I've been thinking about this story for awhile. The article goes into greater detail, but essentially a British comic, Johnny Vegas, is on stage during a comedy show. He sees a girl he likes in the front row and has people bring her on stage "pallbearer" style. As she's lying on stage, he starts touching her breasts and legs, pulling her skirt up as she tries to pull it back down. He straddled her and kissed her, open-mouthed. Additionally, he was allegedly "fingering her through her clothes for a second or two" (James Williams, NOTBBC).
The article goes into much greater detail about the whole "act," so I'd suggest checking it out.
There's been a lot said on other sites - that it's comedy and things shouldn't be off limits for comedy, that she probably liked the attention or enjoyed it, etc. The F-Word does a pretty good take of the people writing about it and different responses.
I'm going to riff a bit on the Portly Dyke and say this - if that girl on stage wasn't giving repeated postive affirmation, saying "Yes, yes, please continue touching me in that way," it was unwanted and very much sexual assault.
I don't care if someone says "she enjoyed the attention," or "she probably liked it." If audience members didn't hear her give explicit permission to start and continue touching her, it's NOT ok. It's sexual assault and a crime, regardless of who is doing it and if it's in front of a group of people.
The fact that it occured in front of a room of people who didn't do anything (or weren't successful) to stop it just makes it all the worse.
I've thought about what I would do if I was in that audience. Would I have said anything? Mary O'Hara, the author of the article in the Guardian, wrote, "I shouted 'get him fucking off of you' but obviously not loud enough." I'm glad she shouted - but she shouted to the woman, not to the perpetrator. Again the woman is responsible for stopping the attack, not the person who did the attacking in the first place. Not that the audience or the woman is to blame - it falls squarely upon the shoulders of Johnny Vegas, so-called comedian.
Would I have said anything? I don't know. I'd like to think so... but you never know until you're face to face with making the choice.
And by the way, if this passes for comedy these days, count me out.
Links to Jezebel, Feministing, and The F-Word.