It’s been a week since Caroline Flack killed herself and #kindness became the latest must have virtue shoved down the throat of Jo Public. #Bekind, we were told, in countless tweets and vlogs and blogs and photo collages, as if an absence of kindness was at the heart of the late presenter’s pain. As if we were all, somehow, responsible for her death, and only a collective outpouring of literal virtue signalling would atone us.
In that time, her family have released her last unpublished Instagram post ,where she details her state of mind as she juggled the fall out from her arrest last December. What followed was relentless media scrutiny of her entire life, whilst she herself was banned from giving context.
We are now certain that she was intensely vulnerable, her suicide having convinced even the most hardened sceptic among us. But clearly, in December, when she was charged, we couldn’t join the dots.
I say we, but in reality, we don’t work for the Met police who choose to criminalise a woman’s breakdown, whilst simultaneously allowing photos taken at the scene to be sold to the press. We don’t work for the media outlets who published those illegal photos, time and time again, speculating on a context they knew she couldn’t argue with. We don’t work for the CPS who choose to prosecute a woman with a high risk of self harm and virtually no risk of harm to others, whilst knowing the divulgence of crime scene photos to the press compromised the integrity of the entire investigation and all its outcomes. We don’t work for ITV who threw Caroline under the very same bus they used to drive Philip Schofield to his beatification.
If we are complicit in the suicide of a celebrity, it is by flicking through ‘Closer’ in the bath, and I reject the spurious link on the grounds of its own idiocy.
Caroline Flack may not have been driven to suicide if the many professionals involved in her care had acted professionally. Now that she is gone, it’s not trolls on twitter that should be held accountable, but the algorithms that allow the trolling, and the alpha censors that create the algorithms. It’s not Jo Public that needs to look internally and ask how they can prevent the next tragedy. It’s all the public institutions that permit and reward corruption, and reject accountability, until they have no option.
In the weeks and months to come, as the facts are slowly revealed about the events that proceeded Caroline’s suicide, and those involved seek to cover those facts at the point they are uncovered, it is wise to consider justice isn’t dependant on kindness, but on truth.