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Calls for LBC host Steve Allen, 67, to be sacked over Tilly Ramsay comments

LBC is facing calls to sack radio host Steve Allen after he described Tilly Ramsay as a ‘chubby little thing’ on his morning show. 

Allen, 67, who is on air from 4am to 7am, was asked by a caller on Wednesday about Tilly, the 19-year-old daughter of celebrity chef Gordon who is starring on Strictly Come Dancing

In response, he remarked: ‘I’m bored of her already. She’s a chubby little thing isn’t she. Have you noticed? Probably her dad’s cooking I should imagine.’

Tilly took to Instagram on Wednesday to share a lengthy statement in which she expressed her hurt and shock at having her appearance criticised by Allen.

And criticism has continued to flood in today, with supporters demanding LBC bosses axe Allen in light of the comments. 

The radio host failed to mention the row on today’s edition of his show. 

Fans have already reported him for his comments on Tilly, with Ofcom confirming it is currently assessing the complaints. 

Campaigner Brie Read told MailOnline: ‘People need to be held accountable for such awful comments like this, as they can be extremely hurtful and potentially dangerous for a persons’ wellbeing. 

‘The language, labelling, and analysis of bodies in the media and on social media makes it near impossible to accept our bodies, especially for young people and those in the public eye, like Tilly.’ 

It is not the first time Allen has courted controversy with his on-air comments, after attracting the ire of Ofcom on several occasions over the years for remarks about blind people, travellers and Portugal.  

Nikita Kuzmin and Tilly Ramsay during the the dress run for the second episode of Strictly Come Dancing 2021

Strictly Come Dancing star Tilly Ramsay has criticised Allen who referred to her as a "chubby little thing" live on air

Strictly Come Dancing star Tilly Ramsay has criticised Allen who referred to her as a "chubby little thing" live on air

Strictly Come Dancing star Tilly Ramsay criticised Allen who referred to her as a ‘chubby little thing’ live on air

In response to the remarks, Tilly wrote on Instagram yesterday: ‘I try not to read and listen to comments and negativity however recently being called out on a national radio station by a 67-year-old man is a step too far. 

‘Steve please feel free voice your opinions however I draw the line at commenting on my appearance. It’s such a shame that someone is trying to make such a positive experience negative.’ 

She continued: ‘This isn’t the first and definitely wont’ be the last comment made about my appearance and I accept that and I’m learning to accept myself. 

‘But please remember that words can hurt. And at the end of the day I am only 19 and I’m so grateful for all the amazing opportunities I have been able to take part in. 

‘And I understand that being in the public eye obviously comes with it’s own repercussions and I’ve been aware of this from a young age. 

‘However, I won’t tolerate people that think it’s okay to publicly comment and scrutinise anyone’s weight and appearance. Love Tilly xx’ 

She captioned the post  ‘#bekind’. 

The many controversies of LBC radio host Steve Allen

The ongoing row between Steve Allen and Tilly Ramsay is the latest spat the LBC host has been involved in. 

A scan of his Twitter shows a bizarre feud with reality TV star Gemma Collins, whose weight he frequently criticised and who he described as ‘a beach hut’.

He made similar comments about TV personality Sally Jacks, who he said was ‘fat like you can’t believe’. 

Ms Jacks replied to the tweet to reveal she was struggling to shed baby weight.  

Back in 2018, he was rapped by Ofcom after he mocked a blind journalist who became the first person in the UK to use a miniature guide horse. 

Mohammed Salim Patel from Blackburn, Lancashire, was using two-year-old American miniature horse Digby because of his fear of dogs – until the horse grew too big. 

In a broadcast on October 1, Allen said he’d ‘never heard of anything so stupid’ while discussing a story on Digby.

He also said on air: ‘Well if he’s blind, tell him it’s a rabbit or something. I’ve never heard of anything so stupid.

‘This is the blind man scared of dogs hoping that a horse will guide him on his commute. Where are you going to take that for goodness sake?’

In December, communications regulator Ofcom upheld a complaint that the comments had been offensive. 

In 2015, LBC was given a warning from Ofcom after Allen made comments about ‘beating up’ London Tube workers. 

Allen said: ‘I think we should go round and start beating up tube people, the people that bring them all out on strike.’ 

In 2017, Ofcom also received complaints after Allen said: ‘Why do we have to start being nice to travellers? Every time I read a story in the newspaper its either thieving, robbing or brawling… what is the matter with them?’ 

And in the same year, Ofcom found him in breach of the code for making discriminatory comments about people from Portugal.  

 

MailOnline has contacted LBC for comment. 

Brie Read, the founder & CEO of Snag, an size inclusive fashion brand, added:  ‘Comments like this are accentuating the already dire body confidence issue we have in society. It’s no wonder hospital admissions for eating disorders are up by a third across all age groups this year – a shocking statistic highlighting that change needs to happen now.

‘I wish everyone could embrace their beautiful bodies, but this is of course easier said than done when comments like this are repeatedly being made. Enough is enough.’

Tom Quinn, director of External Affairs at Beat Eating Disorders, said: ‘We were very disappointed to hear Steve Allen’s comment about Tilly Ramsay’s appearance. 

‘Whilst comments about appearance or body image are unlikely to be the sole cause of an eating disorder, idealising thinness can be very damaging to those affected and could be a contributing factor to someone becoming unwell.

