I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! kicked off last night, with 10 celebrities parachuting their way into the dark depths of the Australian jungle. And how did Twitter react?
TOWIE star and 2014 campmate Gemma Collins trended and everyone’s news feed was clogged up with gifs, memes and cruel comments about the 33-year-old’s size.
Twitter became a hotbed of ‘fat-shaming’ and vile jibes.
This is far from the first time Twitter has been a forum for abuse. You can’t fail to be aware that there’s an issue with certain people who feel social media gives them a level of anonymity and the right to voice offensive opinions in the name of free speech.
But 10.3 million people tuned into I’m A Celeb last night. And, although I’m sure the overwhelming majority refrained from joining in, it felt like an awful lot of people were compelled to voice their view on Collins and her dress size.
It wasn’t one bitter Twitter troll publishing bile from their bedroom, it felt like mob mentality, like trolling gone mainstream.
Comments adorned with armies of the crying tears of joy emoji were being favourited and retweeted hundreds of times. One of the accounts punting out Tweets and pictures was @ImACelebBanter_, which has almost 90,000 followers, while Trendinalia UK highlighted that at one point Gemma Collins was the second biggest trend on Twitter, just behind #BandAid30 and in front of a hashtag supporting Anti Bullying Week. I think that speaks for itself.
When Tweeting along with TV, it’s all too easy to be mean in an attempt to be funny, especially if your news feed is full of people doing the same. I’m sure Tweeters forget that that the people they are talking about are just like them. But Collins has feelings, words can hurt her and the fact that she, along with the other celebs, is stuck in the Australian jungle with no wifi access doesn’t make that any better.
Sure, argue that Gemma Collins has put herself in the spotlight. She chose to go on TV, to turn herself into a media personality. She signed up to go into the jungle – and she’s being paid a hefty fee to be there – so you can say what you like about her, right?
Twitter was acting like the school bully in a virtual playground last night. We don’t tolerate that kind of behaviour from our children in real life and we shouldn’t from adults on the internet.
She might not be your cup of tea, but Gemma Collins is a confident, self-assured woman who has been open and honest about struggling with her weight. We are all human beings and we all come in different shapes and sizes. Where does all that hate come from?
It’s cruel, uncalled for and disappointing. I thought better of you, Twitter.
I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here continues tonight at 9:00pm on ITV