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Poll: Did BBC presenter Nick Conrad overstep the mark with his comments about the future of Ched Evans?

PUBLISHED: 10:46 19 November 2014 | UPDATED: 15:03 19 November 2014

BBC presenter forced to apologise over comments in debate about the future of convicted rapist Ched Evans Photo: Jon Buckle/PA Wire.

BBC presenter forced to apologise over comments in debate about the future of convicted rapist Ched Evans Photo: Jon Buckle/PA Wire.

PA Wire

BBC Radio Norfolk talk show host Nick Conrad has apologised for comments he made during a live debate about the future of convicted rapist and former Norwich City footballer Ched Evans.

Mr Conrad issued the apology for suggesting women were partially responsible for men acting upon their desires if they “gave out the wrong signals’’.

In a statement last night, the BBC said the Radio Norfolk host had been told his comments during a three hour phone-in about whether the player should be able to resume his football career, were “very ill-judged”.

Mr Conrad, whose show is billed as one that “gets the county talking”, said on the live show: “I think women need to be more aware of a man’s sexual desire, that when you’re in that position that you are about to engage in sexual activity, there’s a huge amount of energy in the male body.

“There’s a huge amount of will and intent, and it’s very difficult for many men to say no when they are whipped up into a bit of a storm.”

Nick Conrad quote in full

“I think women need to be more aware of a man’s sexual desire that when you’re in that position that you are about to engage in sexual activity there’s a huge amount of energy in the male body, there’s a huge amount of will and intent, and it’s very difficult for many men to say no when they are whipped up into a bit of a storm. And it’s the old adage about if you yank a dog’s tail then don’t be surprised when it bites you. Or you can’t keep snakes in the garden and think they’ll only bite your neighbours.

One wonders if women need to be a little bit more mindful of that and the feminists who have hijacked... Hijacked maybe a bit of a strong word..jump on these arguments and appear to be quite anti-men. (They) Neglect that very important part of the argument, even though it’s a reduced part of the argument and the onus has to be on the men and the men have to be condemned if a woman says no and they persist then that’s absolutely abhorrent. But they then (feminists) in their fury against men and masculinity they actually forget to stop and say if you tease, if you jump into bed naked with a man if you give him all the signals

and then he acts upon them then you are partially responsible and of course it is a grey area and there will be cases where you wanted to go certain distance and not go any further and the man is absolutely wrong but if you are...how do I say this? I’ve got to be so careful of what I say because I don’t want this to be explosive, I’m trying, I’m just trying to talk around it... But what I’m trying to say is that women also have to understand that when a man’s given certain signals he’ll wish to act upon them and if you don’t wish to give out the wrong signals it’s best probably to keep your knickers on and not get into bed with him. Does that make sense?”

Domestic violence and rape support charities condemned the comments, with deputy police and crime commissioner Jenny McKibben also speaking out saying the notion of “uncontrollable male desire” was “outdated and demeaning to the vast majority of right-thinking men”. The comments were made during a three hour show, where he aimed to provoke debate, and also spoke to the charity End Violence Against Women.

Last night, a BBC Radio Norfolk spokesman said there had been no formal complaints, but added: “As part of a wide ranging discussion where Nick invited the listeners to talk frankly about the Ched Evans case, he made it clear that rape is an abhorrent act. BBC management has made it clear to Nick that some of his comments were very ill-judged and he has apologised for any offence that may have been caused.”

Toni Lawton, project manager at Sweet Arts, which works with domestic and sexual abuse victims, including rape victims, described Mr Conrad’s comments as “naive, laddish and insulting to all those men who do take responsibility for their behaviour”. She said: “He seems to forget that rape is a crime perpetrated against men and women and that no is no regardless of scenario.”

A spokesman for Norwich-based domestic violence charity Leeway said she was “saddened” by Nick Conrad’s comments. “His views do not represent the many men and women who are standing up against domestic abuse and sexual violence next week for the Norfolk Says No to Domestic Abuse from the 24th – 28th November,” she added.

Clive Lewis, Labour’s Candidate for Norwich South said: “Listening to Nick Conrad’s comments it’s all too clear he’s got this badly wrong. To suggest men are little better than animals with no self-control is quite frankly offensive. Unlike Mr Conrad I think most men understand the concept of ‘no means no’. It’s not a difficult concept to master. I think men and women across Norfolk expect a higher standard of journalism and editorial sensitivity from the BBC and I hope Nick Conrad apologises swiftly.”

Jess Asato, Labour’s Candidate for Norwich North said: “Nick Conrad’s views are not only crass and demeaning towards women, they are downright dangerous because they help to perpetuate rape culture. The idea that women “whip men up” and lead them on is as old as the hills and feeds into the mentality that some women are “asking for it” or somehow deserve to be raped. Nick Conrad ought to know better than reinforce these stereotypes and should issue an immediate apology for his insensitive comments.”

• What do you think? Vote in the poll above and write your opinions (giving your full contact details) to: The Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

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