Celebrity bullying should stop

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I finished school around the time that bullying started to become something we talked about, and something we wanted to stamp out.

Fast forward a little and whether it be bullying in the schoolyard, workplace or just in general, it’s something we’re not afraid to discuss and tackle head-on.

The best thing you can do when you witness bullying is to call the offender out, which is why I want to wave my finger at both The Daily Telegraph and New Idea over stories published this week that I honestly believe fall into the bullying category.

Bullying is not always about picking on the fat boy, the kid with red hair or the person with the funny looking lunch. In fact, quite often it breaches the traditional stereotypes.

On Saturday, the Telegraph published an article, written by Charlotte Willis, under the headline of “Rebecca Judd shocks with ‘skeletal’ frame in bikini selfie”.

Now celebrity stories aren’t usually on my radar, particularly ones that involve social media and ‘selfies’. If I was interested, I’d follow them myself – I don’t need my daily newspaper leaning on the lazy side of journalism and doing it for me.

But this one caught my eye because I thought it was incredibly unfair to publish.

The story involved a photograph posted by Rebecca Judd in a bikini on her Instagram account. The story claimed that Rebecca had “sparked concern” over her “worryingly thin frame”.

“Her hips are clearly visible in the full length shot and her legs are incredibly slender,” the story said.

Now it’d be easy to just bypass the story, consider it tabloid trash and move on, but something about this really bothered me, particularly given it appeared in a publication that has often cheered the anti-bullying cause.

Here was a story, based entirely off a social media post, with clearly no attempt to contact Rebecca Judd herself for comment.

No health expert was contacted, and there was no information at the end of the article for anyone who may be struggling with whatever it is the Telegraph wants to infer Ms Judd is struggling with. Of course, a few random people on social media who commented on the original photo were quoted – reliable sources indeed.

Personally, the photos don’t look all that concerning to me. I have plenty of people in my friendship and working circle who would probably look the same if they took a similar photo.

I reckon it’s very, very poor form for the Telegraph to be waving the “you’re too thin” stick at somebody, and I certainly think it’s exceptionally irresponsible to encourage reader comments on the topic.

A couple of days later, out comes the latest edition of New Idea.

Across its front page is a picture of Channel Nine personality Sonia Kruger, with the headline “What’s happened to her face”.

What happened, you ask? A bit of sunburn.

But that was apparently enough to convince the magazine to pay $50,000 for the photos.

I get it, these type of magazines do this stuff all the time and we just fob it off. But should we really accept a magazine paying big money to embarrass someone?

What message does it send when we publicly say that having a bit of sunburn on your face is front page news?

The media organisations I’ve spoken about today are big, powerful players. They’d also most likely have anti-bullying policies for their staff.

The stories on Rebecca Judd and Sonia Kruger amount to bullying. We really shouldn’t put up with it, but I have little doubt that we will.

Sad, really.


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