Former Blue Peter presenter Anthea Turner is embroiled in an anti-mask disability row after fuming about coronavirus ‘selfish attitudes’ and showing an overweight woman in a wheelchair eating McDonalds berating a thinner lady wearing no PPE.
Turner, 60, had posted the cartoon on social media alongside the phrase ‘Go for it x’ before embarking on a series of messages criticising lockdown and personal responsibility on health.
But the decision to speak out appeared to have backfired with some of her fans who turned on her, claiming the image was ignorant and offensive to people disabled through no choice of their own.
This morning she clarified her point, insisting it was targeted at people who had made themselves unhealthy, not those who were vulnerable and ill through no choice of their own.
She stressed: ‘This in not about people clinically ill who need all the help and support we can give them – it’s a Covid wake up moment we’re all going to have to address.’
Turner – who is engaged to businessman Mark Armstrong – posted her message and cartoon picture just after 7pm last night.
It showed an overweight woman in a motorised wheelchair wearing a facemask, clutching a McDonald’s bag and glaring at a woman without a mask and telling her ‘Put a mask on! You’re putting my health at risk’.
Former Blue Peter presenter Anthea Turner sparked the row last night after posting the image
The picture was captioned ‘Go for it!! X’ and many Twitter users certainly did – to slam her view
She appeared to suggest the conditions of lockdown were wrong and needed to be changed
She followed it up with a series of messages questioning if people who did not look after their own health should be prioritised in the pandemic over those who had.
Turner said: ‘I’m incensed by the selfish attitudes of people who can’t see we actually are “all in this together” and wilful destruction has an impact on us all especially those with other illnesses pushed down the line and charities who are missing out on funding.
‘We have to take responsibility.
Labour MP Jess Phillips led some of the condemnation of Turner’s remarks this morning
Twitter rounded on the entertainer, with one mother of a disabled change finding it offensive
‘If the government put half the amount of money into health as they have in locking us up we wouldn’t be in this mess.
‘Keep McDonald’s open and close gyms many council run and open air – Great.’
While there were some people who agreed with the sentiment others seized on the disability element of the message to attack the presenter.
Piers Morgan branded her ‘despicable’ after she posted the picture.
He said ‘What the hell is this? Have you lost your mind, Anthea? Just despicable.’
Labour MP Jess Phillips said: ‘The Anthea Turner thing this morning has just about done me in.
‘I just wish the idiots would just admit that the wind on their face is more important than my sister in laws life while she has chemo.
Turner is known for her stint presenting Blue Peter and was famous for her making segments
‘Stop with the god damn hierarchy of whose life matters!!!’
Johanna Jones, who is the mother of a child with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, also took offence at the message.
She said: ‘How dare you, how ignorant can one person be?
‘I have a son who is a full-time wheelchair user and overweight due to his medication, he is severely medically vulnerable and relies on us who are able to, to wear a mask to keep him safe.
‘Very poor choice of a visual for your argument.’
Reports have been done into how a lack of physical inactivity during the COVID-19 pandemic could significantly worsen people’s health conditions.
Professor Paul Greenhaff, from the Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre, said a research paper showed inactivity was linked with increased risk of mortality and significant problems such as cardiovascular disease and poor metabolic health.
Professor Greenhaff added in May: ‘It is of genuine concern that physical inactivity and sedentary behaviours are likely to be common during the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘This is clearly of significant concern in the current circumstances of social distancing and isolation, which is likely to continue for several months.’