ABC presenter Leigh Sales has said she was offended and angered after a man who introduced her at a charity ball she was hosting on Saturday kissed her on the lips in front of 200 people attending the black-tie dinner.
She was introduced by a director of the multiple sclerosis (MS) charity, retired businessman Phil Newman, who offered his cheek for Sales to peck and then turned his head suddenly and planted a kiss on her lips.
Sales was so taken aback she screamed and then approached the microphone and said “Hashtag me too,” before composing herself and continuing to host the US$250-a-head dinner at the Hilton Hotel in Sydney.
“The only reason I am commenting publicly is that given how many people witnessed the incident, I feel it would be gutless not to stand up and say that kind of behavior is intolerable and the time for women being subject to it or having to tolerate it is long gone,” she told reporters.
“The Trish Foundation for MS Research is an amazing charity and my association goes back years,” Sales said. “I could not have more respect for what they do. I was offended and angered by the incident on Saturday night. I had strong words to the man involved, he apologized and I accepted that apology. That should be the end of it as far as I’m concerned.”
Newman subsequently approached Sales’ table and offered his cheek to her again, at which she angrily told him off.
Newman said that the initial incident was a joke and apologized.
Newman said he was “horrified” when he realized he had offended Sales.
“I apologized on the night profusely and she accepted,” he said. “It was an attempt at humor and light entertainment to start the night off. I am upset my judgement wasn’t better.”
“I am embarrassed I brought any disrespect on the foundation and on Leigh,” he said.
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