I could say that views on Katie Hopkins are usually divided and that she’s like marmite to some, but when someone repeatedly goes out of their way to stir trouble and frankly, spouts a lot of nonsense, then ‘divided’ is probably an understatement.
Hopkins rose to fame in the third series of BBC One’s The Apprentice and prides herself as being the only candidate to say ‘no’ to Lord Sugar. She’s a businesswoman, which is always good, and she’s also a columnist for The Sun, which means like her least favourite name “Tyler”, she doesn’t reflect a lot of intelligence.
What we can expect with Hopkins is statements that often, make no sense. Let’s take for example her apparent hatred for geographical names like Brooklyn and Texas despite having a daughter named India. Or her views on ridiculing overweight people, ignoring any other issues that propel obesity or over-eating and simply branding these people lazy and the scum of society. Or her general know-it-all attitude, which is not the most endearing attribute.
What confuses me is why this kind of person deserves any kind of broadcast time? She’s now on Channel 5’s Big Brother and has recently had her documentary My Fat Story aired on TLC. She often gets air time on the debate sections of ITV’s This Morning and continuously agitates both presenters and audiences alike.
But the fact of the matter is that Hopkins, despite her ‘straight-talking’ and offensive approach, sells. And she sells in a climate when no one else does. Rather than being safe, she opts to be racist and has recently been investigated by the police for her tweets about the ebola virus. Hopkins is lethal with words as it is but when armed with a mere 140 characters, she teeters on the edge of criminal.
So what is this saying about who we let onto our TV and into the media? Because what Hopkins advocates is that it’s okay to say harsh, insensitive things and not have a conscience that considers how you make others feel. She teaches those reading her columns and watching her on TV that she can pass distasteful judgement on anyone and anything and that if she can do it on such a massive platform, so can they.
When she airs her views on the TV or radio shows she ends up on, what we see is the ignorant, racist and unkind face of Britain that still exists within contemporary society. By allowing someone like Hopkins gain a wider platform to say things like “I hate fat people for making me do this” – as she does in her TLC documentary – we are allowing her to create a blame culture that has no firm grounding but even worse, we slap the ‘celebrity’ label on her and give her more room to gain momentum and spread her warped ideas. Her ego has been more than stroked.
Of course, while Hopkins does provoke outrage, we can also choose to see her as symbolic of the stupidity and narrow-mindedness that just won’t go away.
That being said, is Katie Hopkins someone we should just laugh at then? Laugh so as to lament those limited views that people still believe in? I think we should go with that.