THIS week a big stone was lifted off the world of social media and some truly vile and nasty stuff oozed out.
Brave Jesy Nelson from Little Mix gave a searingly honest account of the online abuse she has suffered in a documentary that should be compulsory viewing for all of us, especially young teenagers.
Jesy Nelson’s documentary details her experience with online trolls since appearing on X Factor in 2011[/caption]
Jesy should have been on top of the world after her girlband won The X Factor in 2011. Instead, her confidence was shattered by cruel trolls who mocked her weight and appearance.
It was so bad Jesy even tried to take her own life. She felt miserable and even envious of her bandmates because she saw them as beautiful and happy, while she was made to feel ugly and worthless.
Enough is enough.
This has to be a watershed moment when things need to change — and fast. Of course, it’s not just people in the public eye who suffer.
Online trolling and bullying is a plague and has caused vulnerable people to harm and even kill themselves because they just couldn’t take it any more.
No one expects to be universally loved, but these OTT, hate-filled rants need to stop.
The rich companies behind social media must clamp down on sick trolls and also strip them of their anonymity. These monsters have to be named and shamed.
We all have an image of a sad loner sitting in his grubby underpants in some underground cellar vomiting hate, but Jesy found out that many of those making her life hell were mothers with young children, and members of the public we would consider to be fine upstanding citizens.
What the hell is going on in their heads? How dare they inflict such pain while skulking in the shadows.
I’m so fortunate that when I started my career in TV 35 years ago there was no Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. I honestly don’t think I would have survived.
When you set out on any job you need to be given the time and space to grow and learn and to make your mistakes.
That’s especially true for young presenters and actors.
The 28-year-old singer decided to speak out on her mental health battle to help raise awareness[/caption]
Jesy’s band mates feature in the documentary and explain how they watched the star lose her confidence[/caption]
I was a bundle of nerves when I did my first ever live show for TVam and wasn’t exactly a triumph.
I would have been utterly slaughtered by Twitter trolls if they had been around back in the late Eighties.
I would have been unable to cope with the horrendous abuse spewed out by spineless, snivelling cowards these days.
In a few months I turn 60 and, even at my age, I’ve been so wounded by toxic tweets I no longer check my Twitter account. I cannot give these horrendous bullies that sort of power over my life.
I might have received 99 lovely, supportive comments but it’s the one out of 100 that’s thoroughly nasty that sucks the soul out of your body and sticks with you for a very long time.
If I find it tough, how are young men and women, and school-age kids supposed to cope?
This week I spoke to actress and writer Tracy Ann Oberman, who has suffered appalling anti-Semitic and misogynistic online abuse.
She was accused of lying about her family being murdered during the holocaust and subjected to the most horrific personal insults.
A lesser woman would have crumbled, but Tracy Ann, alongside Countdown presenter Rachel Riley, is taking those who have issued threats and insults to court.
Tomorrow Tracy Ann is hosting a live version of her “Trolled” podcast, that helps deal with online abuse. It is her way of trying to create something positive out of her distressing experience.
Tracy Ann will not be silenced and I applaud her courage.
Through passionate fighters like her, who are willing to take a stand, we will achieve much-needed change.
The Meg-awatt smile at last
This is the Meghan we all want to see.
Looking happy, excited and spreading joy with her latest venture, a high street clothing line to fund the Smart Works charity.
Meghan Markle attends her launch of the Smart Works Capsule Collection in London[/caption]
This is a charity close to Meghan’s heart, helping women get back into the workplace by providing them with clothes, confidence and coaching to secure a good job.
It’s a cracking idea that will change lives.
Meghan is to be commended for giving the scheme such a high-profile launch and for being so hands on.
It shows there’s so much more to this woman than posh baby showers, expensive home furnishings and private jets.
Renée Zellweger captures Judy Garland’s vulnerable look
I cannot wait to see Renée Zellweger as Judy Garland in new film Judy, where she transforms into the screen icon towards the end of her troubled life.
To Renee’s credit, in the short preview clips I’ve seen she has managed to capture the twitchy, deer-caught-in-the-headlights vulnerability of this incredible entertainer, as well as the emotional throb in her voice.
Renee Zellweger in character as Judy Garland in a new biopic which is based on the true story of the Hollywood icon’s final concerts in London[/caption]
Judy, below, was a one-off, but also a drug addict who was force-fed uppers and downers by callous studio bosses when she was a kid.
They didn’t give a toss about her well-being, but used and abused her to make themselves a fortune.
No one could ever be as luminous a star as Judy, but I reckon Renee, will come close.
Asan is lesson to all
I’m indebted to Piers Morgan, who gave a hilarious speech at the TV Choice Awards this week before delivering some extremely kind words as he handed me a gong for Outstanding Achievement, which was all a bit overwhelming.
I had to leave the awards early as I was up at the crack of sparrows for work the next day, so I missed the unedifying spectacle of a young actor threatening to “knife” a fellow soap star.
Emmerdale actor Asan N’jie pictured at the TV Choice Awards before he threatened Hollyoaks star Jamie Lomas[/caption]
What on earth was Emmerdale’s Asan N’Jie thinking when he threatened to “kill” Hollyoaks’ Jamie Lomas?
He was sacked for his appalling behaviour by Emmerdale bosses who should have been celebrating winning Best Soap, instead of fire- fighting this unsavoury scandal.
Every attendee needs to realise they are representing not only themselves but their programme, so they need to behave accordingly.
This fracas happened in full view of the Press pack and was filmed on smartphones. Getting drunk or lairy at such gatherings will never end well.
Asan really let himself down and has lost the job he loves.
I hope he has genuinely learned a lesson and will bounce back. This is a cautionary tale to others in the public eye to behave themselves.
Abbey days are here
The Downton Abbey movie was finally released yesterday and is the perfect antidote to all the Brexit b******s we are currently having to endure.
We can wallow for two glorious hours in the wonderful world of Downton, where the only thing to fret about is whether or not the candelabra will be shiny enough to please the King and Queen, who are popping in for dinner.
There’s no real plot to speak of but all of our favourites are back, with the always splendid Phyllis Logan as Mrs Hughes, above with Mr Carson, getting the last word.
And the posh “upstairs lot” look utterly splendid in their expensive finery.
I loved every sumptuous second and I’m convinced it will be such a global hit that there will have to be a sequel or, at the very least, a couple of Christmas TV specials.
Now and again you come across a very special artist on the brink of mega success and just know they are going to conquer the world.
Sam Fender gives me the same goosebumps as Ed Sheeran and has the potential to be just as successful.
Sam Fender attends the GQ Men of the Year Awards[/caption]
Sam caught all of our attention when he won the Brits Critics Choice award in February.
He writes from the heart with a maturity far greater than his 25 years and his music grabs a hold of your soul.
New album Hypersonic Missiles is out now.
Do yourself a favour, be ahead of the curve and check it out.
Not so upper crust
Just when you think you can’t admire the Queen any more, you find out her favourite meal isn’t pheasant with lobster on the side, but down-to- earth comfort food that costs around £2.50.
Our frugal monarch loves nothing more than tucking into one of those Fray Bentos tinned pies as a welcome relief from fine dining during banquets and state dinners.
The Queen is thought to have loved tucking into Fray Bentos pies on long-haul flights[/caption]
We shouldn’t be at all surprised.
Her Majesty grew up during the “make do and mend” era of World War Two and is renowned for being frugal, with a love of storing leftovers in Tupperware boxes and only turning on one bar of the electric fire.
The makers of Fray Bentos pies will be absolutely delighted at being able to add “Royal Approval” to its retro product – and just watch those sales soar.
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