Scarlett Moffatt has addressed criticism suggesting her new Channel 4 show The British Tribe Next Door is 'poverty porn'.
The first episode of the series following the I’m A Celebrity winner and her Gogglebox family as they live alongside a Himba tribe in their Namibian village was accused by some viewers of perpetuating condescending stereotypes about African people.
While the villagers went about their lives as normal, the Moffatts were accommodated in a replica of their Durham home - complete with all the comforts and conveniences afforded by Western lifestyles, including running water and Wifi.
Furious viewers expressed their dismay at the programme’s concept and notions of 'privilege', with some claiming it was "exploitative".
One raged on Twitter: "This programme is making me [bleep]ing fume. This is the most embarrassing, ridiculous, painful car crash TV ever. You should be [bleep'ing ashamed of yourselves @Channel4 because this is disgusting."
Another fumed: "Wtf even is this?!? Hope Channel 4 paid those Namibian builders the same amount they’d pay a British construction worker... although somehow I doubt it. Not one for being easily offended, but this is just bloody awful!"
It's already making me realise just how much we take for granted.
"There is something about #thebritishtribenextdoor that makes me feel really uncomfortable," added another person.
"It appears reality TV shows need to be more and more eccentric to attract attention - however this feels exploitative - there is something about it that just seems strange and inappropriate."
But many other social media users stuck up for the programme, rowing with those unhappy with scenes that included the Moffatts having easy access to drinking water.
"Only 15 minutes in and it’s already making me realise just how much we take for granted," pondered one person.
"#thebritishtribenextdoor isn’t about privilege, it’s about contrasting cultures around the world. I think it’s fascinating," said another.
A third person considered: "Ok, so all I’m seeing is really negative feedback about #thebritishtribenextdoor, and I get it, but I’m finding it fascinating at the same time."
And another suggested: "Merging two such different cultures, priorities, wants, needs and ways of life... I’ve never seen anything like this before."
Yet another person claimed the show offered British audiences an opportunity to reflect: "I think The British Tribe Next Door is going to turn out as one of the most fascinating programmes I have ever seen.
"It's not insulting to the Namibians, but a total wake up call for us. By the end of it, I bet we'll all look differently at our lives.#TheBritishtribenextdoor."
Scarlett herself also took to social media following the broadcast to retweet praise for the show and respond to one rebuttal about ‘poverty porn’.
The TV fave, 29, seemed to endorse a sentiment that the Himba villagers were ‘rich and liberated’, moments after scenes showed them encountering stairs, mirrors, escalators and English breakfasts for the first time.
"My friends were happy, empowering and beautiful souls inside and out," Scarlett wrote.
The British Tribe Next Door airs on Channel 4 on Tuesdays at 9.15pm
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