Friday 15 December 2017

Homeless women hit back at 'ridiculous' critics of their appearance on Late Late Show

Lyndsey Robinson on the Late Late Show
Lyndsey Robinson on the Late Late Show
Erica Fleming on The Late Late Show
Lyndsey Robinson on the Late Late Show

Meadhbh McGrath

Two homeless women who faced a stream of sexist online abuse during an appearance on the Late Late Show have hit back at critics, calling the comments “just ridiculous”.

Lyndsey Robinson (24) and Erica Fleming (30) featured on Friday night’s show to discuss their devastating living conditions, but some social media users were more interested in critiquing the women’s physical appearance.

“Makeup, hair, dress shoes and tattoos not to mention false tan. Great country!!” wrote one Twitter user, while another said: “Well she can afford plenty of make up…”

Ms Robinson and her two-year-old daughter have been homeless for a year and have been shuffled from one hotel to another by Dublin City Council, while Ms Fleming has been living in hotels with her 9-year-old daughter since June.

Lyndsey Robinson on the Late Late Show
Lyndsey Robinson on the Late Late Show

“Most of the comments I’ve seen have been positive. I think some people are starting to get it. We are not living in luxury,” Ms Robinson told the Irish Mail on Sunday.

“If we could all trade places, I’d like to see some people, or even TDs, survive in a small room like this for a few weeks.”

She explained that she agonised over her appearance before the show, saying: “I was panicking about what to wear. If anyone was going on the Late Late they would be dressed up. The whole of Ireland is looking at you.

Read more: Serving lamb to the Late Late audience? On Good Friday? That'll lead to a Twitter meltdown...

Erica Fleming on The Late Late Show
Erica Fleming on The Late Late Show

“I asked people for advice to see if I should dress-down in jeans and a top. But I wanted to put across a message – people think homeless people are all scruffy, sleeping in a sleeping bag or taking drugs. We’re just normal, it’s not like I don’t look after myself.”

Ms Robinson said that she couldn’t afford to splash out on a new outfit for the night, and that she relied on RTE to cover the costs of a babysitter so she could appear on the show.

Her friends helped her get ready by offering clothes and make-up, while the RTE make-up department applied the finishing touches, as they do with all guests on the show.

“I think people are choosing not to realise how badly off people are. It’s easier to point the finger at the homeless people than holding the Government or anyone in power to account,” said Ms Fleming, who first spoke about being homeless during My Homeless Family, an RTE documentary about homeless families living in hotels.

“Maybe they are choosing to ignore the issue. I’d say ‘cop on’ to them. If all they took from the whole 20 minutes on homelessness was make-up, clothes and the fact someone had tan on, that is just ridiculous.”

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