Richard Madeley has issued an apology after being criticised for his response to a reader in his advice column.
The 64-year-old, who serves as the Telegraph newspaper’s weekly ‘agony uncle’ , came under fire for his reply to an anonymous reader who was concerned about bangs and crashes and shouting from their neighbour’s house.
They wrote: “Due to the strange nightly activity and fighting, I feel conflicted, as things just don’t seem right.
“I worry that something could come to light in the future and I would feel guilty because I did nothing, despite a gut feeling that things are not right.”
However, the former This Morning host responded that he believed “drink” could be what’s causing the noise.
“If some sort of serious abuse was involved you’d have noticed it (in the form of black eyes, cut lips and the like, or late night visits from the police after drunken 999 calls),” Madeley wrote.
“You could try [that]; a polite, controlled ‘intervention’. But I’d stop worrying that things ‘aren’t right’. ‘If they were going to kill each other, they’d have done it by now.”
A photo of the Saturday advice column gained traction on Twitter, with many users criticising Madeley’s response.
One user wrote: “Telegraph, the terrible ‘help’ offered by your agony uncle is unqualified, ill informed, harmful & wrong.
“If anyone is at risk of domestic abuse or are worried about a neighbour – do not listen to Richard Madeley.”
Another added: “I find it hard to comprehend why you would write something so dangerously ignorant of domestic abuse prevalence, features and statistics after so much awareness raising on the part of women’s orgs over decades. Please retract and apologise.”
Gudrun Burnet, of Standing Together Against Domestic Violence, tweeted: “This advice is alarming.
“In many Domestic Homicide Reviews the neighbours were aware but did nothing thinking it was a ‘private issue’. Saying ‘I think they’re both just fine. If they were going to kill each other, they’d have done it by now’ is unhelpful. Please retract.”
Refuge, which provides support for survivors of domestic abuse, also shared a post.
“This is appalling and dangerous advice. Women live in fear of their partners across the country – many are isolated and alone; literally trapped,” they wrote. “Women’s lives depend on people calling out abuse. We support @GudrunBurnet to retract this ASAP.”
Madeley has since apologised for his comments on his own social media page, telling his 207k Twitter followers: “My critics today are absolutely right – I misjudged this one, tonally and in content.
“So annoyed with self. Have reached out this afternoon to various people to apologise and will address it in Saturday’s paper. Mea Culpa.”