “It's interesting what you do in the moment, and I felt very threatened by him, but it was more homophobia aside, it was more an indicator of what I did in an aggressive situation.
"I thought I might have to re-calibrate that, I don't necessarily want to walk towards angry people again.”
Perkins is currently in a relationship with TV presenter Anna Richardson (Naked Attraction). The couple met in 2013.
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