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My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding Ruined My Life: An Open Letter to Channel 4

by Pipopotamus
21 February 2012 109 Comments

Everyone's favourite racist documentary is back on our screens but take it from me, a Romany Gypsy, it's a work of complete fiction.

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Dear Channel 4,

I am writing to you with the hope that you will stop ruining my life. While your obsession with my ethnicity is flattering, it has become somewhat apparent to me that you might have gotten the wrong end of the stick. This is sort of awkward for me, because I don’t want to be the one to break it to you, but your documentary, ‘Big Fat Gypsy Weddings‘, is unfortunately a work of fiction. There is no need to be embarrassed, it can happen to the best of us, and thus I hope my letter will help you establish the facts, after all I’m sure you are passionate about fighting discrimination against ethnic minorities. Don’t be modest now, we know you are…right?

It surprised me to discover that 99% of Britain’s Gypsy and Traveller population are Irish. Correct me if I’m wrong, as I am sure you have done lots and lots of research on this topic, but just 10% of the Gypsy andTraveller population are actually Irish Travellers. The majority, like myself, are in fact Romany, yet your ‘documentary’ seems to ignore our existence. While I have nothing but respect for the Irish Traveller community, you seem to be unaware that we are two distinct ethnic groups and thus there are many differences between our cultures. While Irish Travellers originate from Ireland, we can trace our routes back to India, so it was hardly surprising that I was somewhat confused when you use the word Gypsy in the title of your ‘documentary’ about Irish Travellers. I was even more confused when your ‘documentary’ about Irish Travellers seemed to feature an alien culture that even most Irish Traveller’s didn’t recognise.

You correctly identified that many Gypsy and Traveller children leave school at a young age, however you failed to mention that this is not because we are all born to terrible parents, but because our communities suffer from great social exclusion. State education fails to adapt to anything but mainstream culture, thus we have to contend with a curriculum that is totally irrelevant to our way of life. Moreover, both teachers and students seem ignorant of our cultures, thus we are labelled as troublemakers and bullied for being different. The myths that you have been spreading have not helped matters. Indeed, I was subjected to physical attacks during your last series of your ‘documentary’ which ultimately led to my expulsion from school (long story), whilst my 12 year old cousin was beat up on her way home from school by a gang of girls who were calling her a prostitute.

As you can see, there are many reasons as to why Gypsy and Traveller children are failing to attend school, but you seem to have forgotten to feature those of us that do stay in education. Take myself, for example, I’m currently at college studying a range of subjects such as, History and Sociology. Moreover, my sister trained to be a hairdresser, my aunty went to university and is now a social worker and some of my cousins completed apprenticeships, thus clearly dropping out of education is not a prerequisite of living in a trailer.

Your ‘documentary’ has an unhealthy obsession with little girls. While I understand that the outfits worn by some of your younger stars could be considered a little risqué, I see only little girls having fun and dressing up for a special occasion. Your ‘documentary’ appears to be suggesting that we are inappropriately sexualising our children, yet the only people who are sexualising our children are the viewers who watch them and think they are sexy. In reality, our little girls can mostly be found in velour tracksuits and handmade frilly dresses, so I would suggest you should stop filming little girls dancing if you are finding that this is turning on your viewers.

My 12 year old cousin was beat up on her way home from school by a gang of girls who were calling her a prostitute.

After watching the last series of your ‘documentary’ it finally hit me why I was so unlucky in love. I would have been married by now, if only I had known that the key to a women’s heart was to sexually assault her using a gypsy courting ritual called ‘grabbing’. I asked my brother if he had grabbed his wife, but it turned out he had just asked her out on a date instead. It appears that in reality, no one actually knows what grabbing is, in fact Gypsy and Traveller men actually have a lot of respect for their women after all.

Speaking of love, I’ve been to many Gypsy and Traveller weddings, but I’m yet to attend a wedding where the bride’s dress weighs more than my whole family. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen some huge dresses but there is something you need to know: Thelma Madine is lying to you, she’s not our dressmaker of choice. In fact, I’m kind of embarrassed for her because no one actually knows who she is and everything she says about us is actually untrue. Basically, you’ve been conned, so I suggest you find a new spokesperson for the Gypsy and Traveller communities, such as an actual Gypsy or Traveller like my Baba (grandma), she makes some right nice clothes you know.

It’s hardly surprising that people are watching your ‘documentary’ purely to laugh at us, because even I laugh at the monstrosities that Thelma Madine creates. It is a shame that you haven’t featured any Gypsy or Traveller designers because the clothing that we were actually more traditionally known for before your ‘documentary’, is actually far more interesting than amusing. Last year, Leeds University Union thought it would be okay to laugh at the Gypsy and Traveller communities by hosting a Big Fat Gypsy Weddings fancy dress party. While the union holds events throughout the year to celebrate other ethnic minorities, your ‘documentary’ encouraged them to incite ethnic hatred. You’ll be pleased to know that due to complaints from yours truly and friends, the event was shelved.

You seem to have misunderstood what a documentary about Gypsies should entail. Gypsies (as in Romany Gypsies that are completely different to Irish Travellers, that are like totally not Irish Travellers at all, get it?) are Europe’s largest and most deprived ethnic minority. The majority of Romani people have never been to Rathkeale, let alone own houses there. In fact, most live in great poverty and I suggest you read my previous blogs. We suffer from discrimination on a daily basis and our human rights have historically been violated, yet you deem it acceptable to broadcast a misleading ‘documentary’ that has been made not to raise awareness of our plight but for entertainment. We are not a joke, we are human beings and your work of fiction is only strengthening stereotypes and ignorance.

Unlike those who star in your ‘documentary’ I am not after 5 minutes of fame, but what I am asking for, is for you to put humans above ratings. You can’t ignore us forever.

Yours sincerely,


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image descriptionCOMMENTS

joel erith 11:39 am, 21-Feb-2012

Welcome to the real world Pip.

Rachel Robinson 12:00 pm, 21-Feb-2012

What a fantastic letter. Well done Pip for going a long way to put the record straight. My own ancestors have Romany roots although through marriage etc I do not know too much about it. My husband and I actually turned off last weeks programme as IT WAS embarrassing to watch. It did not portray anything but over spending and a vile taste in Thelma Madines designs!! Thank you Pip you have restored my faith in my (largely unknown about) roots xx

Ian 1:18 pm, 21-Feb-2012

I'm not sure what the writer expects? The majority of "reality TV" is exploitation of the 1% of any given society. Mundane, run of the mill doesn't sell. To expect any better you have to stop watching, all of it, from Geordie Shore to Britain's got talent etc etc! Genuine question here on another point raised - you claim that mainstream doesn't adapt to suit the Romany Gypsy culture, does the reverse commonly happen or are you in the minority? I am not trolling here, I live in an area blighted with problems linked to the activities of Gypsy/Traveller communities.

Welsh Dragon 3:15 pm, 21-Feb-2012

Pip I think you do yourself a disservice. Any sensible human being can see this 'documentary' is dross with no baring on reality but your letter gives it a credence it does not deserve and I imagine will only help ratings. Sad but true...

Carmella 4:52 pm, 21-Feb-2012

Ian, how do you know they are Gypsies?

Joe Tyler 5:10 pm, 21-Feb-2012

As someone with Romani roots, I'm so glad this has been written. Since the 'documentary' came out, the amount of ill-informed and ignorant comments about gypsies has sky-rocketed. It does a discriminated race no favours at all.

big paddy 5:22 pm, 21-Feb-2012

well done my gal you have weighed it up the my big fat embarrassment

ad 5:30 pm, 21-Feb-2012

Welsh Dragon - the problem is that sensible human beings are scarce, if prejudice has skyrocketed since the first programme!

Welsh Dragon 5:45 pm, 21-Feb-2012

Indeed ad. Hence my final sentence.

