Channel 5 pulls ‘immoral’ plastic surgery show about Charlotte Crosby’s appearance

Broadcaster says sorry over episode that dissected changes in reality TV star’s appearance

Channel 5 has apologised and pulled an episode of its controversial celebrity plastic surgery series from its streaming service after condemnation from its subject, Charlotte Crosby.

Last Thursday’s episode of Celebrities: What Happened to Your Face? featured medical professionals dissecting how the reality TV star’s physical appearance had changed over the years with surgeons making numerous offensive comments about her “cookie-cutter” and “plastic” face.

Crosby, 30, who rose to fame on MTV’s Geordie Shore, called the programme “immoral” and “insensitive”. She added that the episode had aired despite her agent being “appalled” when it was commissioned and warning Channel 5 of the detrimental impact it would have on her mental health.

In a statement, the broadcaster apologised for “any upset caused” and said that Channel 5 and the show’s producers, Crackit Productions, “take duty of care very seriously”.

“While we acknowledge that the programme was Ofcom-compliant, we have taken on board Charlotte’s feedback and removed the episode from our streaming platform My5,” the statement read.

Crosby has yet to comment on the removal of the episode.

In a statement released on social media last Friday after the episode aired, Crosby said it was “unbelievable” that the programme had been made, particularly in the context of heightened focus on mental health within the entertainment industry.

“At a time when the broadcast and media world were backing a policy of ‘be kind’, Channel 5 and Crackit decided to commission this one-hour special on ‘rubber-lip Charlotte’ (their words not mine),” she wrote.

Crosby was referencing the #BeKind campaign that followed the death of Love Island presenter Caroline Flack in December last year. Flack’s final Instagram post bore the words: “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”

After her death, celebrities, brands and members of the public used the hashtag #BeKind on social media to promote a message of empathy and compassion, and to raise awareness in particular for the mental health struggles any person could be going through.

Crosby has been candid about the cosmetic procedures she has undertaken, as well as her personal trauma and struggles with body image and self-confidence. She first had nose surgery in 2016 after becoming self-conscious over her TV appearances, and later used lip fillers.

Her statement on Friday said: “Their ‘experts’ dissected my ‘plastic face’ with disgust, discussing my fluctuating weight (with images), and then decided to flash up the worst troll comments from the past five years.

“Dealing with trolls is one thing – you ignore, you block – but where are we as a society, when the trolls are the mainstream TV channels? Will they now take responsibility for my dip in mental health and plummeted self-esteem? Do they take responsibility for the resulting press from the show, again discussing how ‘shocking’ my face is?”

Crosby’s Geordie Shore co-star Holly Hagan issued a similar statement on Thursday evening and urged her Instagram followers to report the programme to Ofcom.

EastEnders and I’m a Celebrity star Jacqueline Jossa also said she was “disgusted” by the programme. “Whatever happened to ‘be kind’?” she wrote on Instagram.

Crosby suggested the hour of airtime could instead have been dedicated to a mental health documentary or to bring light to other issues, rather than attacking a young woman “for her appearance, choices and ‘rubber lips’”.

The reality star shared an emotional message on her Instagram stories the next day after being “overwhelmed” with support from fans. Her statement ended: “When is enough, enough? Just because we’re in the public eye, doesn’t mean we aren’t human. Fortunately I’m strong enough to deal with it but many aren’t!”


Lucy Campbell

The GuardianTramp

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