CBB angers fans as Ann Widdecombe criticises #MeToo

Justin Harp
Photo credit: Channel 5

From Digital Spy

Celebrity Big Brother presenter Emma Willis made a point on launch night of saying that she'd hoped the show would avoid housemate backlashes for at least a little while. Sorry, Emma.

Fans are already intensely responding to a series of housemate conversations about the recent #MeToo movement and equality in general, in scenes shown during Wednesday's (January 3) highlight show.

The all-female house took part in an icebreaker Q&A session shortly after entering the house, during which a majority of the women insisted they'd never faced discrimination for their gender.

Photo credit: Channel 5

Former Conservative Party MP Ann Widdecombe was insistent right off the bat that she'd not ever faced discrimination, while both news reader India Willoughby and reality star Ashley James shared their experiences with gender bias.

"Being transgender, for the first-half of my life I lived as a guy, in the workplace, I was never, ever asked to pour coffee at a table," India remembered. "When I transitioned, and was working as a woman for the first time, somebody was visiting the office where I was employed.

"And the boss said, 'Oh India, would you mind going to the kitchen and getting the coffee ready and setting the table'?... I was working as a bloody press officer!"

Photo credit: Channel 5

She continued: "Trivial as it may be, and maybe it's a subliminal thing going on, there is a difference in the way men and women are treated."

The former Tory MP also made her feelings known when Rachel Johnson revealed that she'd once posed naked in celebration of her 40th birthday, asking the writer: "Why does that celebrate women? You've got a great mind. You've got all those abilities. Why do you celebrating laying naked?"

"I did it because my publisher and my husband both said don't do it," Rachel answered. "It was so innocuous and so innocent."

Elsewhere, in a bedroom conversation with India and Maggie Oliver, former MP Ann explained why she resents what she sees as "positive discrimination" for women in the workplace.

Photo credit: Channel 5

"Everyone says, 'Was it hard being a woman in a male world?', and I say, I didn't notice," she insisted. "I never thought of myself as a woman MP. I was an MP who happened to be a woman, just as I was an MP who happened to be short rather than tall.

"But every woman in Parliament has the same right to look every man in Parliament in the eye, and know she got there on exactly the same basis as he got there. I hate positive discrimination. I hate it with a passion!"

Certainly the most heated moment of the episode came during a discussion among all housemates about the recent Harvey Weinstein sexual misconduct scandal that has rocked Hollywood.

"When it comes to the Harvey Weinstein bit, I think someone should have said, it's not really worth it, darling. I'd rather not get the part," acting legend Amanda Barrie argued.

"I tend to agree. There was a choice there," Ann concurred.

Amanda continued: "[Sexual favours] were always indicated, but if you're stupid enough to go to bed with someone because you want the part, you just don't get it!"

To a contingent of viewers watching at home, their dismissal of Weinstein's alleged victims sounded like victim-blaming: