The newspapers have been held culpable, the prosecution has been held culpable, but where is the personal culpability?
It’s easy to blame the tabloids for the recent death of Caroline Flack. It’s easy to blame internet trolls. It’s less easy is to blame ourselves.
Sure, it was the tabloids who wrote story after story, demonising a woman who had spoken several times publically about suffering from mental health issues. But their stats told them the articles received click after click, from an audience thirsty for blood. And sure, it was ‘trolls’ who spewed the hate. Spurred on from the hundreds of thousands of likes and shares their tweets received.
It’s both a laughable and a terrible thought that in 2020 we haven’t evolved much from being an angry mob on a witch-hunt. Rather than gather with our pitchforks and torches we gather with our iPhones and our Wi-Fi connection.
Caroline’s death isn’t a reason to ignore the no doubt serious allegations made against her, however this was a woman who had lost her ‘dream’ job, and probably her career. She was about to be punished by a court of law. Was it necessary to be punished in a court of public opinion?
In the time following Caroline’s death, the headlines have read ‘Cruel prosecution’ and ‘a vulnerable woman’. #Bekind has been trending on twitter and the tributes for flack are still pouring in. Salons have pledged to ditch gossip rags from their premises and social media has been in an uproar about the role tabloids played in Caroline’s death. With this in mind, I’d like to believe we are turning over a new leaf.
But I can’t.
The recent headlines are a far cry from one’s such as ‘Flack Attack and ‘Horror Movie’. In the final weeks of Love Island, the reality TV show Flack hosted, between the ‘Heartfelt’ tributes were still tweets villainising and tearing into other contestants. The newspapers have been held culpable, the prosecution have been held culpable, but where is the personal culpability?
It’s easy to tweet condolences whilst it’s topical to do so, but how many of us have lost sleep over the articles we click on villainising another human being, or the content that we like or share. We all need to take responsibility for what we consume. It’s only a matter of time for the tabloids pick their next victim. Next time, will you be complicit in burning them at the stake?