BBC Breakfast presenter makes apology to guest after awkward assumption
5th November 2023

Ben Boulos accidently mistakes guests medical condition for a disagreement

BBC Breakfast presenter Ben Boulos was forced to backtrack and issue an apology to a guest after he mistook her medical condition for disagreeing with him.

On Sunday’s show he and co-host Sarah Campbell were discussing “shrinkflation” – the process whereby everyday food products reduce in size but cost the same.

Prior to introducing retail analyst Teresa Wickham via video link to discuss the issue, he explained that they often featured this on BBC News segment Money and Work.

However, things got off to a bad start when Ben assumed the expert was disagreeing with him as she was shaking her head, but Teresa revealed this was actually due to a medical condition called Dystonia.

Prior to introducing her, he told his co-host: “Whenever we talk about this on Money and Work it really winds people up because they’re just not getting as much for their money.”

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As they cut to Teresa, Ben said: “You’re shaking your head Teresa, you can’t believe it either.”

Embarrassingly for him, the guest corrected him responding: “No I’m shaking my head because I’ve got dystonia so don’t worry.”

As a mortified Ben said, “I’m sorry” repeatedly Teresa graciously reassured him all was good.

“No, no, no that’s alright,” she told him. “I’m, quite open about it but people think I disagree with them.”

The rest of the report seemed to go without incident but Ben felt compelled to revisit to gaffe at the end of the report thanking her for her time and saying “apologies again for my mistake at the beginning of our conversation”.

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This led to more protestations from Teresa who reiterated it was fine, adding: “I always say it now because people think I’m disagreeing with them.”

Ben went on to acknowledge that he had “learnt something for the future.”

Dystonia, the condition Teresa suffers from, is an involuntary muscle contraction resulting in postural abnormalities of the limbs, face, trunk or other body parts.

The term dystonia may refer to a diagnosis, a syndrome, or simply a description of muscle contraction.

Dystonic Head and Neck Tremor is the involuntary shaking of the head occurs when neck muscles intermittently contract resulting in jerking movements.

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