Talkradio presenter James Whale suspended over interview with alleged sex assault victim that 'completely lacked sensitivity'

Talkradio presenter James Whale has been suspended over an interview with a woman about her alleged sexual assault after the radio station said he “completely lacked sensitivity” in handling the subject matter.

The show was discussing comments made by author Jilly Cooper who has claimed the #MeToo movement has left men and women unable to safely flirt with each other.

During the broadcast, which aired last week, the woman claimed to have been sexually assaulted by a man during a taxi ride this year.

She claimed police had told her it was unlikely they would be able to identify her attacker as she did not know his name and CCTV is often deleted after 30 days.

A video stream from the studio, originally posted online by Talkradio but later deleted and republished by the Guardian, shows Whale mouth “orally raped?”, laugh and shake his head as the guest begins to describe her experience.

Whale was accused of victim blaming after he told her she should have continued with her police complaint despite the fact they had said they would be unable to help, and challenged her over the fact that CCTV was routinely deleted.

Whale also asked why she had not taken the taxi’s licence number and later added: “Are you not concerned that perhaps unless you did go further with this then this brute could actually do it to other women, and probably will?”

Whale was suspended from Talkradio, pending a full investigation, on Friday.

Former MP George Galloway will appear in Whale’s 7pm to 10pm slot throughout this week. He normally only appears on Fridays, with Whale broadcasting Mondays to Thursdays.

A statement issued by Talkradio said: “James Whale’s interview with [the guest] on Monday [30 July] was conducted in a manner that did not reflect the values of the station and completely lacked sensitivity when she discussed her personal story.

“This style of broadcasting is not something that Talkradio supports or encourages, and we have taken the decision to suspend James Whale pending a full investigation.

“This incident saw regrettable errors made by both the production and presenting teams and we are taking measures to ensure that they are not repeated again.”

Whale has made no public statement on the incident but retweeted Talkradio’s statement without comment.

In 2008, Whale was fired from sister station Talksport after encouraging listeners to vote for Boris Johnson in the London mayoral race.

Ofcom fined the station over Whale’s comments, which it found had breached the Ofcom code on political impartiality.

When Whale was hired by Talkradio in 2016, the station said he was “renowned for his confrontational and opinionated interview technique”.

At the time, Whale said: “I’m delighted that Wireless Group is willing to take the risk of inviting me back into the family and I hope to repay them with some suitably controversial and entertaining content to shock and amuse Talkradio’s educated audience at the end of each day.”

Picture: Talkradio

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