In an essay about the presenter, Brand condemns the ‘incessant poking, trolling judgment that chased her to the grave’
Hannah J Davies – The Guardian
‘I am angry and sad Caroline found herself in that place’ … Russell Brand on Caroline Flack. Composite: ITV/Rex
Russell Brand has written an essay following the death of TV host Caroline Flack, in which he implores readers to “convey love and support and kindness”. The presenter and comedian, 44, published a post on his website on Tuesday, following Flack’s death on Saturday.
In it, he recounts how he wrote a monologue based on the experiences of people who killed themselves, adding: “I am angry and sad that Caroline Flack found herself in that place. I am sad because she was a lovely little person, a real laugh, a dynamo and the idea that she had been so drained of hope by her circumstances chokes me.”
Brand goes on to condemn the “salacious, foaming, incessant poking, trolling judgment that chased her to the grave”, evoking Amy Winehouse and Jade Goody while also recognising the complex relationships between social media, the press and the public, and the need for human kindness to prevail. (“Our best hope is to build relationships and communities based on kindness, forgiveness and compassion, not easy values to maintain given the complexity within us and without us but Caroline’s death shows us that the alternative is just too sad to bear.”)
Brand, who found fame as a standup comic and the host of Big Brother offshoot Big Brother’s Little Brother, has been candid about his own struggles with mental illness, drug use, sex addiction and the eating disorder bulimia. In recent years, he has explored politics and societal issues through his podcast, Under The Skin. In 2017, he told the Guardian that “like a lot of people that have access to extrovert behaviour and can seem quite loud and vivid, there’s a fragility also in me. I’ve learned to manage that differently, and I don’t feel so self-damning and self-condemning as I once did, because I’m more aware.”
Flack, who presented Love Island between 2014 and 2019, was due to stand trial for alleged assault at the time of her death. Press intrusion into the case between Flack and boyfriend Lewis Burton has been widely condemned since the 40-year-old’s death. No 10 has also called on social media sites to crack down on bullying, and to have “robust processes in place removing content breaching their acceptable use policies”. Love Island returned to ITV2 last night following the cancellation of Saturday’s Unseen Bits episode and Sunday’s main programme.
- In the UK and Ireland, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or email [email protected] or [email protected]. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.