Tony Mulliken of Midas PR has apologised for "crass and offensive" remarks after introducing bestselling author Joanna Trollope at yesterday’s London Book Fair as someone he would "like to snog". Mulliken acknowledged he had "missed the mark" with the introduction, which came as Trollope - who was London Book Fair's Author of the Day"on Tuesday (10th April) - joined a panel discussion on marketing and PR.
Author Clare Mackintosh, who was in the audience, tweeted her anger at the introduction in a post that was shared widely on social media. "The gist of the intro: ‘I read once that she is always looking for a great kiss. I often see her in Kensington and think I’d like to give her a snog.'" Mackintosh said she was "revolted" by the "reductive and inappropriate" introduction of Trollope.
Mackintosh told The Bookseller: "I find it abhorrent that someone introducing an author would gloss over their professional achievements in favour of their sexual attributes, particularly at an event designed to inspire authors. What kind of message does that send to the audience, about how female authors are treated? We live in an age where sexual harassment and discrimination have never been more important; where the gender pay gap is headline news, and #MeToo victims have finally been given a voice. It was a grossly inappropriate way to introduce an author, and while Joanna dealt with it in an incredibly professional manner, she should never have been placed in that position."
Mulliken told The Bookseller: "I was wrong to introduce Joanna Trollope as I did yesterday. I have the utmost respect for her and I was trying to reference a recent interview Joanna Trollope gave in an irreverent and light-hearted way but I realise that what I said not only missed that mark, but it was crass and offensive. I am sorry I offended Joanna, many in the audience, as well as my colleagues. I have apologised to Joanna directly and unreservedly. I have also spoken to Clare Mackintosh and apologised."
Trollope declined to make a public comment on the incident.