The boss of Moscow’s journalists’ union says an MP accused of sexual harassment should have complained he was the one being harassed because of his accuser’s sexy bra.
In the wake of other complaints against Russian MP Leonid Slutsky, deputy editor-in-chief of the TV channel RTVI Yekaterina Kotrikadze came forward to say Slutsky touched her inappropriately in 2011.
She also said he tried to force her into a kiss, after three other female reporters made similar allegations.
But Moscow Union of Journalists boss Pavel Gusev appeared not to take Kotrikadze’s complain seriously, and even offered advice to Slutsky on how he should have dealt with it.
Gusev said: “I look at all this with surprise, irony and a bit of laughter.
“It’s surprising that seven years later, someone says that some man touched them. And I should believe that? Why?”
He suggested Slutsky himself should have hit back with his own complaint of sexual harassment because of the journalist’s supposed attire.
He said: “Had I been Slutsky, I would have said ‘she was wearing black panties and some bra that day’.”
In fact there are no reports on what Ms Kotrikadze was wearing on the day of the alleged attack.
But Gusev still claimed to be champion for women who had been subjected to sexual assault.
He said he would always defend women “when there was a reason to defend them”.
Pravda writer Yelena Krivyakina has also added her voice to those accusing Slutsky, saying he sexually harassed her in 1998.
She says a senior government official warned her not to make a fuss and added: “I kept my mouth shut for 20 years. And I would have remained silent if not for this story with Slutsky.”
Slutsky, Chairman of the Duma’s Committee on International Affairs, denies all accusations against him.
But the reports of sexual harassment inspired fellow MP Oksana Pushkina to try to resurrect a bill that would criminalise such behaviour in the workplace.
Pushkina said of the current legal situation: “There is no regulation of accountability for sexual harassment [at work].
“In cases of sexual harassment, women most often remain silent, or, at best, quit their jobs.”