Campaigners mount online petition for ‘Caroline’s Law’ following Caroline Flack’s tragic death
An online campaign demanding a change to laws regulating press intrusion in the wake of the death of Caroline Flack has gained more than 500,000 signatures.
The Bafta-winning TV presenter was found dead at her home in London on Saturday.
A lawyer for her family confirmed that she had committed suicide.
Flack had stood down from hosting ITV2’s Love Island in December after she was charged with assaulting her boyfriend, 27-year-old tennis player Lewis Burton.
Her management company said the 40-year-old had been “under huge pressure” since her arrest. She was due to stand trial for the assault in March.
What is ‘Caroline’s Law’?
More than 500,000 people have signed a petition on 38degrees.org calling on the House of Commons to consider changing media regulation laws.
According to the campaign’s creator, Dennis Patton, ‘Caroline’s Law’ would: “make it a criminal offence, not dissimilar to Corporate Manslaughter [sic], for the British Media [sic] to knowingly and relentlessly bully a person whether they be in the public eye or not, up to the point that they take their own life.”
The petition names “The Jeremy Kyle Show, and Caroline Flack” as recent cases where the media has “sought to sensationalise the misfortune of individuals...to the catastrophic detriment of the individuals’ mental welfare.”
“Sections of the media were quite happy to drag her life through the wringer purely in order to sell a few more papers and it’s just not right.
“What price is a life? This isn’t the first time this has happened, and I’m concerned that without a new law, it won’t be the last.”
Tributes to “much loved” Caroline
In a statement on Saturday, Flack’s family said: "We can confirm that our Caroline passed away today, the 15th of February.
"We would ask that the press respect the privacy of the family at this difficult time and we would ask they make no attempt to contact us and/or photograph us."
Flack’s boyfriend Lewis Burton posted an emotional tribute on Instagram. He did not support the assault case against her.
He wrote: “I am so lost for words I am in so much pain I miss you so much I know you felt safe with me you always said I don't think about anything else when I am with you and I was not allowed to be there this time I kept asking and asking.”
"I love you with all my heart," he finished.
Flack had not been allowed to contact Burton as part of her bail conditions.
My heart is broken we had something so special. I am so lost for words I am in so much pain I miss you so much I know you felt safe with me you always said I don’t think about anything else when I am with you and I was not allowed to be there this time I kept asking and asking. I will be your voice baby I promise I will ask all the questions you wanted and I will get all the answers nothing will bring you back but I will try make you proud everyday. I love you with all my heart 💔
A post shared by Lewis Burton (@mrlewisburton) on Feb 15, 2020 at 11:42pm PST
An ITV spokesperson said: "Everybody at Love Island and ITV is shocked and saddened by this desperately sad news.
"Caroline was a much loved member of the Love Island team and our sincere thoughts and condolences are with her family and friends."
Laura Whitmore, Flack’s replacement presenter on Love Island tweeted a photo of her and Flack embracing, alongside a poem, part of which read:
“You left us far too earlybefore your time, it seemsand now you’ll never have the chanceto fulfill all those dreams”
“However hard it is thoughwe’ll take comfort in the thoughtof all the memories we haveand the happiness you brought”
Laura Whitmore hits back at “trolls”
On her BBC Radio 5 Live show, Whitmore said her friend Flack was a “loving” person, and asked listeners to be kind to each other.
Addressing press and social media coverage of Flack, she said: “To paparazzi and tabloids looking for a cheap sell, to trolls hiding behind a keyboard - enough.”
It comes after widespread criticism of the way many press outlets covered news of Flack’s arrest.
Today's Sun editorial. "We can all positively impact on others' wellbeing."Unbelievable. pic.twitter.com/6vR6E6huRc
— The Sun Apologies (@SunApology) February 17, 2020
Love Island to return to ITV2
Saturday and Sunday’s episodes of Love Island were cancelled by producers after news of Flack’s death.
The show is set to return to ITV2 tonight (Monday) at 9pm, with a tribute to the former presenter.
A spokesperson for ITV said the broadcaster had chosen not to air the show “out of respect for Caroline’s family.”
“Love Island will return tomorrow night which will include a tribute to Caroline who will be forever in our hearts,” they added.