ITV’s Loose Women has sparked more than 200 complaints after an important discussion on racism amid the Ukraine crisis.
The daytime talk show involved Charlene White highlighting how many people trying to flee Ukraine after Russia’s invasion are not being allowed past the border into other countries due to racism.
Charlene said: ‘My heart really does go out to the Ukrainian people and those in the bordering countries doing all they can to try and help them, but [they] will not help anybody whose skin is darker.
‘I think that’s a very clear reflection of what it is the world is dealing with – and this isn’t just in Ukraine, this happens in wars the world over, especially when it comes to migrant workers.’
Her co-panelist Janet Street-Porter responded in way that sparked anger from viewers, as she seemed to dismiss Charlene’s comments and suggested that Poland has ‘exceeded all expectations.’
‘I hear what you’re saying, and I completely understand it,’ Janet said.
‘On the news last night, they did show how some of the students talking about how badly they had been treated and the effort it had taken for them to cross the border.
‘But I also think that Poland has exceeded all expectations in accepting 150,000 refugees.’
Charlene replied: ‘Oh my goodness! I understand that – but if you have thousands of refugees, you can’t stand there and say oh you 50 people come in, you four people with darker skin sorry.’
While Charlene was applauded for bringing attention to accounts of racism at the Ukraine border, Janet was shunned by viewers.
Within one week of it airing, the show received 211 Ofcom complaints.
Many viewers also took to Twitter to share their disgust at Janet’s comments, with one writing that fans were calling for her to be removed from the show.
Another added: ‘Love what Charlene is highlighting on Loose Women. You need to remove Janet from your panel immediately, she has no compassion and is a troublemaker. Do the right thing.’
It was painful watching Janet street-porter and her comments – clearly did not understand the point being made…her reply literally trying to justify what was happening to the people of colour in Ukraine..just because they let X white people in😡
— Caspian Grey (@iluvmeditation) March 1, 2022
Many applauded Charlene for bringing attention to the accounts of racism at the Ukraine border, with one writing: ‘You said what needed to be said. If people can’t handle it that’s their own cup of tea! Thank you for highlighting what is going on.’
‘I just don’t understand why people choose to blatantly deny what is in front of their faces,’ another added. ‘Well done @CharleneWhite for bringing it to mainstream when the masses choose to ignore… As always.’
However, others trolled Charlene and accused her of ‘playing the race card’, despite the issue of racism being a part of the unfolding narrative.
Speaking out following the discussion, Charlene took to Twitter to fight back to the trolls: ‘For those throwing the phrase, “playing the race card” at me today re @loosewomen… let me be VERY clear.
‘You feeling uncomfortable hearing someone talking about race is not my concern, when the concern ought to be directed towards the victims who are subjected to it.’
Loose Women airs weekdays at 12.30pm on ITV.