The Chase’s Anne Hegerty shocks by saying Paris Lees ‘used to be a boy’ on live TV

Anne Hegerty, best known for her role on The Chase has caused controversy after telling trans activist Paris Lees that she ‘used to be a boy.’

Appearing on an episode of the Channel 5 show The Wright Stuff, quiz icon Anne Hegerty was discussing the gender pay gap with trans activist and journalist Paris Lees.

Hegerty, who has recently spoken out about her experiences with Asperger’s, said that she wasn’t convinced about the existence of the gender pay gap.

Hegerty said on the programme that if women want higher paid roles, they ought to work for them.

The host of Britain’s Brightest Family continued to say that she was: “on record as not really being terribly bothered” about any possible pay gap.

Paris Lees asked her: “So you don’t think there’s an old boys’ club at the top then?”

“No, no not really,” Anne replied.

Lees said that she would “have to disagree” with Hegerty, who then replied: “Okie dokie. Well, you used to be a boy, you’d know that.”

In a statement given to The Sun, Lees described how the atmosphere on the show changed dramatically with Hegarty’s comment.

She said: “The whole studio – the audience fell silent. I don’t think anyone knew what to say. You could have cut the atmosphere with a knife.

“I was so shocked, I was processing it.”

(Photo by Dan Dennison/Getty Images)

Presenter Matthew Wright did not comment on Hegarty’s remarks, moving the conversation on.

Related: Chaser Paul Sinha on being a gay comic sports fan and selfies with Joey Essex

Speaking after the show, Paris Lees said that she believed that Anne was not trying to be spiteful with her comment.

She said: “I didn’t make a big deal out of it. I love the show and Matthew, and I’m sure she didn’t mean to be malicious,” she said.

“I didn’t say anything backstage, but everyone else came and checked I was OK.

“I’m not easily shaken, I’ve had worse in my time, but when you’re on TV, you don’t expect it.”

Paris Lees

Paris Lees in Vogue

Viewers of the programme took to social media to criticise the 59-year-old quizmaster for her comments.

One viewer called her comments a “low blow.”

(Photo: @EyYorkshireLass / Twitter)

Another viewer labelled the discussion “disgusting.”

(Photo: @DenielJFalconer / Twitter)

Other viewers stated their surprise at the lack of reaction from the studio and the host.

(Photo: @AndersonRuthie /Twitter)

Lees recently made headlines after an interview with the BBC’s Nick Robinson, who asked her about “blokes who’ve had sex changes going into girl’s changing rooms in schools.”

Watch the moment below: