Teenage anti-bullying campaigner with rare facial deformity is ‘insulted’ as Channel 4 send him an email branding him ‘Undateable’
- Ashley Carter, 17, from Somerset, was born with Treacher Collins syndrome
- He was picked on as a child before becoming an anti-bullying campaigner
- He was horrified to receive an email from Channel 4 for ‘The Undateables’
A teenage anti-bullying campaigner with a rare facial deformity was ‘insulted’ after being contacted by Channel 4 for ‘The Undateables’ show.
Ashley Carter, 17, was born with Treacher Collins syndrome and was born without any ears, a receding jaw and no cheekbones.
He was cruelly picked on as a child and called names like ‘ugly’ and ‘troll before becoming an anti-bullying campaigner.
He has appeared on shows such as Loose Women, The Jeremy Kyle Show and ITV News West Country to share his experiences.
But the teenager was horrified to receive an email from Channel 4 for ‘The Undateables’, described as a ‘documentary series following people with challenging conditions who are looking for love.’
Ashley Carter, 17, was born with Treacher Collins syndrome and was picked on as a child before becoming an anti-bullying campaigner
Ashley was insulted by the request and immediately responded to production company Betty, which is commissioned to create the programme
The email to Ashley said: ‘As an influential figure with a public presence, I’m sure your story will have reached out to others living with similar conditions, some of whom may be single.
‘I was hoping you might be able to help us spread the word that we are looking for people who want to find love and possibly take part in our new series of the show.’
Ashley was insulted by the request and immediately responded to production company Betty, which is commissioned to create the programme.
Ashley, from Taunton, Somerset, said: ‘When I got contacted by the show The Undateables through email, I read the email to my mum, Louise.
‘We both felt insulted to have even been approached. Us people who live with conditions/syndromes should not be called ‘undateable’.
‘We are normal people living an amazing life.’
The programme claims to ‘follow new singletons with a variety of conditions through the high and lows of finding love’.
Ashley was born with Treacher Collins syndrome and he was bullied through childhood
Ashley Carter, from Somerset, was subjected to cruel taunts during his school years
However, critics of the show say it perpetuates stereotypes about people living with disabilities and other conditions.
The production company responded to Ashley’s concerns via email.
It said: ‘Thank you for your email and for sharing your thoughts with us, we’re sorry to hear that you are upset by the programme’s title.
‘The title is designed to reflect how some individuals view people with disabilities and conditions and how this can sometimes affect relationships, something we believe the programme challenges in a very positive way.
‘By featuring people with a wide variety of conditions and disabilities, including those which are less well known, we are able to inform and educate viewers.
‘We feel the show has gone a long way in changing people’s perceptions.’
A spokesman for the show said: ‘When looking for contributors for this much-commended show the production team approach a wide number of individuals, experts and charities and nobody who is approached is assumed to be single or deemed to be ‘undateable’ but rather we hope they will help us spread the word reaching people who may like to take part.
‘Those who have previously appeared have spoken overwhelmingly in support of the programme and have found it a really positive experience.’
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