‘Eating disorders are serious and complex mental illnesses that impact around 1.25 million people in the UK. To protect people with or vulnerable to eating disorders, it is crucial that the media avoids making judgemental comments about people’s appearances.’

Love Island star Alex George, comedian Jason Manford and presenter Stacey Dooley were among the celebrities to show their support for Tilly.  

Dr George, 30, wrote to LBC and said in his letter that he was ‘horrified’ by the remarks: ‘The discussion about a young person’s weight live on air is not acceptable.’

Strictly stars also supported the teenager, with Janette Manrara writing: ‘How fast we forget what hurtful comments can do for someone’s mental health. You are a POWERFUL young lady! Wear your crown w/ your head held high’.

Giovanni Pernice penned: ‘Some people are very nasty !! Don’t listen to this crap .. we love You girl ! #bekind’.

GBBO star and Strictly contestant John Whaite penned: ‘He’s a piece of old sandpaper love, worn and used and has nothing to offer the world. And his vicious scratching has only left you polished and more fabulous. Love you.’

Her sister Holly meanwhile wrote: ‘Very well said x #bekind’, while their sister Megan echoed: ‘Love you Tills’.

Elizabeth Hurley’s son Damian reached out to Tilly to write: ‘what a total w**ker. bloody uncalled for. can’t wait for you to have the last laugh and keep winning. sending you love’. 

However, Julia Hartley-Brewer defended Allen’s comments and said that he was ‘entitled’ to call Strictly Come Dancing star Tilly a ‘chubby little thing’ on his show.

The Talk Radio presenter, 53, claimed on Thursday’s episode of This Morning: ‘The issue is weight and teenage girls and obesity is a concern to doctors.’

But viewers were quick to disagree online as many took to Twitter to call Julia ‘totally out of order’ and question ‘why can’t people just be kind?’

One viewer said: ‘Just heard Julia Hartley Brewer come on @thismorning saying freedom of speech entitles anyone to publicly comment on someone else’s weight. Listen, I know I’ve been guilty of it in the past, as I’d bet we all have. But that doesn’t mean it’s right and should be encouraged!’  

Chef, social media influencer and TV presenter Tilly has over 9.5 million followers on TikTok, where she regularly posts funny videos of herself and dad Gordon

Chef, social media influencer and TV presenter Tilly has over 9.5 million followers on TikTok, where she regularly posts funny videos of herself and dad Gordon

Allen has hosted the early morning breakfast show on LBC since 2000 and it isn’t the first time the presenter has come under fire for making controversial comments.  

Back in 2018, he was rapped by Ofcom after he mocked a blind journalist who became the first person in the UK to use a miniature guide horse. 

Mohammed Salim Patel from Blackburn, Lancashire, was using two-year-old American miniature horse Digby because of his fear of dogs – until the horse grew too big. 

In a broadcast on October 1, Allen said he’d ‘never heard of anything so stupid’ while discussing a story on Digby.

He also said on air: ‘Well if he’s blind, tell him it’s a rabbit or something. I’ve never heard of anything so stupid.

‘This is the blind man scared of dogs hoping that a horse will guide him on his commute. Where are you going to take that for goodness sake?’

In December, communications regulator Ofcom upheld a complaint that the comments had been offensive. 

In its ruling, Ofcom said: ‘Mr Allen seemed to be implying that people who are blind cannot differentiate between a rabbit and a dog.

‘We considered that this remark could have been interpreted as belittling blind people and offering a highly pejorative view of them.

‘Further, Mr Allen repeatedly questioned, in dismissive terms, the practicality of using a guide horse and emphatically dismissed what was an individual’s choice to equip himself in this way as ‘ludicrous’.

Steve (pictured in March) read out a comment from a listener alerting him to the fact Tilly was taking part in Celebrity MasterChef Australia

Steve (pictured in March) read out a comment from a listener alerting him to the fact Tilly was taking part in Celebrity MasterChef Australia

In the post, Tilly, 19, revealed that she was 'learning to accept' herself but had still been left 'hurt' by the shocking remarks

In the post, Tilly, 19, revealed that she was ‘learning to accept’ herself but had still been left ‘hurt’ by the shocking remarks

‘He also concluded that the man in question should be denied this choice (‘He’s afraid of dogs. Why? Why’s he afraid of dogs? Well don’t give him – don’t give him anything at all then. Just give him a white stick’).

‘In our view the potential offence was exacerbated by Steve Allen mocking the idea that the BBC had employed a blind cameraman.’  

LBC said in its response to Ofcom that the programme is ‘centred around (Steve Allen’s) unique and acerbic take on the news of the day’.

The response added that he ‘provides fast-moving opinions on the headlines and rarely dwells on one topic for any significant amount of time’ and said his comment on the Mr Patel’s story ‘had a total duration of less than a minute’.

In 2015, LBC was given a warning from Ofcom after Allen made comments about ‘beating up’ London Tube workers. 

Allen said: ‘I think we should go round and start beating up tube people, the people that bring them all out on strike.’ 

In 2017, Ofcom also received complaints after Allen said: ‘Why do we have to start being nice to travellers? Every time I read a story in the newspaper its either thieving, robbing or brawling… what is the matter with them?’ 

And in the same year, Ofcom found him in breach of the code for making discriminatory comments about people from Portugal.  

Earlier this year, Allen took an extended leave of absence from his radio show due to illness. 

He did not front the show from February 17 to March 15. 


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