We have all heard of the phrase “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. This phrase is far from the truth, words can hurt, it can cause damage. And we have seen this happen with the recent death of Love Island host, Caroline Flack. Caroline Louise Flack was an English television presenter and dancer, she is famous and well known for being the ex-presenter of the popular TV show ‘Love Island’. However, she stepped down from the position after she was charged with assaulting her boyfriend, Lewis Burton, in December 2019. Her position was given to Laura Whitmore, 34-year-old experienced broadcaster. Laura Whitmore described Flack as a “brilliant host” and “a friend”. 

On February 17th January, Caroline Flack was found in dead in her flat after committing suicide. Many people are now angry at ‘The Sun ‘for making several articles mocking and defaming Caroline Flack, for example, the article titled “Flack Sack & Whack for ITV”. Now The Sun is deleting several articles that they have made about Flack, such as the article which talked about the Valentine’s card that had the words “I’ll f***ing lamp you”on it. The card was made to make fun of Caroline Flack because she was accused of throwing a lamp at her boyfriend. People on twitter is using hashtags like #DontBuyTheSun, #BoycottTheSun and #SunIsaSc*m, to raise awareness about how the press and media degrade people with no sensitivity and empathy.

Carline Flack is not the only celebrity that have taken their own life because of the media (and other means), last year on 14th October, Sulli a former member of the K-pop band f(x), was found in dead at age 25 in her residence after committing suicide. Sulli started acting at the age of 11 and debuted in a K-pop band in 2009. She has received many online abuse and harassment, for example, she received a lot of backlash and hate for posting a picture on Instagram where she wasn’t wearing a bra, she responded to the hate by saying that not wearing a bra is a “personal freedom”. A month later, on November 24th,  Sulli’s close friend also committed suicide. She was a 28-year-old singer and is a former member of the K-Pop band ‘Kara’, she was reported to have already been suffering with mental health problems before her death. Goo Hara was found unconscious in May 2019 and was hospitalized and revealed that she was suffering from depression. Her ex-boyfriend had also blackmailed and threatened Goo Hara of releasing a video of them having sex. All the hate and malicious comments have severely affected both of them.

All of these sad incidents show how badly words can affect people, with the media thinking it’s okay to say whatever they want about people and not thinking of the consequences. Things need to change, it’s time when we say no to online hate and online bullying whether that’s sent to a famous person or other people on the internet. Words can not only “break” people, it can also kill them. Next time you post something or send a message or comment think of the consequences and decide if it could cause harm. In this world, we need more kindness and empathy. Remember: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can hurt forever.

By Jaiming Kang from Walthamstow School for Girls