ITV’s This Morning has been hit with 1,092 complaints to Ofcom following Vanessa Feltz’s comments about celiac disease.
The presenter joined the show as a guest on December 18 where he took calls from viewers asking if they were being unreasonable in certain situations.
A caller named Alison asked how she would deal with the fact that her mother-in-law was “forcing” her and her 15-year-old son to eat a gluten-free Christmas dinner because of a fellow guest with condition.
Feltz began shaking her head at the suggestion that all guests should follow the dietary requirements of coeliac-suffering diners before she said: “Alison, I’m 100 percent on your side on this one, it’s absolutely ridiculous.”
Explaining to hosts Josie Gibson and Craig Doyle, Feltz continued: “So Alison’s mother-in-law had them over for Christmas and because someone had to be gluten-free, she insisted they were all gluten-free including Alison’s food. 15-year-old who is a bit of a fussy eater.
“When Alison said, ‘Can we bring our own food?’ (The mother-in-law) said, ‘No.’ She treats celiac disease like it’s some kind of fatal, potentially fatal peanut allergy and that they can’t have anything with gluten in the house, which is completely which is unreasonable.
Vanessa Feltz spoke to Craig and Josie on Monday’s episode
“That is not reasonable Alison at all,” Feltz continued before he reflected: “The thing is, if you tell her, ‘Look, she can have gluten-free, we don’t need it, it doesn’t get it’ , what will he say? How will he respond?”
The caller responded: “He’s going to tell me I’m ignorant of the facts and tell me to read it.”
Feltz replied: “But you’re not and he’s wrong! I mean, he’s clearly wrong about that. Absolutely wrong.
“That’s why I’m really thinking about it because I think you’re 100 percent right… but, it’s just one day, it’s all about family… so I try to weigh up in my mind should you just put up with it only for peace and harmony?
“On balance, I think you’ve got to go with it, have a snack on the way there, bring something to eat in the car on the way home, don’t linger, but don’t make your mother-in-law antagonize you over a little gluten, that’s what I think. Or the lack of gluten .”
When Gibson interjected to point out that cross-contamination could be an issue, Feltz was adamant: “But they don’t have to have any cross-contamination, especially if they’re bringing their own food from home and his 15- year old has something. he really likes what he brings in the snack box, that’s fine.
“But do I think it’s worth arguing with him, digging in your heels, making a big mountain out of it when it’s just one day, literally almost a meal?”
Feltz qualified his claim by suggesting that the caller’s teenage son’s refusal to eat anything gluten-free was “pretty extreme, too.”
Shortly after the discussion aired, viewers flocked to X, formerly Twitter, to blast Feltz for his “dismissive” attitude toward the disease.
One viewer fumed: “Vanessa Feltz makes me angry that I treat celiac disease like a joke. I have celiac disease it’s not a joke, it’s a serious medical condition. I hope next time she’s on #ThisMorning I expect af** * apologies not only to me but to everyone who needs a gluten-free diet!”
Now on ITV’s @this morning , celiac disease was discussed during a phone in segment on the show. We are very concerned about the content and advice given to a caller attending a family Christmas event where all food will be gluten free to protect one’s health pic.twitter.com/KJnVZ7wTKN
Coeliac_UK (@Coeliac_UK) December 18, 2023
A second blasted the show as a whole: “I don’t blame Vanessa Feltz giving questionable advice about gluten free eating in a phone-in segment on #ThisMorning – I blame the producers and the lack of any research on medical matters for this segment & not giving correct/scientific information, typical ITV.”
Meanwhile, the third hit was: “#ThisMorning I couldnt believe yesterdays program! The misinformation about the gluten free buffet in a phone call to Vanessa Feltz was horrifying.”
And a fourth fumed: “#ThisMorning Shame on you for trivializing an autoimmune disease that exhausts people on a day to day basis. Apologies are needed asap. What a vile woman.” (sic)
The charity Celiac UK even issued an open letter to ITV expressing its “deep concern” at the “disgusting” advice from Feltz and asking for an apology.
Feltz shared an apologetic statement about the ordeal, saying: “I found myself in the middle of a storm on social media this week that I said what I said there, but then I added that you have to go with the spirit of Christmas and still enjoy a gluten-free meal.
“I am not suggesting that they put celiac in harm’s way nor do I intend to show in any shape or form any disrespect to anyone with celiac disease.
“I was surprised by the reaction and afraid that someone got angry. I don’t think I said anything wrong but if someone got angry, I’m very sorry.
“All I want is clarity and compassion and I’m certainly not trying to play down celiac disease. The last thing I want to do is upset anyone and I hope I’ve made changes.”
#ITV #Morning #slapped #complaints #Ofcom #disgusting #glutenfree #debate
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