Anne Robinson criticised for resurfaced Weakest Link clip shaming single mum on benefits

Anne Robinson questions Weakest Link contestant in old episode

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In the video, Anne Robinson, now 76, asks contestant Ann what she does for a living. Ann tells her that she is a single mum to three boys to which Robinson responds by asking “how many ASBOs?” (Antisocial Behaviour Orders).

Ann innocently replied: “How many what, sorry? Can you clarify that please? Nerves have taken over.”

Robinson then said sternly: “How many of your three boys have got tags on their ankles?”

Ann, replied: “None so far.”

The host then went on: “You doing benefits are you?” 

Ann, appearing flustered, said: “I was waiting for this, I am on benefits yes.”

The contestant revealed that she’d had two husbands. Ms Robinson asked: “You didn’t go gay did you?”

Ann said: “No, but living with three boys, I have thought there is a lot to be said about going lesbian.”

Social media users were outraged when the clip resurfaced on Monday. One wrote: “I don’t know what this programme is, nor which channel, but I would like the chance to write to whoever to complain. Bad taste doesn’t begin to cover it. It’s vindictive and reinforces stereotypes. As far as I’m concerned it contains hate speech. Disgusting.”

Another said: “[Anne Robinson] was always nasty to the contestants, kind of playing a pantomime role, but this was a bit too personal wasn’t it?”

“Absolutely extraordinary. I was about to say ‘How times have changed!” But I can’t believe this was allowed to air by the BBC when it was. Astonishing,” another commented.


However, some people came to Robinson’s defence: “I’m amazed at the number of people that never watched this show? People knew what they were signing up for when going on here, why is everyone going mad about a show that hasn’t been aired in years?”

Another said: “I was in the audience for this [show] once and, to be fair, Anne Robinson was absolutely lovely to the contestants when not filming and apologised for giving them a hard time. It seemed to all be part of the ‘nasty’ act and the contestants seemed to know that.”

Weakest Link first aired in 2000 on BBC Two and lasted for 13 series until 2012. It returned for a special episode in 2017. Robinson was known for savaging her contestants with cutting comments and insults.

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On Monday, Robinson was announced as the new face of Countdown after Nick Hewer quit the Channel 4 game show.

As the first woman to host the show, she said that she wanted to rename it ‘Three Clever Girls Do Countdown’ referring to her co-stars Rachel Riley and Susie Dent.

She said on Steph’s Packed Lunch: “The three of us will transform things, it will be Countdown goes chic, won’t it?”

On her reputation as the Queen of Mean, she said: “I have had my family here, two grandsons, daughter and son-in-law. It seems like a year they have been doing some home-screaming as I call it, and I really have been practising to be nice… not always successfully.

“I am going to tone down my nastiness…sort of!”

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