Gemma Collins stepped out on Monday after Sunday night’s instalment of Dancing On Ice saw judge Jason Gardiner branded ‘a bully’, with the show receiving 80 complaints after its transmission.
The reality star, 37, grinned and waved as she headed to skating rehearsals having faced backlash last week from Jason in both the papers and face-to-face on the live show.
Ever-positive, Gemma looked ready to get back to the rink having survived elimination, clearly unfazed by her on-air clash, during which she stood up to Jason, 47, after he called her ‘more Anna Nicole Smith than Marilyn Monroe’.
Jason’s scathing remarks – which also come after Jason went to The Sun to badmouth TOWIE’s Gemma earlier in the week – were met with a wash of criticism on Twitter, with viewers calling for the talent show judge to be fired over it.
Elsewhere, broadcasting watchdog Ofcom received a mixture of complaints, some aimed toward Jason and some toward Gemma.
50 complaints objected to Gemma’s ‘outburst’, while 33 viewers objected to comments from the judges and presenters towards her.
Despite this, Gemma seemed pleased with the public support she has received on Monday, strutting to a waiting car wrapped up warmly from the January chill.
She wore a black hoodie over black and white tropical patterned leggings, matching trainers and dark shades.
She added a pop of colour to the look by adding a pink fur scarf around her neck and classed things up with a Chanel bag slung over one arm, clutching a Louis Vuitton purse in her hand.
Gemma cut a breezier demeanor as she headed to skating practice with pro partner Matt Evers to work on their next routine.
However, earlier that day American skater Matt, 42, confirmed Gemma had skipped most of her rehearsal sessions last week.
During an interview on Heart Breakfast, he told hosts Jamie Theakston and Lucy Horobin: ‘First and foremost I will defend Jason, yeah. There wasn’t a lot of content, I didn’t have a lot of rehearsal time with her this week, so he was absolutely correct.
‘Thursday a story came out saying she was a “disgrace to humanity”.
‘ITV came to us, as she was really upset by it, to say that it came from Jason himself. It sounds like [he has been selling stories on her].’
Gemma was saved from the public vote on Sunday, with Richard Blackwood being sent home instead. But fans were more concerned with Jason’s remarks toward the TOWIE legend, taking to Twitter to post comments such as: ‘That was not constructive criticism #gemmacollins it was bullying her for her weight saying you won’t see her do any lifts and that she looks like Anna Nicole Smith.’
They also called for Jason to be dismissed from his role: ‘Jason is a complete a**e if you are not size 10, in his eyes your’re not worthy to be on the ice… references to Anna Nicole etc is down right rude. Its not the fist time he’s been really rude he should be fired… as for Gemma you go girl the man has no balls!’
Others agreed: ‘Jason should be fired for what he said to her. Its bullying, body-shaming and he is just a nasty piece of work. No matter what she is like off air to do this live on TV and in a national paper is out of order!’
‘You deserve the call out from @missgemcollins last night. Hands down to the girl, bullying should never be tolerated,’ one fan tweeted, referring to the fact that Gemma stood up to Jason on Sunday night’s show.
‘Idk if anyone else is watching dancing on ice but one of the judges has just been such a d**** head to Gemma Collins the way he’s just spoke to her, actual disgusting and so hurtful,’ another tweeter weighed in online.
Another posted: ‘@missgemcollins I am SO proud of you for soldiering on @dancingonice, people can shame you about your weight & say you can’t do things, but that doesn’t take away the fact that you are trying. An inspiration standing up to bullying on tv and from the media #allbodiesaregoodbodies’
Followed by: ‘I think this is beginning to get into the realms of bullying now and very publicly too #leavethelassalone’
A rep for Jason told MailOnline: ‘Jason did an interview to promote Dancing On Ice with The Sun last week. Within this interview he was asked about Gemma Collins and all the contestants. He gave his opinion. This interview was not done “behind ITV’s back”. ITV were fully aware the interview was running.’
An ITV spokesperson said, in response to this: ‘To avoid any further speculation and untruths around this, Gemma’s comments were in relation to an interview Jason gave with a newspaper at the weekend. There is nothing more to it.’
Of the complaints received, an Ofcom spokeswoman said: ‘We will assess these complaints before deciding whether or not to investigate.’
Piers Morgan also pledged his support for Gemma amid her ice skating woes, specifically hitting out at Jason’s behaviour.
‘He’s body shaming her, he’s abusing her,’ Piers said on Monday morning’s Good Morning Britain. ‘I don’t know her, I’ve met her a couple of times and she strikes me as an entertaining reality star, but she’s giving it everything she’s got.’
