TV Broadcaster Vanessa Feltz has spoken out about an alleged sexual assault by Rolf Harris that occurred on live TV.
With the headline 'Rolf Harris Assaulted Me Live on TV,' in a first person article in The Sunday Express, the popular TV personality said that after radio DJ Liz Kershaw and comedian Sandi Toksvig recounted their experiences of being groped on air, she was prompted to tell her story.
Feltz, who presented several popular shows at the time, including the self-titled Vanessa on ITV, The Big Breakfast on Channel 4 and Value For Money on BBC recalled the incident, saying: "One morning I was interviewing a household name live on air. He was regaling me with amusing tales and jolly anecdotes about his life in the fast lane. We were, as is customary, seated next to one another. There were two cameras trained on us, plus a little posse of people in the studio.
"Suddenly, I felt his hand inching under my bottom and worming its way beneath my skirt. Shocked doesn't even begin to describe my emotions. What on earth was this married, avuncular, much-beloved national treasure thinking of?" The 53-year-old said that she was unable to confront him live on TV, but he was unphased.
"Obviously I couldn't confront him. It wasn't that kind of show. I looked him in the eye. He was continuing to smile and chat without losing his thread or changing his facial expression.
"Nothing in his demeanour betrayed the fact that his fingers were grasping at the elastic of my panties. Just like Liz Kershaw, I was stymied. I couldn't stop or slap him live on TV. What if I accused him and he denied it? The public adored him - and still do."
The TV personality said she was not prepared to speak up about the incident, fearing the public backlash she would face for deigning to casting aspersions on the character of the much loved entertainer.
She did however find the courage to challenge him directly.
"If I attracted attention as the woman who claimed this venerated figure had groped her, what on earth would the backlash be? Just like every woman groped, assaulted or worse, in public, by a far more powerful and influential man, I did almost nothing.
"I tried unsuccessfully to wriggle away, threw to a commercial break and, finally safely off air, hissed: "What the beep do you think you're doing?" in his ear. He smiled beatifically as if less than nothing had happened and continued to bask in mass adulation. I was too old to be traumatised, but the mixture of humiliation and outrage stays with me to this day."
Feltz's allegation comes as Harris begins a five-year prison sentence, after being found guilty of 12 counts of indecent assault against four women, who were aged between seven and 19 at the time the offences occurred between 1968 and 1986.
It was earlier revealed that the disgraced entertainer could face further charges, as more women have come forward, alleging they were sexual abused by him.
Detectives from Operation Yewtree are now investigating reports from at least 12 women, who have told a law firm in Australia that the 84-year-old abused them.