I don’t want to be a killjoy, for it’s been a long time since the country was united over anything, but I am finding this whole Coleen Rooney versus Rebekah Vardy thing a little bit… well, I suppose the word I am looking for is *unseemly*. Far be it from me to lecture people on the appropriateness of airing their dirty laundry in public, but I have always found that if you are going to do it, it is best to do it in a way that doesn’t air anybody else’s, too. Rise above it. Avoid any kind of public shaming – it’s not a good look. All names have been changed to protect the guilty, et cetera et cetera.
For anyone who has been living under a rock this week, let me briefly explain the sensational scandalous story that has gripped this weary, Brexit-ravaged nation: on Wednesday, Coleen Rooney posted on social media about something that had been a “burden” to her for “many years”. Her husband, perhaps, recently arrested for ‘public intoxication’? Nope! Someone who had been flogging her ‘private’ Instagram stories to the press. Coleen had turned amateur detective and blocked all 367 followers on her private page but one – fellow Wag Rebekah Vardy, wife of Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy.
Coleen then posted a series of made-up tales on her page, all of which dutifully made their way into the pages of The Sun. This week, Coleen revealed the findings of her detective work to the millions of followers of her public social media accounts, and for a short while the country breathed a sweet sigh of relief that it had something to talk about that didn’t involve words like backstop or customs union.
All of the country except for Vardy, who is seven months pregnant and received a barrage of messages calling her a snake and a snitch and some even telling her they hoped she died, that her whole family died, and finally, that her unborn child died. Nice!
Oh I know, I know. Trolls go with the territory – if you are going to play with fire then expect to get burnt and all that. But even if Vardy did flog these stories – she says she didn’t, and that several people have had access to her Instagram account over the years – is the vitriol and abuse currently being aimed at her really proportionate to the ‘crime’? Vitriol and abuse that Coleen, as a public figure, must surely have predicted.
(Note to Coleen: when you put something on social media and you have even one follower, it is no longer private – if you don’t want people knowing your business, then keep it to yourself or only tell the one or two people you absolutely trust with your life, face to face, over a cup of tea on your sofa at home).
What troubles me is how many nice, normal people who would usually condemn trolling have picked over this story with unadulterated glee. It takes me straight back to the school playground, gossiping and bitching about the falling out between the Queen Bee and her sidekick, enjoying every awful moment of the Queen Bee’s attempts to trash her former friend’s reputation. I feel uneasy reading about it, dirty, even. As if I am condoning this petty, childish, and let’s face it *bullying* behaviour, Coleen has unleashed her attack dogs, and now she rests on the saintly laurels she has created for herself by tolerating her philandering husband’s ways. I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that there might be better ways to deal with someone who abuses your trust – like showing that you are the better person by rising above it, before going and playing in your giant money pit.
It was World Mental Health Day on Thursday, and many of the people who were tweeting about practising kindness and compassion were, in the same timeline, joyfully pouring over the Wagatha Christie saga. It makes such a great hashtag! What a lot of fun! Go, Coleen! Honestly, the weirdly desensitised double standards at play here make me want to *weep*.
Celebrities, royals, TV stars… they all make wonderful distractions when the country’s political system seems to be going up the swanny. But, and I cannot believe I am going to write this: they are humans with feelings and emotions, too! And here’s another thing I can’t quite believe I am writing: I think I would rather read about Brexit than a spat between two women who are famous for being married to people who kick balls for a living. We are already something of a global laughing stock. Let’s not give everyone more reasons to pity us.