The spate of sexual harassment allegations gripping the U.S. against mostly powerful or well-known men from emboldened women who have found their courage and voice to reveal their ordeals has spread over to London. TV producer and writer Daisy Goodwin, creator of the ITV drama Victoria, has just disclosed that she was groped by an official in David Cameron’s government while on a visit to 10 Downing Street.
Goodwin said that while in a meeting with the unnamed official to discuss an idea for a television program, the man put his hand on her breast.
Goodwin first met the official at a dinner then he invited her to a meeting through email. Goodwin shared in an article she wrote for Radio Times: “The official, who was a few years younger than me, showed me into a room dominated by a portrait of Mrs. T and we sat at a table carved, he told me, from one piece of wood. Then to my surprise, he put his feet on my chair ( we were sitting side by side) and said that my sunglasses made me look like a Bond girl.”
She added that she tried to divert the conversation back to their idea for a television program. She added: “At the end of the meeting, we both stood up and the official, to my astonishment, put his hand on my breast. I looked at the hand and then in my best Lady Bracknell voice said, ‘Are you actually touching my breast?’”
The official then dropped his hand and “laughed nervously” and Goodwin said she left “ in what can only be called high dudgeon.”
The official is understood to have served during Cameron’s term which lasted from 2010 to 2016.
Goodwin also shared that she was “cross” from the incident, although she didn’t feel traumatized. She also didn’t think about reporting it then because not only was she fine, she also thought, “who on earth would I report it, too?”
Goodwin also recalled that it wasn’t the first time she experienced sexual harassment from a man. When she was a teenager at 15, a guard on a train in London put his hands between her legs.
The 55-year-old TV producer is the latest to reveal her own experience with sexual harassment following allegations in Westminster and the media industry. The allegations have since cost Michael Fallon his job as defense secretary, while investigations are ongoing on the alleged inappropriate conduct by Damien Green, the first secretary of state, and Mark Garnier, the international trade minister.
To this day, even with the wave of stories of abuse by “men in power” that have emerged from Hollywood and Westminster, she is still uncertain whether she should have reported her own experience or not.
Goodwin said: “I think humiliating the official was probably the appropriate punishment but supposed he tried it on with someone less able to defend themselves?”
The producer-writer who started her career making arts documentaries for BBC said that: “All I do know is that in writing Victoria, I have created a heroine who is the ultimate retort to the Harvey Weinsteins and lecherous officials of this world, a woman who could never be humiliated by a powerful man.”
A spokesperson for 10 Downing Street said the Cabinet office would look into any formal complaint, only if one is made.