British television presenter Caroline Flack died on February 15, 2020, at the age of 40, reportedly by suicide. Two days later, it was announced that Ad Lib Publishing would be releasing a biography on her life and death. Caroline…The Short, Sweet And Tragic Life of Caroline Flack is set for an April 30 release, which speaks volumes to the level of care, research, and empathy that will be invested in this project.
No time like the present, eh pic.twitter.com/UNvaqI256G— Anita Singh (@anitathetweeter) February 17, 2020
Emily Herbert, who the publisher describes as ‘a wonderful writer who has serious and important things to say about this terrible tragedy’, will churn out the minimum 60k words for this touching tribute to a woman whose life and death continue to be torn apart for tabloid fodder. This seems to be Herbert’s area of expertise. She released a biography of Robin Williams in the same year he died, and also wrote books on George Michael, Sir Terry Wogan, and Michael Jackson after their respective passings. It’s not all death and gloom though. She also penned books on Meghan and Harry’s love story, and Lady Gaga’s rise to fame before she’d even released her second album. You know, I like to think I’m a pretty good and prolific writer, but I’m definitely not ‘I can churn out a cheap biography of a dead celebrity before the body is cold’ fast. More fool me, I suppose.
Don’t worry, though. If you thought this book was the literary equivalent of ambulance-chasing, the publishers will kindly be donating a portion of the proceeds to anti-cyberbullying charities, so it’s all okay!
The internet responded accordingly.
This has to be one of the most cynical and ill-timed book announcements going. Literally the conversation on media intrusion is ongoing and 'serious and important' themes aside… this is no different.— James David Fox (@JamesDavidFox) February 17, 2020
Caroline Flack biography to be published by Ad Lib https://t.co/PQIzM5JoVR
I don't like this. I don't like this at all. https://t.co/avMdTdQBLq— Emma Gannon (@emmagannon) February 17, 2020
literally can't imagine how something invented in February and published in April is going to be anything other than opportunistic ghoulishness but the general public are ghouls so it'll prob sell tons https://t.co/7VJUKDBp86— Bethany (@bethanyrutter) February 17, 2020
A ‘book’ like this is designed to be done on the cheap and sold in pound-shops or on supermarket shelves quickly enough to sate public interest in a horrifying story. Sadly, this is nothing new, as Herbert’s own illustrious career is testament to. This example, however, has hit especially hard for people because Flack has only been dead for TWO DAYS and because the conversation surrounding her is primarily focused on how the cruelty of the British press may or may not have negatively impacted her mental and emotional wellbeing. The same outlets who spent years mining Flack’s personal life for content, often in the vilest and most degrading ways, are now trying to shift the blame while simultaneously picking apart this awful event for further views. Ad Lib Publishing thinks a quick charitable donation will undo the obvious damage this act of public humiliation will do to Flack’s family, friends, and her legacy. It won’t. It’ll just fuel the cycle once more, and then the next time this happens, we’ll all wonder how such a tragedy could have happened while some desperate freelancer sh*ts out a pitch for a ‘tell-all’ book on the story.
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