Sam Pepper is good at what he does. He's a money making machine, desperate to get people talking, regardless of how he does it. I feel we need to react like any adult nurturing a child; clap clap, well done, you got my attention, now go try and make friends with the other kids and be better behaved. We know full well if we turn our back he'll get a girl's ponytail in one hand and a pair of scissors in the other. I honestly haven't watched the video, he doesn't need the single digit it would add. On air, I wrote an open letter telling Sam there is enough pain and distress in this world without him causing more for entertainment. The letter wasn't for him because undoubtedly he wouldn't be listening (because he's based in the US, my show is awesome). It was for those who had noticed the trend on twitter, checked out the commotion and felt frustrated that someone would do something like that, I was standing up FOR them, not standing up TO him.
Sam is just a speck of dust that has floated across an ever moving line of decency. We are racing our way towards the conclusion of I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. A programme notorious for teasing and torturing celebs for our delight and their bank balance. Was the challenge this year to eat blended camel penis? How delightful, I heard it's great with butternut squash. They know what they're signing up for though right? Any one who goes into the jungle must have watched the programme beforehand, expectant of the mental and physical strain they are about to endure. Having watched The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 in the past few days, I can't help but feel an obligation to remind myself that it's always easier to cope with something when it's not happening to someone like you. Celebrities aren't like you and me because they get to do fun things and get paid well for it, they live a better life so they deserve a little hardship. Perhaps that's how you feel.
Now thinking about it, The Hunger Games is one of the saddest pieces of entertainment I have enjoyed recently. It was easy to enjoy because of the drama, attractive people and it exists in a world so far removed from our own. However it doesn't take long to start seeing the similarities. The Capitol doesn't know or think about the children starving in District 12. The story of Panem (a land which used to be North America) is created because the land is unable to sustain demands on resources, so the government start controlling people and production. The Hunger Games is a reality tv show, the people of Panem watching people fight in an extreme arena for their delight. It sounds a little familiar.
What I feel has upset a lot of people about Sam's prank is that it has brought the distance between entertainment and reality even closer together. An execution performed on an innocent individual in front of someone who loves them is not a fictional idea nor is it happening in a culture different from our own. It is a reenactment of something which is happening in real life to us. However, if you look at the more extreme parts of the world right now, entirely consumed by dictatorships and war, we've been romanticising their reality. So a question I ask myself is 'if you are the kind of person that believes that it's okay to make entertainment out of suffering like the Hunger Games does, then where is the line?'