Rachel Riley: I was upskirted by male celebrity in front of my husband

Rachel Riley: I was upskirted by male celebrity in front of my husband

Rachel Riley, the Countdown presenter, has revealed she was once “upskirted” by a “famous male celebrity” who then showed the footage to his friends.

She said she was playing table tennis at a party at a friend’s house when the man walked over and “brazenly” placed his phone under her skirt.

He then sat down nearby and gathered his friends to view the live feed through his Apple Watch, Riley claimed.

The broadcaster said that in hindsight, she wished she had “broken his phone” and got the police involved but admitted that in the moment she was “too polite” to react.

Upskirting, the practice of taking a photo or video underneath someone’s clothing without their permission, became a specific criminal offence in England and Wales in 2019 following a high-profile campaign.

Those convicted now face up to two years in prison. They can also be placed on the sex offenders’ register.

‘I wouldn’t call him a friend but you’d know him’

Riley, 36, would not reveal the name of the alleged offender but said he was well-known.

She said that eventually, her husband, Strictly Come Dancing professional dancer Pasha Kovalev, stepped in and removed the phone from under his wife’s skirt.

Riley recalled the incident on the Dirty Mother Pukka podcast, during a discussion about the MeToo movement and the various examples of inappropriate behaviour they had experienced at the hands of men.

She said: “One, who shall remain nameless for the purposes of this podcast, who people would know, I think he just got an Apple Watch and at a party at a friend’s house I was playing table tennis with Pash.

“This guy, in full view of everyone, came and put his phone on the floor under my skirt while I was playing tennis and went and sat back down… a couple of metres away, while him and all his mates looked at his watch.

“It was like a video basically, so he went and put his phone down so he could look up my skirt and went two metres away where we could see what he was doing to go and look at his phone look up my skirt.”

She added: “I wouldn’t call him a friend, but you would know him.

“I was too polite but now, having been able to digest it and think about it, if someone tried to do that to me again I would break their phone, if they’ve got a problem with that they can go to the police and we can deal with it in the public.

“The man obviously thought he could get away with blatantly brazenly putting his phone and upskirting [me] on a video… for his friends on his phone and it would be fine and now I would just break his phone and deal with it afterwards.

“At that point, Pasha went and picked his phone up and politely went and took it to him and just gave him a really awful look like ‘what the hell are you doing?’”

Inappropriate videos

Riley also criticised social media companies for failing to prevent trolls from sending vile personal messages.

She revealed that when a charity, for which she works as an ambassador, checked her private messages on Instagram, it discovered that one man had sent her around 30 inappropriate videos of himself.

She expressed frustration that Instagram “finds that acceptable”, insisting that they had the technology to identify such content and take action.

She called for the forthcoming Online Harms Bill to ensure that social media companies face the same controls as traditional media.

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