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Solicitor tells of humiliation at ‘look at her breasts’ comment

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Claim of inappropriate behaviour at dining event made in law firm blog post

A solicitor has spoken of her humiliation after a businessman made an inappropriate comment about her breasts during a posh networking dinner.

Samantha Jago, co-managing partner at rhw Solicitors in Guildford, Surrey, explains how she recently attended a dining club event which saw 60 or so predominantly male delegates take a short boat journey to an exclusive restaurant.

In a blog post published on her firm’s website, Jago says that following a three-course meal the chairman of the club invited the chef and his assistants into the dining room so that guests could provide feedback on the dishes.

A photograph of Samantha Jago on the day of the incident published alongside the blog post

As one of the few guests who opted for Parma ham to start, the deputy chairman of the club asked the experienced family specialist whether she had enjoyed it. Confirming that she had, the deputy chairman relayed her comments back to the chairman.

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Then, according to Jago’s blog post, this happened:

“In response to this feedback the chairman bizarrely and loudly stated, to the entire dining room, ‘I did not ask you whether you enjoyed looking at her breasts, I was asking about the food! We’ve all been having a good look at her breasts.”

Jago argues that while “it is easy to dismiss this as a clumsy comment dished out by an old boy”, she says she was left humiliated by the comment. Her post, entitled ‘#MeToo — The message is not getting through’, continues:

“All eyes were on me following this comment and it was attention I neither wanted nor had invited. I was not treated as a professional business woman but was instead diminished to a mere sexual object.”

Rounding off her blog, Jago says that while she accepts that the majority of men treat women extremely well and are horrified by the abuse that some women suffer, men must publicly condemn this behaviour “rather than passively sitting back and finger wagging.”

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, a number of City firms have taken action following accusations of inappropriate behaviour concerning their lawyers.

Earlier this year, it was reported that a female associate Baker McKenzie received a payout from the firm following an alleged incident of sexual assault conerning one of the firm’s partners. Following an independent report Bakers accepted that there had been “shortcomings” in the way it had handled the matter. Around the same time, Latham & Watkins (ex)-managing partner, Bill Voge, resigned after admitting to conduct involving the “exchange of communications of a sexual nature”. More recently, a partner at Clyde & Co was sacked amid reports he had encouraged colleagues to “accompany him to strip clubs”.

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33 Comments

Anonymous

Did you forget to disable the comments?

(24)(1)

Anonymous

It’s a good thing they didn’t, otherwise they’d still be asking men to “condone” this kind of behaviour.

(7)(0)

Anonymous

Guess where everyone one’s (including female readers) eyes wondered when looking at that pic..

(12)(1)

Anonymous

Haha, top old boy bantz…

(16)(2)

JD Top Equity Partner

*begins sweating profusely*

(30)(1)

Anonymous

Oh dear

(1)(1)

Anonymous

Pretty gross behaviour – and it’s certainly not ‘old school’ as I am in my late 50’s and have been to many such events and have never heard anything remotely approaching the awfulness of this bloke’s comments.

Hopefully the rest of the audience were similarly shocked.

(33)(2)

Anonymous

Swing and big miss…

(5)(5)

Anonymous

She is 100% right. Absolutely unacceptable, and others present (regardless of gender) should have spoken up at the time rather than shuffling their feet and looking embarrassed.

(18)(3)

PASSION4FASSHUN

WHY ON EARTH WOULD ANY WOMAN WEAR A BLACK DRESS WITH WHITE SPOTS????? PERHAPS EVERYONE WAS THINKING OF A COLD GLASS OF MILK RATHER THAN HAVING SEX WITH YOU WHEN THEY WERE LOOKING AT YOUR BREASTS!!!!!!!

(8)(13)

but

The big thing here is that NOBODY said or did anything to help her out (maybe because people in a professional setting worry about damaging their own image by acting out, regardless of what is right/wrong).

Why would it be a certain gender’s duty to condemn behaviour which is abhorrent to any human being with half a conscience? Surely that puts the other gender in a subverted light, making them look weaker?

Whilst the men were “finger wagging”, what were the women doing?

(13)(2)

Random passer-by

Agreed. There is often this expectation that men must step up and help a damsel in distress. But the other women can keep their mouths shut and play the game so they don’t affect their career progression or even life (in certain cases I’ve seen on the train). It’s quite bizarre. If we are all supposed to be equal, then why don’t women have the courage to step up and help in these situations. Rather as a guy you step up and help, then you get secret pats on the back behind closed doors but publicly you face all repercussions that may come your way. It’s like we don’t have families to feed also, and responsibilities to consider.

(20)(8)

Anonymous

Agree that anyone can and should speak up against prejudice, but in this case the guy was claiming to speak on behalf of all the men present (“we [ie all the men here] are *all* ogling you”) so I think in the circumstances it was incumbent on the men present (who were presumably in the majority, otherwise the bloke would not have made the comment) to clarify that this statement did not in fact apply to them.

