Gogglebox star Chris Ashby-Steed says Stephen Webb ‘bullied’ him off show
Chris Ashby-Steed has said that his surprise departure from Gogglebox in February of last year happened because he was “bullied” off the show by ex-boyfriend and co-star Stephen Webb.
He said that he felt “so low” after leaving the show that his mental health suffered and he contemplated suicide.
In the interview, Ashby-Steed said: “Originally Stephen and I decided we were going to break away from Gogglebox together. We had a production company that was interested in taking us on. They wanted us to get out there as a brand.
“Stephen decided to copy me in to an email to the studio saying he was going to terminate our joint venture.”
– Chris Ashby-Steed
“But Stephen decided to copy me in to an email to the studio saying he was going to terminate our joint venture. After he sent that email I didn’t speak to him for a little while because I was hurt by it.”
Chris Ashby-Steed says he has developed agoraphobia since leaving Gogglebox
Ashby-Steed then said that they were offered their slot back on Gogglebox, but that Webb said he wasn’t sure if he could “put up” with him.
He also said that Webb would constantly put him down, but that he would brush it off for the sake of the show.
“We had a responsibility to get that show out and have a laugh so that’s what I did,” he added.
Ashby-Steed said he now struggles with his mental health and has developed agoraphobia, which the NHS defines as “a fear of being in situations where escape might be difficult or that help wouldn’t be available if things go wrong.”
“There have been times where I’ve felt so low that I think, ‘How can I kill myself?’” he said.
He added: “I’ve felt like a failure, I’ve been depressed, I struggle in social situations, I’m agoraphobic. I’m worried about people coming up to me and asking why I left the show.
“I felt I couldn’t tell the truth. I avoid going out now. I’ve been seeing a counsellor every week.”
“We had a responsibility to get that show out and have a laugh so that’s what I did.”
– Chris Ashby-Steed
Sharing the interview on Twitter, Ashby-Steed said: “A year on, I’ve finally had the courage to stand up to a bully and start to tell the story of how @Stephenwebb71 forced of off @C4Gogglebox and how it’s affected my mental health since. Hopefully, the truth of my story will help others who are struggling.”
In a follow-up tweet, he said he has had no “reality aftercare” since leaving Gogglebox, which he said is an “industry-wide failing.”
Responding to the claims, a spokesperson for Channel 4 told PinkNews: “Chris has not contacted us since he made the decision to leave the show. The duty of care of the Gogglebox contributors is of paramount importance.”
The spokesperson also said Stephen Webb would not comment on the claims.
Who replaced Chris Ashby-Steed on Gogglebox?
After Ashby-Steed left the show, he was replaced by Stephen Webb’s mother, Pat.
When Webb married his partner, Daniel Lustig, he instead took the slot.
Ashby-Steed also married his boyfriend of three years in Brighton in 2017.
Ashby-Steed and Webb were in a relationship when they first appeared on Channel 4’s Gogglebox, but later broke up.
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“To tell you the truth, I haven’t really seen much [of] Chris recently, so I’m sure he’s on to other things and I wish him all the best.”
– Stephen Webb speaking at the PinkNews awards last year
When Webb attended the PinkNews awards last year, he said that doing Gogglebox had been “quite difficult” since Ashby-Steed left, but said that, as they had both married different people, life had moved on.
He continued: “To tell you the truth, I haven’t really seen much [of] Chris recently, so I’m sure he’s on to other things and I wish him all the best.”
When asked if they were on good terms, he said: “Yeah, we speak. But, you know, it was quite difficult because, obviously we used to be together, and now we’re both married. And, yeah, life’s moved on.”