A teenager who filmed himself shouting abuse at England’s chief medical officer has had his PlayStation taken away by his mother, who said she was “horrified” by her son’s actions.
The 47-year-old mother of two reportedly said that her 15-year-old son was trying to voice his concerns about how the coronavirus lockdown was affecting teenagers in the UK, but “it came out all wrong”.
Professor Chris Whitty was seen in the footage calmly waiting outside a food stall while the 15-year-old boy accused him of “lying” about Covid-19 cases and repeatedly calling him a “liar”.
His mother said she has told her son to make another video apologising to Prof Whitty.
Speaking to the MailOnline, she was quoted as saying: “I was horrified when I saw how rude my son was to Mr Whitty.”
She said she had not “brought him up” to speak that way and it was “not the behaviour she expected from him”, adding that the video left her “feeling very stressed and anxious” as she was so upset.
“I have taken away his PlayStation, which is the thing he loves the most. I have not grounded him because he is already suffering enough from the lockdown and does not go out as much as he used to,” she said.
The teenager wanted the government to act to help teenagers across the country whose mental health has been “badly affected”, said his mother, adding that her son “is under a lot of stress”.
“He wanted to draw attention to the suffering of teenagers, which has largely been overlooked by the government,” she told the newspaper, but said she was “very upset and angry with him over how he did it”.
Prof Whitty addressed the incident during a Downing Street press conference on Wednesday and said he hoped the youth would become a “model citizen” like the late Captain Sir Tom Moore.
He said: “In terms of being harangued… the odd young lad showing off occasionally happens. I didn’t think anything of it frankly, I was very surprised it was picked up by the media at all, as anything of any importance.
“I’m sure he’ll become a model citizen in due course and hopefully more like Captain Tom, who was the kind of person who I think much more exemplifies the spirit of the UK.”
Downing Street has criticised the teenager’s behaviour as “unacceptable”.
Boris Johnson’s official spokesperson said in a statement: “Chris Whitty is an outstanding public servant who has worked incredibly hard and tirelessly to help steer us through what has been a very, very challenging time over the past year.
“And it is clearly unacceptable that somebody who has done so much is being subject to this sort of behaviour."
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