The Trolling Of Molly-Mae Is A Sad Reminder That We’ve Learned Nothing From 'Love Island' Tragedies
The 20-year-old social media influencer was coupled up with boxer Tommy Fury from her first week, but that didn't stop trolls from doubting her true feelings towards him.
During challenges on the show, Molly read out tweets in which the public called her a "game player", meanwhile back at home, there were articles galore in which the media chastised her, even hiring body language experts to insist she was a fraud.
Plus, as the Love Island final aired, #MoneyMae started trending on Twitter, and trolls seemed convinced - for no apparent reason - that the social media influencer was intent on winning the £50,000 prize money.
Sure, at the beginning of the show, Molly kept her options open. She flirted with Anton Danyluk, Danny Williams and Tommy at the same time, and she didn't try and hide it.
And yes, at times she was outspoken about other people's relationships, but no more outspoken than any of her critics were from behind their keyboards.
However, the fact is, regardless of Molly's motives, the senseless name-calling and bullying for nothing more than a bit of online validation is gut-wrenching to see.
Just this year, it emerged that Love Island 2017 contestant Mike Thalassitis had died by suicide after being found in a park not far from his childhood home.
Plus, 2016 contestant Sophie Gradon was found dead just months earlier, having also taken her own life.
Of course, to attribute either of these shocking and devastating deaths solely to Love Island stardom would be grossly restrictive, but you'd think that at the very least they would have prompted people to be a little kinder.
Upon the news of Mike Thalassitis' passing, people flocked to renounce the 'Muggy' moniker he was jokily given on the show, but just months later we're at it again with poor Molly-Mae and the rest of this year's cohort.
Whether it be awkwardly pressing Curtis Pritchard on his sexuality despite his happy relationship with Maura Higgins or branding Jordan Hames 'Shrek' after his treatment of Anna Vakili, we seem to think that as soon as people go on reality shows they're immune to cruelty.
Before her time on Love Island, Molly was a popular YouTuber, and she's more than used to interacting with fans and critics alike.
However, when Molly landed back on English soil, she was reportedly warned to stay off social media due to the high volume of abuse she was receiving.
Watching reality TV, we seem so intent on labelling people as heroes or villains that we forget they're real people with flaws, too. It's like we get a kick out of watching others make mistakes so that we can feel better about our own lives.
It goes without saying that when you opt to go on a reality show, you have to take expect a certain level of flack from the public (Love Island is a game, after all), but if things are getting so vitriol that reality stars are being forced to put their phones away, then something needs to change.
Following the deaths of Mike and Sophie, show producers rightly introduced a new aftercare programme, which included lessons in how to deal with social media. It was a necessary but grim measure. When did society become so mean?
At the end of the day, whether Molly has real feelings for Tommy or not, she still doesn't deserve to be attacked by millions of people nationwide.
Here's a radical thought: maybe if we were all just a little more responsible with our opinions then reality TV would finally become a bit less toxic?
Anyone struggling in anyway, should call Samaritans for free on 116 123 - or write down your thoughts in an email to [email protected].
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