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A TELEVISION boss must explain Jeremy Kyle’s “demeaning and insulting” behaviour towards his reality talk show guests, MPs said today.
Damian Collins, who chairs the digital, culture, media and sport select committee, wrote to ITV Studios managing director Julian Bellamy to ask for “further clarification” over Mr Kyle’s conduct.
The MPs’ interest comes after the suicide of guest Steve Dymond.
He was found dead on May 9, a week after a lie detector test result – later found to be inaccurate – suggested that he had cheated on his fiancee.
The committee’s reality TV inquiry watched unedited footage of an episode of the Jeremy Kyle Show – which has since been axed – and described the presenter’s behaviour as “provocative” and “highly unethical.”
MPs want to know whether ITV Studios condoned the actions of Mr Kyle, who “is seen criticising a contributor as she answers a question relating to her sexual partners.”
The letter asks: “Do you accept that this level of provocation, towards often vulnerable contributors with no TV experience, is highly unethical?”
MPs also demand to know whether the presenter faced any consequences for the language he used while filming.
In one of the shows watched by the MPs, Mr Kyle instructs audience to boo and shout “off, off, off” at a participant.
The letter asks whether Mr Bellamy accepts that Mr Kyle set “a power dynamic via his body language by standing over them and using mockery and insulting language.”
ITV Studios has been asked to respond by October 25.
Mr Kyle failed to appear before MPs for questioning when called on to do so.
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