Fletch 7:25 pm, 21-Feb-2012

A great letter Pip; just like Rachel I think you've gone some way to putting the record straight. Channel 4 though haven't produced a documentary but an entertaining programme - though having just checked they are calling it a documentary. The amount of episodes and amount of times I've watched it meant it was affecting my view of the Gypsy / Romany community and their weddings and relationships. TV is a powerful medium. We know little about what goes on in people's lives til we live with them yet we are curious and programme's such as this fill some of the void. So we (or some of us at least) think that we are enlightened / educated about the Gypsy / Romany community. I'm genuinely sorry that your education hasn't been better because I know our system isn't more flexible towards different ways of life. The more discrimination of every kind can be reduced and eradicated the better.

Tony 7:59 pm, 21-Feb-2012

"Irish Travellers originate from Ireland", well, glad you cleared that up Perhaps you'd rather them focus on the negative side ..... the light fingered aggressive scam riddled non tax / rates paying travelling community? I'd keep my head down if I were you and be grateful its approached as a lighthearted glimpse at the usual loopy 1% that exists in any 'community'. If they start pre production on 'Big Fat Thieving Pikeys' then I'd start getting worried.

pass the please 8:40 pm, 21-Feb-2012

Nice one Pip. My kids go to school with Gypsies, and their parents are friendly, hard working and live in a very tasteful, smart house. And lordy, Romany Gypsy women are beautiful, as are Irish traveller skirt.

pass the please 8:42 pm, 21-Feb-2012

I'm sorry if that sounded glib.

John john john boie 7:49 am, 22-Feb-2012

Every 'gypsy' i know or have ever known has been to proson at least once for theft and violence (at the same time) and are normally drug dealers. These are not irish or romany but just pikies. But live in caravans all the same. They are the only ones i have ever known or seen round london and surrounding. They do NOT work. 'There boy'

ISABELLA 2:58 pm, 22-Feb-2012

MY family are true roms and all this is ailien to me, we was brought up to go to school. always dress decent we was never allowed to were cloths like that. and make up what was that then. We think what a showing up for us shame on you channel 4

ben 3:38 pm, 22-Feb-2012

tony, johnjohnjohn boie ur an embarrisment to the human race with ur prejadice, lets sum up with all londoners are smarmy 2 faces theives or wannabe gangsters, i'm a romney gypsie, i work i pay tax/council tax and guess what, i been to prison but only for stopping a gang of racist ideots from beating up my 15 yr old cousin. ur use of the word "pikies" is actually a word used to describe a person that travels and not a gypsie, most gypsies i know live in very nice houses apart from my brother who owns a farm and live on it with his wife and kids, i could tar all of england as being witch hunters yet i don't because it's only people like u that give them a bad name, yours truely with highest regards benny!

hannagh 3:41 pm, 22-Feb-2012

Well said Pip. I enjoyed reading your letter. I am an Irish Traveller currently doing a Ph.D not out stealing or scamming people as some idiots might wrongfully believe and stupidly suggest. I do not watch the programme but have seen it in the past and like any decent human being I find it is ridiculous. It does not say much for the general public when such a hideous farce of a show is watched by millions. The big fat wedding dress maker is an absolute joke and it amuses me no end to think that C4 has appointed her as our spokesperson. I do not know why people even bother to study sociology or anthropology when all we need is Thelma to make sense of the world. To think that she actually believes her own waffle is absolutely mindblowing. God love her.

Carmella 4:22 pm, 22-Feb-2012

I think Pip is highly motivated for a young seventeen year old boy. It just goes to show that if society actually had any knowledge on the real Gypsy race of people, where they came from, who they are, the heritage and most of all the importance that they have played in our British history over the last 150 years, they will see that what this programme is showing is nothing but a bunch of people looking to make a quick few pounds. They have nothing in common with the real Gypsies of our country, they insult both the Gypsy community and also I am assuming the Irish travelling community who are very different to Gypsies. It will not be too long before this programme withers away, unfortunately leaving being small minded biggots as some comments on here, you will always get these people in life and every society. However Pip, keep doing what you are doing as your ancestors would be deeply proud of you making a stand at such a young age, Bravo.

Carmella 4:28 pm, 22-Feb-2012

I would also like to point out that any programme where Gypsies are highlighted in this manner are nothing but a sham and disgrace to the Gypsy community and what a pity that these so called Gypsies go on there to make light of it all, a message to these people, stop it you are making the real Gypsies suffer here. There was a programme on BIO not so long ago called a Gypsy Life For Me and was just as bad at the Gypsy Wedding. It was far from educational and again poised as a thorn in the side of most Gypsies who just stay clear of these kind of things. When and only when you have the likes of the BBC and an historical productions taking part in high lighting the cause of the proper Gypsy people I would take these programmes for what they are- Lack of taste and for small minded biggots of our country who have nothing better to do with their time

ben 4:48 pm, 22-Feb-2012

one more thing, most people that claim to me gypsie or talk as if they are gypsie are infact nothing more then people with identity issues!

Tony 8:20 pm, 22-Feb-2012

@Ben Disgrace to the human race? How dare you. What are you on about? Ask people in Chesham about the permanent site in Copperkins Lane and the trouble those Scallys have caused. Of course its not ALL Gypsies, but you must admit they carry a disproportionate number of troublemakers Three sides to every story Ben, yours, mine and the truth.

ben 10:18 pm, 22-Feb-2012

i don't hide the fact that there is a bad element in all cultures, however i don't go around focusing on the worst. as some gypsies hold high ranks in sociaty, such as dr's, teachers and counselers, and so on, so to focus merely on "pykies" being theives and and tax dodgers is very narrow minded as for every bad gypsie i'v ever met i'v met 10 house dwelling scumbags that would rob there own mother, which i might point out a gypsie would never do, so if u want the truth then maybe u should look further then chesham site like channel 4 should look further then there deluded imaginations b4 making such ill informed braodcasts, talking of bad element, nf that gorgers, bnp thats gorgers too, when u tar an entire race of people and gypsie is a race check with ur local mp, then do not be surprized if those people become enraged, we are being portrayed as a backward hill-billy sociaty, this is not up for debate, i do not defend bad people and i do not need to praise good people, some people need to change there socal paterns because we do not experience these behavoural paterns around kent which has the largest gypsie culture in england, for to long the iq of the mass has outweighed the reality behind life today and i for 1 am sick of it!

bruce fisher 11:17 pm, 22-Feb-2012

yeah.. Match of the Day ruined my life.As a footballer the way I am perceived in general is awful. & its all due to the actions of a few who appear on television .we all suffer.

Avril McCleery 2:53 am, 23-Feb-2012

Been waiting for a letter like this....Brilliant....Big respect PIP. Even the name of the programme is highly insulting....I agree 100% with everything you have said. Wish you well in everything you do..Love and Light Avril An Irishwoman from Cork

Avril McCleery 2:56 am, 23-Feb-2012

Big respect PIP. Brilliant letter. Im from Cork in Ireland and have been waiting for a letter like this as I agree with everything you have said. This programme is insulting and misleading. Love and

teresa 6:04 am, 23-Feb-2012

People need to be educated about the history, ethnicity, culture and meaning of the terms Gypsy, Traveller, Roma, Romani, etc. Maybe then they will be able to see why this is so wrong. I will say that here in the states TLC is basically widely known as a rubbish station in general.

Ian 9:43 am, 23-Feb-2012

Carmella - because I have friends and play football with people from amongst their community and they will openly tell you who is doing the stealing, coursing, fire starting etc. As I mentioned it was a genuine question, I am not trolling and I am not making anything up.

juice 9:58 pm, 24-Feb-2012

i love the programme. even if it isn't true of most of the gypsy population it's certainly true of part of it! i don't see how it is racist though? or is having a big fat wedding fancy dress party? would it be racist if everyone dressed as belly dancers, french people or wore sari's? i'm sorry that society has made you feel like an outcast. unfortunately people have never had a good word to say about gypsies and that was long before this programme came along. x

Keith 9:47 pm, 25-Feb-2012

After 20 years on the aba boxing circuit I have met a LOT of travelers, many I consider friends (including some from the program). The show does indeed represent the people I know quite well, and lucky for them, doesn't focus on the darker side of their life.

ben 2:24 am, 27-Feb-2012

m8 the show's a complete load of pelt, the human attitude is programmed to bring up the shady side of any culture, people love anything that mocks other people and i'v never encountered anything remotely like this show around my own!

