Controversy arose on today’s The Morning after an encounter with a guest upset viewers in their droves.
Branded a so-called ‘vigilante’ against beggars, Simms revealed how he goes around all the people in the street who beg in Torbay, taking photos, in order to cross check and ‘prove’ they are in fact genuinely homeless.
He says his intent is to expose the fraudsters who make a career out of feigning homelessness, taking money from passers-by, and then going home to their flat or house at the end of a day’s work.
But activist Matt Broomfield was on the This Morning couch to oppose the move, saying that he does nothing more than intimidate and bully already down on their luck homeless people, shaming those who have to resort to asking the public for food or money on the cold (and currently snowy) pavements.
After Simms claimed his organisation, Humanity Torbay, planted someone on the streets to ‘undercover beg’, he revealed they were invited back to a fellow begger’s home for dinner.
Bromfield promptly slammed his point. ‘There’s no law that you should be homeless to beg… if you’re that desperate to beg in that weather, we have to ask why,’ he reasoned.
‘It’s no way to bully them and take their photograph,’ he continued, making the point that it’s a very small minority that are posing as fake beggars.
Viewers seemed to side with the activist over the man seen to be hounding and attempting to shame those asking for money on the streets. They preceded to slam Simms…
This guy on #ThisMorning is a disgrace. There are MANY reasons why genuine homeless people would not like to have their photo taken, including security concerns. He could be putting people at risk.
— Lex (@lexbarbie) February 28, 2018
After heart wrenching emotion #thismorning yesterday horrified by guy re false begging @thismorning Who is he to judge who "looks" #homeless ?! Those like him do harm more than good Why doesn't he go help homeless charities @Shelter & get much needed empathy & understanding
— & (@dogsabode) February 28, 2018
— Rachel (@littlelady2004) February 28, 2018
Others raised valid points that you don’t have to be homeless to beg and that people’s circumstances vary from case to case.
#ThisMorning Who is this, and what gives him the right to take pictures of people begging to scare them off? People don’t beg for the fun of it, usually there are many underlying issues. Begging or homeless, people do it because they feel as though they have no choice.
— Homeless Scotland (@CaleJim) February 28, 2018
#thismorning listening to this guy talk about homeless beggars, what is his next step, round them all up and send them to concentration camps? It’s shocking to hear this kind of attitude in Britain 2018.
— Vindicta (@Vindictadulce) February 28, 2018
How sad is this guy on #ThisMorning outing “fake” homeless people? How can you begrudge anyone desperate enough to sit in the snow begging for a tiny amount of money?
— Anna (@TheAnnatations) February 28, 2018
rotten disgusting narrative on @thismorning right now, should fake homeless people be shamed, putting doubt in peoples minds when seeing someboduy outside will no doubt harm genuine #Homeless people @hollywills and @Schofe the eptitome of rottenness #ShameOnYou #ITV #ThisMorning
— Paul Newman (@Followthebelly) February 28, 2018
But, as usual, some were skeptical and wanted the ‘fakers’ to be called out and stopped.
#thismorning theres a gang of fake beggars near me. They all take turns, and have decent houses, kids and wives. Sad to see when there is a genuinely homeless person just round the corner. Fake beggars are taking advantage of peoples generosity.
— Chantal (@Chantal_EJW) February 28, 2018
Only yesterday were viewers (and hosts Holly and Phil) left in floods of tears when interviewing Simon Thomas over the heartbreaking loss of his wife to cancer and how he told his boy the news.
Catch This Morning each weekday, from 10.25am, on ITV1.
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