In May 2016, Phillips argued internet freedom of speech required harassment of women become "unacceptable" — due to her failure to clarify her comments, Benjamin tweeted at her in response "I wouldn't even rape you ##AntiRapeThreats #FeminismIsCancer".
The comment, since deleted, has been repeatedly invoked and condemned since Benjamin announced his candidacy at a much-ridiculed press conference 19th April, where he refused to answer any questions from assorted journalists, or "apologise for anything", on the basis the media were "dirty, dirty smear-merchants".
Benjamin posted a video to his YouTube channel 26th April in response to his critics.
"There's been an awful lot of talk about whether I would or wouldn't rape Jess Phillips. I've been in a lot of trouble for my hardline stance of not even raping her. I suppose with enough pressure I might cave. But let's be honest, nobody's got that much beer," he said.
The video was soon removed from YouTube for violating its community standards, and West Midlands Police are now investigating whether an offence has been committed.
Phillips said she broke down in tears in Birmingham city centre after being told of Benjamin's comments.
Ms Phillips told the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire she broke down in tears in Birmingham city centre "just because I felt the enormous weight of years and years and years of abuse".
— Victoria Derbyshire (@VictoriaLIVE) May 7, 2019
"I did what all women do in these situations — I had been putting a brave face on it and pretending that it was all fine and that I could cope. It dawned on me that for four years his man had made a career out of harassing me. And I felt harassed. How can somebody say that they would rape me if forced, and be a legitimate candidate in an election? It was one thing when he was just some idiot off the internet, but it's a different thing when he's standing on the same platforms I'm standing on, and he'll potentially go to a parliament himself as an elected representative," she said.