There I was, guiltily reading a rather trivial story on the Mail Online website when (even by the Daily Mail‘s standards) what I read genuinely shocked me and I couldn’t bring myself to read the rest of the article.
It was all about the girl who tweeted about Barack Obama just over a week ago: “If barraco barner is our president, then why is he getting involved in russia, scary”. It went viral and most news websites picked it up with some people even blogging about it.
It’s a pretty light-hearted story and on Twitter the link to an interview with the girl published by the Mail was going around entitled “I’m not stupid, I’ve got 17 GCSES.” In spite of myself I was somewhat interested in what the girl had to say.
I was reading the article and it was all a bit dramatic for such a trivial story but I carried on regardless, I willingly clicked onto the Mail Online for god’s sake, I knew what I was getting into (and yet that still didn’t prepare for me what came next). I got further into the article, maybe about the 10th paragraph. In sticking up for the girl, the article read “While Gemma might not be signing up for Mensa any day soon, she’s certainly no Jade Goody.”
I genuinely did a double take and read it a second time and felt totally horrified they had used Jade Goody as a reference in a derogatory manner. The very same woman who lost her battle with cervical cancer in 2009 leaving behind two children.
Really Daily Mail? I personally think that is totally unacceptable and extremely insensitive. Whilst I accept wholeheartedly that Jade Goody made mistakes in her career as well as forging her path on Big Brother by making some hilariously silly statements, the poor woman died 5 years ago and using her name to mock her even now seems very unfair.
After having studied media law I am aware in legal terms you cannot defame a person once they’ve died. I wonder whether that had anything to do with it, perhaps the journalist in question is particularly worried about being done for libel. But that does not excuse the action itself and I’m sure she could have used any number of references in the celebrity world who would have laughed it off or not even have seen it.
Here is the link to the article in question.
I tweeted the journalist who wrote the story, Jill Foster.
“I was just reading your interview with Gemma Worrall on the Mail Online and I’m really disgusted you referenced Jade Goody”
“a woman that lost her battle with cancer 5 years ago leaving behind 2 children. So insensitive and unnecessary. Shame on you”
She merely replied “I’m sorry you feel that way.”
Edit number 2:
Exchanged a series of tweets with the journalist arguing my case and she came back with lovely remarks such as “She made a career out of making daft remarks. I stand by it.” See below for the full conversation.
I stand by my opinion but the journalist just wasn’t haven’t any of it hence why I put an end to the conversation. It really does baffle me though, her reasoning for using Jade’s name seems entirely warped to me. She may well be more famous to DM readers but using her name in the story was in no way a necessity – the readers are already reading the story by this point anyway.
“She’s certainly no Jade Goody.” She could quite as easily have said “She’s certainly not thick/an idiot/stupid/any other name of a living celebrity who has famously made silly remarks.” I mean get real, there is a certain reality star who was in I’m a Celebrity who didn’t know how to blow their nose – someone who I don’t think would even care if this journalist had used their name.
I also resent that she used the excuse “Jade Goody made a career out of making daft remarks.” Maybe to begin with, but as the years went by Jade became very successful in her endeavours and made a hell of a lot of money.
So I’m sorry Jill, but your excuses just do not cut it. You should have some respect. At the end of the day, Jade did famously make daft remarks, especially in her two instances of appearing on Big Brother. But that is not how I remember Jade Goody. I remember an extremely brave and courageous woman who dealt with a terminal illness in the spotlight and did all she could to ensure the security of her two children before she passed. I remember a woman whose tragic plight inspired 1000s of other women to attend a cervical screening potentially saving lives.