This isn’t something that I thought I’d be writing about but I just thought I should give my opinion.
What’s been happening over the past couple of months, hell even years has given me so much food for thought.
As a society, we are the cause of our own misfortunes and the way we treat people in the public eye has a detrimental effect on them.
We are all human. We all have feelings, we all have thoughts. That’s why we have to be careful with what we say because we can be never be sure of how it can affect a person’s mental health.
In case you haven’t read the news over the month or so, here’s a quick back story:
Caroline Flack was a TV presenter who was well known presenting The X Factor but mostly for hosting the very popular reality dating show Love Island for the past 5 years.
She made headlines in mid to late 2019, the Sun published an unconfirmed image of a bloody mattress and claimed it was her’s. A domestic violence case was then opened. Her boyfriend did not want to press any charges but she attended court with him supporting her.
Despite this, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) still decided to pursue her and take her to trial, subsequently, the tabloids jumped on this story.
Because of the negative press and scrutiny, everyone and their mother had formed their own opinions on a matter that was supposed to be private. From the outside looking in we do not know what goes on behind closed doors and we can’t know for sure what happened.
For celebrities in the public eye mental health is a very fragile thing.
Sadly, as a result of the social media and tabloid storm, Caroline committed suicide. Notice how I said, “as a result of social media and tabloids” and not Love Island the show itself.
I have been seeing a hashtag on Twitter that reads #cancelloveisland but if we really think about it Love Island the show is not the problem in this case. And I said this case because it can be argued that the show was part of the reason 2 other known contestants committed suicide in 2018 and 2019. (I’ll discuss that more in another post).
This is a very unpopular opinion but the problem lies with the fact that the press chose to repeatedly hound an individual who is in the public eye. Caroline was a very popular and had a lot of fans because of the show.
We are a society that has a “scapegoat” culture especially when it comes to reality TV programmes. We are quick to blame shows themselves for the misfortune of people that have been part of them. Caroline was a major part fo this show for 5 years and it’s understandable that people think it is to blame for this sad event.
The fact that the CPS and other outlets still chose to prosecute her is disgusting. I truly think because she is a public figure the CPS wanted to use her as an “example” because she’s a women and she had a domestic “scandal” previously, despite the protests of her boyfriend.
I can see why the public want Love Island to be held accountable as two other people associated with the show committed suicide; Mike Thalassitis and Sophie Graddon also committed suicide. Both were said to struggling with their mental health before taking their own lives.
I strongly believe this was a completely separate issue from Mike and Sophie’s deaths.
This here was a witch hunt. And as a result of the pressure a life was lost.
Being mindful is very important. Yes, we have the right to express opinions but I cannot stress even how, even celebrities suffer from mental health issues.
When someone is being scrutinised and constantly character assassinated, it can take its toll. One of the last posts Caroline put on her Instagram mirrored this.
Caroline Flack’s post of Christmas Eve 2019
You can tell that she was putting on a brave face despite life adversity coming at her left, right and center.
Once you have made a name for yourself in entertainment and on such a huge platform, your life completely changes, you are constantly in the public eye, constantly being watched, suddenly everyone has an opinion about how you should and shouldn’t live your life. Sometimes the pressure can get too much. Sometimes you feel have no one you can talk to and you feel alone. Social media is a place where we can “fake it to we make it”. We’ve gotten good at hiding what’s going on behind the scenes.
This story makes me so sad because the CPS still chose to pursue her despite her boyfriend supporting her, the Sun and the Daily Mail and individuals like Dan Wotton still chose to publish scathing articles about her.
If you read between the lines of her post on Christmas Eve you can tell that she had reached a point where she had had enough, even though she was still trying to push through.
Mental health is very serious and you can’t be sure of what people are going through that’s why it is so vital to be kind, even to so-called celebrities.
Honestly, kindness costs nothing! Social media, individuals online and the press have actually damaged so many lives. I’m even guilty of speaking negatively about people I see on social media.
As a community, we need to do more, be more supportive, speak up and out about the mental health of those in the limelight and not add to pressure.
Even though, I believe the tabloids have a major part to play in her death, I also think shows like Love Island need to do more for the people who go on their show in terms of aftercare. In this instance, it was not to blame.
I can see why people believe that Love Island should be cancelled and it will be no surprise to me if it is. It is long overdue. (I will elaborate more in another post.)
As I said at the beginning of this post, we are all human no matter our status.
In a world where we can be anything, be kind.
Peace & Love ✌❤