Referring to Jason’s remark to Gemma at the weekend that it’s unlikely her pro partner Matt will be able to lift her up on the ice, Piers went on: ‘All that stuff about “we’re not going to see big lifts”, what he means is, you’re overweight, that’s what he’s saying to her.
‘I think most people watching would be on her side in that debate, because he did give a big interview dumping all over her.’
Piers was referring to an interview Jason gave last week in which he branded Gemma ‘mediocre and lazy’, after it was reported that she left last week’s live show before the broadcast had ended.
But the Good Morning Britain anchor had nothing but praise for the TOWIE star: ‘I admire the attempt to try and be better than she clearly is and for Jason Gardiner to be burying her in the press in the week I think it completely wrong.
‘During the competition, trashing her the way he did, I think was completely unprofessional.
‘You shouldn’t be abusive to people you’ve asked to take part in your show. On Britain’s Got Talent, we had all sorts of contestants but if you invite people to take part in your show and compete, don’t go to national papers during the competition and bury them the way that he did.
‘And then when you get challenged on it, don’t look all shell-shocked and outraged. The audience were on her side. I admire her, already she’s doing that better than I could do.’
Piers backed Gemma to thrive on the show, throwing his support behind the TOWIE personality, going on to say: ‘You know what? I think they’ve been very mean to her.
‘They put her on the show knowing she’s probably not going to be that great, and now they’ve been sort of taunting her and ridiculing her.
‘I think she’s giving it a damn good go. I didn’t think that I’d be the Gemma Collins defender in all this!’
The Loose Women panelists weighed in on the matter as well, with Saira Khan – who is currently taking part on Dancing On Ice – giving her penny’s-worth from the training rink.
‘My perspective is that I had my children there in the audience, and to have an outburst on live TV, my children were upset and distressed. So if you have beef, take it off the screen,’ Saira suggested.
Unclear whether she was backing Gemma or Jason in the matter, Saira went on: ‘Gemma has had a stressful week. She has been very upset. But, to be fair, Wes [Nelson] has been through an equally stressful week but he has showed up, he was there on time, he rehearsed, and performed a fantastic skate.
‘Gemma missed rehearsals because she didn’t like what she read in the paper. We had to send a runner to go and get her. But it’s not right for a judge to talk about a contestant on the show like that. Sometimes silence is key.’
Jane Moore and Denise Welch were very much Team GC.
‘I respect Gemma taking on Jason. It’s great telly and why shouldn’t she have a go back?’ Jane said.
Denise agreed: ‘Jason is over the top and, to me it was slightly fat shaming. But Gemma was employed knowing this was not going to be a smooth ride. She has been employed for that reason to be that person.
‘At least she put her money where her mouth is. I was delighted she said it. We are condoning bullying behaviour with what Jason said.’
Coleen Nolan seemed less than impressed by Gemma, however, saying of her reaction to Jason’s comments: ‘I was horrified and it was uncomfortable. Dancing On Ice isn’t that kind of show, it’s a lovely sit down on a Sunday show. That lowered the tone.
‘I don’t care what GC is, I don’t agree with bad rude behaviour.’ aduqq
Jason and Gemma were at loggerheads just hours before on Sunday evening, with Gemma telling him to ‘shut up’ and Jason branding her a ‘brat’.
Gemma explained she’d had a ‘hell of a week’ after she performed on Sunday, adding: ‘It’s really knocked my confidence, I haven’t been able to get much does as I’ve been so upset.’
But this was no excuse for the four judges, Jason, Jayne Torvill, Ashley Banjo, and Christopher Dean, who gave the reality star a 13, the lowest score of the series.
And hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby also poked fun at her later on in the show.
Explaining why he gave her only a three for her Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend routine, Jason said: ‘There wasn’t any elegance. Marilyn Monroe was a woman in control of her femininity. You were all over the place still and there was not enough skating content.
‘And as Ashley said, there’s not enough skating. This is your second skate now. You need to up the ante. We’re not going to see big lifts from you. We’re not going to get any impressive moves.’
However, before he could continue, Gemma was quick to jump in and shout: ‘Maybe if you didn’t sell stories on me I wouldn’t have been so much upset this week.’
Continuing her scathing onslaught, Gemma proceeded to yell over the choreographer, adding: ‘Boring! Next! Don’t sell stories on me.’
Yet Jason fought back too, telling the television personality: ‘This doesn’t help your cause. It shows you’re just a brat. Listen to what we’re saying.’