Lee 3:04 am, 27-Feb-2012

I've met tonnes of traveller's where I'm from, and none of them have been nice people. I do hate tarring everyone with the same brush though. Like I wholeheartedly believe that there are amiable and hardworking people in the traveller community, but jesus they're hiding very well. because all I've managed to cross paths with have been the violent and thieving dregs that are dragging the name of that community through the dirt, the very ones who have helped the stereotypes about Gypsies perpetuate for decades.

Lee 3:06 am, 27-Feb-2012

also you're being a bit naive expecting Channel 4 of all networks to explore an unorthodox ethnic culture with any kind of depth or authenticity.

Saray 9:57 am, 27-Feb-2012

Hi Pip! Your letter is a big true. I'm spanish gipsy girl, I agree with all you have said in this letter. The world don't know nothing about the real gypsie's life. We, spanish Roma are very tired with this kind of programs, we've created a group in Facebook "Ciudadanos gitanos indignados por 'Mi gran boda gitana" and this Facebook's page becomes in reivindication of all our causes. After 500 year, they don't know nothing about us. Hugs!

ben 10:20 pm, 27-Feb-2012

ya know lee, we attract people into our lives that reflect ourselves! and plus if u persist in labeling people in such a way portraying them as thievs and trouble makers then i can't denote bad behavour but it wouldn't surprize me...

Sarah 12:53 am, 1-Mar-2012

This is a very well written letter from an obviously well educated and articulate human being.  I have had some experience with the traveller community in Ireland. My mother would be a very tolerant and loving person, and has friends from all walks of life.  This includes Irish Travellers.  When I was growing up she had a lovely friend Margaret who came in to chat to her regularly.  We even sold our caravan to the family.  She had a lovely son Patrick who loved my mam.  He didn't go to school as he had a super little personality and would go around the houses with Margaret during the day.  My mam never judged, people are people and that's their culture. Although I thought it was a bit unfair to poor Paddy! When I studied journalism I did a few stories about a dreadfully run down site in Dublin, interviewed the residents and wrote about what a disgrace it was that they didn't have proper services.   Conditions on the site were awful, a dead dog lay right beside the children playing on the street.  The caravans were clean but the site was filthy. I then went to university to get a BSc and did a linguistics thesis on The Cant or Shelta, the traveller language.  I was invited to a youth group by a very well educated settled traveller who ran the centre.  When I arrived I had a frosty reception but the kids opened up when I  assured them that my university viewed their language in the same way as any language, and so the study of it was important.  When I asked the kids what the best part of having their own language was the answer I got was "robbing"! Totally straight faced.  Later I worked in the city centre of Dublin.  I had a work vehicle and parked my car near a traveller site on sir John Rodgersons quay, literally around the corner.  One evening I came to collect my car and it was gone.  It was 9pm at night and I looked down by the caravans, the residents were out drinking and partying around bonfires.  There was no way I was walking  through the festivities on my own. I phoned the police, who said I had to come down and make a report, I did that and drove my work vehicle home. The next morning I drove in at 7.30am.  At the opposite end of the street, parked right outside a caravan, was my little car. I called the police and as they arrived a traveller came out of the caravan, blessing himself and telling me how they'd blame the travellers on that. He sat in and said he would get it started and did I mind him putting his hands on it. I said no stupidly, I was 19 and a bit intimidated.  When the police arrived they said that whoever took it hadn't been able to jump start it so they would have pushed it to that point and left it.  Now I was there at 9pm the previous night.  The car had been pushed up the road already and the travellers were all there.  Then I move to my current residence. Around the corner from a settled site. Traveller teenagers were jumping over our back wall from the minute we moved in. The only thing I ever said was mind yourself you'll fall! My husband caught them robbing my neighbour's trainers from his back window and they told him to F off! About a month after we moved in my dog, who never barks, started barking hysterically.  I was just out of the bath and my husband was out. I looked out the back window and saw the four traveller lads in the garden. I got a fright and called my brother. As I was phoning him I saw one of them get a rock and start trying to break the kitchen window.  They eventually got in and by this time I was in my, bedroom shaking and trying to get dressed while on the phone to the police, and was terrified.  As I was talking to the police the noise downstairs stopped and I saw the lads strolling up the road.  The police arrived but it wasn't until the next day I noticed my handbag missing and I was told it was just a smash and grab. A couple of months later my husband left his phone in his car, a traveller called Stickers robbed it and phoned Elizabeth with it and left a message for her.  When we asked a local traveller to tell Stickers to give us our phone back, his first reaction was shock,  in a very suspicious manner he asked "how do you know Stickers"?  Needless to say stickers never gave us our phone back. One day driving by the site kids threw rocks at my car. So I stopped, they all crowded around and I got a bit scared.  I opened the window and the leader said What do want? In a very weak voice I said you guys threw a rock at my car, why did you do that, I wouldn't do it to you.  I was told that I wouldn't do it to him cause he would know where I lived and would come to my house and burn it down. It was actually a 6 year old pretty little girl that got the window with the rock. I looked at her and said, if you weren't so cute I'd give out to you for that, she looked at me and said sorry and the leader signalled to the kids that they could let my car go! Things calmed down for about a year, with the exception of a few unsettling incidents with their animals, but then it started again.  We (us and our 2 babies) were woken up at 2am one morning to a traveller man with a child wanting directions to the site. They just called to a random house and woke everyone up cause they were visiting family and they were lost.  This summer I was on maternity leave and I was sitting watching tv at 1pm in the day. All the children on the road were out playing! I could see feet out my front window, I rolled up the blind to see two traveller boys sitting in my car in broad daylight trying to get it started.  They were about 11 to 13 years old.  I banged on the window and two of them ran.  The third one, who wasn't in the car didn't, so I ran out and shouted what the hell are you doing? The traveller said it wasn't me, are you saying it was me and he just strolled up the road.  They tried to rob two of my neighbours cars AFTER the police had been to my house.  They didn't care in the slightest. The kids on the road all knew their names from the area and confirmed that they were from the site around the corner.  The case is pending, as if there is any point. The police caught them that day in another car.  The Young traveller girls who live locally dress in half nothing, with dark dark fake tan and they are always looking after all the children.  They walk to the local shops with a huge group of small kids.  The area just outside the site is in bits and police do raid the site on occasion. One local news story said that a load of items stolen from a house about 5 miles away, 6 years ago were found in one of the houses around there. Close by in Tallaght a traveller girl was shot recently because of mistaken identity which has caused a war among travellers. Only recently in Ireland there was a much worse documentary on the Ward and Joyce family feud that has cost people their lives and there was a full pull-out supplement in the Sunday papers exposing  gang and drug crime in the traveller community. My best friends dad and sister were attacked in his garage in Mayo by a group of travellers.  They were robbing his store and when he tried to stop them they broke his daughters arm.  My dads friend, a builder on the house I am living in was asked by a traveller family to build their back wall up higher so they didn't have to look at the black people next door.  Now the kids play together, so it may have just been that particular family but there is racism and open predjudice against the Gay community among travellers.  I am only detailing specific incidents I have experienced with local travellers and through friends.  In the settled community if I saw my neighbours kids stealing cars and robbing from the local community I would turn them in to the police.  There is a sense of responsibility to society as a whole that seems to be lacking in the traveller community.  The traveller young people I met whilst in university told me that travellers hate settled people and although they wouldn't rob off each other, robbing off settled people is fine because settled people hate us and we hate them. It's clear from your letter that there are always exceptions and that the Romany community may be different! None of the issues above have been highlighted in the channel 4 documentaries.  Actually the community comes across, and rightly so, as religious, family orientated and despite what the girls are wearing, they are portrayed as much more respectable than settled girls.  If you are concerned about how travellers or gypsies are represented in society then please as a group look within yourselves and stop tolerating criminal and anti-social behaviour! Both go on in the settled community but they are not tolerated by those not involved.  I was brought up never to generalise and not to judge. My experience of travellers has shaped my opinion of the community as a whole in a very negative way. This was nothing to do with TV or any documentaries.  I would have championed the ethnicity of the community and would never ever tolerate any form of abuse against the traveller community. If I heard of a settled person racially or physically abusing a traveller I would report it. I don't agree with hateful names like "pikey". I have a feeling the same would not be done by travellers whitnessing me being abused by a member of their community.  As young people you represent your culture, and I am sure your family are very proud of you individually and as a member of the gypsy community.  I don't have any experience of the Romany culture but sadly young people like you,at the moment, seem to be the exception rather than the rule in Irish traveller culture.  

