Joanna Lumley receives backlash after saying women used to be ‘tougher’ and it’s fashionable to be a ‘victim’

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Joanna Lumley has received backlash after making comments around the MeToo movement saying women used to be ‘tough’

Joanna Lumley has received a backlash after making controversial comments around the MeToo movement during an interview with Prospect magazine. Lumley called it ‘the new fashion’ to be a victim of sexual harrassment, and said that people have ‘gone mad’.

Joanna Lumley spends a great deal of her interview with Prospect magazine talking about self-sufficiency, and talking about her family life saying: “My family were fabulously useless about money and didn’t have much anyway. Money never seemed to be the aim of life. But reading and travelling and learning more about the world did matter.” She also spoke about how she worked her way up saying the pay was terrible, “but name recognition changed my life.”

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This conversation prompts the interview to ask whether or not Lumley considers herself a feminist, which Lumley skirts around but does it make it clear she has little sympathy for the #MeToo movement. In the years when she was modelling she said women “were a lot tougher”.

Lumley told Prospect magazine: “If someone whistled at you in the street, it didn’t matter. If someone was groping, we slapped their hands. We were quite tough and looked after ourselves… the new fashion is to be a victim, a victim of something. It’s pathetic, we have gone mad.”

The comments have prompted a response from fans who have called out her comments. Dr Charlotte Proudman tweeted: “How privileged and out of touch do you have to be call a victim of sexual assault “pathetic”. Smh”.

One fan tweeted a screenshot of the comments and said: “Hey Joanna Lumley, event if I slap someone’s hand away after being groped, I’m still a victim of sexual assault. Women have become even tougher for finally having the confidence to call this s**t out for what it is. Abuse. Assault. Naming it isn’t having a victim mentality.”

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Another fan responded: “I do like Joanna Lumley but I disagree with her about slapping off ‘groping’ and the victimhood of MeToo. The madness was in preserving the status quo + she underestimates the power differential. Don’t be on the side of abusers. It’s playing into their hands…rather literally.”

These comments come after the 76-year-old spoke about what she perceived to be jumping on the “mental illness bandwagon” in January 2022. She added that people need to “just get a grip. Everyone’s claiming the mental illness bandwagon and I think that’s wrong.”

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Lumley said on right-wing commentator Isabel Oakeshott’s podcast: “Of course some of you are going to feel bloody awful or suicidal or mentally depressed, that’s a different thing, but anybody who just goes, ‘Oh burr,’ you just think, get over it!”

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