Russell Brand has called on people around the world to change how they treat each other and celebrities in the wake of British TV presenter Caroline Flack’s suicide.
The 40-year-old took her own life on Saturday (February 15, 2020) after learning she would face trial for an alleged assault on her boyfriend, Lewis Burton, sparking a major debate in the U.K. about media coverage of her troubles and taunts on social media.
In a lengthy post on his website Russell, who has spoken about his own battles with suicidal thoughts and depression in the past, reflected on a recent project he had performed featuring the last words of those who have taken their own lives, and that we “don’t know” who will be pushed to suicide by negative thoughts.
Going on to discuss the late Love Island host, he continued: “I am angry and sad that Caroline Flack found herself in that place. I am sad because she was a lovely little person, a real laugh, a dynamo and the idea that she had been so drained of hope by her circumstances chokes me.”
After citing other British stars who died young, Jade Goody, and Amy Winehouse, and expressing his own distaste for the press, he went on to state that blaming the media is too simplistic as all institutions and social media are made up of “people”.
Opening up about what being famous had done to his own mental health the Arthur star explained: “I have resigned from fame because it brought out the worst in me, vanity, insecurity, jealousy, competitiveness.”
Calling on everyone to change the world, he added: “All culture, all values pass through the consciousness of individuals and collectives. If we want the world to change, for less people to die in pain and shame then we should pause before we next vent a pleasurable stab of vindictive judgment or jeering condemnation.”
He concluded his message by writing: “Our best hope is to build relationships and communities based on kindness, forgiveness and compassion, not easy values to maintain given the complexity within us and without us but Caroline’s death shows us that the alternative is just too sad to bear.”
An inquest into Flack’s death will get underway on Wednesday at Poplar Coroner’s Court in London.