A teenage anti-bullying campaigner with a rare genetic disorder which causes facial deformity was “insulted” after being contacted by the Channel 4 show The Undateables.
Ashley Carter, 17, was born with Treacher Collins syndrome and was teased as a child before becoming an anti-bullying campaigner.
He has appeared on shows such as Loose Women and The Jeremy Kyle Show to share his story.
But he said he was shocked to receive an email from a Channel 4 researcher for The Undateables, described as a “documentary series following people with challenging conditions who are looking for love”.
The email said: “As an influential figure with a public presence, I’m sure your story will have reached out to others living with similar conditions, some of whom may be single.
“I was hoping you might be able to help us spread the word that we are looking for people who want to find love and possibly take part in our new series of the show.”
Ashley was insulted by the request and immediately responded to the production company Betty, which is commissioned to create the programme.
Ashley, from Taunton, Somerset, said: “I read the email to my mother, Louise. We both felt insulted to have even been approached. Us people who live with conditions/syndromes should not be called ‘undateable’. We are normal people living an amazing life.”
The production company responded to Ashley’s concerns via email.
It said: “Thank you for your email and for sharing your thoughts with us, we’re sorry to hear that you are upset by the programme’s title.
“The title is designed to reflect how some individuals view people with disabilities and conditions and how this can sometimes affect relationships, something we believe the programme challenges in a very positive way.
“By featuring people with a wide variety of conditions and disabilities, including those which are less well known, we are able to inform and educate viewers.
“We feel the show has gone a long way in changing people’s perceptions.”
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