I was shocked and saddened to hear about Caroline Flack taking her own life. I loved her on Strictly and wanted her to win from the minute I first saw ‘that’ Charleston but I hated the fact that she fronted a show like Love Island – the whole premise to me is just repugnant and fuelling this narcissistic world we appear to be living in. I feel as conflicted about her death.
But I am seeing a lot of comments on here and elsewhere blaming social media trolls/the press/the CPS and that, in my opinion, is just far, far too simplistic.
Caroline Flack was a troubled woman. She struggled with depression, which she had talked about often. I have absolutely no doubt she was self medicating with alcohol and illegal drugs.
She had also been charged with a serious domestic assault. From what was already said in court, as the prosecution outlined their case (which they then have to go on prove) she attacked her sleeping boyfriend with a lamp after going through his phone. She had to be physically restrained on the ground by the police. She then flipped over a table at the police station. There was also a very possible suicide attempt at that time as she was found with lacerations to her wrist. I have no doubt she was worried about what would come out at the trial next month and that she was concerned about her future TV career if she was found guilty.
The CPS – the victim in the case, her boyfriend, didn’t support the prosecution and was very vocal about his unhappiness that they were banned from seeing or contacting each other including on social media (which they both chose to openly flout) But that is standard practise in domestic abuse cases. Two women a week in this country are murdered by their partners/ex-partners. I’ve followed enough domestic abuse murder trials to state as fact that it usually it turns out there were many reported (and unreported) incidents over the years and many chances to save them. Lots of victims of domestic abuse and/or coercive control don’t support prosecutions for obvious reasons but that is why the CPS push forward with such cases – to try and save lives. According to her management team, the CPS should have dropped the case because Caroline Flack was ‘vulnerable’. Ludicrous. That’s not the way the law works in this country. The CPS are not to blame here. And it shouldn’t be ANY different when the alleged abuser is a woman. Abuse is abuse.
Social media “trolls” – this is a hard one for me because, being interested in the celebrity world for well over twenty years, I have a lot to say and I do comment on online forums and news sites. That said, personally, I have never and would never leave a negative comment on a famous person’s social media account no matter how much I want to call them out. That, to me, feels like crossing a line. The word “troll” has been bandied around for a while now with a lot of the bigger accounts on Instagram using it very effectively to whip up sympathy, create content, increase their followers and get themselves in the press – all of which is very lucrative for them. If someone has a negative opinion, that differs from yours, that does not make them a troll. Nor does expressing that negative opinion. But purposefully going after someone directly on social media and being disgusting to them does. But there is always the option of closing your social media accounts if it is getting too much for you.
The press – again, this is a hard one because I do read online media, particularly about celebrities, because it interests me. I’m pretty shallow like that. But, to my mind, if you choose to live your life in the public eye, the media are part of the deal whether you like it or not – it’s the trade off for the vast wealth and endless freebies, holidays, fancy clothes, red carpets and opportunities of a lifetime that come with being a celebrity. Were they harder on Caroline Flack because she’s a woman? I don’t think so. A presenter on one of the biggest shows on TV arrested and charged with domestic assault was always going to be a huge story, male or female, and one the press would go after hard because people are interested and, bottom line, it sells papers/generates clicks online.
Caroline Flack was the epitome of a walking contradiction. On the surface – attractive, funny, lively and entertaining. Look deeper – depressed, troubled and something of a lost soul. Under the influence – insecure, jealous, paranoid, irrational and violent. She was complex. Suicide is complex. And no one really knows what was going through her mind when she took the terrible decision that she did. So, unless she left a note stating that the press and social media were why she was taking this way out, it’s just too much of a leap for me to say they were solely to blame when she had a lot of other pretty heavy shit going on.
I feel a real mixture of emotions right now. I’m so sad that she felt like this was her only option and that she couldn’t get her life together but it just feels wrong for me to pay a public tribute to someone facing the kind of charges she was so I will simply leave you with her Charleston
This is a repost of @Be More Pacific from Tattle Life that was posted with permission.