I’m a Celebrity viewers defend Anne Hegerty after she’s branded ‘the new Gemma Collins’

I’m a Celebrity returned last night with a bang for its 2018 series but before the show was over it was all proving too much for one campmate.

The Chase’s Anne Hegerty, also known as The Governess, broke down in tears in Snake Rock and confessed she didn’t know if she could carry on.

It came after a gruelling day of challenges which involved Anne, who has Asperger syndrome, blindly sticking her hand in a box full of spiders and crabs before swimming across a lake.

Her team lost and ended up sleeping on the floor and eating basic rations.

Within minutes of her getting upset, dozens of people on Twitter had likened her to TOWIE ‘diva’ Gemma Collins, who quit the jungle after three days in 2014.

I'm a Celebrity viewers defend Anne Hegerty after she's branded 'the new Gemma Collins'

Anne’s campmates rallied around her to provide comfort
(Image: ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

I'm a Celebrity viewers defend Anne Hegerty after she's branded 'the new Gemma Collins'

Gemma Collins was called a ‘diva’ when she couldn’t cope with the jungle conditions
(Image: Rex Features)

Comments ranged from "I think Anne is going to be the next Gemma Collins" to "she’s having a Gemma Collins breakdown".

One even told her to ‘get a grip’, writing: "I thought being a chaser, Anne was a woman of intelligence. We are seven seasons into # imacelebrity and on night one she is having a proper Gemma Collins breakdown as she is sleeping outside with bugs.

"Now forgive me if I’m a wrong but that was pretty much of a given! # getagrip"

But viewers with some understanding of Asperger’s took issue with this labelling and jumped to Anne’s defence.

Dan Morgan said: "People tweeting about Anne being this years Gemma Collins, she is not a diva like Gemma. She has asperger’s so here’s just a little paragraph to explain why she may struggle more than most."

He included a screenshot of text which read: "People with Asperger syndrome see, hear and feel the world differently to other people.

"If you have Asperger syndrome, you have it for life – it is not an illness or disease and cannot be ‘cured’.

I'm a Celebrity viewers defend Anne Hegerty after she's branded 'the new Gemma Collins'

Fleur and Anne were chosen for the yellow team by Rita and James
(Image: ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

"Often people feel that Asperger syndrome is a fundamental aspect of their identity."

Another Twitter user wrote: "Some of the comments being made about Anne Hegarty on I’m A Celeb are horrendous.

"Seems to be the general opinion that you don’t have the right to find situations stressful so long as there is a financial incentive to what you’re doing.

"Referring to her as this year’s Gemma Collins is simply undermining the fact that Anne Hegarty has autism."

One said: "I hope everybody watching at home appreciates just how far @anne_hegerty is going outside of her comfort zone. I’m proud of her for being so incredibly brave and challenging herself."

According to the National Autistic Society, people with Asperger’s can become ‘overwhelmed’ by their surroundings.

I'm a Celebrity viewers defend Anne Hegerty after she's branded 'the new Gemma Collins'

Anyone would be overwhelmed by the jungle – but Anne could be particularly affected
(Image: ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

"Some people with Asperger syndrome say the world feels overwhelming and this can cause them considerable anxiety," their website explains.

"Understanding and relating to other people, and taking part in everyday family, school, work and social life, can be harder."

The society also explain how people with Asperger’s have difficulty ‘reading’ other people and expressing their own emotions.

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They may appear to be insensitive, seek out time alone or appear to behave ‘strangely’ or in ways thought to be socially inappropriate.

They also may find it hard to form friendships, which might make Anne’s jungle journey even more difficult.