We Have Nurtured a Culture of Hate. And We Are Forever Sorry, Caroline Flack.

*Trigger warning - this article contains sensitive topics concerning Mental Health and Suicide.

 

 

Yesterday was a devastating day, as we heard the news of the death of Caroline Flack, a beloved presenter, someone we have been watching on our screens since we were kids begging mum and dad to let us watch ‘The Extra Factor’ late at night with Caroline and Olly Murs. As this news seeped under every door, vibrated every phone, it closed the blinds. It shut the doors. It saddened the nation and made us want to hide away and not look at the world we have created in which suicide has become an endemic and a hate culture nurtured. 

 

We are saddened, because so many can’t even imagine the pain someone must be in to not want to live anymore, the isolation someone must be feeling to not feel they can turn to anyone. We are bereaved,  not only for Caroline but for the so many who have been and who are feeling this way. For the three other Love Island related people who have felt the same way, we are sorry that we have not learned our lesson. That we keep turning Love Island on at 9pm, that we are addicted to a show that does nothing but spread hate rather than love. A show that puts people in an enclosed cubicle and films them, probes them to make arguments, tampers with their mental health, and throws them to the wolves as the contestants walk out the villa, now forever hounded by the press and trolls. 

 

It is a cruel world, and we are reminded time and time again that this world in which hate is encouraged, in which anyone’s actions are allowed to be commented on, speculated, judged, a world where a person can no longer just be. Just live, without having to justify every little thing. We live in a world where Mum’s are branded as terrible if they're filmed holding their baby slightly awkwardly, in a world where private family issues are laid bare and criticised. Caroline Flack had a lot of turmoil in her relationship in the last 6 months, had an upcoming court case, felt her career under threat as she did her relationships, and instead of leaving her be and allowing her, as we should allow anyone, the space and time required to process such turmoil, we intrude. We push our hands through the doors and clasp onto any weed of information we can pull out, any slight inclination to make the headlines. Imagine that? Your whole life, your private life, your life that you were brought up to think was your own, was yours to manage, to understand, to deal with, your life that you once loved but has now been warped, twisted and hated on Page 3 for all to read. For you to read. 

 

This needs to stop, and we need to put in place boundaries that allow a person that human right to privacy. Yes, we are allowed free speech, but that does not mean we are allowed to spread hate. There needs to be limits on what a person can say, a limit to how they can say them - Instagram needs to limit the trolls that comment such hateful things about people they do not know. Tabloids need to have boundaries to what they can write, where they can go. No, it is not okay to go up to someone who is grieving and prod them with questions. To camp outside someone’s house and hound them. To write articles that encourage hate. Leave Caroline’s family and let them mourn, let them get through the shock and allow them the time to process this tragedy and give them the chance to eventually celebrate their daughter’s life. 

 

We are so bothered about protecting free speech that we are nurturing a hate culture, a culture that is killing so many, one by one, with a rope around the neck and a stool knocked over.