Countdown star Rachel Riley has told how a celebrity brazenly put his phone under her to upskirt her while she was playing table tennis with her former Strictly dance pro husband Pasha Kovalev.
The star, 36, also revealed that when a charity checked her Instagram direct messages, which she never looks at, they found a torrent of trolling hate and vile sexual content, including 30 videos from one man masturbating.
Riley slammed social media giants for not stopping it and called on them to face the same controls as the normal media, while hailing the forthcoming Online Harms Bill.
Oh no: Countdown star Rachel Riley has told how a celebrity brazenly put his phone under her to upskirt her playing table tennis with her former Strictly dance pro husband Pasha Kovalev
Riley said: ‘One who shall remain nameless, who people would know, he just got an Apple Watch, and at a party at a friend’s house, I was playing table tennis with Pash, and this guy, in full view of everyone, came, put his phone on the floor under my skirt where I was playing table tennis, and went and sat back down a couple of metres away while him and all his mates looked at his watch.
‘It was like a video basically. So he went and put his phone down so he could look up and went two metres away to go and look at his phone, look up my skirt.’
She told the Dirty Mother Pukka’ podcast on Thursday: ‘I wouldn’t call him a friend, but you would know him. I was too polite.
‘Now, being able to digest it and think about it, if someone tried to do that to me again I would break their phone.
Upset: The star, 36, also revealed that when a charity checked her Instagram DMs, which she never looks at, they found a torrent of trolling hate and vile sexual content, including 30 videos from the same man masturbating (pictured with Pasha and their daughter Noa)
‘If they’ve got a problem with that, they can go to the police and we can deal with it in the public.
‘That a man obviously thought he could get away with blatantly, brazenly putting his phone, upskirting me on a video for his friends on his phone, and it would be fine!
‘Now I would just break his phone and deal with it afterwards.’
She continued: ‘But at that time Pasha went up, picked his phone up, and politely went and took it to him, and just gave him a really awful look like ‘what the hell are you doing?’
Having her say: Riley slammed social media giants for not stopping it and called on them to face the same controls as the normal media, while hailing the forthcoming Online Harms Bill (pictured on Countdown)
‘I think the days of being polite, meek and mild, to someone who wants to grab you, nah, done with that.’
Riley also told of the sick social media comments and messages she receives and called for action to protect teenage girls in particular.
Rachel who has faced a barrage of anti-semitism for speaking out against it, said: ‘I’m an ambassador for a charity called the Centre for Countering Digital Hate, who I think are the best people in the entire world, I absolutely love them. And they said to me ‘can we look at your Instagram DMs because we want to see what’s in there?’
‘And I don’t check my Instagram DMs. I’ve got so much social media in my life, emails, WhatsApps, friends’ kids, even if I wanted to, I don’t have time.
‘So they looked at my Instagram DMs, and they found I think one guy had sent like 30 something videos of himself w**king.
‘And they gave me the details of like some of the things he was saying.
‘It’s not that I’m upset that I’ve got it, it’s the thinking that my friends’ teenage girls are on this platform.
‘And especially DMs, because no-one else can see it, and I think I’ve obviously had a lot of trolling on Twitter from activism stuff and anti-semitism stuff, and the thing about being trolled you’re the only one that really sees all of it.
‘And no-one can understand what’s it’s like to have that level of trolling, and that many people saying things, or sending you things.
Family: Rachel shares six-month-old Noa and two-year-old Maven with Pasha – who she says supported her after the upskirting incident
‘It’s very, very lonely. And to think that there are teenage girls. It’s one of the most vulnerable times in your life.
‘We know that teenage girls are really susceptible to external opinions of them or pressures.
‘And to thing that randomers can send them videos of themselves w**king. And that Instagram finds that acceptable. Because they’ve got the technology – they’re owned by Meta, Facebook, they can look at an image and describe it for visually impaired people and say ‘this is a dog on a beach’.
‘They’re really proud that they’ve got this technology, yet they allow random people that you don’t follow to send you w***ing videos.
‘There’s no money in it for them to not.
‘So one of my big things that I like to bang my drum about is supporting CCDH and the Online Harms Bill to actually make social media liable like the regular media is.
‘And I didn’t realise it was a thing that people have little chat groups. So you can imagine the worst chat groups that a bunch of people might have, sending like the worst stuff, and they just add celebrities in for chits and giggles presumably. And they send literally violent videos.
What is upskirting?
Upskirting is where someone takes a picture under a person’s clothing without their permission.
It is now a specific criminal offfence in England and Wales.
The law was introduced in February 2019.
