I'm A Celebrity: Bullying and animal welfare investigation rejected
I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! will not be investigated over complaints about bullying and animal welfare, Ofcom has said.
The TV watchdog received hundreds of complaints from viewers in relation to the latest series, which saw former EastEnders star Jacqueline Jossa crowned jungle queen earlier in December.
In one episode, rugby star James Haskell described former Arsenal and England footballer Ian Wright as having a “clubfoot”, a congenital condition that causes the foot to turn inward or downward, leading to 119 complaints.
There were also allegations of bullying, with Wright’s behaviour towards stand-up comedian Andrew Maxwell sparking 83 complaints.
When Maxwell left the jungle, he said in an interview on the Lorraine show that he did not feel he had been bullied.
“You’re eating such a small amount of food and you’re not sleeping very well, so it’s bound to happen,” he said. “Me and Ian love each other, we got on like a house on fire.”
There were also 102 complaints about animal welfare throughout the ITV series, which uses thousands of jungle critters in its challenges for the campmates.
However, Ofcom – which examines complaints against its broadcasting code to see whether they merit looking into further – has now said that following an assessment, it will not investigate any of the issues.
On the subject of alleged bullying, an Ofcom spokeswoman said: “In our view, the content would have been within the audience’s expectations for this long-running programme, which often shows contestants under a degree of physical and emotional stress, as well as scenes of tension between contestants.”
On the clubfoot comment, the spokeswoman said: “We fully understand some viewers considered it offensive to make light of a congenital medical condition.
“But we took into account that the comment was brief, the conversation moved quickly on, and it did not elicit any reaction or endorsement from other contestants.”
And addressing the subject of animal welfare, she said that “while we understand some viewers may have been troubled” by some scenes, “the use of insects and animals is consistent with the format of this long-running series, and there was no evidence of mistreatment”.
This year’s series also featured campmates including Caitlyn Jenner, Nadine Coyle, Kate Garraway, Roman Kemp and Andy Whyment, and saw the return of presenter Ant McPartlin following his break in 2018.
McPartlin was replaced last year by Holly Willoughby, withdrawing temporarily from work commitments following his arrest for drink-driving in March 2018.