It didn't take long. Just hours after Matt Lucas's former partner had died, the vultures were already circling. Our favourite newspapers told the story and allowed readers to have their say. Many comments were of the "RIP Kevin" type which in our post-Diana Britain seems to be the done thing; it's not what I like to do, but hey, we all deal with things in different ways, don't we? But other comments were just pure hatred, kicking the still-warm corpse with thinly veiled homophobia:
I think the ones muttering about the use of the word 'husband' are bad enough, but the one saying "at the risk of being a tad undiplomatic..." and then laying into the poor dead man is pure evil. The one musing about whether people committed suicide before Facebook existed (guess what - they did) is just plain pointless and stupid. Do we actually gain or learn anything, other than that there are some extremely nasty bastards in the world? Uponnothing posted earlier today about the excuse for homophobic outpourings that the sad death of a young man became:
I do wish all these utter shit-stains would at least be honest and cut out the 'I don't mean to offend anyone...' disclaimers and just get on with the offensive comment.
The Mail took down comments, then allowed them back, and this time they're moderated. Which means the Mail thinks it's fair enough for readers to slag off the sexuality of a recently dead person and attack him for having taken his own life. Mm, lovely.
Today, they're still going, and the Mail has decided that enough time has passed since McGee's death in order for them to rip apart his entire life:
But how quickly that dream of a stable partnership unravelled. After only a year, the two of them were growing apart - their union troubled by a fondness for cocaine that McGee seemingly could not control.
There were times when - humiliatingly for him - he had to turn to Lucas to get him work, which included the lowly role of researcher on the Real Little Britain, a behind-the-scenes documentary about the hit comedy show.
And of course, as ever with these stories, they've conveniently found an anonymous 'friend' who is happy to splurge all the details just hours after the death certificate's been signed. Well there's no point waiting, is there? You'll remember with the suicide of Mark Speight that the Mail was happy to find 'friends' to slag him off before his body had even been found.
And below the story, it goes on.
Drug addiction = self inflicted wound - no sympathy !
says one commenter. How delightful. I'm sure he'd say that to the family's face. But I think the biscuit-taking for 'hateful cunt of the day' goes to this charming individual:
Truely sad end to a life that would have been very different had he lived to his makers instructions?
- J W, Tyne & Wear, 7/10/2009 8:51
Amazing. But this is the way it is when someone has recently died, or not even died yet. Stick the boot in for their lifestyle, for their behaviour, for who they are, for their sexuality, for even the fact they chose to kill themselves... just stick the boot in, and keep sticking it in. Do it yourselves; get the readers to help you. Just keep attacking.
It's the same with this story today, about Andrew George, who is married to a woman who was convicted last week of horrific offences against children. Now, he did sign an exclusivity agreement with one Sunday newspaper, which might explain the vitriol headed in his direction... or maybe it doesn't. Maybe you just get vitriol no matter who you are?
Anyway, it's wrong to speculate on what this man has done, given his potentially fragile state of mind and his vulnerability. Well, that's what any decent human being would do. The Mail, though, can't help letting its ferocious commenters have their say. And once again, I remind you these comments have been moderated in advance:
I have no sympathy for this media attention seeking, selfish man!
What selfish selfish parents those poor girls have.
He wasn't serious about the suicide bid or else he would have succeeded.
Yes, that's right. The Mail publishes comments saying not only that this man is selfish, but also having a go at him for not succeeding with an alleged suicide attempt.
Feel dirty, miserable and despairing over the state of humanity now, having read that? There are other comments of course, which are much more decent, much more sympathetic, much more humane... but you can't help wondering why the Mail decides we need to know about views of some of the most misanthropic and disgusting individuals in the entire country. Sticking the boot in. Because they can.
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Hello. I'm a Bristol-based writer and soon-to-be-redundant journalist. You can read more about me and the Enemies site here, or follow me on Twitter. Email me if you like - antonvowl at live dot co dot uk
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