Caroline Flack: More than 500,000 people sign petition to 'protect celebrities' in wake of presenter's death

Television presenter passed away on Saturday at the age of 40

Sabrina Barr
Tuesday 18 February 2020 11:57 GMT
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Stephanie Davis launches petition calling for better protection for celebrities following Caroline Flack's death

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A petition calling for tighter laws to be put into place to protect celebrities and individuals in the public eye has accumulated more than half a million signatures.

The online campaign, which is titled “Exploiting People in the Public Eye”, was launched by Hollyoaks actor Stephanie Davis following the death of Caroline Flack.

On Saturday 15 February, it was reported that the television presenter had been found dead at her London home at the age of 40, having taken her own life.

The former Love Island presenter’s passing has sparked numerous conversations about the impact social media and the media can have on people’s mental health.

In her petition's description, which as of Tuesday morning had gained more than 526,500 signatures, Davis stated that “there should be new and stricter laws around safeguarding celebrities and people in the public eye”.

The former Celebrity Big Brother contestant outlined that these proposed regulations would prevent newspapers, magazines, all forms of the media and paparazzi from “releasing information that there is no evidence for and is therefore false, printing source quotes from anyone or an unreliable source, and invading privacy and sharing private information that is detrimental to the celebrity, their mental health and those around them”.

The proposed new laws would also make it forbidden for photographers to take and print pictures without permission or release private information relating to a person’s medical history or their sexual orientation.

As well as stop the publication of articles regarding revenge porn and enforcing “stricter legal boundaries regarding unwanted trespassing nearby the property where the individual resides, or is visiting”.

Davis added that these proposed laws would safeguard the “mental health and human rights” of celebrities and their loved ones.

The actor also shared an emotional video on the petition page, in which she spoke about her late friend and the significant effect substantial media attention can have on a person's mental health.

“This wasn’t suicide, it was manslaughter. I tried to help Caroline, and I’m devastated,” Davis said in the video.

“The media are an absolute disgrace and something needs to be done about it.”

Another similar petition has been created on 38 Degrees, calling for a law to be instituted that would be it a criminal offence "for the British media to knowingly and relentlessly bully a person, whether they be in the public eye or not, up to the point that they take their own life".

The petition, which is titled "Caroline's Law" and was launched by Dennis Patton, from South Shields, has gained more than 680,000 signatures.

Earlier this week, Davis told Sky News that Flack had received death threats prior to her passing.

“People online, bullying, that needs to stop. What’s happened to us all being kind humans, helping each other?” she stated.

“Why are we all jumping on people? Why can’t we say ‘you are clearly struggling, you clearly need help with your mental health, let’s find you a way out, let’s make this better.’ It’s not fair what the media has done, it’s really not fair.”

If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, The Samaritans offers support; you can speak to someone for free over the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.

For services local to you, the national mental health database – Hub of Hope – allows you to enter your postcode to search for organisations and charities who offer mental health advice and support in your area.

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