Sam 6:31 pm, 12-Mar-2012

Totally agree with your letter, I watch the show and think how can they letter their girls go out with nothing on and spray tan and make up like a old woman. My grandad was a romany gypsy and when I was a teenager, I was never allow out with a make up on let alone with nothing on. He like his parents lived in a house and they were hard working people. The only thing i remember is that they were very religious and always went to church. There is some sites near me and they are just like a dump with theirs horse are with all rubbish around. They take pride in how clean they are but why are the site so dirty.

Juliana 6:42 am, 18-Apr-2012

Nicely put Pip. I was watching it on TLC (here across the pond) and was confused about some of the "traditions." I did not know any of those stereotypes, being social outcasts nor about education and poverty. As far as the haters; you're looking like a bunch of hateful racist idiots all around the world.

AZ 10:15 am, 1-Sep-2012

As someone who has come across members of the Roma Gypsy and Irish Traveller community, unfortunately it has always been bad. We rented our house out in Sweden in the 90's to a family of Roma Gypsies and within 6 months they had stripped the house completely, taking central heating system, piping, sinks, baths etc etc. A Roma girl aged about 17 once tried stealing my phone by distracting me but I caught her and held on to her and phoned the police whilst she spat at me, tried kicking me, shouted rape, scratched me etc and when the police came I was informed by the officer that this was the 4th case that day he had dealt with involving Romas either pickpocketing, carrying out distraction thefts etc etc and he explained to me that he a Roma interpreter working for the police had explained that the Romas see nothing wrong in stealing something that does not belong them, as long as its from other Romas its ok. All the Irish travellers I have come across (and I have come across quiet a few) do nothing but warrant the stereotypical view that others have of them, scam people, rob people, dont pay taxes, cause nothing but trouble for the communities surrounding their sites and leave them sites absolute tips which means the local council tax payer (which they are not) has to pay for the clearing. I am sure there are decent Romas and Irish Travellers, but unfortunately until they put pressure on the bad apples within their community, the rest of us will continue to generally dislike them. Its similar to the case of Paul Condon (former Met Police Commissioner) when he stated that most cases of robberies (muggings) were carried out by young black men and he was accused of being a racist and a bigot and there was uproar, why....he spoke the truth and this was backed facts and figures and instead of being angry that he dared say something like that the community should have been angry with the young black men going out robbing people and I think the same should be said for the Roma and Traveller communities, please stop complaining about how discriminated against you are and instead focus on projecting a positive image of your communities as opposed to the negative image that is very prevalently being projected by the general behaviour of unfortunately a large portion of your communities. I am not a racist in anyway, I am of mixed English, Irish and Middle Eastern heritage but I am a realist who does not hide behind the cloak and mantle of political correctness, if something is black, its black, if something is white, its white and I tell it like I see it.

cassandra 10:57 pm, 11-Sep-2012

I dont agree with the letter as far as the perception that the TV programe creates. We watch the little girls thinking they are sooo cute,kids with responsabilities from a young age. We are very surpriced at the traditional beliefs and it teaches us not to judge people for their outfits. The sense of comunity/family/togetherness...the sense of belonging is extraordinary in these time and age. Well done wether you are travellers or gypsies or whatever... be your own do not change your ways

tish 12:04 am, 17-Sep-2012

Romani's steal, cheat, have mental health disorders galore, are poverty ridden, and have relatively low IQs...Irish travellers do the same...and both seem to have babies having babies, and embrace fringe activities that are based on what's the problem? there are enough similarities to render both groups undesirable as a whole...mandy pucker romany, mandy vort mullards...

pete 3:44 pm, 2-Oct-2012

These aint gypsies they are Irish tinkers,they have always been theiving bastards and are in no way related to real gypsies.I find it offensive that people refer to them as gypsies when they arnt. Tinkers use the term gypsy but have nothing to do with us,they are Irish roamers thieves and con-men no relation to romanys.

Sara 2:26 am, 22-Dec-2012

I totally agree with you and back you 100% doll xx

Helen 10:19 am, 23-Dec-2012

I watched the show purely as I am incredibly intrested in other peoples way of living. But even though I do not know to much about gypsies and travellers I was pretty sure that the show was portarying you wrongly. As you said only a tiny proportion of gypsies live like that and I think your letter is really good and you really should try and get your thoughts across! It totally changed my thoughts on channel 4. After watching the show I did research and found out so much more than what they are telling you! It makes me so sad to think that people want to be abusive to anyone I really don't understand it! And the reason why travellers and gyspies think bad of us is because of the way people behave to them! Good job Pip

Sals bels 11:27 am, 29-Dec-2012

Very well written letter!!!!!! I kept telling my aus friends that this show was fiction!!!!! What rubbish it is!!!! Best of luck

D 9:15 am, 18-Jan-2013

Im so annoyed at all of these racist comments! U white ppl. U always wanna find some minority to victimize when u fuckers r the worst. Only white ppl r crazy enough to do mass shootings and rape little kids. Y don't u guys look at yourselves and stop tryna victimize others. Since uwanna attach a label to ppl, how about that one u nut-job.

Stephanie Palumbo 6:54 pm, 4-Feb-2013

I've watched this show and I think it's great, i never knew what a gypsy or Romani was. I respect all different cultures and ethnicities. I wish more people would learn and not be so ignorant towards them.

ann 4:13 pm, 9-Feb-2013

well done girl for standing up and speaking out, my family are gypsy my late father would off gone mad if any off his girls had dressed in that manner or even wore makeup, we would off had are faces scrab until it was all of,your right they have the gypsy way off life all wrong. ann

ann 4:32 pm, 9-Feb-2013

well done girl for standing up and speaking out, my family are gypsies. My late father would off gone mad if any off his girls wore make up we would of had are faces scrab till all the muck was off we would have never dressed in that manner we knew better then that,I loved my life growing up going out totting with me dad, standing on the back of the wagon ringing the ball shouting out any old iron,THEY WERE BEST OF ME LIFE, Ann

liz 6:44 am, 11-Feb-2013

U r a motherfuker bich I am a gypsy :$

liz 6:45 am, 11-Feb-2013

Motherfuker I am a gypsy

Hayley 12:35 am, 12-Feb-2013

Dear pip, whilst I agree it's very unfortunate for people like yourself the only experience many of us have with travellers is a bad one. Travellers stole my families caravan we had saved up for for holidays. When I worked in a tea shop one summer travellers pitched up camp near by and would come into the shop and steal all the teacups and saucers. I know that these people aren't you but honestly, how would you feel towards travellers if you had these experiences?

