A Tale of Two TV Stars

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Volunteer writer Hannah Jade Thompson gives us her views on the trials and tribulations faced by two characters who were regular fixtures on our TV sets, until very recently …

Controversial statement ahead… or is it? A few weeks back we saw the media chew up and spit out Jamie Carragher for spitting at a Manchester United fan’s daughter, who at the time was provoking Carragher whilst driving. Also, did anyone notice the driver who captured the moment of the former Liverpool defender on his phone was technically breaking the law? Since when was it OK to drive, be abusive and be on your phone … Anyways – that’s besides the point. Carragher was wrong. Very wrong.

As the viral video shows, Carragher fully lunges towards the car, gobbing up an undignified clump of spit towards the passenger-side window. Unfortunately, the driver’s daughter, who was shamefully embarrassed at her father’s actions, received the unwanted present from Carragher. In a moment of rage, can we excuse this behaviour? Clearly, the video shows the driver provoking him, would you – with the pressures of being in the media, working around the clock – snap? But, is it ever OK to spit on a child … I think not.

The reaction across social media, the news and the response from his employer to suspend Carragher from Sky Sports until the end of the football season came as a shock to some but was seen by others as deserved or even not harsh enough. The narrative formed around Carragher as if he was some sort of monster or some horrible villain of the sorts. However, in a moment of rage where we mere ‘normal’ people cannot imagine the stress these stars face when their every move is watched and scrutinised. Is it any wonder he snapped?

That’s not an excuse for his actions but it may be a reason it happened. Maturely, unlike the provoking father driving the car (whilst on his phone … ahem) Carragher has provided an apology to both the family, the daughter and the wider public. Personally, I feel sorry for Carragher as clearly this reaction is not normal behaviour and issues underlying need to be explored and help given… but no one has come out and said that.

Not long afterwards Ant (the other half of Dec), on his path to self-destruction through alcoholism – probably as a mechanism to escape his mental health related issues – crashed his car into several others, hospitalising a 3 year old child. His actions could’ve caused death. Irresponsible actions in my opinion far worse than that of spitting on a child. But, the reaction from the public, media and so on? Mainly sympathy.

Now, what’s the difference? Two celebrities, one arguably more liked due being a favourite on family television shows, Ant’s like the uncle we all share. A friendly face always on the television versus a scouse ex-footballer turned pundit … they’re overpaid and don’t do much, right?! Is that what has determined such biased coverage?

The best example I have seen of this bias was the coverage on This Morning, the popular day time television program. Now wait for this … One week before Ant’s misfortune, Carragher was sweeping the day time television channels with story after story of how horrendous his crime was. This Morning had a full segment debating Jamie’s future accompanied by a social media poll asking the viewers to vote whether he should resign, be sacked and so on! They even included a brief interview with Dr Steel on the dangers of spit. Yet, when it came to coverage of Ant viewers of the show expressed their disappointment that they didn’t discuss nor treat Ant’s drink driving arrest in a similarly heated fashion.

Carragher has been vilified for his actions; versus Ant who everyone has felt sorry for regardless of his dangerous actions. Is that fair?

I feel sorry for both. They both have their problems, and both need help in addressing those problems. Ant’s mental health issues shocked us all: dealing with depression is unimaginable especially whilst in the public eye. But we cannot excuse drink driving. We cannot allow celebrities to be above the law. We need to be firm, Ant needs to face what he’s done: we cannot sugar coat what could’ve been the result of his actions. It was reckless.

But, I really do hope Ant recovers, it’s going to be a long journey, but a journey I hope brings him a happier and healthier life. Mental health matters: it’s important to speak out and get the help needed. This applies to both stars. Clearly Carragher’s reaction is not normal behaviour, let’s hope he also gets the support he needs to deal with his anger, stress, or whatever is the underlying cause to react in the way he did.

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My job's to promote LSU Media's content and to let everyone know how wonderful our section is, as well as doing work on the Media website. If you'd like to get in touch, email me: liamhopley@lsu.co.uk.

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