“I Would Get Arrested If I Unzipped That Dress”
Don't look now, but I'm blogging about the British Royal Family. My usual coping strategy is to pretend they don't exist, but there's a first time for everying...
So, anyway, Prince Philip disgraced himself again. After shaking hands with a 25-year-old woman in a red two-piece suit with a zipper down the front, he announced to a policeman, "I would get arrested if I unzipped that dress." This Telegraph story and the accompanying photo give you a sense of the event, a very public meet and greet in London, crawling with reporters.
The remark is being described as a "gaffe." I'm sorry, but a gaffe is when you say "Hello, Cincinnati" in Cleveland. This is sexual harassment.
I mentioned this on facebook and to my surprise, a few guys chimed in to argue that it wasn't sexual harassment because the woman isn't an employee, or because Philip is 90, or because he's just a pathetic figurehead. Be that as it may, these objections miss the point.
The question isn't whether Philip broke the law, or whether the woman could win a workplace sexual harassment lawsuit in a U.S. court, the question is whether the prince bullied her in a sexualized way.
The media reports are a bit ambiguous. Did he say it in front of the woman, or behind her back? If he said it right in front of her, in front of a crowd, that's a classic harassment tactic. If he said it in public behind her back that's still bullying. If he whispered it in the copper's ear and indavertently got overheard, that's just creepy and inappropriate. (Arguably, in that case he'd be harassing the cop.)