Former Love Island host Caroline Flack was pronounced dead at her London flat on Friday the 15th of February. A lawyer for the family confirmed that the star had taken her own life.
The television presenter had recently stepped down from presenting ITV’s Love Island after an alleged assault on her boyfriend, Mr. Burton, which she pleaded guilty to in December.
Since, a plethora of articles has flooded in to pay tribute to the host who was described as being one of ‘Britain’s most successful presenters.’
The news has also attracted an influx of distaste towards online media platforms that encourage, and create a platform that fabricates lies and hatred towards those in the spotlight.
A petition, under the name of ‘Caroline’s Law’ has since been developed and is calling for tighter laws to be put into place in order to protect celebrities and individuals in the public eye, and has now accumulated more than half a million signatures.
Under ‘Caroline’s Law’ the campaign’s creator, Dennis Patton, states that it would “make it a criminal offence, not dissimilar to Corporate Manslaughter, for the British Media to knowingly, and relentlessly bully a person whether they be in the public eye or not, up to the point that they take their own life.’ Politicians have condemned press intrusion, and are calling for more regulation of both traditional and social media after the death of Flack.
However, the media’s response since the breaking news of Caroline Flack has only lead to the belief that these tabloid papers are still putting chasing clicks ahead of saving lives by failing to acknowledge the need to filter triggering headlines.
Many people will see these headlines or notifications and not actually go on to read the entire piece. Many of these being outlandish headlines that stated ‘Caroline flack found HANGED at London home.’
As the Samaritans guidelines specifically say on reporting suicide “Avoid any mention of the method in headlines as this inadvertently promotes and perpetuates common methods of suicide.” This follows a study’s findings following the death by suicide of comedian Robin Williams in 2014, there was a 10 percent increase in the number of suicides in the US.
Many are taking action into their own hands during the wait to see these laws attract the interest of parliament and encouraging people to, in the words of Caroline Flack’s legacy to ‘Be Kind.’ A trend that began in the wake of her death.
In a statement released on Instagram from ‘@Xtendedlocks’, they stated that they would no longer be offering ‘Gossip’ magazines whilst people were having their hair done, their statement said that “Today we stand by many other Hair Salons that have made the decision to stop providing GOSSIP magazines whilst you are having a service. After the recent sad news of Caroline Flack, the unfair press, the negativity bred in these magazines is not healthy. Pages and pages of negativity, fat-shaming, shaming celebs with no makeup and much more.” And that from now on they “will only supply positive magazines providing personal growth, decor, food, fashion, hair inspiration, health and wellbeing.”
Many have rushed to blame the Crown Prosecution Service for pressing ahead with Ms Flack’s trial, set to begin next month. Ms Flack’s charge was only ever alleged and will now never come to court.
The argument to withdraw the prosecution stems from the fact that her boyfriend maintained that he did not want to press charges. In a statement released by Flacks management they acknowledged their disproval to the case as they believe “The CPS pursued this when they knew not only how very vulnerable Caroline was, but also that the alleged victim did not support the prosecution and had disputed the CPS version of events.”
However, The Crown Prosecution Service has recently been under pressure not to drop domestic violence charges even when complainants withdraw allegations.
This has drawn a lot of controversy as to suggest that the future of abuse could be defended with mental health is extremely dangerous. To drop all domestic violence charges because the victim requested it or concerns of the perpetrators mental health, would see the prosecution rate plummet.
There are many reasons that may lead the perpetrator to withdraw their comments, whether this be manipulation of their abuser, fear of retribution, or the court process. Arguing is normal in a relationship, violence, however must never, ever be normalised in relationships. These myths serve one purpose, and that is blaming the victim.
In a recent statement released by Caroline Flack’s family, she said she “took responsibility for what happened that night” but said it had been an accident and she “was NOT a domestic abuser.” Later in the statement Miss Flack shared how “the truth has been taken out of my hands and used as entertainment.”
At the end of the day, we are all human and we all make mistakes, that is not to disregard the allegations of abuse, that must be taken seriously, but so should the way that the tabloids hound and harass people to an almost inhumane level. The media is a powerful tool but should not be used as a platform for a death sentence.
If you have been affected by any of the issues mentioned in this article or know someone who is struggling, please contact :
Samaritans a registered support charity for emotional struggle, Call: 116 123 https://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help/contact-samaritan/talk-us-phone/