On 16th November 2012, ITV broadcast an episode of the Jeremy Kyle Show focused on family break-up. During the episode, Jeremy Kyle aggressively berated a Dyslexic guest called 'Glyn'* for being unable to recall his children’s birthdays.
Despite 'Glyn' stating that he has Dyslexia (a cognitive disability recognised within the Equality Act 2010), Mr Kyle dismissed this explanation on the grounds that a close friend, who also has the condition, has no such problem. On the basis of this ‘expertise’, Mr Kyle asserted that “it’s about writing and reading”, when in fact Dyslexia affects many aspects of daily living (including memory) and is very often compounded by co-occurring conditions such as ADHD, Dyspraxia and other Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD).
Mr Kyle subsequently challenged his guest’s unemployment, accusing him of failing to support his children financially “Cos you’re drunk all the time aren’t you?”. Despite his denial, Mr Kyle shouted at 'Glyn' that he “shouldn’t get any money” (benefits), and asked “how is that justifiable?”. Evidently no consideration had been given to the likely impact of 'Glyn’s' Dyslexia on his employment opportunities and social situation.
We believe that Jeremy Kyle has consequently portrayed Dyslexia to the viewing public in a misleading way. Further, we believe he has presented ‘facts’ about Dyslexia in a manner unfair to the show’s guest, with no thought for future discriminatory consequences. We believe, therefore, that: ITV has misled viewers about the facts of Dyslexia; has portrayed a Dyslexic guest unfairly as a result of this misrepresentation and; has fallen short in its duty of care to a guest who has Dyslexia and to public perceptions of others who have the condition.
Following a complaint from a viewer, ITV subsequently cancelled the show’s repeat episode. However ITV does not appear to have made any formal public apology, nor broadcast any correction to the misinformation already aired. Why?
We want a full public, personal apology from Jeremy Kyle on his show for presenting misleading information to the public about Dyslexia and for his unfair treatment of 'Glyn' in this regard. We also wish ITV to accept responsibility for lacking in its duty of care. By way of redress we wish Jeremy Kyle to present a Dyslexia awareness programme on ITV, giving a factually correct view of the condition and associated SpLDs and how they impact on the everyday life of those affected.
*Note: At the time of petition release, Dyslexia Together has neither met nor had any contact with 'Glyn'.