Sharn 5:38 am, 13-Feb-2013

Well said pip I believe the programme degrades and even ridicules the traveller culture at times because it makes it out like its a through the looking glass type weird and strange world where it's almost alien like. I have many traveller friends and do you know what they are not strange at all they are just like u and me and have feeling and religious and cultural practices that should not be made fun off , it would be highly unacceptable to abuse or make derogatory comments for example about my mixed Asian background so then why do the documentary makers think its ok to poke fun at your culture. I'm just a young mum who wants my daughter to grow up to respect other people their cultures and practices and learn about the world and be a rounded person who respects others without prejudice. I think we as adults owe it to our youth because it is our duty to bring up cultured and informed children and tomorrow adults thankyou

zoemuchfun 4:23 am, 23-Feb-2013

I watch the shows and read up on the gypsy and traveler stories and history because I find it very interesting and honestly would like to find out my bloodline My father is a gypsy but my mother is not.Its very hard to search online there is nothing that I am finding ......

Tighearnan 6:42 pm, 23-Feb-2013

Well said Pip. That "documentary" is ridiculous.

Louise 11:04 pm, 2-Mar-2013

Hi there, I highly agree with and back your opinion's in this letter. Yes, I watch the programme, yes I find it interesting but No I do not find it beneficial. I understand that many Gypsy/Traveller's have created a bad name for the community but this programme doesn't exactly help. Channel 4 is just looking for rating's so they've found a way to discriminate against people without other's noticing. I think it's very unfair that people judge the Gypsy/Traveller community based on other's opinion's or experiences. Not ALL Traveller's are thieves. They are human beings and don't deserve to be treated with such disrespect. A Gypsy/Traveller will not judge you if they don't know you. They have respect for everyone, unless you discriminate against them. I'm sorry if this has offended anyone but I just wanted to say that. :)

ben is a collier 9:32 am, 18-Mar-2013

if im honest nearly every gypsy i know are drug dealers thieves and have been or are in prison yes the is the odd few that work but NOT many.

PaddyFlynn 12:49 am, 28-Mar-2013

Hi I'm 14, I'd just like to say Pip well done your extremely bright and articulate and a true advocate for your cause. I think it all comes down to stereotyping really there's percentages of good, bad and so on in everything and people have become ignorant through this modern way of life people do not think and learn for themselves anymore other things like other ignorant people, bias sources and secondary informers do there thinking for them its like the catholic priests for example people now believe catholic priests and priests in general are peadophiles this is totally untrue yes a small percentage of priest were and have been involved in this despicable onslaught and it was covered up and so on but now all priests get this disgust from the public which is terribly unfair and it has caused great problems and further deterioration to the catholic church. Another example is South Africa everyone thinks the negroes of South Africa are free and so on since the end of apartheid there in the 90s tis is not the case in facts statistics show whites wages, wealth and so forth has increased and there is a small sector of negroes rich and given rule over the south african people but they oppress as thr leaders before them and the whites in south africa are just as much anti semitized it shows the riffs in ethnic differences there still. Utopia can not be achieved that is just the basic way of the world 50 percent of the world will break there backs to pay bills while the other 50 live in bliss and provide so contribution to society. We are like ancient Rome please the ignorant let the rest cash in on there ignorance this on worked so long and I think we are facing the same now and the inevitable society collapse too but I'm not so sure it will just be deemed the dark ages once this great world catastrophe happens if it all ready has? , only time will tell.

Lou lou 8:00 am, 23-Apr-2013

"Genocide". "Genocide involes the attempt to Achieve the disappearance of a group by whatever means. It does not have to be violent, it could be a combination of policies that would lead to a race of people dying out. Attempting to blend "gypsies" out of existence in every country at the same time is GENOCIDE. We have suffered racial prejudice for thousands of years. we are the most hated race in the world. What Pip was trying to do was make a point to the 'documentary' makers Firecracker, that their program is doing nothing to change this. I understand why they have made the program, because gypsies are a secretive race of people and people are intrigued by us. But what you see on mbfgw is not a wel documented version of gypsy life it's a fabrication. Which I suppose the travellers who appear in the show are as guilty of allowing this program to be aired as ch4 are for showing it. We do not all act in this way, the majority of gypsies are in the most just everyday people trying to lead a normal life but it is very difficult with the prejudice we deal with every day of our lives. The government would like to sweep us under the carpet and forget about us. Local councils no longer have to provide site's for us to live on so where do we live ? If we buy land and apply for planning it's an outcry in the local and national media. "Gypsies invade local village" we don't invade anywhere we are not coming to attack you we just want to have a roof over our heads and a safe envuroment for our children to live in. We don't want to be integrated into to the lowest ebb in society in England, social housing on run down housing estates rife with drug dealing, crime and teenage single mums who have children just to get a flat. We want to live in our own community where we can retain our identity as gypsy people. There is some crime committed by gypsys I won't deny that and we can come across as loud and intimidating to some people. But wer'e only loud because most of us came from big families and we had to shout to be heard lol. But there is crime in all levels if society and which causes the most damage to all of us ? Take a look withinin our own government ! We're all guilty of name calling and prejudice on both sides gypsies and gorgers, so instead of name calling each other maybe we should just live and let live. Each to their own, don't judge a person because of their culture and way of life we don't want to be understood by you we want to be left to live our lives peacefully.

Jj 2:32 pm, 28-Apr-2013

I have grown up in mainstream Australia, i hav very liberal parents, anything goes here & I think the gypsy culture is amazing, u should b proud of ur beliefs, ur love of family & god love that bling!!!! We r all entitled freedom of choice & who is any1 2 judge our family history or any such thing, I think ur culture is pretty special & mainstream society could learn a little from ur staunch roots!!!! J x

Laura 1:44 am, 3-May-2013

Just want you to know that I LOVE watching my big fat gypsy wedding...and I do not laugh, I find it very interesting...I love knowing about different lifestyles and love the dresses and the interesting people in this series....not everyone has ill feelings toward Gypsies or for Irish Travelers....just calm down, it's not an indictment of you!

Sdoll 2:25 am, 6-May-2013

Amazing letter. I am a Romni. The people on this show are misfits. They are definitely not Romani gypsies nor Irish traveling gypsies. They are just a bunch of nomad gypsies. If any of our Romni girl wore anything like that we would be in big trouble. We are not even allowed to wear pants in front of older men. These is a freak show of white trash inbreds that made up some kind of billshit race. They need to change the name of this show. It's weird. I think they do pocess some of our words- and certain things like- the eye makeup and a few words. I think they are Irish travelers that copies us - and then landed in red neck states. Why don't they tell fortune? I don't get it.

David 12:16 am, 8-May-2013

All of this talk about Roma, or Romany or Travellers. Come on now, gypsies are Indians who were kicked out of India 700 years ago. As they were non white, when they eventually made it to Europe, the Europeans were frightened of them and racist. I did my genealogy back 10 generations and low and behold my 7th great grandmother was a gypsy and it states that in her baptismal record. The priest wrote GYPSY beside her name. So as soon as Europe realises that gypsies are Indians, not Roma, Romany, whatever, and deals with it, and stops marginalising them, they might eventually fit into European society. I have been through Eastern and Central Europe and have seen these people living in terrible conditions and I don't see the EU doing much about it. And well done Pip.

Koula 11:41 pm, 11-Jul-2013

Fantastic! Thank you for writing this.

humo 11:38 pm, 26-Jul-2013

Clearly didn't write that herself...she'd get two words in and trip over her eyelashes. I;m sorry but they ARE NOT A RACE! THEY ARE NOT AN ETHNICITY! they are a group of trampy scrotes who steal and try to intimidate others to get their way. Disgusted isn't even the word

j 1:24 pm, 27-Jul-2013

Clearly, humo, you did not even research or read the blog well, as the author is a teenage male. And working to get an education, as other Roma he knows. I suggest some readers need to study the subject a bit before they make assumptions. Read some more of Pipopotamus' blogs, find out about the current czech protests, and study what people who live in any poor areas, no matter the race, feel forced to do to survive and the struggles they have to overcome. Educate yourselves, and by doing so you may educate those around you and lose some biases you have.

