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A woman who set up a soft porn YouTube channel during lockdown has slammed the “huge wealth barrier” that is preventing her from running to be a police and crime commissioner.
Anna Semlyen, a former councillor in York, had been hoping to become the next police, fire and crime commissioner in North Yorkshire, with her manifesto set to focus on women’s rights and road safety.
But the 51-year-old says the requirement of an “appalling” £5,000 bond has priced her out of the contest, reports Yorkshire Live.
The police commissioner role is up for grabs after former commissioner Philip Allott was forced to quit over remarks he made following the death of Sarah Everard. In remarks that drew widespread condemnation, he’d said women needed to become more “streetwise”.
Anna said: “If you look at women’s safety overall, it’s not just sexual safety but road safety.
“The number of women who are experiencing problems to do with the patriarchy and the entitlement of men, not just the male gaze but comments that are unwanted all the way up to rape and abuse and murder, as happened to Sarah Everard, is more concerning than ever.
“Phillip Allot made comments about arrest procedures that were totally inappropriate. He was telling women to understand their arrest rights, and for that, he had to resign. This is why women’s issues should be at the forefront of this election."
Yoga teacher and former Labour councillor Anna set up her YouTube channel, called Anna's Authentic Arts, during lockdown, offering erotic poems such as “Period Sex” and “Blowjob”.
She said she began producing the “feminist soft porn with a huge dose of women’s empowerment” as a “lockdown dare”.
The channel offers more than 100 short videos, many of which have been flagged as “adults only” content, and Anna said it was the more explicit ones that were the most popular.
But her attempt to build on her popularity by running for election has now been scuppered.
Anna said the requirement to post the £5,000 bond, which is returned only if a candidate gets 5% of the vote, meant she couldn't afford to run for the £74,440-a-year position.
“They give you eight days to raise five grand after announcing the election and I don't know about you but I think it puts people off applying and that's wrong,” she said.
“It prices out candidates who are local and it becomes an opportunity only for people who are in with a party or who are wealthy because after that you also have to pay for leafleting, canvassing and all of the other electioneering stuff and it's not doable.
"I feel somebody has got to stand out for a radical agenda but I was priced out."
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She added: "I'm a known feminist and traffic safety campaigner and would have made a good addition to the debate as an alternative voice but we will have to stick to the status quo and just hear voices from the mainstream who are towing the party line.
"If it had been a few hundred it would been worth it to talk about policies I think are right but thousands of pounds just makes it very bland and reduces democracy rather than improves it, in my view.
"I'm not saying I would have won it but I believe I should have been heard in that election. I believe I should have had a manifesto and had the chance to talk about women's rights and road safety.”
- In the News
- Sarah Everard
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