On Wednesday 27 September 2023, journalist Moya Lothian-McLean took part in a debate with conservative political commentator and frequent GB News guest Connor Tomlinson. The two had been invited by Sky News to discuss misogyny in the media on live TV.
The discussion was taking place partly in response to several demeaning comments made by actor Laurence Fox during a recent GB News segment. In case you need a quick refresher, Fox made headlines last month after he made highly derogatory comments about PoliticsJOE journalist Ava Evans. During his disgustingly sexist rant, Fox stated that no one would want to “shag” Evans and asked what “self-respecting man” would “climb into bed” with the political correspondent. Needless to say, he was suspended by the channel shortly afterwards.
Fast forward a few days later, and while trying to explain our current misogynistic media climate to her debate partner Tomlinson, Lothian-McLean was taken aback by the information she received.
The young female journalist became living proof of the very same climate she was trying to prove existed when she discovered that, unlike Tomlinson, she was not getting paid for her appearance on the segment.
You can see in the video that at one point, after Lothian-McLean impresses that she is tired of having to have conversations about the existence of misogyny, Tomlinson retorts: “I’m sorry that you’re so exhausted to be paid to go on air,” to which the female journalist swiftly replies: “I’m not getting paid for this, are you getting paid for this?”
In a tweet following the debate, Lothian-McLean shared: “The man arguing that society isn’t structurally unequal for women was getting paid to appear in a ‘debate’ about misogyny, and I wasn’t.”
While this singular moment is shocking enough, it didn’t take long for other women to share their own experiences with Sky News.
Replying to Lothian-McLean’s post, feminist campaigner and commentator Alice Grace Rose wrote: “I’ve appeared on Sky News three times talking about misogyny and violence and was never paid or even informed by Sky that this was an option. I found out I was entitled to this yesterday. Solidarity with @mlothianmclean.”
“Producers can take advantage of our expertise, insight and even our experiences and not even consider that this labour should be compensated,” Rose added in a later tweet.
On Instagram, Lothian-McLean shared further information about the debate, which also raised some questions about her overall treatment during that day. She wrote: “Was invited onto Sky News for an interview about misogyny. Later that day I’m informed it’s now a ‘discussion’ but categorically NOT a debate. One minute to air and suddenly it’s a ‘free speech debate’.”
It is no secret that men frequently use the excuse of ‘free speech’ to hide their racist and misogynistic views, so to see a renowned media outlet use the same tactic to sneak in a conservative viewpoint, denying the existence of the patriarchy, is more than appalling.
In a later update, Lothian-McLean disclosed that she had initially been offered £75 for her appearance. However, following an apology from Sky, this offer was upped to £200. Why? Because it turns out that Tomlinson had secured himself a £200 deal for the live debate. It’s screaming sexism. Sky, do better.
The journalist has since requested the £200 and announced that she will be donating it to Beyond Equality, a charity committed to fighting gender-based stereotypes and re-educating young men on masculinity.