This Morning steps in as Vanessa Feltz sparks fury over ‘dangerous’ remarks
This Morning seemed to address the backlash after guest presenter Vanessa Feltz was branded "irresponsible" by viewers.
The TalkTV host caused controversy for her remarks about Coeliac disease made to a caller named Alison during Monday's show (December 18). And on Tuesday, the ITV show clarified the issue with another segment on the disease.
Alison complained that she was being forced to have a gluten-free Christmas dinner as her daughter is a fussy eater and her mother-in-law's guest suffers with Coeliac disease, which causes the immune system to attack bodily tissues when gluten is eaten. Vanessa, 61, simply wasn't having it.
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She told hosts Josie Gibson and Craig Doyle: "When Alison said, 'Can we bring our own food then? Can we bring food in a snack box?' She said, 'No.' So she's treating Coeliac disease as if it's a kind of fatal, potentially fatal peanut allergy and that they can't have anything with gluten in the house, which is completely unreasonable."
The Celebs Go Dating star went on: "That is not reasonable Alison at all. The thing is though, if you say to her, 'Look, he can have gluten-free, we don't have to, it's not catching." What will she say? How will she respond?
Alison replied: "She'll tell me that I'm ignorant to the facts and tell me to read up on it." Vanessa insisted: "But you're not and she's wrong, I mean she's just unequivocally wrong about that. Completely wrong."
Viewers on X, formerly Twitter, slammed Vanessa's comments, which one deemed "ignorant". Another viewer wrote: "This is what happens when you have ill informed and ignorant presenters like Vanessa Feltz spreading misinformation. She needs to be held accountable for her dangerous words!"
Coeliac UK also complained on the platform, writing: "Today on ITV's @thismorning, coeliac disease was discussed during a phone in segment on the show. We are deeply concerned about the content and advice given to a caller attending a Christmas family event where all of the food will be gluten free to protect the health of a person with coeliac disease."
They told viewers they were "following up" with ITV and displayed an open letter to the broadcaster, asking for an apology. Dr Zoe Williams seemed to address the backlash on Tuesday by discussing the disease in more depth.
"Some people with coeliac disease can be very sensitive, so even a trace of gluten can actually damage, in the long term, their small intestine, and cause really severe sickness and illness," she said. "So I think especially around Christmas time, for some people, it can be a time where they need to ask their relatives and loved ones who are going to be spending time with to make a few changes to accommodate them."
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Vanessa had told the caller to snack before she visits her mother-in-law and then eat on the way home. "Have a snack on the way there, bring something to eat in the car on the way home, don't stay too long, but don't fall out with your mother-in-law over a bit of gluten, that's what I think. Or the lack of gluten."
Josie then explained that people who suffer with Coeliac disease shouldn't have to worry about cross-contamination of gluten food. Vanessa responded: "But they don't have to have any cross-contamination, especially if they bring their own food from home and her 15-year-old has what he actually likes which he brings in the snackbox, would be perfectly fine. But I just think is it worth falling out with her, digging your heels in, making a big mountain out of it when it's only one day, pretty much one meal?"
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