LinkedIn sexism row: Charlotte Proudman says lawyer used site 'like Tinder'

Image source, LinkedIn

A row has erupted over a "sexist" LinkedIn message received by a 27-year-old barrister.

It's after Charlotte Proudman sent an invitation to a senior partner at a law firm who responded by commenting on her "stunning" profile picture.

Alexander Carter-Silk, 57, a partner at Brown Rudnick, also said she "won the prize" for the best photo.

Proudman said she was not on the professional networking site "to be objectified".

She told the BBC's 5 live that she had received messages "commenting on her appearance" before.

She said it amounted to "using LinkedIn essentially as Tinder instead" of highlighting women's professional skills.

"My partner gets messages asking if he wants a job at hedge funds, I get propositions from men asking me out."

She is calling for a public apology: "I want people to know that's not acceptable."

In the message, Mr Carter-Silk wrote: "Charlotte, delighted to connect, I appreciate that this is probably horrendously politically incorrect but that is a stunning picture!!!

"You definitely win the prize for the best LinkedIn picture I have ever seen.

"Always interest [sic] to understant [sic] people's skills and how we might work together."

Proudman, who is reportedly the same age as Mr Carter-Silk's daughter, replied: "Unacceptable and misogynistic behaviour.

"Think twice before sending another woman [half your age] such a sexist message."

She has contacted Brown Rudnick to complain and will also be referring the issue to the Solicitors Regulation Authority, as well as reporting to police subsequent Twitter trolling.

Mr Carter-Silk lives in Cambridgeshire with his wife, Jacqueline, 60, and represented Elle Macpherson in the phone-hacking trial.

On City law message board RollOnFriday he posted: "Most people post pretty unprofessional pictures on LinkedIn, my comment was aimed at the professional quality of the presentation on LinkedIn which was unfortunately misinterpreted."

A spokesman for law firm Brown Rudnick said: "We are aware of the comments made by a member of the firm on a private social media account.

"We have apologised for the offence caused and have no further comment to make."

Matthew Scott, a barrister and blogger, told the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme: "I think we have to look how this developed... Charlotte sent him a message, asking him to connect so the initial contact was made by Charlotte.

"He later complimented her stunning picture. It was a rather foolish thing to do.... but I don't think his 'crime' justifies the reaction it seems to have provoked from Charlotte."

He added: "If a man wanted to approach a woman because he thinks her attractive at work or through LinkedIn, it doesn't make him sexist; it is just perfectly natural behaviour."

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