You probably hadn’t heard the name Charlotte Proudman until this week. And if you still haven’t it’s a sure sign you don’t read the news – she’s been all over it following the apparent ‘sexist’ LinkedIn message she received from solicitor Alexander Carter-Silk. You may sense that I haven’t particularly warmed to her. So what are the facts and why has she got under my skin?
Following a LinkedIn invite from Proudman, Carter-Silk sent her a message saying: “I appreciate that this is probably horrendously politically incorrect but that is a stunning picture.” Followed by “You definitely win the prize for the best LinkedIn picture I have ever seen.” I certainly believe Carter-Silk was foolish to send this to a complete stranger. But do his words in this one message make him sexist? I’m not convinced. Proudman’s response clearly suggests she believes he is: “I find your message offensive. I am on LinkedIn for business purposes not to be approached about my physical appearance or to be objectified by a sexist man.”
Proudman had every right to respond to the message, but immediately publishing the whole conversation to her Twitter account – knowing full well that it would be picked up by the press – was wrong. In the days since she has also demanded a public apology from Carter-Silk, complained to his law firm, and announced her intention to report him to the Solicitors Regulation Authority. And let’s not forget the countless media interviews she had made on her ordeal.
Rather than being on a mission to highlight sexism – if this is even a case of it – she has simply been indulging in her own publicity campaign. She obviously hasn’t had much PR experience though. While she has certainly been all over the press, could she live to regret it given the line of work she is in? After all there’s already a hash tag in her honour – #nomorebriefs4u – and several legal professionals have commented that her lack of confidentiality alone would prevent them from instructing her.