Courtesy of www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk
By Noelia Veras
The former host of Love Island, Caroline Flack, was found dead in her East London Apartment on February 16. Flack’s death was confirmed to have been a suicide by hanging by London’s coroner’s office.
Flack’s suicide, along with prior suicides of contestants from the show, Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis, have raised serious concerns about the reality show.
Flack was a bubbly and energetic woman who came off as sincere and authentic. The television show host was known for bonding with contestants and making them feel comfortable while they nervously awaited the crazy antics of the dating show. Flack was the life-blood of Love Island, and she proved to be why many people tuned in to watch the show in the first place.
Flack’s tragic death is one surrounded by contention and horror. The 40-year-old host was in the middle of a trial for the alleged assault of her boyfriend. Flack was arrested and removed from the show this December and pleaded not-guilty. Because of the allegations, Flack was confronted with numerous negative comments on social media and in magazines, many fixated on the age gap between Flack and her 27-year-old boyfriend, Lewis Burton.
The show caused quite the stir in the U.K., but its influence soon gathered a huge American following. Fans are deeply saddened and confused by the news of Flack’s death. Famous ex-boyfriend Harry Styles, for example, has paid tribute to her subtly by wearing a black ribbon on his suit at the Brit Awards as a symbol of mourning. Fellow Love Island cast members and crew workers have publicly grieved for her and expressed their shock at the news as well.
“My heart is actually broken,” tweeted Amber Davies, a previous winner of the show.
Flack’s family is also completely shocked at the turn of events, expressing their love and admiration for Flack even throughout such troubling times. Her family also asks for respect and privacy after Flack’s death.
“We can confirm that our Caroline passed away today, the 15th of February,” the family said in a statement. “We would ask that the press respect the privacy of the family at this difficult time and we would ask they make no attempt to contact us and/or photograph us.”
People everywhere seem to have trouble fathoming Flack’s untimely suicide. Even students at Catholic U are deeply affected by the tragedy, regardless of our distance from the U.K.
“I think this shows society’s failure to recognize the disconnect between social media and the reality of having mental health struggles” said sophomore social work major Lauren Lake.
Evidently, many people belive Flack committed suicide because of the overwhelming backlash she was recieving on social media. The British Press and Crown Prosecution Service have been under fire for the negative picture they portrayed of the star and for going too far in their reporting of her trial. Politicians in the U.K. are being urged to reform social media usage in some way so as to prevent tragedies like this from ever happening again. Ultimately, tabloids and social media in the U.K. are under extreme scrutiny after the intense bullying Flack evidently received online. The Sun even took down a negative article that was written about Flack.
Unfortunately, a tragedy has occurred and a talented and vibrant woman has died. In the wake of her death, conversations have begun surrounding media policies. It is heart-wrenching that these conversations require an extreme tragedy to occur for people to listen, but if Flack’s death shows us anything, it is that people should be treated with love, kindness, and understanding rather than hate, apathy, and bullying.