Griffin from the States 9:42 pm, 23-Oct-2013

I know that in some ways, I can't speak to racism because in my country, we have institutionally marginalized everyone who isn't white, slaughtered an entire people, and slaved another... But jesus fucking christ, the ignorance of some of you people and unfounded idiotic hatred of some of you people. They're not people? They're not a race? Or an ethnicity? Just thieving bastards? OR THE ONE WHEN THE POSTER SAID "YOU SHOULD JUST KEEP YOUR HEAD DOWN AND NOT START TROUBLE"? What the fuck is wrong with you? Are you all BNP voters and white supremacists? Or just trolls with nothing productive to say? I can guarantee you that a racist-even-if-just-for-shock-purposes "documentary" airs on Channel 4 (and thank god your Crown doesn't sponsor it. Christ, at least the government has a modicum of taste) it's going to get a lot of ignorant, post-literate, fervently bigoted viewers who would take whats being shown to them as fact. You cannot tell a race/ethnicity/gender/what have you to sit down and shut up when they see the problems being caused them. When beatings, hate speech, vicious stereotypes abound WILLFULLY, you must begin to question yourself as a people. What kind of human being are you if you endorse the persecution of a people, and deny them even basic decency? Of fucking *COURSE* a lot of Romani people are involved in crime-- THEY'RE OF AN ALIENATED SOCIO-ECONOMIC STRATUM. THIS HAPPENS IN THE STATES ALL THE TIME. POOR PEOPLE COMMIT CRIME. THEY FEEL AS IF THATS THE ONLY WAY THE CAN GET BY. And when your country and culture is innately racist enough, you will marginalize an entire race to the point where they can only exist in that stratum. How many Romani professionals do you know? How many A-Levels graduates? Probably none, because your fucking culture still sees them as less-than-people, and its people like the ones above who willfully keep if that way. I hope the entirety of the white race finds itself embarrassingly in need of assistance from non-white nations at some point in the near future. Then we'll actually start to recognize how un-superior we truly are. Fuck you.

Jim bob 8:25 pm, 27-Nov-2013

the hate for our poeple started after being slaves, and never ended, now they find new ways to bring hate to the door. they dont care they just want to discredit a way of life that doesn't fit into their world. we are the last of the free people and i will be free until i die and my children shell be free to. opre roma

Trishy 7:57 am, 28-Nov-2013

I'm not convinced about the authenticity of your letter. It sounds as if it's been written by an American.

derek 9:42 pm, 28-Nov-2013

i am not a gypsy but i have worked for them, proper gypsys not pikeys,travellers ect.they treated me good, always paid me. yes there where a few things illegal, no tax on the van ect but they worked hard. i was working as a roofer. they are not saints but no worse than any other building company. all of them on the site worked hsrd, they had a scrap metal yard, skip hire, and a vehicle breakers yard. in fact the only difference between them and anyone else was there colour and they all lived in trailers. but i did notice the abuse they recieved from people if we went into a pub togeather after work, it was almost imposible to go for a drink without someone trying to start a fight with them. these where romany gypsys. a race not dropouts derek

E.S. 3:55 am, 14-Dec-2013

I enjoyed your letter pip I only just found out about my gypsy heritage about two weeks ago guess a large part of my dads side of the family is gypsy. Which I guess by blood makes me one as well so I found that your letter was very informative I have never watch my big fat American gypsy wedding. I have glanced at it and did find it offensive they had some things right but most of it is a sham thanks for the letter cleared a lot of stuff up.

Deidre Riley 3:41 am, 9-Jan-2014

I am a Irish Traveller, it breaks my heart to see all this ignorant hatred towards gypsies/travellers. You talk about what our communities have done to you maybe we should do the same My family came over to the states to get away from judgement and persecution because we are travellers do you know what my family got. My grandmother was taken from her family as a new born. Her father was beaten as well as other men trying to protect their family, my great grandmother was under age was placed in a home till my grandma was born then kicked to the streets after being scrubbed raw beaten and raped. All because " Our Kind " deserved it they told her. We do not belong here, go back to where we came from. So many families were tore apart and damaged all because of word of mouth as it is called these days. Not all of is are bad. We are just as human as any of you. It was devastating to hear how my grandmother was molested from her childhood to preteens till she ran from home, if she tried to go for help they looked passed her because the family told them she was a thieving traveller, they took their word over a child. She was reunited with a cousin and lucky found her way back to the family. So no I DO NOT feel ashamed of who my family is or where they came from, I feel ashamed for all those who pass in judgement and refuse to give us a chance for ourselves not as another's. The horror we hear that our families are put through because of another's mistake. We ( travellers/gypsies ) are judged by others actions. You use terms of hatred and ignorance and pass judgement on us. I can tell you any of you who hold hatred if you meet me in person would not even realize I AM a traveller and I AM proud of my heritage but you cast your opinions on is because of T.V shows and of another. Shame on you all of you.

Deidre Riley 3:51 am, 9-Jan-2014

To point out most involved in these crimes towards the gypsies/travellers come from where can you guess??? Ding ding you got it right England, where a lot of people left that country for what the right of freedom but funny how it still followed. Makes you think where the problem really began?

Diana Felicia 1:32 am, 10-Jan-2014

Well said Pip.Many around the world are blessing you in a very special way.

JC 6:15 pm, 17-Mar-2014

Very good letter and it shows, as always, there are two sides to reality. If people choose to live this way that is their life, so we do not have the right to say right or wrong, with respect that works the other way around. I know both gypsy and non gypsy friends, we have slightly different backgrounds and attitudes, but, we remain respectful. There are good and bad in all.

JC 3:33 pm, 19-Mar-2014

It takes all sorts to make the world turn. Just have respect for yourselves and others and then it would be a fine place.

jess 7:46 am, 24-Mar-2014

Thank you for your article, Pip! I started watching the show because I was truly interested in learning about your culture. All I've gotten was a faux reality wedding show. What the hell?! I wanted to learn about real issues significant to your community and learn about the history and culture, not watch people partying. I couldn't agree more that this show has done a disservice to you culture and if it was a show based on my culture I'd be just as upset. It's turned a community that the outside knows very little about into a circus for outsiders to poke fun of. If this was any other group, people would be outraged. That I can guarantee. You also made a very good point regarding how the title in itself displays the show's ignorance and lack of accuracy! Calling it a 'gypsy' show, then showing mostly Irish Travelers. Way to add to stereotypes. Not only that, but here in the states there has been an American version of the UK show, which is just as horrid. From the wedding-based show, a reality show on a Romani family has taken off which encompasses constant fighting, cleaning, and parties. Very cultural, indeed! What surprises me just as much is the comments that have ensued on your article. People are acting like you are over reacting for feeling offended and should just shut up and take it, yet I bet anything if the tables were turned, they would not be feeling this way. Who are any of you to tell her how she should be feeling? How entitled of you all! As if you have the authority to decide how she can feel. She has seen first hand how this show has contributed to further stereotyping and even violence, yet you have the right to tell her to shrug it off and put up with it. I hope there is a documentary made that accurately portrays your culture so that I can further my knowledge on your community. I am sorry that the media has done you wrong, you have every reason to feel the way you do. I am also glad that you cleared up the ''grabbing'', as all I saw was sexual assault and cringed every time it was shown. I have previously read that this is not a true tradition and am glad you feel the same. You are also completely right regarding the education system-it is not the fault of the parents, but the fault of the government for not creating a system that fits in with your culture, rather than a one size-fits all education system that in reality only fits one type of person. I am so happy to read that you are college educated and have many female family members who are educated as well and have careers. That is what we need to see on these shows! Not another wedding!!

