More than 2,000 complaints made to Ofcom over Vanessa Feltz coeliac disease comments | Ents & Arts News

Jan 3, 2024 | Uncategorized

Vanessa Feltz has been the subject of over 2,000 Ofcom complaints after her controversial comments on coeliac disease.

The This Morning presenter came under fire after saying a caller’s mother-in-law not allowing them to bring their own food to a gluten-free Christmas dinner was “completely unreasonable”.

During the episode of the ITV show on 18 December, the caller explained that their mother-in-law made the meal gluten-free to accommodate a guest who had coeliac disease.

Feltz responded, saying: “So she’s treating coeliac disease as if it’s a potentially fatal peanut allergy and they can’t have anything with gluten in the house, which is completely unreasonable.”

Coeliac disease is a condition where your immune system attacks your own tissues when you eat gluten, damaging your gut so your body can’t take in nutrients properly.

It affects at least one in every 100 people in the UK, according to the NHS.

The media watchdog said in its report on 3 January that a further 1,177 complaints have been made since an Ofcom report was published on 20 December, bringing the total to 2,269.

Feltz, 61, later apologised on her TalkTV show for the comments, saying: “If anyone misunderstood or felt that I did, I am very sorry.”

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On her show before Christmas, she showed a clip of herself making the remarks before discussing them with Dr Saleyha Ahsan and a viewer named Jason, who suffers from coeliac disease.

Feltz said: “I said what I said there, and then I said, but I’ve been thinking about it, and in the spirit of Christmas I think you should go, I think you should eat the gluten-free meal that your mother-in-law is kindly preparing.

“I did not, nor would I for a second, suggest that they should put the coeliac guest at risk in any way, nor did I suggest that they bring their own food and shove it in their mother-in-law’s oven or put it on the table. I wouldn’t dream of that.

“And nor did I intend in any shape or form to show any disrespect or misunderstanding of how unpleasant it can be leading your life as a coeliac, partly because some of my best friends are coeliacs.

“So I know how horrible it is as a coeliac if, by any mistake, you should find yourself eating something with gluten in it.

“I am astounded by the reaction and horrified that anyone’s upset. I would never want to upset anyone.”

She claimed she checked her language before and after the show with professionals, adding: “I don’t think I said anything wrong, but if anyone misunderstood or felt that I did, I am very sorry.”

This Morning tried to tackle the subject further in two other segments leading up to Christmas.

One was a segment discussing coeliac disease with NHS GP Dr Zoe, while another had food writer Becky Excell discuss gluten-free meal options.

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