Viewers of the British TV program This Morning are up in arms after one of the hosts compared the hair of a guest to that of an animal. Eamonn Holmes has since—kind of—apologized for his rude statement, but he appears not to have fully grasped the racist connotations of what he said.
On Thursday morning, Holmes told Dr. Zoe Williams live—on air— that her hair reminded him of an alpaca. Eamonn then said to her, “You just want to pet it, don’t you? It’s very alpaca-ish.” Williams, a Black woman, managed to brush off the micro-aggression by laughing and telling Williams (who is white): “Don’t touch my hair!”
Apparently, Holmes didn’t think anything of his comments until a clip of the show’s segment circulated online and people called him out for his ignorance.
One person on Twitter posted, “Just a normal day on @ITV and @ThisMorning with Eamonn Holmes telling a woman of colour her hair ‘reminds him of an alpaca’. Nothing to see here.”
Tobi Rachel of Tyla wrote, “This is why MANY black women avoid wearing their natural hair to work...even on Zoom in the comforts of their own home. Eamonn... disgusting.”
Another user tweeted, “Eamonn Holmes is a known racist. This is not his first attempt at humiliating a Black or WOC on national television. He referred to a certain American Duchess as ‘uppity,’ smh. #dearwhitepeople don’t be like Eamonn and leave Black women (and their hair) TF alone. This is not okay.”
Once the backlash made its rounds, Holmes posted a non-apology apology on Twitter, saying, “if my attempt at being humorous with my friend @DrZoeWilliams was misjudged I am mortified and humbly apologise to anyone who was offended.”
Black people are often discriminated against and met with racism when it comes to their hair. According to Metro UK, more than 90 percent of Black people with textured hair in the U.K. “have experienced microaggressions related to their hair.” More than 50 percent have said that the treatment has impacted their self-esteem.
In the U.S., the CROWN Act has been implemented to protect Black people and their natural hair from further microaggressions. Historically, Black people have been expected to assimilate their hair as close as possible to European standards. Protective hairstyles like braids or puffs that are considered ethnic have been chastised for supposedly being ghetto or unprofessional. The CROWN Act works to teach people about hair acceptance and prevent discrimination.
However, Holmes’ has made racist comments in the past, and they weren’t limited to hair and so-called beauty standards. He has constantly blasted Meghan Markle in her efforts to mesh with the royal family. Holmes has berated the former Duchess as being “woke, weak, manipulative.” He also criticized her during her interview with Oprah Winfrey about the British monarchy, claiming that it wasn’t “an interview, it’s an ad.”