In December, 2019, it became public knowledge that Caroline Flack, a popular television presenter on U.K. shows such as the “X-Factor” and “Love Island,” was accused of assault.
After stepping down in response, the media had a field day with the news. If a person who was not subject to media scrutiny was involved with a case of this nature, the world would not know about it, at least to this degree.
But Flack, as a public figure, was not granted a more “hush-hush” treatment. Following almost two months of intense scrutiny, Flack took her own life.
The news of her passing broke, and suddenly Twitter was filled to the brim with tributes and messages condemning the media’s treatment of Flack during her last months.
The public has already started a petition for the U.K. government to revisit the practices and policies that big media organizations have in place to protect members of the public from harm. In the public eye, every move Flack made was documented.
Intimate moments were blown up for the world to see, regardless of the effects that it would have on her overall well-being. As human beings, sometimes we forget that hot-shot celebrities and popular figures are humans, too.
We don’t always know what people are going through, and that they might be going through their own issues, which we may not fully understand.
Prince Harry was born into a tradition that is a fixture in British culture, thus involuntarily signing up for a life of unwanted judgment of himself and of his family.
Even as he went through schooling, work, the dating scene and marriage just like anyone else would, all eyes were on him. What would the troubled son of the late Princess Diana do next?
So, when Harry and Megan decided to take a step back from the royal family to live a more mundane life, people did not hesitate to get their two cents in. Shouts of ‘Megan made him do this’ and ‘How irresponsible!’ echoed through social media and mainstream media, even though this treatment is precisely what the Mountbatten-Windsors were trying to get away from.
As people who simply read and watch media, we forget that we are not actually viewing reality TV programs of public figures. We forget that these are real people who did not get a choice in how prominent their shortcomings are, just because of their professions or titles.
We forget these things, and we take to social media to post incessantly, sometimes not stopping to think about the effect that our words may have. Sometimes, we need to zoom out and refocus our lenses, take a step back from consuming and contributing to the media assault on celebrities.
From early years, we were reminded by our parents that there is zero-tolerance for bullying. This message stays with kids throughout their years in school as we continue to develop, mentally and physically. Though celebrities and those of high-profile status may not be bullied, they are subject to plenty of harassment by media and zealots on Twitter.
We need to be mindful of what may be going on beneath the skin’s surface. Inside our flesh, blood and bone, there are hearts and minds that can be wounded in the blink of an eye, regardless of our status or fame.