Richard Madeley condemned for ‘victim-blaming’ GMB guest who was spiked during night out

Viewers criticised Madeley for asking guest Jemma whether she had taken precautions against being spiked

Roisin O'Connor
Thursday 21 October 2021 12:05
Richard Madeley asks GMB guest how she prevents her drink getting spiked

Good Morning Britain host Richard Madeley has been accused of victim-blaming over his interview of a young woman who was spiked during a night out.

Madeley and his co-host Susanna Reid spoke with Jemma Wolstenholme, who appeared on the show with her mother, about her experience.

Jemma said she had been helped by a friend who put her in a taxi after she began to feel unwell.

“But had you been taking precautions?” Madeley asked her.

“Had you, obviously you’re aware of the risk of drinks being spiked, had you been trying to protect your drink? Had you kept your hand over it? Had you kept it with you, do you remember that?”

Jemma responded: “Yeah, well it’s sort of second nature now because we have been told for so long that we should be careful who is near our drinks. So if I did leave it, it was left with my friend and it was ‘Watch my drink’.”

“And we were sat at a table and it wasn’t particularly busy where we were sat, so it’s still a bit of a mystery as to how it happened, but you see people finding opportunities wherever they can and all it would have taken was one tiny distraction.”

GMB viewers took exception to Madeley’s question and accused him of “interrogating” his guest.

“Of course Richard Madeley is having a go at the young girl who was spiked,” one complained.

Tweeting at Madeley’s account, another asked: “Why is the onus on the girl you are interviewing to take precautions and cover her drink? The onus is on the person not to spike her drink surely?! It appears you are insinuating it was her fault?”

Reid appeared to take a similar stance, as she interjected: “Honestly Jemma, it’s not your responsibility to take the precautions to stop someone who does maliciously put something in your drink, I mean how on earth anybody is expected to constantly watch a drink I don’t know.”

Many other viewers continued discussing the interview after it aired.

“Sounded like victim blaming, asking if she took precautions,” one person tweeted. “You wouldn’t ask that of someone who was physically attacked, or house was burgled.”

“Have men ever had to take those precautions? I didn’t think it was possible to have someone worse than [Piers] Morgan. Get him off,” another viewer said.

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It was not clear how Jemma was spiked, but in the same interview it was discussed how her younger sister, Leah, was spiked just months later via an injection.

Campaigners warned this week that women are becoming fearful of visiting nightclubs as police investigate reports of spiking through injection.

Nightclub boycotts are planned across UK cities next week as students call for tighter security in nightclubs amid reports of women being attacked with needles.

Police in Nottinghamshire and West Yorkshire have both received reports of spiking with injections. Officers in Scotland are also reportedly investigating alleged incidents.

If you have been raped or sexually assaulted, you can contact your nearest Rape Crisis organisation for specialist, independent and confidential support. For more information, visit their website here.