I've taken a few days to reflect on what happened earlier this week, to make sure I was clear what I wanted to share, and while my title may be a tad click-baity, it is basically what happened.
On Tuesday I received a phonecall, from BBC Radio 5, wondering if I would speak on the radio the next day, sharing my (positive) thoughts on selfies. They said that they had an author who had just published a book about them, and they wanted to have a discussion about the current obsession we have with taking self portraits (usually on our phones).
Now, I'm no stranger to a selfie. I don't facetune, but like a slight contrast and light adjustment, and I know which angles I prefer in my face. I share selfies when I feel kickarse, when I'm at the gym, when I'm about to go on a date, or just when I fancy saying hello to the world. So I felt I could add a viewpoint to oppose the often negative slant that the media like to give selfie taking.
Don't get me wrong, I was nervous, but I'm a fan of doing things that scare you, so I agreed to it, took down the address and carried on with my day. Wednesday arrives, and I'm on the tube headed to Westminster, to the studio.
I got shown to the studio, and had to just sit and wait. When you're nervous about something, waiting is the worst isn't it!? After about 30 mins, the producer took me to the studio, where the presenter was talking live, and whispered that I should sit at the first mike, with the black headphones. I sit down, get my notes ready, and get my headphones on. It's now or never.
I quickly notice something is up. The man who had been shown in with me, whispered something about not knowing someone else would be in the room, and he walks out again, asking to speak to the producer. The producer quickly re-enters and whispers for me to step outside. I already have a hunch about what's happening.
I enter the side of the studio behind the glass, and can see the man, take his seat, and the live interview starts. He's the author, and he clearly wasn't okay with me being included in the interview.
The producer has recovered my notes and my bag and hands them to me.
The poor guy is pretty mortified, and very embarrassed, and starts explaining that Will (the author) hadn't been told there would be anyone else in the interview with him. That it was their fault, but they simply hadn't really considered that he would need telling. The lovely presenter is mouthy sorry to me through the glass. I'm asked to stay and give my side an hour later, but by this time, I'm running late for my next appointment (first day at BSL college!) and I'm sort of over it now. They offered to get me a car, as an apology, which I of course accepted, as it was pouring down with rain at this point, and I was late for college. They asked again if I'd consider facetiming from college, but I said no thank you.
As I hopped into my taxi, I tweeted about what had happened, and despite being asked to take it down, I decided to leave it up.
The BBC team made it clear it was their error, and Will tweeted me swiftly an apology, which I RTed into my feed.
However, I've since had time to ponder what happened, and I just wanted to get some things off my chest.
Firstly, how rude. I simply cannot imagine behaving in the same way. I can't fathom feeling so cocksure that I'd walk out of a live interview that is due to start in 1 minute and demand another guest be removed. I obviously don't know what was said, perhaps he just refused to come out, and the they offered to remove me? Either way, I honestly can't imagine ever behaving that way.
Secondly, doing some work promo on a topic that you've researched enough to write a huge book about, and yet feeling unprepared to have a 10 minute discussion about it seems equally as unfathomable. What did he imagine I'd say? Am I too intimidating looking? Too stupid looking? It's the BBC....you don't just get a 5 minute advert for your book....or do you? That's another discussion I guess ;-)
Thirdly, and the point that has been simmering and making me more angry as the days go by....
Why does he get to call the shots? If he was unhappy with the set-up, why wasn't his spot thrown out, and I kept in? The BBC doesn't owe anyone an advertising spot for a book. You can't buy air time. Why in that split moment, was he able to get me removed? We could have discussed his book release without him, or even just discussed seflies without a mention of the book. So why did he get to out rank me?
Maybe it was because he demanded it, and a rash (poor) decision was made in a split moment. Maybe it's because he's a man, and men generally get to pull rank over women? I honestly don't know. As I said, I don't know what what was said, but why was his guest spot deemed more valuable than mine? The BBC doesn't owe him a spot. I was given so little thought, which seems ironic given the book is about narcissism ;-)
Anyway, I'm just sharing what happened to me, which is basically what my writing career (smaller than Will's but still valid) has been based on. For years and years I've shared my face and my thoughts with the internet (and print!) so apologies to the BBC for continuing to do so. I'm not so sorry to Will though as I don't think he gave me much thought either.