Media Lynching Of Those In The Limelight: What Can Be Done?

Read, reflect, retreat. Every single celebrity has received a negative comment or an inaccurate, and normally spiteful, article written about them. These personal attacks are hard to ignore as we are surrounded by technology that bombards us with social media notifications.

What are the consequences for these accusations? What is the punishment for fake news ruining someone’s career and or life? Put simply; there isn’t one. Accounts can be banned, and newspapers can delete the story, but once it’s seen, the damage is done. Not a lot of people realise the power they have through typing. Sitting behind a computer screen makes it that much easier to call upon someone’s looks, weight, or relationship status. There is no limit to what can be typed…but there should be. Freedom of speech is a beautiful thing as long as it is used in a supportive way. Cyberbullying makes young people twice as likely to self-harm or attempt suicide says the Telegraph, and these people don’t have thousands upon millions of eyes on them from the limelight.

Stardom is often looked upon as a glamorous career, and undoubtedly the media can make someone’s career and help their success. By playing devil’s advocate, you understand that the media also often ruins careers, by concentrating on an actress’ weight rather than her talents, or labelling an actor as washed up. The way society views them affects their lives.

How is this fair? How can one small article cause so much damage? News and publicity cannot be contained, and there are no rules to what can and cannot be ridiculed. Although most people think that celebrities should have a ‘tougher skin’ as they knew what they signed up for, no one can anticipate the kind of hate or frenzy one daft, untrue news story can bring.

The recent death of ex Love Island host Caroline Flack has drawn attention to the fact that the media can bully someone to the brink of suicide. Other factors must have culminated to her suicide, each individual has their own struggles, and we may never know the bigger picture. But the media relentlessly invaded her privacy and published it for the world to see, profiting from the click-bait, and social media lynch mob. It’s time the tabloids put down their pitchforks. How can we be satisfied living in a society where we care more about the profitability of a story than listening to someone in need of help? There have been many public enquiries into the media and law. Recommendations have been proposed, but we need to do our part to push for change. To help please look up the Caroline Law, sign petitions against media bullying and get informed. Caroline Flack is just one of many stars who sadly could no longer face the tabloids. Hopefully, with the support of new laws, she could be the last.

As Miranda Hart says:

“A celebrity status does not mean immunity from feeling and suffering. In fact, it is obviously something that comes with a degree of responsibility and vulnerability. It is not in any circumstances in the public interest to report that someone is looking tired, or fat, or thin, or a mess or ill, the reality is her death may not change accountability in journalism and the words behind the trolling and the bullying. But I think we can all agree that deep down no one wants anyone to suffer, certainly not to the level that they may take their own life.”

Just remember #BEKIND

Siobhan Dale