Comedian Katherine Ryan describes confrontation with ‘dangerous’ male co-star

Katherine Ryan says she “wrestled” with her conscience over whether to work with a male celebrity she says she believes “was or is dangerous”.

The Canadian comedian first spoke about an “open secret” in the industry back in 2022, telling fellow comic Sara Pascoe she had confronted the alleged predator while filming a TV show with him.

She later reiterated her claims during an interview with Louis Theroux.

Ryan has never publicly revealed the name of the alleged abuser, or the name of the programme she was recording with them.

Speaking about her decision to confront the person, she told Lauren Laverne on Sunday’s Desert Island Discs on BBC Radio 4: “I had a choice. I could go to work with someone whom I believe to be a perpetrator of sexual assault. Or I could turn down the job.”

Ryan added: “The choice is do I go to work with someone who I think is very problematic and do I stand near them and laugh and smile and look like I allowing this kind of person to still be on television or do I stay home?

“That was really difficult for me. That’s what I wrestled with the most, because I believe that this person was or is dangerous.”

She says she “compromised,” deciding: “I’m going to go, but I’m going to let him know under no uncertain terms what I think of him.

“I’m not going to just smile and look like I’m allowing this behaviour. I’m not going to let him think that I don’t know and that everybody he works with is just going to let him get away with it.”

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She told Laverne she had received “pushback” following the revelation, but said people were asking her to give the names of the alleged female victims rather than the male comic himself.

She said she also still questions herself about her decision: “Did I do the right thing or the wrong thing? I still don’t know.”

When asked by Laverne how the unnamed man reacted, Ryan said: “he didn’t have much of a reaction… He certainly didn’t have an obvious reaction”.

But she said that the reaction from those around her had been positive: “People really liked what I said. I think they thought that it was funny and courageous”.

Ryan said that while some people may have questioned whether or not she was joking, she was deadly serious, telling Laverne: “Certainly the people who know, know that I wasn’t joking.”

She also spoke about the wider comedy scene, saying that when she first started out on comedy panel show 8 Out of 10 Cats she “didn’t really feel intimidated by the men,” but made the decision to be her “authentic” self and “never subscribed to the ideas of what a woman should be”.

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