Good Morning Britain in tense debate over whether staring should be a crime leaving viewers divided

Good Morning Britain viewers were left divided on Friday as the show debated whether staring should be a legal offence. Kate Garraway and Adil Ray were back at the helm for the last edition of the ITV news program of the week.

They were joined in the ITV studio by comedian and activist Kate Smurthwaite and journalist and gender historian Dr Zoe Strimpel to discuss the latest campaign by Transport for London and Mayor Sadiq Khan with commuters now seeing posters against “intrusive staring” on its services with the aim of “sending a strong message to offenders that sexual harassment is not tolerated.”

The show, therefore, posed the question ‘should staring be considered a crime?’ with Adil starting by saying: “What’s so bad with staring, Kate?” to which their guest replied: “Well, this is exactly the point of it.

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“It’s like, of course, there are plenty of people who do stare and it’s completely innocent. No one’s going to suggest that you’re going to gawk out the window at a seagull and somebody’s going to be like, ‘That seagull doesn’ t need your attention’. What we’re talking about is when someone is deliberately staring at you, possibly heavy breathing, touching their leg at the same time, licking their lips..”

But Adil cut in to argue that’s “adding a few things on” to TfL’s message with Kate defending the measures. Meanwhile, Dr Zoe gave a different argument, claiming that there are much more important sexual harassment and assault issues that we should be focusing on rather than being ‘gawked at’ on public transport.

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Dr Zoe went on to say that a “nasty stare is unpleasant” but pointed out there are “limited resources” and you “can’t fry every fish”. Adil then interjected and argued there was a difference between “staring at someone you’re attracted to” as he recalled an instance when he was in an airport.

Kate Smurthwaite and Dr Zoe Strimpel joined GMB hosts Kate and Adil for the deabte

“I had a situation, 2008, I’m in an airport on my own and I’m at the baggage reclaim and I see a really attractive lady on the other side and we caught each other’s eye and we ended up looking at each other ,” he began. “We were staring at each other!”

Adil was then asked: “But was it intrusive staring or was it super welcome staring?” to which he replied: “I don’t know! I was staring at her and waiting for her to look at me. She looked at me and as we walked out we ended up next to each other and I for her number… we ended up going out for dinner while on the holiday and that started with a stare.”

Adil spoke of his own experience of ‘staring’ in an airport

“Are you worried that you could’ve been accused of staring?” Kate asked to which Adil admitted: “I think I could, I couldn’t do that.” But the conversation got GMB viewers talking.

@McCallum_121 tweeted: “Truly can not believe what I’m seeing on @GMB ‘should staring be made a crime?’ #WorldsGoneNuts #GMB.”

“Yep, it’s official the world has gone mad!! Now their discussing if STARING should be a crime??? WTF!? #GMB,” @Ochen85 echoed.

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But @mrdanleslie argued: “Yes, staring is unnerving and creepy. A few seconds and a smile yes but a constant stare can be intimidating. #GMB.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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