A prominent backbench Labour MP has called on a freelance journalist accused of sexual harassment to be sent to prison.
Jess Phillips, the MP for Birmingham Yardley, said that Sam Kriss, a writer for publications including Vice and The Atlantic, should be punished after he admitted to his “unacceptable behaviour”.
Kriss was the subject of a lengthy post published on Facebook, where a woman recounted how he had repeatedly groped her while they were on a date.
She wrote on Twitter: “I didn’t know who Sam Kriss was before today but his admission of sexual assault means he belongs in prison, a casual backhanded apology is not a thing.”
The story posted about Kriss was posted by the woman after the #metoo hashtag inspired her to speak out about her own experiences of sexual harassment.
I didn’t know who Sam Kriss was before today but his admission of sexual assault means he belongs in prison, a casual backhanded apology is not a thing.
— Jess Phillips (@jessphillips) October 17, 2017
The post, that was uploaded to the ‘Monitoring the left’s support for r pe culture’ Facebook page alleged various incidents of sexual assault by Kriss.
In it, the author claims that Kriss forcibly kissed the woman on a night out, ignored attempts to stop him and would not take no for an answer when asking her to come home with him.
She wrote: “I could write of other incidents that occurred across the 3 times I met him, some could be considered worse, but I think detailing that one evening gives a clear picture.”
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Kriss later posted a statement about the post, apologising for his behaviour but also attempting to provide “context” to the account.
He said he had apologised privately to the woman and the pair “messaged amicably” for months, and said that she had suggested meeting up again “until other divisions became apparent”.
Kriss wrote that the pair had an “existing sexual relationship”, saying: “The behaviour she describes was informed by that fact.
“I wasn’t fully aware of how unwelcome my advances were at that point: we had been messaging intimately and frequently up until then, and I went into the evening thinking it would be a continuation of the relationship we had already established.”
However, he added: “I crossed a line from persistence to aggression; I’m fully responsible, and I’m sorry.”
A Vice source told BuzzFeed News that the outlet had “no plans to commission pieces from Kriss again”.