Sky TV’s Eamonn Holmes sparks row with on-air bullying outburst
The Sky News presenter Eamonn Holmes has sparked a row after an on-air outburst where he dismissed a report claiming one in two children had been bullied as people just being "wimpy".
The Sunrise host Holmes, 52, condemned an Ofsted report which claimed that almost one half of all pupils suffered some degree of bullying at school.
Reviewing the stories in the national newspapers on the Sunrise show at 7am, Holmes, a father-of-three, slammed the findings as "unbelievable".
He went on to call school bullying "just life" and "growing up" and mocked it as just "someone sticking their tongue out".
His co-presenter Charlotte Hawkins, 37, was clearly stunned by his remarks and told him: "If someone feels bullied that means they are being bullied, surely?".
But Eamonn, who previously presented GMTV for 13 years, then turned on Hawlins and replied: "That's why the world is in the state that it is, people like you just being wimpy about everything".
His remarks caused fury among anti-bulling campaigners and Twitter users who slammed him as a "bully" himself.
Lauren Seager Smith, of the Anti-Bullying Alliance, based at the National Children's Bureau, said: "Bullying is a serious issue that can have a devastating effect on the lives of children and young people.
"Children and young people who experience bullying need to know they can speak out, that they will be heard, and that they will be taken seriously."
On Twitter, Kevin Baxter said: "Did @eamonnholmes just bully his co-worker? And now, just says he dispelled the research? Errr that's YOUR opinion @StopBullying"
Eamonn wrote back: "@Mathmosman and your opinion is that every second child is being bullied? Get a grip man, u r doing the fight against real bullying no favs"
Another user, Olivia Fielding tweeted: "@EamonnHolmes Scathing public attitudes like yours can stop children who really are being bullied from coming forward."
Steve Coffey wrote to Charlotte Hawkins on the micro blogging site: "@SkyCharlotte Have asked Eamonn to meet with my daughter, so she can tell him all about being bullied, strangely he has now gone very quite!"
Eamonn, married to Ruth Langsford, was commenting on the front page of the 'i' newspaper, which lead on the shock Ofsted figures.
The report, "No place for bulling" stated that almost half of pupils surveyed at primary and secondary school felt picked on or bullied at some point.
Incidents related to friendships, appearance, their family situation, sexuality, race, religion, ability, being seen as clever, disability or a combination of factors.
One secondary school pupil told the questionnaire she had been bullied "basically for being me".
Eamonn said: "The i leads on figures from an Ofsted report: almost half of children are bullied at school, now that I find just unbelievable. One out of two children.
"What do they constitute as bullying? Someone sticking their tongue out at them? There's bulling, let's take that very seriously but to say that one out of two children is put upon at school.
"Maybe that's just life, maybe that's what it's called."
Co-presenter Charlotte Hawkins replied: "If someone feels bullied that means they are being bullied, surely?
"If half the children feel they are being bullied whatever form that takes because for some people it might have to be quite severe for it to have an impact but for other people even taunts can make them feel like they are being bullied and that should count. in my opinion."
Eamonn retorted: "Don't bully me. See, that's why the world is in the state that it is, people like you just being wimpy about everything."
Charlotte said: "You can't blame me for bullying you one minute and then call me wimpy the next."
Eamonn summed up the piece by stating: "One in two children are bullied at school. Don't believe it, it's called growing up basically."