On the 7th September 2018, Malcolm McCormick, known to fans as ‘Mac Miller’, was found dead due to a suspected drug overdose. Promptly after his death, millions of online tributes started flooding in from friends, family and fans alike who were mourning the rapper’s untimely death.
Many of the tributes, however, began to place the blame for Miller’s death on his ex-girlfriend, Ariana Grande. Despite Miller being explicitly candid about his difficult relationship with drugs, even admitting that his entire 2014 album, Faces, was about cocaine, somehow internet trolls have pointed their finger at Ariana, marking her as the root cause behind his death.
Ariana received so much online abuse that she was forced to close her Instagram comments in order to minimize the unjust hate she was receiving. This was not the first time Ariana had been publicly criticized for the severe consequences of Mac’s drug addiction. Earlier this year, Mac was arrested for driving under the influence following a hit and run. People then took to social media to bombard Ariana with messages stating that her new, and very public, relationship with Pete Davidson led to Miller’s accident and that she was consequently to blame. Ariana was forced to respond to the backlash, stating that she is “not a babysitter or a mother” and that women should not feel pressured to stay in “toxic” relationships.
It is common for the partner of someone with a substance abuse to feel pressured to stay in the relationship, even if they are no longer happy, out of fear that the pain of a break up will cause a downward spiral and worsen the situation. Placing the blame on Ariana is therefore not only absurd but also somewhat dangerous. It perpetuates the incredibly outdated notion that women are maternal protectors who are at fault for the actions of their male counterparts.
The situation with Ariana and Mac is, unfortunately, an all too familiar scenario and highlights how we, as a society, seem to be stuck in a continuous loop of placing the blame of a man’s actions onto a woman. For example, Yoko Ono was continuously accused of profiting on the back of John Lennon’s murder in 1980; Michelle Williams was harassed by paparazzi after Heath Ledger’s overdose to the extent that she was forced to take their 2-year-old child and flee to another town; to this day, Courtney Love is still hounded by conspirators who claim that she killed Kurt Cobain after his suicide in 1994.
Rather than trying to flip the blame onto someone who is in no way at fault, we need to focus on the real issue here: addiction. Addiction is a disease that millions of people have been impacted by, whether they suffer from addiction issues themselves or know someone who has. We need to focus on tackling addiction by providing the appropriate mediums that will allow those affected by the disease to seek the help that they require in order to overcome it. Let’s use Malcolm McCormick’s tragic, untimely death as a way to get the conversation about the horrors of addiction started, and to try and make a difference.
If you or anyone you know is suffering from substance abuse, please call FRANK on 0300 123 6600 or visit the FRANK website: https://www.talktofrank.com.