Is it time to call time on Katie Hopkins?
Following internet outrage over her ill-timed and ill-thought through Twitter remarks in the wake of the Glasgow helicopter tragedy, The Daily Star has now thrown its weight (whatever its readership is) behind a 90,000 strong campaign to close down Katie Hopkins and have her 'banned from TV'.
[Picture borrowed from the Mirror - apologies, will take down if you object]
The sometime 'Apprentice Star' (it seems the Apprentice is more about people trying to get a TV career than ahead in business) and now Sun columnist seems to have ignored the learning from her Glasgow twitter gaffe and topped that with an arguably more offensive posting. While her tweet about Scottish life expectancy was, in the context of what had happened, deeply inappropriate, one could give her the benefit of the doubt that (ignorant of what had happened) she separately tried to be funny about Scottish mortality and retirement age. That suggestion of itself could be seen as offensive enough but she was seemingly blind to two obvious rules of comedy - (1) you need to actually be funny and (2) timing. So on both counts she failed.
Having aired her views on children's names on This Morning, testing the patience of Holly Willoughby and doubtless many a viewer, her views on children's names are already in the public domain. However her tweet relating to Kaychanel Willson, a brave 10 year old MRSA sufferer who was featured on X Factor, takes her tweeting and views to another level. Hopkins is reported as tweeting "Kaychanel has enough on her plate without me adding to it. Could have been KayEsteeLauder". Aside from reinforcing why she should rethink any thoughts of a career in comedy, what was Hopkins thinking, how did she think her tweet would be received and who, if anyone, did she think it would be well received by? If she was seeking to test her comic repertoire with irony then to the extent the back reference to her views on children's names may have provided a reference point, her chosen object, namely Kaychanel, was ill judged. Her tweet's rhetorical question is telling - yes, Kaychanel has more than enough on her plate, so why - and here IS the question - does Hopkins seek to exploit that by adding to it with her crass remarks. So are we to take from this that (following Hopkins' views) not only do children's names determine their social class but also their health?
If she was trying to be funny, then again, she was not. So this leads to the other more disturbing suggestion, was she trying to create controversy to gain publicity? She ought to have known (based on the Scottish life expectancy comment) that it is not always what you write or tweet but how those reading it react to it that counts. In this regard her latest tweeting has turned up the heat. Whether it is out of bigotry, lack of comedy talent, or a misplaced attempt at seeking publicity, it has landed badly with a broad audience.
In a society where TV voting attracts greater audiences than political voting then it is correct that the public should decide whether it is time to call time on the public platform Hopkins has been enjoying for her views. She may be entitled to her views but that does not mean one has to listen to them.