TV presenter and newsreader India Willoughby is facing a substantial backlash after making controversial comments about the US Capitol riots in an interview on This Morning.
The transgender broadcaster and reality TV personality sparked a furious row in a segment that saw host Phillip Schofield left open-mouthed in shock, when she said that she believed the reaction of US police officers to the pro-Trump mob was equal to the force shown by police to Black Lives Matter protesters over the summer.
The rioters stormed the Capitol on 6 January in an attempt to block Joe Biden’s win, with police accused of being too slow to respond to the incursion. Some were even seen taking selfies with the domestic terrorists as they observed them taking items from the building.
In contrast, when Black Lives Matter protesters rallied outside the White House in June, they were met with a huge police presence that included over 5,000 national guard troops – some mounted – who deployed tear gas and rubber bullets to clear the crowd.
Speaking to Phillip Schofield, Holly Willoughby and fellow panel guest and Coronation Street actress Nicola Thorp, India weighed in on the police and military response and how it compared to the crackdown on the BLM protests: “I think it’s been basically the same. I don’t see any difference in terms of how the police have reacted.”
Nicola Thorp – who plays Nicola Rubinstein in Coronation Street – reacted immediately and angrily to the comments, saying:
“Are you kidding me!? Black people have been killed in the streets. Black people have been shot at and died in the streets before they even got to Capitol Hill.
“There was a woman called Miriam Carey in 2013, a Black woman with her (18 month) old daughter in the back seat who took a wrong turn when she got to Capitol Hill and she was shot six times in the head.”
Viewers took to Twitter to condemn India’s comments. One person simply called her a “f**king moron”, another wrote: “I’m literally in shock at India Willoughby not seeing any differences between the BLM protests, and the terrorists yesterday. Horrendous.”
Another Twitter user shared a screenshot of Nicola Thorp’s shocked expression, writing: “You might not always agree with @nicolathorp_ but I think her reaction to India Willoughby spoke for most of us this morning #ThisMorning“
However, India herself dismissed the Twitter storm as an “over reaction”, tweeting:
“Predictable Twitter over-reaction. The root of what we saw last night in Washington is a direct result of the MEDIA taking sides. News shouldn’t be choosing a team. It’s supposed to be independent – and we have lost that this year. Fact. Police react to the situation.
“Whether you like him or not (always said I disagree with most of what Trump stands for) 70 million Americans voted for Donald. Is that 70 million bad people? No. They feel media coverage has been biased – ‘robbing’ Trump. News contributed to last night big time.”