A UK talk show has been accused of "exploiting" and failing to look after its guests amid a damning inquiry into the murky practices used by reality television producers.
The Jeremy Kyle Show, where guests would confront their friends and family about personal issues in front of a live audience, failed to provide its contestants with proper care and milked their distress for the purpose of entertainment, according to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee.
The committee has been investigating the show since May, when a 63-year-old man died just one week after appearing on the program.
"It is clear that once the cameras started rolling on The Jeremy Kyle Show there was no safe space for anyone in a highly distressed state," the chair of the committee, MP Damian Collins, said.
In one behind-the-scenes video submitted by a whistleblower, an upset contestant was followed by cameramen as he tried to escape backstage and into his dressing room, he said.
"We've seen one contributor who was extremely upset take refuge backstage only to have a camera thrust in his face to capture him holding his head in his hands."
"We've also seen how Jeremy Kyle would use provocative and sometimes abusive language towards participants in the show, and that this could be edited out of the broadcasted show," he said
FEARS DYMOND TOOK HIS OWN LIFE
Steve Dymond appeared on the show in May to convince his fiancee Jane Callaghan that he had been faithful to her, but when he failed a lie-detector test, the couple broke up.
Friends fear he may have taken his own life as his final text to Ms Callaghan read: "I just wanted to say sorry before I go. My life is not worth living without you".
ITV said it clearly informed guests that lie detector tests could be unreliable, but the DCMS committee found contestants were often given mixed messages.
In another episode, a woman was told by Kyle to admit she had "created a lot of problems" by assuming her husband had had an affair, even though he had "passed" a lie-detector test that "proved" he was innocent.
"I want you to use the I word … The lie detector has informed you that he wasn't having an affair. I made the wrong assumption and … by making that wrong assumption I've created a lot of problems within this relationship," Kyle told her to say.
"This filming highlights an example of highly damaging treatment towards a potentially vulnerable participant and suggests that her welfare is being ignored in pursuing the interests of the show," it said.
"What we've seen demonstrates a failure on the part of ITV studios in its responsibility towards contributors and makes a mockery of the 'after-care' it has claimed to provide," Mr Collins said.
ITV said in a statement that the "physical and mental health" of all those it worked with was its "highest priority".
The Jeremy Kyle Show was axed shortly after Daymond's death.
'WORST TIME OF MY LIFE'
Questions have also been raised about ITV's reality television show, Love Island, following the deaths of two of its former contestants.
Sophie Gradon, 32, took her own life two years after appearing on the show in 2016. She had been diagnosed with depression and low self-esteem three years prior to being cast.
Mike Thalassitis, 26, also took his own life in March this year after appearing on the show in 2017.
In evidence submitted to the DCMS inquiry, former contestant Marcel Somerville said he underwent a psychological evaluation before appearing on the show and was assessed twice more following his elimination.
But Somerville said he wished the support had extended up to six months after the show.
"For me, the real time to be doing those psych evaluations and talking to people would be three or six months down the line, because that is when you are fully in the midst of being famous and dealing with your new lifestyle," he said.
"The whole time you are on the show you are fine. When you come off the show, you'll be fine as well. But because you come off the show and you are in such a spotlight, there is so much going on … the press will jump on anything," he explained.
"When that was happening, I started thinking to myself, 'Oh my God, this is the worst time of my life'. Then you get the trolls who add fire to it. For me, that was the worst part of doing the show."
WHERE TO GET HELP:
If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call 111.
If you need to talk to someone, the following free helplines operate 24/7:
DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757
LIFELINE: 0800 543 354
NEED TO TALK? Call or text 1737
SAMARITANS: 0800 726 666
YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633 or text 234