Canadian comedian Katherine Ryan confronted a male colleague, whose identity she has not disclosed, in front of staff whilst filming a TV show over reports of sexual assault
Comedian and writer Katherine Ryan revealed how she confronted a male colleague, whose identity she has not disclosed, on a popular TV programme because she believes he is a sexual predator.
Katherine, who has appeared on hit shows including Never Mind The Buzzcocks, 8 Out Of 10 Cats, Mock The Week and Have I Got News For You, explained that she called the man out in front of other colleagues. Speaking on her Amazon Prime series Backstage With Katherine Ryan in June 2022, she opened up to fellow comedian Sara Pascoe about the confession, who admitted that she too was aware of the man’s identity.
Katherine, 40, said she wasn’t sure what she should have done originally. She said: “I’ve thought about that, but it’s such a messy thing because I don’t have proof – what, am I not supposed to feed my children because of someone else?” Sara responded: “Also in that instance that you’re referencing it was about raising it,” to which Katherine replied: “I raised it. I called him a predator to his face and in front of everyone every day.”
During the programme, Sara also revealed she had once reported a male celebrity to a TV channel after a viewer had told her that they had been raped by the man. She said: “Have you ever done a job and then someone’s contacted you and said: ‘That’s my rapist’? I had it on a job recently where I’ve had to go to the channel, and it’s that whole thing because you feel such a sense of responsibility but you also want it to be dealt with well… it’s so complicated.”
In November 2022, the Canadian comic Katherine again spoke about the claims during an interview with BBC documentary maker Louis Theroux. Although she has didn’t name the “unmentionable British personality” for legal reasons, The Duchess star claimed it was an “open secret” amongst people working in her industry.
She made clear that she was not a victim of sexual assault herself – saying it was “not my story to tell” – but believed accusations from sources she described as “very credible”. Katherine said that while she didn’t inform this person’s employers of their alleged behaviour, she told the man repeatedly “to his face” during filming for a TV show. The clip was later cut from the recording. It is not clear who the celebrity is and Katherine did not disclose their identity.
In the BBC documentary, Louis asked Katherine: “You were in the papers recently for saying there was a predator that you had worked with and that you had informed his employers that he was a predator?” Katherine replied: “I didn’t inform employers, I informed him to his face that he was a predator.” Asked what she meant by the word ‘predator’, she explained: “I mean, a perpetrator of sexual assault.” The star went on to say that it was “very dangerous” for her to have the conversation with Louis “but I’m happy to have it”. She described it as a “litigious minefield”, adding “Lots of people have tried to nail this person down for their alleged crimes”.
Katherine, who grew up in Sarnia, Ontario, was at university in Toronto and working as a waitress at a Hooters sports bar when she caught the comedy bug. She snuck out to an open mic night near work and that was it. She followed her then-boyfriend to London in 2007 and became entrenched in the local circuit. That eventually led to regular appearances on TV panel shows, then sell-out nationwide tours and comedy specials for Netflix.
Katherine spent a long portion of her career as a single mum to daughter Violet, 12, with the highs and lows providing the backdrop to her stand-up routines. But that changed with a trip back to Canada in 2018 to film the BBC show Who Do You Think You Are? and a chance reunion with her high school boyfriend Bobby Kootstra.
Katherine has admitted her path to success and life on the road looks rather different to that of her peers, such as Romesh Ranganathan, Joel Dommett and Jimmy Carr. Talking ahead of her Amazon Prime series, she previously said: “Fred was six weeks old when we filmed Backstage With Katherine Ryan and there were some different approaches that I needed to take to make that work. I don’t think Romesh would have been seen lactating on stage when any of his sons were born.” She added: “I don’t think that Rob Beckett would have had to carry a breast pump with him everywhere. As much as we are progressive and we strive for gender equality, I think the role of the mum is very different.”