Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Bullying bust-up not model behaviour

Now that I am a mother, I have started thinking/worrying/planning for things to prepare and protect Grace from as she gets older. Bullying is one inevitable thing that she will probably bare witness to. 

So I was mortified to hear that A Current Affair was televising a violent incident that occurred on the current Season of Foxtel’s Australia’s Next Top Model (ANTM) between two teenage contestants.

In a challenge-gone-wrong, New South Wales native Ashley Pogmore (18) was physically attacked by Taylah Roberts from Perth (18) after Ashley got paint on Taylah’s shirt. She was basically choked on TV.

The disturbing vision aired on A Current Affair on Monday night

Footage aired around the country on A Current Affair on Monday night showed Taylah wrapping her hands around Ashley’s neck in what was initially a ‘joke’ but  escalated into a serious situation, fast.

As a result of this, Taylah was disqualified from the show (that should be the least of her punishment in my book, she’s lucky Ashley isn’t pressing charges).

But what really boils my blood, is that this incident wasn’t aired on ANTM until last night (Tuesday). So in fact, producers of ANTM were promoting this case of bullying in order to boost viewership. The interview between the two girls on the Monday night acted as a preview to the actual event that was to be shown the next night. Ah, what the? 

I work in public relations, and I’ve got to say, I have never seen such desperate measures to win ratings. Seriously, what kind of television show publicises bullying?

Instead of dealing with it internally, the producers of ANTM obviously thought this clash between two feuding teenage-model-wannabes would make for good viewing. When youth suicide rates are climbing, did they think that this was some kind of clever ploy to satiate the thirst of young audience members?

A Current Affair spoke to both contestants. Taylah seemed regretful over her actions and a tearful Ashley (the one who got attacked) basically defended the actions of Roberts in the interview, saying that even though ‘violence isn’t right’ she didn’t want her competitor’s career ‘to be jeopardised over something that was just a complete misunderstanding’. These words surprised me as Ashley seemed very distraught over what had happened to her. 

Ashley Pogmore

Taylah Roberts
Charlotte Dawson, former model and judge on ANTM was also interviewed as part of the A Current Affair segment. Ms Dawson then appeared on Channel Nine’s Mornings show the next day, further plugging the incident. She went on to say that she was worried about the girls’ wellbeing as a result of the footage being aired etc, but if the show was so worried about their contestants and what the public might say, why air it at all?

I think it’s disgraceful, the whole thing, and even though it’s the industry I work in, this kind of thing makes me sick that the media would promote such a thing just to win ratings.