This Morning viewers blast vigilante guest for bullying homeless people

Mike P Williams
The debate got heated on today’s show. (ITV)
The debate got heated on today’s show. (ITV)

Controversy arose on today’s The Morning after an encounter with a guest upset viewers in their droves.

Resident presenters Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield interviewed Ashley Simms – a man who attempts to expose ‘fake homeless people’ and managed to anger the morning audience with his comments.

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.

The debate got heated on today’s show. (ITV)
The debate got heated on today’s show. (ITV)

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…

The debate got heated on today’s show. (ITV)
The debate got heated on today’s show. (ITV)

Others raised valid points that you don’t have to be homeless to beg and that people’s circumstances vary from case to case.

But, as usual, some were skeptical and wanted the ‘fakers’ to be called out and stopped.

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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