The death of Caroline Flack: What happens now?

The sincerely tragic death of Love Island presenter Caroline Flack, has rocked the UK. The passing of the reality mogul has sparked controversy on the future of the show as well as government intervention on cyber bullying and the legitimacy of the British tabloid press also being called into question.

In the wake of a likely suicide tragedy, emotionally-fueled rhetoric dominates the vitriolic cesspool that is Twitter. However, we do have to talk about what should happen next, so join me as I examine the politics surrounding this tragedy.

The Cancelation of Love Island

People are increasing questioning the moral validity of the show. It is being pulled in to question particularly as the show is responsible for catapulting ordinary people into stardom whilst simultaneously exposing them to potentially millions of online trolls.

The shows basing around superficialities and sex appeal leads many to deem it ‘toxic’ – especially to those that watch these people, those that aspire to be like them and the people in the villa.

If you wanted to cancel Love Island, I’d hear the case; there isn’t much justification keeping it on. Despite being a huge guilty pleasure of many (myself included) the show has not only been linked to 3 suicides but the generally toxic show is tanking in the ratings. With a dipping viewership, the entertainment value and profits will soon not be worth the damage it leaves in its wake.

As much as you can claim it might not be the fault of the show, it’s undeniable that the instant booming success of the show and almost overnight sensationalism of its participants is too much for some.

The government censorship of social media

This is where the policy prescriptions in the tragic aftermath of Flack’s death begin to get a bit dicey. In response to a growing public hatred for tabloid publications, one of the trending hashtags today was #CarolinesLaw. Many people on the feed advocated for government punishment and monitoring of online content to minimise celebrity exposure to trolls.

This would be a bad move. People don’t trust the government; The Tories get a particularly bad rep when it comes to their ties to the press and Murdoch. So why do you trust them as the editors to your content? It is far easier to hold a self-regulating privately-owned media business accountable for its actions than it is a government body.

By all means, use your powers of purchasing power and boycotts to disrupt ‘corrupt media narratives’. The media are beholden to its readers more than people think. Asking the government to take control of social media would inevitably mean bringing them into part government ownership/control. You’d have to ask yourself, do I want my access to information, state controlled?

Who/what’s to blame for Flack’s suffering?

The suicide of anyone in the public eye is often categorised into 3 key areas:

– How the public interact with them

– How the media cover them

– Their own mental state of mind

Public scrutiny of Flack was frequent and grim. Even now, we are seeing many individuals who have bashed her for being a ‘nonce’, among other things, change their tune when she passed.

The media coverage was also grim at parts but it is has been depicted as the main culprit by the public and a radio testimony from Laura Whitmore. Despite the tabloid press’ debatable sensationalising of her assault allegations to make a ‘show trial’, it isn’t the main factor.

In reality, the articles written by a media outlet can only hurt you once and really carry no more power than the average person. The idea that a couple of scathing articles written by The Sun do more damage than millions of unregulated, slanderous troll comments is absolute lunacy.

In terms of her own mental state of mind, Whitmore alluded to a host of underlying issues and previous bouts with depression. She clearly wasn’t in a good way going forward.

Going forward, the future of Love Island needs to be looked at; whether the risks are worth the rewards anymore. The debate on social media censorship should be looked at by the media companies themselves – the government should stay out of this. Our outlook on mental health should be called into question. Without using it as a fascistic means of silencing people’s views, look at how we can can change our social media culture which is predicated around getting a cheap click or like.

Let this be a big lesson to us all.

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