What gives you the right?

Do we have a right

Not you.  I am not talking about you.  You are lovely.   I mean you as in society.   And the right to think we can say what we like to anybody and to invade their private space.

Following the BAFTAs on Sunday night I have followed the systematic destruction of one of our finest actresses:  Sheridan Smith.  A lady I adore.   A lady who has really worn her heart on her social media sleeve in the past but whose acting talent is undeniable.  She has won an Olivier Award, National Television Awards, BAFTAs, Critic’s Choice awards, a shed load of nominations and been made an OBE and she is not yet 35.

Sheridan was at the BAFTAs on Sunday night as she was nominated for her role in the C Word.  If you haven’t seen it then I suggest you do.  Based on the book “A Right Tit” it tells the very real story of Lisa Lynch who had breast cancer twice and sadly lost her battle with it three years ago.

I somehow felt I knew Lisa as the radio station I listened to got in touch with her when a story about her and her love of Dave Grohl from the FooFighters made the local news.  Long story short but from that I followed her on Twitter and then followed her story and read the book and watched the TV show.   I wept when news of her death broke.  I had never met her but I somehow felt I knew her.

I can’t imagine how Sheridan must have felt.  Somebody who had became Lisa’s friend and when there was talk of the book becoming a drama Lisa asked Sheridan if she would play her.   So The C Word was very real for Sheridan.  It told the true story of a friend for Sheridan and, I am assuming, she wanted to get it right.  Wanted to remember her friend properly and do her proud.   Sheridan has played well known people before but I am guessing the personal connection to Cilla and Ronnie Biggs wife (both roles that won her awards) wasn’t the same.

You can understand her disappointment at the BAFTAs then when she didn’t win the award.  Of course she wanted to win.  We all want to win the award we are nominated for.   To not win is something you take personally, and I understand why Sheridan felt the way she did to have not heard her name being read out.

Since then the press have used that split second in time when Sheridan was looking disappointed to accompany every news story about her.

It is not surprising to me that Sheridan then bowed out of her West End play the following night.   More fodder for the press to begin picking her apart.   A second and third night and now we have an under study who “Sheridan needs to watch out for”.

Have they forgotten that behind all these column inches lies a real life person with feelings?  A person who is no doubt reading what is being said?

That her twitter feed is also full of people saying the nastiest and meanest things to her.  Why?

What gives you (not you, remember) the right to think it is acceptable to be so cruel to somebody online?

Yes, a few days before that there were also “technical difficulties” that closed the show early, some saying it was because Sheridan was drunk.   This was then included in Graham Norton’s opening speech, with some gibe, knowing Sheridan would hear it.    When the show opened I did wonder if there would be a reference to Stephen Fry’s comments about Jenny Beaven looking “Like a bag lady” when she collected her film BAFTA early in the year and for a moment I was relieved when Graham said there would be no such comments, “that will be down to the Daily Mail Online tomorrow”

Don’t we know it.   The bums were barely off the seats before the first “worst dressed lists” were appearing.   Outfits being metaphorically torn apart.

What gives people the right to do that?

Do they feel better for doing it?

Do they really think we want to read it?

What gives them the right?

Along the same lines this week I heard that Justin Bieber was in a park, feeding squirrels.   He being a demi-god to a million screaming teenage fans, this made the news.  What also made the news was his reaction to a young girl filming him.   He politely said “please dont do that”.   Presumably she ignored him and then shared it on line because how else would the press know about it?

What gives us the right to think celebrities are not entitled to a private life?   Not permitted to go to a restaurant without it being in the press next day.

Dawn French got off a long haul flight last weekend and the next morning was in the press under the headline “Tired looking Dawn French lands in London”.     For gods sake she has just got off a plane from Australia.    A) is this really the headline that should accompany the story?  And B) why is this even a story?

What gives us the right to expect to see those sorts of photos?   Just because Dawn French is an exceptional actress whom we all adore is she not entitled to some down time?  To some time where she won’t feel like her every move is going to be scrutinised.

Do we have the right to those photos just because Dawn, Sheridan or Justin’s jobs are to entertain us?   By getting an Equity card do these people then give up their right to any kind of private life?

No, no they don’t.

I am not saying we should constantly blow smoke up people’s arses but this sense of entitlement the public now seem to have to encroach on a person’s private time, or the media’s constant jibes and verbal abuse surely has to stop.

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  • You’re so right T – I really feel for Sheridan right now and often wish the press would just f**k off and leave people alone. I for one, don’t give a shit if Dawn French looks tired or not. Does anyone? My new job is working for a company called F**k It. I hope Sheridan gets to the point where she can feel like she’s able to say that and ignore what the haters are saying.

  • Totally agree.
    Society has a disgusting obsession with celebrities, I’d hate to live under such scrutiny, I do hope Sheridan is able to distance herself from all this negativity and take things easy rather deal with such nastiness.

  • Well said, I don’t understand where people get off on this. It’s no better than bullying and a huge reason why I stopped buying magazines and the like. Just let people live their lives in peace.

  • They are just normal people with normal parts of their lives and very normal emotions, too. Goodness knows what headlines would say if they reported on every aspect of everyone’s life like this. Everyone would be very bored, very quickly. Good job T xc

  • I’ve just been told that my meal is delayed!
    By half an hour, no less!
    I am disappointed by this!
    I have frowned!
    Ring the BBC immediately.
    The world must know.
    [ Sorry – forgot two exclamation marks – here they are – “!!” ]

  • Spot on. I hate this culture of build them up then knock them down. It does seem to be the main objective of the Daily Mail Online. I noticed recently they started chipping away at Ant and Dec – ANT & DEC!!! For goodness sake!
    I do think celebrities have to take a lot of banter ‘on the chin’ but when someone is clearly spiralling down like Sheridan Smith I can’t forgive the lack of empathy. Shame on Graham Norton – (and the Daily Mail).