Vanessa Feltz shares horrifying Rolf Harris encounter during live interview: ‘I was absolutely shocked’
Vanessa Feltz has claimed to have been groped by disgraced entertainer and convicted paedophile Rolf Harris, who has died aged 93, during a live TV interview.
The broadcaster, 61, appeared on ITV’s This Morning to discuss her experience with Harris, which apparently took place during an interview she was presenting for Channel 4’s The Big Breakfast in 1996.
Speaking to guest presenters including Alison Hammond, after Phillip Schofield quit the show last week, Feltz described how she and the crew were crowded “into the little tiny bedroom where The Big Breafast bed was”.
'So a tiny little bedroom, there's the bed, there's me on it and Rolf Harris next to me and the cameraman, director, and Rolf Harris’s wife standing literally a foot away to the side of the bed,” she recalled.
During the interview, she said she felt a “crunching” sensation which she realised was Harris pulling her dress “further and further up my legs”.
“I was absolutely shocked,” she said, adding that she didn’t know what to do because it was a live TV interview. “If I didn’t do something [his hand] was literally going to go inside my underwear.”
Feltz said she eventually placed a blue cushion between her and Harris, and even asked for an ad break so she could get away from him for a moment.
“He didn’t say anything, I didn’t say anything, for all I knew that was the only person that had ever happened to, and also, his wife was there! I didn’t want to upset his wife or do something to damage a marriage,” she explained. “I didn’t know what to do.”
She said she told her husband at the time, Michael Kurer, and one of her friends, but hadn’t wanted to “make any trouble”.
“You should never have been put in that position,” a concerned-looking Hammond told her.
Australian-born Harris was a family favourite for decades, before being convicted of a string of indecent assaults in June 2014.
The entertainer had been arrested as part of the Operation Yewtree investigation in 2012, which was set up in the wake of the Jimmy Savile sexual abuse scandal.
He was jailed for five years and nine months afer being convicted of 12 assaults, which took place between 1968 and 1986. Following his conviction, he was stripped of his many honours including his CBE, OBE, MBE, and Membership of the Order of Australia.
In his sentencing, Justice Sweeney said Harris “clearly got a thrill” from committing some of his assaults while “others were present or nearby”.
Rape Crisis offers support for those affected by rape and sexual abuse. You can call them on 0808 802 9999 in England and Wales, 0808 801 0302 in Scotland, and 0800 0246 991 in Northern Ireland, or visit their website at www.rapecrisis.org.uk. If you are in the US, you can call Rainn on 800-656-HOPE (4673)