Soraca 10:58 pm, 25-Mar-2014

Well done !! I really was hoping that someone would open up and say the way they feel about this stupid program, I think it's disgraceful the way we are portrayed !!! I'm sick to the teeth of been embarrassed by these documentaries ,were slaves ,we don't work ,we flash our kids, we have no education etc ,I'm an Irish traveller I work full time my kids a fully educated and full clothed,this is a disgraceful documentary ,having educated my kids all my life my kids are Irish travelers not(gypsies) we have gypsys in Ireland but they are Romanian not Irish I have no problems with them as we work together and support each other, but I'm sick of people calling me a gypsy, bit in say that I'm still discriminated on daily basis and people commenting about this documentary,I no the education system did fail travelers in the past but with pushing down the barriers things have changed a bit!i feel that a few cultural awareness sessions would change a few views ,

Margaret 11:34 pm, 25-Mar-2014

Finally!!!! I'm really glad that pip had the courage to speak out ,as an Irish traveller I laugh at these documentaries thinking that all traveller girls clean all day and have no education get married at 16 I'm 18yrs old and done my junior and leaving certs and I'm very proud, with barriers in my way I got all honors,as for these documentaries I was embarrassed while sitting my exams hearing students gossip about the shows ,I certainly don't clean all day as I barely had time to study but I am fond of a bit of glam I have to say !! Like all "girls" traveller or none traveller ,I hear a lot about gypsy in all these articles I never actually spoke to a gypsy we are Irish travelers not gypsies but I do not have a problem with gypsies ! We have different culture completely, we have gypsies in Ireland as far as I'm aware they are Romanian, someone in one article referred to us as robbers drug addicts etc, there's drug addicts all over the world that's a world wide problem! It's a pity that some people would see us like that !!! #proudtobeatraveller

shieroc 2:21 am, 15-Apr-2014

I have an honest question. Why are there no black people or people of color on My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding show. Do they believe that races should be seperate? I'm just curious as to why they don't associate with other races om the show.

lolaroxy1 5:33 am, 25-Apr-2014

Well you better talk to your Gypsy Sister's on TLC because they say they are Romani and are extremely trashy. There has to be some truth behind the show just as there was with the Jersey Shore and Italians, TLC is not just pulling this stuff from out of their ass. The show is showing what your people are putting out there. I also think blaming the school system for your ethnicity pulling your children "Girls" out of school to be exact is a cop out. Everyone from all walks of life get bullied , if you act right then there is no reason for people to think you are trouble. Get over it and stop the blame game.

Shhh 6:20 am, 2-May-2014

Ummm? Pip, a lot of people love this show, because it cool, intresting and fun to see how other cultures act! Now, I get where you're coming from its your life your culture and reality tv is making your race look bad! But remember your race is NOT the only race getting made fun of!! You're focusing on bad and not good. In this world people will hate your culture and people will LOVE your culture! It life and its not suppose to be easy. Sorry for your cousin too, society going downhill.

caitlin 12:07 am, 9-Aug-2014

Ye gorgers r fuckin critisisen us we r humans at the end of the day u cant judge all travellers r gypsies the same

Madonna 5:33 am, 16-Aug-2014

I totaly agree with this letter. They are people like the rest of us and they don't deserve to be discriminated like this. Just in case your wondering I am not a roma or a travelor but they should not be discriminated aganst like this.

Madonna 5:51 am, 16-Aug-2014

I totally agree with you. I think it's wrong to discriminate people like that because at the end of the day we are all human and it makes me very upset that people discriminate Roma and Gypsys in that way. No one and I meen no one should be discriminated and every one from every were should be rispected and if this show herts people then it should not be allowed on TV. Peace and love to all. :)

caitlin 12:07 am, 19-Aug-2014

Lest some1 agrees just coz we r irish travellers doesnt mean u have too be mean does it u wouldnt like it happen to u would u we dont stop classing us all the same we r not the same

caitlin 12:13 am, 19-Aug-2014

Tanks madonna fir sticking up for er cultre

Rebecca 9:06 pm, 2-Sep-2014

Two of my dearest friends On this earth are Romany gypsies - they have only ever been the most loving and sincere people I've been lucky enough to know and they've helped not just me but my extended family beyond measure. I'm proud to call them my friends which I do often - despite the stigma and the mixed signals I get from that, our friendship will a be life long one. Open up your minds - would it be acceptable to label any other ethnic minorities? No its illegal. There is bad in every race creed and religion but I'm just asking you to not be so judgemental. Big love to Kelly and charmaine and your lovely family xx

Teresa lee 10:49 pm, 2-Sep-2014

Well this is to John John John boie Well you say most of the gypsies u know have been to prison. Was it a gypsy that murdered the 2 little girls at soham, NO. Was it a gypsy that burnt his 7 children to death, NO. Was the Yorkshire ripper a gypsy, NO. Was a gypsy responsible for Madeleine mc canns disappearance NO. I'd look at your own culture before I criticised anyone else's

Ginge 12:29 am, 3-Sep-2014

How can Irish traveller be an ethnicity you're Irish you just choice to travel or as most of you do just stay in one place and steal and harrass the local community?! I don't believe that you can call you're group an ethnic group that's like having ginger or blonde or brunette as a ethnicity!!

betty 1:16 am, 3-Sep-2014

My famlie are travlers and worked hard allthere lives nither me or my 11siblings have ever been to prison and are nothing like the travlers on tv lately nither are most travlers i know

babe07 5:38 pm, 3-Sep-2014

You are all getting on my nerves with your prejudice opinions. I am a Irish traveller girl and I am highly offended, I don't walk around half naked, fake tanned all the time, I actually finished school and got great gcses. You shouldnt paint everyone with the same brush its like me saying that every country person are rapists killers but I don't I get to know people for who they are not jump to conclusions. Also I never even heard of grapping until bfgw and since then its been getting worse every young one has to be even more careful because of bfgw. Not every traveller are robbers and locked up sometime in their life all my aunts have jobs and pay their taxes and mist of them are married to country people so if we were so bad why would they marry a traveller we are not all bad so stop being judgemental all the time we're actually nice people when you get to know us.

christina 6:50 pm, 3-Sep-2014

totally agree, most tv shows are no more than government proper gander, used to influence the populations minds, irish travelers and Romany gypsys are minority groups that the british government simply can not tolerate or except in any way, and i know for sure that after the success and popularity of the first series channel 4 were ordered to show travelers in a bad light before they become too socially accepted buy the general population....the thing that worrys me the most is the last government that brain washed its civil population over it gypsys way of life was the nazi party!!

Nu-Nu Morris 2:40 am, 4-Sep-2014

Wow just wow. Love the letter PIP and on reading this while being a settle ROMANI it has taken a while to settle and was also kicked out of school for being different as much as I enjoyed the show BFGW I find my self passing judgement upon the editor or the show because it seemed they always filmed the bad bits of the community and not what there like on a day to day basis. I love how the girls have fun with dressing up for the special occasions and I also think that certain cultures wouldn't like being called a thief or a tramp so for judgemental people to pass judgement up the gypsies or travellers without fully understand there roots is down right pathetic I'm pretty sure it ent just the gypsies or travellers that are theiving lil scallywags as a couple of u have said. Have none of u done things in ur life ur not proud off$. Have u never been in trouble with the police before.. We all have a history so don't try n judge others for something uve done ur self. Garenteed at some point uve either stole or broke windows or even tried black boxing cars.. None of us gypsies or travellers are innocent but I'm pretty sure none of u judgemental lot are as white as white either. God bless the gypsies and travellers And may the devil strike any of u judgemental hypercrits with lively pasts down cause iit will be nothing more then u deserve U complain about racist remarks yet u all call the gypsies and travellers all the names under the sun and then wonder why the come and rob u.. We are all human no matter what culter ur from we all have feelings u treat the travellers and gypsies with respect ull get it back " an eye for an eye" Good luck PIP and god bless ur family xx

Christina 8:37 pm, 4-Sep-2014

Pip- I am not a blood line of Gypsy but I am married to a Pipeliner and we to travel all over. I am proud to say We are Gypsy in our own way. We to get a bad wrap just because of a small crowd of what I call knuckle heads that are on the Pipeline go around and get drunk and fight in bars and act like fools and get in trouble. There for we that just work and stay out of trouble to get the bad name. Our children can't stay in school long because we don't know where we will be from week to week or months. They also get bullied as well sometimes. This is so sad. I totally understand your article and want to thank you so much for sharing. Good luck to you and God Bless all Gypse wether Blood or just a traveling Gypse due to work.

