Celebrities Don’t Owe You Shit

After Iain Lee walked off The Wright Stuff, we need to accept that celebrities don’t owe us a damn thing.


Iain Lee may have gathered condemnation on social media for walking off The Wright Stuff but he was well within his rights to do so. We act as though celebrities owe us everything, when really they do not.

For those who didn’t catch the incredibly awkward (and brief) appearance from Lee, the situation unfolded spectacularly when host Matthew Wright tried to press Lee on personal issues. Earlier in the week, on his radio show, Lee had discussed the state of his marriage, and his attempts to stay sober. Lee stated that he didn’t want to bring up those issues on The Wright Stuff and instead of being respectful, Wright acted like the stereotype of a bad journalist and kept pressing despite Lee trying to close the subject down. Lee then claimed he’d told producers before the show that his personal life was off the table, but Wright only seemed to think that if Lee had discussed one issue on his own show then he had to do it again for Channel 5.

Lee had repeatedly asked for his boundaries to be respected. Wright’s questions came off like an ambulance chaser, desperate to get something from someone who’s clearly going through a dark time. It was completely unnecessary. The Wright Stuff is a morning talk show, where celebrities get some time to talk about themselves in the introduction but the vast majority of the time is spent with the panel discussing the news. It’s not like Lee signed up for a tell-all interview with Piers Morgan, and even if he had, Lee would always have the right at any time to ask for privacy.

“Lee would always have the right at any time to ask for privacy”

Lee may have discussed personal issues before, but he did so on his own terms and in a space he was comfortable. It’s his radio show, he gets to run it how he likes. However, that certainly doesn’t mean that Lee has forfeited the right to privacy forever or that any show he goes on he must discuss all of his personal demons. Why must celebrities, particularly those with mental health conditions, be forced to live as a spectacle for the rest of the world? Yes, part of their fames comes from selling their own personas, but having a character in the public realm whether as a TV host, a journalist, or even a reality star is different from effectively living under Big Brother and having to repeatedly let everyone know your every thought.

There is a fundamental right to privacy, especially for somebody who is trying to manage their life and health at a very difficult time. Celebrities don’t owe anyone shit. They can choose to talk about personal issues when they want. It seems that celebrities are routinely slammed for being too personal or showing too much of their lives on TV, and then shamed if they choose not to give us all of the gory details. It doesn’t matter how interesting we might find a story, that’s no right to pester someone regardless of whatever was said or not to producers beforehand. Lee shouldn’t have had to leave. He didn’t look like someone who couldn’t handle TV, Wright looked like someone who couldn’t stand missing out on a good (or perhaps tragic) soundbite. Even celebrities have a right to privacy and that’s the point of rights. They’re supposed to encompass everyone.

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