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The UK’s imminent departure from the European Union next month has accentuated divisions in British society, with remainers coming up with some desperate and, ahem, ‘eye-catching’ methods to bring attention to their cause.
University of Cambridge professor Dr. Victoria Bateman startled a BBC Radio 4 host when she appeared completely nude to protest Brexit, saying her three-pronged message to Brits was that “Brexit leaves Britain naked.”
Inviting ardent pro-Brexit lawmaker Jacob Rees-Mogg for a “naked debate” on quitting the EU, Bateman cheekily said Brexit would leave the UK’s economy “exposed.” She also claimed that the pro-Brexit movement had exposed two “worrying” trends — anti-immigration sentiments in British society, and “past government failures” which helped lead to the feeling by many that they have “nothing to lose from Brexit.”
The professor received a dressing down from Radio 4’s host, John Humphrys, who told her, with all due respect, that “those are all arguments that have been put many times by very many people wearing their clothes.” “Isn’t it just exhibitionism?” Humphrys asked.
“What I’m suggesting to you is that taking off your clothes is a way to attract attention, but that’s all it is, isn’t it?” Humphrys continued. “If anything, the danger is that it will have the opposite effect, won’t it?”
The controversial interview quickly went viral online, with many users supporting the BBC interviewer’s position that going buck naked wouldn’t solve anything.
The media should not be flattering this individual. She quite clearly needs help.
— Thomas Evans (Follow Back Pro Democracy #FBPD) (@ThomasEvansSDP) 8 февраля 2019 г.
Some users joked about the situation, with UK Independence Party leader Gerard Batten quipping that Dr. Bateman “may have boobed” with her strategy in delivering an anti-Brexit message.
Academic Dr Victoria Bateman went on the BBC nude to declare ‘Brexit will leave Britain Naked’
Planning on doing the same myself. Going to do a full frontal on twitch and declare ‘Brexit is a load of bollocks’
— Anthony Riordan (@KerryComedian) 10 февраля 2019 г.
Others defended Bateman, however, accusing Humphrys of being “patronising” and “condescending.”
The perfect example of why he needs to go. He is patronising, condesending and to ignoring what Victoria is saying as if she had no right to say it.She is Dr Victoria Bateman, Cambridge professer,had David Cameron spoken to her before it he would not have called the referrendum
— Caroline Carney (@CCNiCearnaigh) 8 февраля 2019 г.
So Humphreys accuses her of exhibitionism & some twitterers below gleefully comment on the aesthetics of Dr Bateman’s body or her mental health, not the value of her analysis or even the exasperation many feel at the #Brexitfuckup and incompetence of govt. Wow.
— Dr Emmanuelle Tulle (@MannyTulle) 8 февраля 2019 г.
Some went after the BBC, saying this was not a real issue.
Did I read somewhere that Radio 4 has lost 750,000 listeners in a year? Now I see why!
— khanumkhanuma (@sayehkhanum) 8 февраля 2019 г.
Bateman herself responded to some of the criticism, saying that she wouldn’t be “bullied into covering up my message”. According to the professor, some people just “seem threatened by a body not under ‘their’ control — & by women who are comfortable & confident in their own skin!”
And why should it stop me? Never has before. It says more about the people hurling abuse & ridicule than it does about me. I *won’t* be bullied into covering up my message that #Brexit is the #EmperorsNewClothes & that women should be free to do what they want with their own body https://t.co/KzT3prwjKG
— Dr Victoria Bateman (@vnbateman) 11 февраля 2019 г.
Some people seem threatened by a body not under “their” control — & by women who are comfortable & confident in their own skin! I for one see no problem using my body to resist #Brexit — & to fight for vital freedoms. That’s *far* more important than “protecting” my own modesty! https://t.co/GHv62wGGBV
— Dr Victoria Bateman (@vnbateman) 9 февраля 2019 г.
But the tweets only led to fresh attacks from critics.
I have tried, but fail to understand why being naked is helpful to resisting brexit?
— Simon Dolan (@simondolan) 9 февраля 2019 г.
The UK is due to leave the EU on March 29. Lawmakers have yet to approve the withdrawal deal, with the Irish border issue remaining the big stumbling block. Both London and Brussels are concerned about the possibility of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, which UK police fear would make Britain “less safe.”