Public outrage against the media emerges in aftermath of Caroline Flack affair
Public outrage has emerged following the death of Caroline Flack, questioning the safety of public figures under media scrutiny once again.
The television presenter, who was going through a difficult situation during the time of allegedly assaulting her boyfriend back in January, was reported to have taken her own life by hanging herself at her flat in West London on the 15thof February.
Ever since, comments and posts have emerged on the internet pointing fingers at various sources including tabloid newspapers such as The Sun and the Daily Star, social media trolls, the Crown Prosecution Services and Flack’s management at ITV.
Several users have blamed the gutter press for having “blood on their hands”, accusing them of contributing towards Flack’s death by repeatedly publishing sensationalist headlines, claiming how what happened to her was “death by the media”, as it allegedly caused the star to feel that suicide was the only way out.
As mentioned by sources including The Guardian, Flack’s family has shared an unreleased Instagram post by the presenter which she had written days before taking her own life, as an inquest into her death. In it, she stated: “I’ve accepted shame and toxic opinions on my life for over 10 years and yet told myself it’s all part of my job. No complaining.”
“The problem with brushing things under the carpet is… they are still there and one day someone is going to lift that carpet up and all you are going to feel is shame and embarrassment.”
“I’ve been having some sort of emotional breakdown for a very long time.”
The presenter’s ex-boyfriend, Andrew Brady, has also recently published a post on his official blog which he titled ‘Caroline Flack’s Death – Who is to blame?’. In it, he blamed various people including producers at ITV for not providing enough psychological support and not protecting the presenter during her time hosting Love Island by “leaving her to dry with the tabloids.”
Several users have also referenced recent cases in which other Love Island stars have died due to suicide, and demand for the producers of the show and tabloids to take some responsibility. They have called out for mental health awareness and for people to be kinder and support those who may be suffering from mental disorders.
Steven Barnett, a leading media academic and professor of Communications at the University of Westminster comments on how the consistent harassment of nasty tabloid stories about Caroline Flack had led her to feel desperate and labels UK regulatory body Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) as useless due to not properly implementing codes of conduct, as it is owned by the newspapers themselves.
Although, Barnett also mentions that it should not be speculated why Caroline Flack had committed suicide, as there most likely were various reasons why this could have been;
“Most tabloid showbiz reporters work on the basis that celebs are fair game even if what they write is untrue, unfair or just nasty. There is a press code of conduct that is supposed to be implemented by IPSO, which unfortunately is completely useless because it is owned and run by the newspapers themselves.”
“IPSO is useless and frankly no more than a fig-leaf which allows the press to pretend that they run a proper regulatory system. It is no more than a puppet regulator which allows the press to treat its own code of conduct with contempt, as they have been doing for decades.”
“We should not and must not speculate on why she took her own life, there were probably multiple reasons. Whatever the reason, the constant harassment and nastiness of some of those tabloid stories will surely have contributed to a sense of desperation at a very low point in her life.”