Chris Maloney, Prank Calls and Squaring the Circle.

Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how long you spend thinking about something, it refuses to make sense.

Like, are two radio DJs morally responsible for the death of a nurse who was involved in a prank call they made?

It has to be said, any death is a tragedy for the people involved, and close to the deceased. That’s a given.

But prank calls have been happening for as long as there have been phones, including prank calls to royals and other public figures – anyone remember the time the Queen got pranked by a DJ pretending to be the Canadian PM? Even Fidel Castro got pranked by a DJ in his day. I don’t think anyone could have predicted that someone would react to being pranked in such a way – and there may have been other factors at play in this sad situation, that we don’t know about yet.

But I keep reading Tweets and comments along the lines of, “Well, shame on those DJs. I hope they feel ashamed, they have blood on their hands…” 


So the DJs are morally culpable because a vulnerable individual was unknowingly made the subject of a prank call, the kind of which has happened thousands of times before without anyone ever being quite so upset by it. Okay.

But then why are we not equally outraged by the sorts of things I’ve been reading on Twitter about Chris Maloney, the former X-Factor contestant?

It makes no sense, to me.

From what I can tell, Chris is a moderately good singer, who was perceived as being a ‘diva’ in a reality programme that even its most ardent admirers must concede is edited and designed to seem as dramatic as possible.

At the end of the competition, Chris didn’t win and had a bit of a tantrum about the whole business, possibly had a few too many drinks, and said some mean things to people, before going home in a strop.

He made a mistake. In a ridiculously heightened, emotional situation he got drunk and behaved like an idiot. I suspect most of us – even without the added pressure of being on national TV – have done something similar at least once in our lives. And we’re blessed to have the sort of friends who are happy to feign poor memory and pretend it never happened, when we next see them.

But I look at Twitter and it’s pitchforks and judgment left, right and centre. Some of the Tweets I’ve seen today include:

    • Your only fans are your nan and her friends down at the bingo
    • Disgusted in the things I’ve heard lately, you didn’t even deserve 3rd place! Im glad I wasn’t fooled by you
    • Think of all the old people that loved you! Shame everybody else thinks you’re an utter tw@t
    • Don’t thank Gary,  he hates you just as much as everyone else.
    • You are a bellend
    • I hate u
    • stay off the sunbeds fat lad

I mean, seriously?

He’s a singer on a TV show, who might have got a bit drunk and said something stupid. Is he really, genuinely deserving of strangers telling him he’s talentless, disgusting, hated, fat and a liar?

Why are we so quick to condemn the media for what we perceive as cruelty, but so slow to see it in ourselves? 

To me, this sort of mob bullying is far more worthy of outrage than a couple of DJs doing their job. And frankly, if you’re in the mood to chase someone with a pitchfork, how about the Tory idiot who reckons that “most parents don’t want gay children” but thinks “most people are very tolerant and don’t have a problem with people who are gay”.

What a tosser.

Anyway, I digress. Does this whole thing make sense to you?

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