Perpetrators will face two years in prison. By criminalising this distressing practice, it is hoped that it deters people from committing the crime.
Upskirting, where committed to obtain sexual gratification, can result in the most serious offenders being placed on the sex offenders register.
The new law will send a clear message that such behaviour is criminal and will not be tolerated.
‘They think of the worst things you can find on the internet and they’ll post them in their little chats and send them to celebrities. And it’s just weird and horrible.
‘It’s not the worst thing in the world, but when I contextualise it in terms of the teenage daughters of my friends, and knowing how vulnerable some of them are, it’s a big problem with the next generation I think.
‘I really, really hope there’s a new form of something.
‘There’s no reason why doing something online shouldn’t be treated in exactly the same way as if you did it in the street.
‘Cyber flashing is literally just being made a crime. If you went down the street and you were w***king in front of girls, whoever, you would be arrested. Why should you be able to do it online?’
‘We’ve got the Online Harms Bill coming, which I think will be a real step forward.’
And Rachel has now seemingly made a swipe at her former co-star, 77, as she took to Instagram on Wednesday to share a cryptic post.
The TV presenter shared a selfie of herself sporting a strawberry-print dress and flashing a huge grin as she enjoyed a glass of wine at home.
Alongside the photograph, she made a thinly veiled swipe at Anne as she wrote that she was ‘toasting’ the ‘next chapter in Countdown’s history’.
She penned: ‘Drinking a toast to the next chapter in Countdown’s history… I think you’re going to like it!’
Exit: It comes after Anne Robinson revealed she quit Countdown over a pay dispute and said she did insist on ‘noisy’ Susie Dent and Rachel’s mics being switched off
Rachel’s apparent jibe comes after Anne admitted that Rachel is ‘noisy’ and that she ‘wouldn’t go on holiday’ with her, but dismissed claims of a feud after she quit Countdown.
It was revealed that Anne was leaving the show after just one year earlier this week by The Daily Mail’s Alison Boshoff, and Anne has since said she quit over a pay dispute.
The presenter, who was employed on a freelance basis, admitted that despite being offered a pay rise, she did not want to join Channel 4‘s payroll and so decided to walk away from her role as host.
Speaking to The Sun, she confessed: ‘I come from a long line of alcoholic, Irish bandits so to suggest I go PAYE is a bit like asking Philip Green or Richard Branson to join the company payroll.
Falling out: Of the rift with her co-stars Rachel and Susie Dent she admitted that she had been annoyed by their time-keeping and noisiness (Rachel and Susie pictured)
‘I wasn’t interested in any offer on that basis. Even if it included financial parity. I will, however, miss out on the Channel 4 luncheon vouchers, which is a big regret.’
Speaking with Emma Barnett on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, she added: ‘I marched so that your generation would be really clever at negotiating your salaries and your pay, and you’re all absolutely hopeless at it. Why? It’s so easy. There’s about six steps to getting the money you want.’
Anne continued: ‘What happens is some bloke comes in with his friend, gives you the interview and says ‘we’re going to pay you this’, you say ‘thank you very much’.
‘What you have to realise, they go outside and they do high fives because you’ve accepted the first offer.’
Of the rift with her co-stars Rachel and Susie Dent, she admitted that she had been annoyed by their time-keeping and noisiness.
But she later said: ‘They’re both brilliant at what they do. I mean they really, really are. Channel 4 are incredibly lucky to have them. And there isn’t a rift.
‘It was me wanting everyone to be quiet in the studio. I like everyone turning up on time and quiet, quiet, quiet. So we did have to iron that out. But that’s it.’
Anne continued: ‘I think we all came to an agreement that we would have mics off before we went into a record, which gave me time to have a chat with the contestants – that’s all – and remind them what their hobbies are.’
Hard bargain: She confessed: ‘I come from a long line of alcoholic, Irish bandits so to suggest I go PAYE is a bit like asking Philip Green or Richard Branson to join the company payroll’
Describing Rachel, she said: ‘She is brilliant at those numbers, what else can I say.’
On the prospect of retirement, the former Weakest Link host said: ‘I haven’t got any practice at it. Maybe I’ll start doing social media.
‘You know what the Queen says, mostly to women, she says ‘what’s keeping you busy?’ And that’s because they might not have a job so they can say ‘I’m playing the piano, I’m doing my garden’. So I’m going to practice how I explain I don’t have a job.’
Anne continued: ‘It’s the first time I’ve never had a job. It’s also the first time I haven’t seen a job on the horizon. I’ve given myself a really big talking to and I’m 78 this year and I’ve really got to learn about retirement.
