The Jeremy Kyle Show was nothing more than exploitative poverty porn – thank god it’s finally cancelled

Humiliating someone’s private life for entertainment is just wrong


By now, surely everyone in the UK has heard the news that ITV's The Jeremy Kyle Show has been cancelled following the tragic death of a participant.

People have mixed opinions on the series being pulled – while some are thrilled that the public humiliation of society's most vulnerable has finally come to an end, others are horrified, arguing that if Jeremy Kyle was cancelled due to a participant's death, Love Island should be cancelled too.

The Jeremy Kyle Show crossed the line from entertainment to exploitation a long time ago, and it is a travesty that it took this long for the show to end.

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The Jeremy Kyle Show has been cancelled permanently, ITV has confirmed. The controversial show was pulled from air on Monday following the suspected suicide of guest Steve Dymond, and today the channel announced it will not be returning. Carolyn McCall, ITV’s CEO, announced today: “Given the gravity of recent events we have decided to end production of The Jeremy Kyle Show. “The Jeremy Kyle Show has had a loyal audience and has been made by a dedicated production team for 14 years, but now is the right time for the show to end. “Everyone at ITV's thoughts and sympathies are with the family and friends of Steve Dymond. "The previously announced review of the episode of the show is underway and will continue. “ITV will continue to work with Jeremy Kyle on other projects." Is it the right decision? #jeremykyle #jeremykyleshow #itv Image: ITV

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Some are angry the show is over because it has left a void in the entertainment industry. What I wonder is where are these people's recognition that making a spectacle of the vulnerable private lives of others is wrong?

Indeed, the private life of any person is not an appropriate subject for entertainment. National television is not a suitable outlet for solving personal issues, and The Jeremy Kyle Show was entirely dependent on exploiting vulnerable people, often at the most difficult and tumultuous periods in their lives, for the profit of the host, the team, and the television industry.

The Jeremy Kyle show is nothing more than poverty porn, and the fact that the series ran for so long, is thoroughly shocking.

You only have to glance at the recent controversy between James Charles and Tati Westbrook, or at Taylor Swift and Kanye West's 2016 feud, to see how engrained public shaming is in our culture. Everyone loves to jump on a moral bandwagon, to point fingers at the cheat, at the liar, at the bad guy. To scream at them, boo them, and judge them, which was quite literally the case for anyone who sat in the Jeremy Kyle audience.

But where does this morality brigade get us? Nowhere. Nothing can be gained from slamming people for the decisions made in their public or private life, and ridiculing the decisions of someone else doesn't make you a better person, whether it's a friend, a celebrity, or a contestant on The Jeremy Kyle show.

The fact that this culture of public shaming and condemnation, was not only normalised and celebrated for 14 years, but that a man could build a career off of the back of it, provides a shocking insight into how we culturally believe it is okay to treat other people.

The comparison between The Jeremy Kyle Show and Love Island is an interesting one, and while I throughly believe that Love Island is problematic trash, there are fundamental differences which make the comparison between the two invalid. People go onto the Jeremy Kyle show to try and get help. The talk show, like Dr Phil in the US, alleges to solve personal conflicts, and in doing so improves participants' lives.

This was obviously not the case. People entered the show with their personal lives and tragedies laid out in the open, only to be judged and humiliated, by a man providing 'advice' – advice that was really just a mask for an intense and grotesque superiority complex. Whereas, the contestants of Love Island go on the show, for the most part, for fame, money and celebrity.

It's time to stop pretending that reality TV as a culture is anything other than toxic. It is rooted in public shaming, and needs to be seriously re-evaluated in order to prevent harm to more people.

However, if one thing is for certain, it is that we are all be better off without the toxicity of The Jeremy Kyle Show.