Spectator writer boasts of ‘paying for sex’ at brothel after arousal at Cambridge lecture

The magazine’s latest cover has provoked strong debate on social media
The magazine’s latest cover has provoked strong debate on social media

The Spectator’s theatre critic has suggested in a misogynistic column about his libido that a blonde lecturer’s appearance made him so aroused that he later had to pay for the services of a sex worker.

The article was widely condemned as sexist immediately after publication, with journalists and commentators appalled – and confused – by the magazine’s decision to commission such a piece.

Writing in the magazine, Lloyd Evans described a trip to Darwin College – or Downing College, as he incorrectly calls it in the piece – at the University of Cambridge, to attend a lecture from Professor Lea Ypi, an academic from Albania who lectures on political theory at the London School of Economics.

Mr Evans, who has written for the right-wing publication since the 1980s, said he was distracted throughout the talk on Kant and revolutions by the “beautiful historian’s” appearance.

He writes: “Her blonde hair spilling over her shoulders absorbed far more of my attention than her political reflections and I was desperate to speak to her afterwards, but I had no way to orchestrate a meeting.”

Unable to meet the distinguished academic, he instead goes to the “rougher end of Cambridge”.

Mr Evans writes that he had already arranged a “social rendezvous” with a “petite” and “buxom” woman called Shea, who “looked Chinese”.

He then describes being covered in hot wax before she “ordered me to flip on to my back as she dimmed the lights and raised one eyebrow at me suggestively. This was the cue for negotiations.”

The piece prompted an immediate backlash online.

Writing on her X/Twitter account, Lea Ypi, said: “Advice for scholars: next time you lecture on Kant and revolutions at “Downing” (@DarwinCollege) Cambridge, make sure your hair is neatly tied and that you’re not blonde.

“Or else your research impact will be on the @spectator libido section.”

Academics were quick to support their colleague. Dr Charlotte Lydia Riley, a historian, said the article was “horrific” and Colin Wight, an academic, added: “Just such a weird piece to write. I can’t see the point of it.”

Other X/Twitter users branded the piece “grim” and “misogynistic”, questioning why it would be published by The Spectator or what the piece was trying to articulate.

Darwin College, the constituent college at the University of Cambridge where the talk took place, also called out the article.

In a post on X/Twitter, it said: “Absolutely appalled to see this Lea. Your fascinating, beautifully crafted lecture was a hugely appreciated highlight of the College’s cultural year, and we hope your memory of the event won’t be tainted by an audience member using it to write something so crude and offensive.”

Despite the outrage, Mr Evans was unapologetic when responding to criticism of the misogyny.

Asked why he decided to include Professor Ypi in the piece at all, he told The Telegraph: “I just find clever and articulate women very attractive and she was physically attractive and that made me feel a bit lonely and then I ended up in a sauna bath.”

He added: “I was trying to encompass both poles of life, between the intellectual high-flying political philosophy and a sexual encounter. Of the two I found the sexual encounter much more satisfying and enjoyable.”

He added about Professor Ypi, he added: “She’s really funny and sharp and witty, and that was partly what inspired my feelings of longing towards her because she was obviously a really good laugh, apart from everything else.”

And he insisted he had no regrets: “It’s a bit unfortunate, I have had people calling me a sex pervert on Twitter which I think is strange.

The Spectator has been contacted for comment.