TV personality Katie Piper sparks backlash over comments made during 'goth baby' Loose Women discussion, Sophie Lancaster Foundation responds

Katie Piper of Loose Women and Rebecca Hardy's gothic baby
(Image credit: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images, Rebecca Hardy)

Recently, a viral video series showcasing a "day in the life of a gothic baby" on TikTok became the focus of an episode of the television chat show Loose Women, which led presenter Katie Piper to use the words "toxic" and "Satanic" during the discussion that followed.

The TikTok videos were created by mother Rebecca Hardy, who is married to former WWE superstar Matt Hardy. The clips display the child's gothic bedroom full of Addams Family-inspired decor, including a tomb crib, candles, whimsical toys and dark furnishings. Meanwhile, Rebecca jokily documents how her baby lives an 'authentic' gothic lifestyle by being opposed to colour, embracing macabre interests and listening to bands such as Depeche Mode and Bauhaus.

On the Loose Women programme, which was exploring the rise of alternative culture following the success of hit Netflix series Wednesday, Piper declared after viewing the TikTok clip: "I don't like that interior. It's all black and dark. Babies don't like that."

She added: "I’m just going to put it out there...it’s giving me satanic vibes, it’s giving me bad energy, it’s toxic, I don’t like it and also it’s a baby. The cots are tomb. You can’t put your baby in a grave.”

As The Independent reports, Piper's divisive comments sparked outrage amongst viewers, resulting in over 60 complaints to Ofcom.

Rebecca Hardy hit back at the comments with a response video on her TikTok account, arguing that her series is a "skit", and that her house isn't entirely all “black and dark”, while showcasing her different rooms, including her nursery dedicated to colour exposure therapy for her child's development. 

“At least the 'gothic nursery' has depth and colour and warmth,” she adds, addressing the fact that mothers who incorporate plain beige colour pallets for their children's home environments do not face the same sort of scrutiny.

Hardy's video then takes further aim at Piper specifically for suggesting parents such as herself use their children as a "prop", to "fill a void in their life".

"A prop?" Hardy questions. "I'm trying to find and build a community. I don’t understand how this is any different from someone decorating their baby’s nursery in monochromatic pink or monochromatic blue.”

She continues: "This kind of seems like an attack at someone different - and for what?"

Amid the controversy, the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, which was founded by Sylvia Lancaster following the murder of her teenage daughter Sophie in 2007, has offered their own statement, highlighting the dangers of categorising alternative subcultures in harmful and derogatory ways. 

In a Facebook post, the charity wrote: "Freedom of speech and personal choice mean that we all have different views and different tastes. As a charity that promotes celebrating difference we think there’s enough room for us all in this world. But people on TV have a real responsibility.

"Why use their platform to reiterate the tired old stereotypes and negativity that do such harm? By all means, say that something is not to your taste – but satanic and toxic? That is nothing but judgement. Surely we have a responsibility to do better than that?

"We know all too well that judgement and intolerance lead to bullying, prejudice and violence. Attitudes like these also encourage the narrative that alternative people are complicit when they suffer at someone else’s hands, for somehow bringing this negativity on themselves. It’s a New Year. Let’s start as we mean to go on. Let’s stop judging people and communities from the outside, when we know nothing about them."

View the original discussion and relevant responses below:

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Liz Scarlett

Liz works on keeping the Louder sites up to date with the latest news from the world of rock and metal. Prior to joining Louder as a full time staff writer, she completed a Diploma with the National Council for the Training of Journalists and received a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music Journalism. She enjoys writing about anything from neo-glam rock to stoner, doom and progressive metal, and loves celebrating women in music.