The death of Caroline Flack has raised serious questions about the media treatment of celebrities.
Flack was found dead at her London flat at the age of 40 this weekend after taking her own life.
Her family said in a statement: “We can confirm that our Caroline passed away today, the 15th of February.
“We would ask that the press respect the privacy of the family at this difficult time and we would ask they make no attempt to contact us and/or photograph us.”
Pressures faced by TV celebrities
The shock news prompted a flood of tributes from celebrities but also questions about the pressures faced by TV celebrities and about the decision to press ahead with her prosecution for an alleged assault on her boyfriend.
A petition has been launched calling for a Government inquiry into the British press following the death.
Author Joshua Anthony said we are still seeing the same issues raised during the 2011 inquiry, and that more should be done to protect members of the public from harm.
Jameela Jamil tweeted: “It was only a matter of time before the media and a prolonged social media dogpile, hers lasted for MONTHS, pushed someone completely over the edge.”
Matt Haig also posted: “Think of how the media treats women. From Amy Winehouse to Rebekah Vardy, from Lily Allen to Meghan Markle, from Princess Diana to Caroline Flack, from reality TV stars to royalty. The women change, but the will to humiliate doesn’t. There is something deeply rotten here.”
Crown Prosecution Service
Flack, 40, stepped down from presenting the current Love Island show after she was alleged to have assaulted Lewis Burton 27, at her then flat in Islington, north London, in December.
She entered a not guilty plea to the assault charge at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court and she was released on bail, with conditions that stopped her having any contact with Burton ahead of a trial in March.
In a statement released on Saturday night her management company criticised the Crown Prosecution Service for pressing ahead with what it called her “show trial” even after her boyfriend said he did not support it.
Francis Ridley of Money Talent Management, said: “In recent months Caroline had been under huge pressure because of an ongoing case and potential trial which has been well reported.
“The Crown Prosecution Service pursued this when they knew not only how very vulnerable Caroline was but also that the alleged victim did not support the prosecution and had disputed the CPS version of events.
“The CPS should look at themselves today and how they pursued a show trial that was not only without merit but not in the public interest. And ultimately resulted in significant distress to Caroline.”
The tragedy will also put the spotlight back on the pressures which come with TV celebrity.
Flack is the fourth person linked to ITV2 dating programme Love Island to have killed themselves.
Sophie Gradon, who appeared as a contestant in the show in 2016, was found dead at her home in 2018 at the age of 32. Her boyfriend Aaron Armstrong, who had found her body, killed himself three weeks later. He was 25.
Mike Thalassitis, who appeared in the 2017 series, was 26 when he was found dead in a park in March last year.
Following the news of Flack’s death, an ITV spokeswoman said: “Everybody at Love Island and ITV is shocked and saddened by this desperately sad news.
“Caroline was a much loved member of the Love Island team and our sincere thoughts and condolences are with her family and friends.”
A highlights episode of Love Island, called Unseen Bits, that was due to air on Saturday evening on ITV2 was pulled from the schedule.
Channel 4 has also said it will no longer air The Surjury, a new cosmetic surgery-based TV series with Flack as its host.
Burton, a former professional tennis player, had shared a post declaring his love for Flack on his Instagram Stories on Valentine’s Day.
Along with a picture of the two of them together, he wrote: “Happy valentines, love you.”
Flack had also taken to social media shortly before her death, sharing a collage of pictures of herself with her pet dog on Instagram on Thursday.
Laura Whitmore, who replaced Flack on Love Island for the latest series, tweeted “I’m trying to find the words but I can’t”, followed by a broken heart emoji.
Dermot O’Leary, who previously worked alongside Flack on The X Factor, posted a picture of the pair of them together on Instagram.
He said: “Just the worst news. Poor soul. Sending love to hers, and yours. Hold them tight tonight people. X Candles lit.”
TV presenter Davina McCall also tweeted in reaction to the news of Flack’s death.
“I don’t even know what to say. But my heart goes out to her friends and family x I might be a bit quiet tonight on social media .. just doesn’t seem right.”
Flack’s TV presenting roles have included Gladiators, I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! NOW!, The X Factor and The Xtra Factor.
She won Strictly Come Dancing in 2014 while paired with professional dancer Pasha Kovalev.
The following year she joined the revival of dating reality show Love Island on ITV2.
She hosted the first five series of the popular programme – one of the most-watched reality shows in the UK in recent years and won a TV Bafta in 2018 – as well as its spin-off programme Aftersun.