Former Bake Off winner John Whaite has slammed his former employers at ITV for the way he was allegedly ‘let go’ from his cookery slot on daytime show Lorraine.
The cook and food writer, who won Bake Off in 2012, posted on World Mental Health Day yesterday about his frustrations with the way his time on the show ended abruptly last year.
He claimed that after a decision was made to terminate his contract, he was offered ‘no emotional support’ – despite previously revealing to the show his battle with depression in an interview on live television.
Tweeting to his 86,600 followers, Whaite, 29, wrote: ‘Ah world mental health week. This time last year I was chatting to Lorraine about my struggles.’
He continued: ‘A week or two later ITV let me go’ without any emotional support whatsoever. (We don’t talk much about that bit because it ain’t as glamorous). ‘
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Food writer, cook and 2012 Bake Off winner John Whaite posted a withering account of his time as resident chef on the Lorraine show to mark World Mental Health Day yesterday. He said ITV showed him no ’emotional support’ after he was dropped – a decision that was made just ‘a week or two’ after he was interviewed by Lorraine Kelly about his depression
The 29-year-old revealed to Lorraine in May 2017 about his lifelong struggle with mental health – Whaite alleges he was ditched from the show and offered no support
Food writer Whaite, who’s also studying to be a barrister, opened up on Lorraine for the first time about his struggles with depression in May last year.
He told the popular daytime host that he was first prescribed anti-depressants as a teen and often could not look his own family in the eye in case they could ‘read me’.
However, the interview carried an uplifting tone, with Whaite saying: ‘For me, as many dark days as I have, I have bright days where I can achieve so much.’
The tweet sparked plenty of support for Whaite, with one Twitter user, @NMcelholm, writing: ‘I loved you on cookery section on @reallorraine ….. & really missed your cheery persona….their loss xx’
Another added: @nikkigrewal added: ‘Now we know why so many don’t tell their employers…’
@ClaireBti wrote: ‘Wondered where u went, loved u on there – not been the same since.’
An ITV spokesman said: ‘John is a great chef and was fantastic on Lorraine but, as is the case with live daily shows, formats constantly change and live cookery doesn’t currently feature as often.
‘Lorraine, as a show, continues to campaign on mental health issues. We wish John all the best.’
A source told MailOnline that John was one of a number of freelance resident chefs, and that decision to change the format was made in August – three months after John spoke publicly about his depression.
In the past, John has opened up about his struggles with depression. He told the Radio Times: ‘People think if you win the Bake Off you walk straight into a big book deal and all of this but it isn’t like that.
‘You’ve still got to work really, really hard – probably harder than before – to make the right connections, to tour with brands, to discuss opportunities and negotiations.’
He said that looking back, he got ‘pushed in the wrong direction,’ and as a result, he says his first two cookbooks, from which he made £24,000, didn’t reflect his own design and style preferences.
At the weekend, another Bake Off winner, Nadiya Hussain revealed that she’s currently battling a ‘black hole’ of anxiety.
Posting a loving image of her husband Abdal and their two children to her 180,000 followers on Instagram, the television star and cookery writer, said that even the smiles of her young family could not fix what is ‘so badly broken’.
Bake Off 2012 winner John Whaite tweeted the controversial comments on Twitter – and quickly felt the wrath of many who disagreed with him
The author and cookery writer, pictured with Mel Giedroyc, shot to fame after he lifted the coveted Bake Off trophy in 2012…but his recent views on the battle for equality irked many
The break-out star from the Bake Off series, which she won in 2015, has been vocal in recent months about her struggle with panic disorders and mental health.
Earlier this year, Whaite sparked a row on social media after posting a series of controversial comments on the #metoo debate, including telling people to ‘stop judging me because I have a penis’.
Whaite told his followers that he was tired of ‘pseudo-feminists’ shoehorning ‘all men into one category’.
The star wrote: ‘I’m tired of this pseudo-feminist fight for equality that shoehorns all men into one category. Yes, some men are pervy and abusive oiks.
He added: ‘But some men are sensitive, artistic, caring, loving, & fight equally hard for women’s rights & equality. Stop judging me because I have a penis.’
While the comment was liked by 817 people, many objected to it and challenged Whaite to clarify what he meant.
He duly did, saying: ‘It’s about the language. I’ve seen so many tweets that start ‘men…’.’If the subject of those tweets were changed to ‘muslims’ or ‘blacks’ there would rightly be severe outrage. I want equality. That is what I am fighting for.’
However well-intended his comments were, they went down like a lead balloon with many.
@sarahrudston said she thought Whaite had been hacked, writing: ‘John, in all honesty, when I first saw your ‘not all men’ tweets I thought you’d been hacked again!
‘There simply isn’t an equivalence in what you’re saying. Men aren’t oppressed in the same way that muslims or POC are.’
@chriscoke added: ‘Errr think you’ve missed the point there. How do you think women feel about being treated as inferior in a patriarchal society, without any nuance to allow for the possibility that you might be an individual, just labelled as ‘woman’?! #NotAllMen’
Others agreed with his points. @ibundle wrote: ‘Am lucky to know lots of men like you who feel the same and are lovely people.’
Whaite waltzed away with the trophy in 2012 after impressing judges with his fondant fancies and other creations
After the debate raged yesterday, Whaite emerged this morning with a diagram to help explain what he meant
The debate raged on, forking off at tangents, before Whaite, who once declined a place to study at Oxford University, put actual pen to paper to produce a diagram to explain what he had originally meant.
He also told followers that he’d suffered homophobic taunts throughout his life.
Drawing a triangle with five different threads including ‘women, LGBT, people of colour, white and men’, all of them pointed away from ‘bigotry’ and ‘towards the word ‘equality’ at the top.
Whaite added: ‘To all the people I may have upset yesterday, this is the only point I wanted to make.
‘We can maintain the distinction between our beautiful diversity and uniqueness, but if we rise together we’ll achieve equality more quickly’.