• Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

Caroline Flack’s death: another indication of bias in the media?

ByPatricia Kohring

Mar 1, 2020

Grief and rage took over the public when Caroline Flack’s death was announced on February 15th. Many expressed that the former television presenter’s life shouldn’t have ended when it did or the way it did, and as a result are now demanding justice and empathy for the treatment received by celebrities nowadays. 

 As the long-standing hostess of The X-Factor and the reality show Love Island, Flack was a household name across the UK. ​Though her progression from an unknown theatre student to a widely-recognised media presenter can be viewed as a success story, the fame which came as a byproduct was not always kind to her.  

Flack revealed that when she first appeared on The X-Factor, instead of celebrating her new career opportunity she spent the evening after the filming in tears. Some of the feedback about her presence on the show that night was heavily tainted with negativity, addressing everything from her presenting skills to her behaviour and appearance. She told the BBC: “The reaction was quite overwhelming because I didn’t think people would be talking about how I look, how I stand, how I walk or how I laugh.”

 After the recent allegations that Flack had assaulted her boyfriend Lewis Burton, an English tennis player, the negative responses only increased. According to statistics released by The Guardian, the proportion of negative versus positive headlines published about the TV presenter almost doubled after the charges, where 35% were of a destructive nature and only 18% were supportive of Caroline.

Following her death, many politicians, members of the public, and the press began to search for causes on which they could place blame, suggesting more regulations on social media and accusing reality TV of being responsible for its problematic consequences on the mental health of those in the spotlight. 

All things considered, it is possible to argue that the tragedy falls under the responsibility of everyone. The problem doesn’t lie within individual instances of unkindness, but the culture of a system which might encourage harsh judgement and unfair scrutiny. 

 This appears to be a common issue faced by those in the public eye. 18-year-old Billie Eilish, who won five Grammys at this year’s awards ceremony, recently announced that she had stopped reading her social media comments because of the negativity she experienced from them.

 Perhaps a greater effort to question the representations of individuals through money-making mediums is required, as well as the need to reflect on our own attraction to content which promotes the disparaging of others. The tragedy of Caroline Flack’s suicide could be a wake-up call which raises awareness about mental health at a time when kindness towards others seems more important than ever before. 

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