Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this post attributed the quotes below to Claire Bass in error when it was actually Pip Tomson. We apologize for the error.
A clip from “This Morning,” a weekday morning talk show for British network ITV, received negative attention online for insensitivity towards Korean culture in regard to eating dogs.
The two guests, Pip Tomson and Claire Bass, were brought on to discuss dogs they’ve rescued from dog meat farms in South Korea. The clip shows an uncomfortable point in the conversation, notably featuring an all-white panel, wherein the women are highly disgusted by the farming and eating of dogs in the country.
Saved from a dog meat farm in South Korea, we meet the two puppies who almost ended up on the dinner table, and owe their lives to their new owners pic.twitter.com/CypYYGi1pc
— This Morning🎄 (@thismorning) December 7, 2018
“I went into the middle of Seoul, and there was a restaurant advertising outside ‘dog meat soup,'” says Pip Tomson. “I’ve got another dog that I’ve rescued from a dog meat farm last year, and that’s how she would’ve ended up. Because she’s a small dog, not much meat on her, but for them out there, she would’ve made a tasty soup.”
Tomson’s comments struck a nerve with many on Twitter, particularly her reference to an unspecified “them out there” and the statement “culture’s not an excuse” in response to co-host Ruth Langsford bringing up culture as a means of potentially understanding the farming of dogs.
Twitter users found the comments to be racially charged, dehumanizing and generalizing Korean culture for eating habits that are far more complicated than commonly depicted.
One viral tweet by @jackyatess asked, “how can you sit there on national tv and say ‘culture isn’t an excuse’ with a straight face living in a country that farms cows, pigs, chickens, deer etc for their meat, talking like Koreans are barbaric when we do exactly the same with other animals?”
how can you sit there on national tv and say ‘culture isn’t an excuse’ with a straight face living in a country that farms cows, pigs, chickens, deer etc for their meat, talking like koreans are barbaric when we do exactly the same with other animals. pure orientalism & racism https://t.co/aoJ3bh9cQG
— jack🚩 (@jackyatess) December 8, 2018
Bass’ Twitter reveals that she works to spread awareness in saving all animals from cruelty, not just dogs. Her previous tweets reveal Bass calling for action against fur animals trapped in cages and mistreatment.
Hello @michaelgove! I’m out of my cage now but 130million fur animals are still stuck in theirs. This @MailOnline story shows the full horror of what I saw on a ‘high welfare’ fur farm. Please let’s stop the U.K. trading in this cruelty! #FurFreeBritain https://t.co/zLbPE5jTyR
— Claire Bass (@sea_l_bass) November 23, 2018
However, the manner in which Tomson dismissed and talked down upon dog farming and the “culture” that surrounds it left many on Twitter with a bad taste in their mouth.
Why not get Korean animal rights activists to take part in this segment, who actually speak Korean, know the culture, and can speak knowledgeably about this issue, instead of these two, who are just perpetuating racist tropes?
— Yuck Fou (@walklikeaduck) December 9, 2018
“for them out there” wow… you lot really show your true colours just from a few words
— Luna K (@LunaToKay) December 9, 2018
This issue becomes more complicated when reflecting on “dog eating” as being a negative stereotype of Asians globally, despite the fact that the consumption of dog and cat meat are not reflective of the vast majority of people in those countries.
The segment ended with Eamonn Holmes embracing Bass and Thomson for having saved, according to the two, over a thousand dogs from these farms, according to Irish Mirror.