‘I’ve encouraged television bosses to realise that not all women at the wrong end of their 70s are in care homes playing bingo and watching conjuring tricks.’
Meanwhile, former Countdown host Nick Hewer did not hold back when recently taking a swipe at his ex-colleague Susie after she wished Anne well on Twitter.
It came amid claims that the cast are ‘relieved’ she is leaving after reports of an on-set feud with Rachel and Susie.
Awks! It comes as former Countdown host Nick Hewer (centre) didn’t hold back when taking a swipe at his ex-colleague Susie (left) after she wished Anne well on Twitter
But Susie appeared to dismiss any feud claims by sending a congratulatory message to ‘wish her the best’ as she moved on to pastures new.
The lexicographer, who has appeared in Countdown’s Dictionary Corner since 1992, wrote on Twitter: ‘Some Countdown news.
‘Wishing Anne all the very best in her new adventures with her grandchildren and beyond.’
However, Nick, 78, accused her of ‘sucking up’ to her former colleague and told her she would be a prime candidate for a ‘brown nosing’ award.
New role? Richard Osman has been tipped as the early favourite to replace Anne on Countdown after the host announced she was stepping down after just a year
He responded to her tweet, writing: ‘Well that’s a sure fire certainty for Private Eye’s OBN [Order of the Brown Nose] award. Bravo Susie!’
TV star Richard, 51, recently quit his show Pointless after 13 years so would be free to take on new commitments.
One insider told The Mirror: ‘Everyone is so relieved, to be honest. It’s all been a bit of a disaster with the fallouts and squabbles, we just want to draw a line under it and move on.’
Meanwhile, Ladbrokes have said that Richard currently has 3/1 odds of replacing Anne on Countdown.
After Richard, the next strongest odds for replacements go to comedian Susan Calman and Taskmaster star Alex Horne, both of whom have 4/1 odds.
Writer Victoria Coren Mitchell is next with 9/2 odds, while 8 Out Of 10 Cats star Jon Richardson follows with 11/2 odds.
Richard said in his statement last month when he quit Pointless: ‘I will miss everyone so much, but I’m thrilled that I’ll still be presenting the celebrity shows. I can’t thank everyone enough for twelve amazing years.’
Representatives for Anne and Richard have been contacted by MailOnline for a comment.
Job: As well as Richard, writer Victoria Coren Mitchell (pictured) is next tipped with 9/2 odds, while 8 Out Of 10 Cats star Jon Richardson follows with 11/2 odds
And it seemed that Rachel placed her seal of approval on the words, as she retweeted the post from pal Susie.
But while the TV stars put on a friendly display through social media, it comes after reports last year that Anne, who suffers from tinnitus, found Rachel ‘too loud’ and was ‘irritated by her habit of chatting on her mobile phone, and by her time-keeping’.
Opening up to Alison Boshoff for the Daily Mail, Anne admitted that Rachel is noisy and that she ‘wouldn’t go on holiday’ with her – but dismissed claims of a feud.
The Weakest Link host explained: ‘I’m not saying I would go on holiday with Rachel Riley, but she is brilliant,’ she said. ‘Absolutely honestly, I do admire her – she is really, really good at what she does, as is Susie Dent.
‘Look, Rachel has just come back from having a baby and she is standing throughout and faultless, whereas I get to sit down. She is noisy, yes she and Susie both are – they are a formidable pair those two. But there isn’t a question of my going because of a rift, that’s nonsense.’
She also explained that the three women ‘barely talk’ during the show, detailing: ‘The way that it’s filmed is so tight that… we don’t have time to talk to each other.’
Representatives for Rachel Riley declined to comment at the time.
Anne told Alison that she is leaving the show as her contract was only one year long, and she ‘didn’t realise how much time it would take up’.
Explaining that she’s swapping the ‘intense’ filming schedule for some downtime at home, Anne said: ‘I am moving on because I’ve got a lot going on – grandchildren, a big garden, an apartment in New York – and I want to enjoy them. Countdown has taken up more of time than I thought it would.’
‘It is great fun but it is intense. I go up [to Media City in Salford] and we do 15 shows in three 11-hour days. I’m built to last so I don’t really mind, but it does take up quite a chunk of my time,’ she added.
A spokesperson for the Channel 4 daytime show gushed over Anne after the announcement of her leaving, saying: ‘Quick-witted Anne has been a brilliant host on this iconic show.’
Pastures new: Anne said that she was leaving the show as her contract was only one year long, and she ‘didn’t realise how much time it would take up’