Christina 8:42 pm, 4-Sep-2014

I completely understand and want to thank you for your post. I'm a pipeliner Gypsy and we also get judged to because of some small group of crazy drunk fight want a be guys who go out to fine a fight. Makes us look bad. I love traveling. Thank you so much for your Inspiring letter. God Bless to all Gypsy and Pipeline travel Gypsy.

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Tel 3:00 pm, 10-Sep-2014

I don't disagree that they are portraying crap hun but I do agree there are a lot of "travellers" as they call them self that do nothing but cause trouble beat people up steal and it leaves a lot of people in situations they fell they can't defend them self personally I think these people are not real travellers they use the name and make all the nice people look bad but when u have groups of people moving into houses and they do nothing but cause trouble people will start hating because they can't get help to stop it and if they try they just have a group of people terrorise them I have seen it myself on many occasions but I also have friends that are nothing like that and there the nicest people I know. If the stigma is going to stop the fake gypsies and travellers need to stop using the name as a scape goat it isn't fair on the traveler,gypsies or anybody else no one should act like a idiot no matter where u are from.

Tel 3:16 pm, 10-Sep-2014

Just want to point out aswel two wrongs don't make a right if someone calls you something you don't go and rob them since when is that acceptable that just makes what people say correct really doesn't it! I mean people need to open there eyes there are bad people were ever you go but when groups of people are intentionality calling them self's travellers and going round hurting people that have done nothing or they won't do what they want it will create a stigma just the same us English gorga think it's spelt as I've heard many times what's that about?! I believe there's a lot of hate on both sides but if everyone stopped hating and start appreciating each culture maybe the world could take the good from both sides and get on rather than cause trouble and argue. noone is perfect and life is one big lesson were all learning together just remember that

jay 1:34 pm, 13-Sep-2014

Its so sad reading this every1 is the same everyone has a heart mind and soul and deserves to be treated with humanity and never be stereotype group race ethnicity but people do its where they have nothing better to do or maybe be scared or frightened from a group ,race ,ethnicity im 100% English and nether have a problem with any race!!

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Billy smith. Who owns the ponderosa site@ lhr 11:48 pm, 9-Dec-2014

What needs to be said is irish now think there rom gypsys and don't know the difference, mind you you would be hard to find pure blood anymore with uk roms, language purity and difference ( being nice here) but as time goes by and money make them more integrated . Iam English gypsy I I look it but blend in with gorgis , but have predgious because Iam a gay gypsy man. When you look at it were all put a box! Kushdi tsarla adre mandi. X

Billy smith. Who owns the ponderosa site@ lhr 12:00 am, 10-Dec-2014

Btw I forgot to add, I asked granny Harrison how did Irish travllers come about, and there all from the one place in Ireland as there only 4 th at most 5 generation from that one town as there wasa couple of brothers who came over and were workmen for rom and took wise to what they were shown and took to our way of life, she remembers before they were here, could be wrong but seems to fit. . Billy.

Annamaria 9:54 pm, 20-Dec-2014

Thank you! I'm Italian and I have to admit that I know nothing about Gypsy and Traveller's culture but my parents have been watching this trash of tv show for months now. It enrages me so much and I needed to know that what it is shown is a complete work of fiction and thanks to you I can now sleep well at night. It is so infuriating watching a program that suggests a cultural content about an ethnicity we really know nothing about and then being misled into believing that all Gypsies and Travellers are a bunch of self-obsessed women and violent men. Thank you again for clarifying this for me. I will read this article to my parents for sure.

Joy 9:47 pm, 26-Dec-2014

I am a multiracial educated female. I am studying the gypsy lifestyle as much as I can and I am interested in meeting a nice gypsy male and seeing if we hit it off. I am very interested in possibly marrying iinto the lifestyle and committing 100% to it. I live in Georgia, does anyone know if there is a way to meet Gypsy males? I am very serious so please do not take this as disrespectful. I am interested in fully committing. Please help if anyone knows any dating sites or forums that can help me with this. :))))) Thank you

Marina Magdalena 4:19 am, 30-Dec-2014

The letter above was beautiful. I am a traveller girl from the Netherlands (yes, there's plenty of travellers here, an estimated 30.000). My father was a sinto and my mom a traveller so I have some of both worlds ("gypsies" and travellers). The word "gypsy" makes me cringe, it's just as much an insult towards the Romani people as the word "pikey" is to travellers, or the N-word to people of colour (and YES, it really IS THAT INSULTING). Of course, as a "white" non-muslim girl I have to keep my big mouth shut whenever I feel I don't get the same opportunities as settled people because of my ancestry. I applied for college at age 17 (I wished to get a degree in social studies) and I was told I'd be better off getting a cleaning certificate or finishing beauty school 'cause that would be more 'fitting to my culture', as the kind lady said. When I did go to beauty school, the other girls taunted me endlessly and basically treated me as a slave, and the teachers went along with it, saying if I didn't do what the other girls said I would be kicked out of school. At one point I couldn't do it anymore, I would go to school crying and leave school crying and my body was covered in psoriasis, which I never had up until that point. I spoke to the headmaster if there were any other possibilities for me, and they helped me pick out another educational direction. I picked low-level tourism which would help me eventually get into the school I actually wanted in the first place. First day of school after summer holidays, I left home happily for school and I was refused passage because I was a traveller. The school kicked me out just like that, everything was fine before summer holidays and all of the sudden I was told I was not welcome anymore, with some bogus excuse that I wasn't allowed to change directions while settled girls were allowed to change directions four, five times (and it was my hard-earned money I payed that school from anyway). Even before that I suffered from much discrimination, internships for high school were problematic for me to get, I had no friends because the parents of the other children had told them not to play with me because I was a traveller and you never know...I was the quietest kid in school! In high school, the other girls were bullying me for the clothes I wore (expensive, glittery brand name clothes my mom bought for me) and the boys wouldn't wanna talk to me because it was shameful to be seen with me. Fast forward, I am now 22 years old, married not too long ago to a sweet Italian man, but I work in a sh**ty factory, as a woman. I hate my job, but I will not be hired anywhere else and we need the money. As long as there are no children on the way yet I will continue working. I have been forced to marry outside my community because my mother was so liberal she wanted me to have a good life, with a degree and everything and I had been focusing on getting a degree and a decent job, which despite really fighting for it I didn't get. All the boys my age and up are already married, so I had to marry someone who was willing to adapt to my culture instead. I was very Lucky to have a very liberal mother, my father is dead. My mother loves my husband almost as much as I do, I was Lucky that I was able to marry just a man I fell in love with instead of having to marry someone of my own kind like some girls in more old-fashioned families. My life has been ruined by settled people all because of stupid prejudice, I could have been more than just a housewife and factory worker if I would have been given the chance. See? Many of us want to but just aren't given the chance to reach their full potential. A person does crazy things when they're driven in a corner, and I can tell you many of us are driven into a corner daily. It's not fun to hear you're a "dirty filthy gipsy tinker pikey" every single day of your life. Settled people: try being one of us for one single day and see if you still have a big friggin mouth.

TLA 10:30 am, 8-Jan-2015

B your comment itself was ignorant and racist. You are a hypocrite. There is too much hate and uneducated jerks on here. Smh. Humanity obviously is dying when you wish to ignorantly condemn the majority based on a few and hold so much hate in your souls. You may want to look in the mirror and check our closet for skeletons before you point your fingers an turn on others for being different.

TLA 10:31 am, 8-Jan-2015


black woman from California 11:00 am, 18-Jan-2015

Hello...its TV...its scripted and people get paid for it...stop watching "reality" TV and live your own life.

Ariel 2:06 am, 23-Feb-2015

Im glad to have read your letter. Shamefully I did think alot of what I saw was real, but still trying to keep in mind that "reality tv" cuts and edits alot of make things look different. It seems like the people we are seeing (especially the US version) are just the bogans of the culture., not to be taken as a ambassador for the whole culture.

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