Virgin Media faces online backlash for new show 'Eating with the Enemy'

While Virgin Media pitched 'Eating With The Enemy' as a "social experiment", numerous communities are speaking out against the harm it might cause.

Eating With The Enemy

Communities are voicing their concerns over Virgin Media’s new show Eating With The Enemy, where people with different social and political standpoints share a dinner together. 

In September, Virgin Media put out a casting call for people to take part in a new series, Eating With The Enemy. The show was pitched as an “exciting social experiment” and to facilitate a healthy debate. 

The casting call reads, “Are you always screaming at the television or radio and feel that your view is never properly represented? Do you get consumed with online debates and the comments section on who is right and who is wrong? Eating With The Enemy will take the debates and rants off twitter and give people the opportunity to get their point across, face to face,” the statement continues. 

In response to the announcement, numerous people have voiced their alarm to the potential harm this latest show might cause. This Is Me founder Noah Halpin wrote on Twitter, “Why would you put vulnerable minority groups at a dinner table with their abusers?”

On Twitter, Virgin Media announced the show by calling on people with “strong opinions” regarding global warming, the housing crisis, Black Lives Matter movement, gender equality, and many more. The casting statement reads, “Eating With The Enemy will give you a voice and also pair you up with a stranger who will have a very different opinion to you. When was the last time you had a real life conversation with someone with a completely different set of values to you?”

Regarding the hashtags chosen to pitch the show on social media, one Twitter user commented, “Those “controversial hashtags” you’ve picked are people’s lives. You couldn’t pay me enough money in the world to have dinner with someone who wants to deny my rights for *fun quirky telly*. Asking marginalised communities to be put through this is horrific, please reconsider!”

One person responded to the announcement by stating, “So you’re going to have vulnerable minorities sit down with racists, transphobes, queerphobes, ableists and all sorts for entertainment?”

“Trans people’s existence is not a debate”, the person further wrote. 

Another individual expressed, “There’s no “opposing views” on whether or not someone deserves human rights.”

GCN has reached out to Virgin Media Television for a statement.

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