More generally, I think it’s important for people who are not the targets of sexism/racism/homophobia to speak up against it where they see it because otherwise it can create the impression that they are ‘with’ the the person who is creating the division between the sexes/races etc. This is not to say that people directly affected by prejudice should stay silent — just that those people by and large already are complaining about it (e.g. as in the blog post reported here) and it shouldn’t *only* be their job to do so.

(11)(2)

Anonymous

Definitely appreciate the point you’re making – but to be able to successfully avoid creating the “impression that they are ‘with’ the the person” dishing out abuse would require the ability to not only understand, but to also be able to appreciate how those words/actions have made an individual feel. Clearly a lot of people lack empathy, I would argue this is especially true in the legal profession.

(3)(1)

Anonymous

Nice reach but the last paragraph of the blog post literally explains why it’s important that men speak up AS WELL as women – because when only women do they are perceived as trouble making. She ends by saying that everyone, male and female, has to step up.

Also regarding this particular incident she says it was a party of about 60 and “I was one of the few female business people there” – so if the men were silent that means the vast majority of the large group were silent. I think it would be a lot easier in those circumstances to speak up as a man than as a woman.

(10)(8)

but

” I think it would be a lot easier in those circumstances to speak up as a man than as a woman.”

Why? Other than potential for professional embarrassment (which could occur regardless of gender), why would it be easier for a man to speak up than a woman? If there were more men present, and *if* a bystander had spoken up it should have been statistically more likely to have been a man – but that doesn’t mean it should *have* to be man. If anyone at that event cared more about that woman’s feelings than their own career they would have come to her aid and spoken up.

Sadly this is not a simple issue, everyone should speak up but not everyone does, and playing the blame game doesn’t help to solve any of the issues presented. Half of me is hopeful that the wretches who cause the majority of the upset will be 6 feet under soon enough and we can get on with fixing the planet that they’ve spent the last 80 years ruining.

(7)(4)

Anonymous

Why? If someone is publicly denigrating a minority, can you not see that it might be more comfortable to speak up against it if you are not a member of the particular minority being denigrated, especially if there are only a few members of that minority present? Have some empathy.

(8)(4)

Anonymous

I’m sorry you feel that way.

Facts > Emotions.

(7)(5)

Anonymous

Didn’t recognise her as a blonde.

(8)(3)

Loud Shawn

Wish legal charities would be honest about the reality of sexual harassment under their roofs. You don’t hear about it because none of these volunteers have the option of going to tribunal. There is no ‘access to justice’ if a volunteer is harassed in the course of seeking legal work experience.

I don’t judge the obvious ‘virtue signalers’ on the number of Twitter ‘likes’ they may revel in for panhandling. I will judge them by what they actually do to help volunteers who never asked to be sexually harassed in the course of giving up their time to help others.

(7)(3)

Triggered

I have been lifting over the past year. Recently a female coworker said nice abs. I felt disgusted. The fact that this woman boorishly assumed that I would value such a comment is misandrist objectification. It reinforces an exclusionary form of masculinity. My friend who is obese, and generally sweats profusely was ignored by the female collegue.

I was shocked that in this day and age of hashtag body positive he was ignored. I felt sickened, after all he is sensitive and loves indiepint wahmen. I am embarrassed that despite this i was specifically targeted. The woman is a superpredetor with toxic objectifying regressive views.

MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE TOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

(26)(27)

Anonymous

Good one, mate

(2)(3)

Anonymous

It’s so obvious who wrote this.

(1)(1)

STALLONE

Cool story brah, changed my life.

(1)(2)

DDS

Is your friend Lord Harley?

(1)(1)

PEPE

THICC

(2)(1)

Anonymous

“loves indiepint wahmen.”

You what?

(5)(3)

Anonymous

I have witnessed a lesbian colleague comment (positively) on the looks of other female colleagues. Is this equally as bad as a man making the same comments?

(8)(3)

Anonymous

Come on, there is a HUGE differene between “commenting positively” on someone’s looks, which can be office-appropriate for members of either gender depending on the context and the nature of the remarks, and publicly making lecherous comments about someone’s breasts.

(11)(2)

Anonymous

I see LC have been sanitizing the comments section with deletions. Textbook

(8)(0)

Anonymous

Legal cheek you’re so boring. I wish you’d stop cleansing the comment section. If something is obviously disgusting then fine you can delete it but you seem to erase anything that only the tenderest cutesy little millennial would flinch at. These people need toughening up and you do them no favours in your silly censorsing.

(18)(2)

Anonymous

Evidence?

(4)(1)

Steven Seagull

Indeed. Lovely curves and I’d like to see it from the rear to get a better overall impression.

(0)(0)

Comments are closed.

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