Hayley Matthews: The nation loves you Ant, but you're not a god
I'm about to go on a massive rant about Ant. I may come across as being cold but I'll get to the reasons for my harshness in due course.
I’m sure we’ve all seen the video of an apparently drunken TV presenter Ant McPartlin leaning on his smashed up Mini. He was filmed getting arrested and being escorted into a police car.
We then heard the news that this weekend’s Saturday Night Takeaway might be cancelled, then might not, and now the latest is Dec will present the show solo. I couldn’t bite my tongue and had to let off some steam. Now, before I get ripped into how irresponsible Ant has been, please keep in mind that this man has enough money to check himself into the Priory at any given moment, enough disposable income to pay for the best psychological care and enough cash to pay a staff of drivers to take him to and from anywhere he wants to go in the world. So to say I have zero empathy for him is an understatement.
Yes, he may have a problem with prescription drugs and alcohol, but hey, half the world does! That doesn’t excuse jumping into a car when you’re allegedly half-cut and nearly mowing down a family on the opposite side of the road. So why risk it? And why on earth did his mum get in a car with him when he appeared to be in such a state?
Has ‘untouchable celebrity’ status taken over? The thing I find so sad is that he’s clearly crumbling underneath, yet ego and pride keep him on the treadmill of “let’s pretend everything is okay”. He may have been to rehab before, but clearly he still has a problem. Surely if he’d spoken out about it, said he needed more help and taken some time off his presenting duties, then we’d all have more respect for him.
Getting yourself help, especially when you’re in a position to buy yourself the best of care, seems like a no-brainer to me. So again, why risk it all? People who drink and drive are not just risking their own lives, but the safety and lives of others as well.
What if the child in the car that Ant allegedly smashed into had died? What if he’d taken out the entire family in the car, along with his mum and dog in the back of his car? Would people still be posting about how we should be feeling sorry for him on Facebook? I doubt it very much.
I imagine the reason for this can only be down to ego and, trust me, there are huge egos in the media. Ant’s pride has probably stopped him getting the help he needs and I think it’s all because the status of “celebrity” has gotten way out of control. These people think they are untouchable and we treat them like gods. But, in reality, they are just reading words off an autocue – I’m not playing it down, it’s a skilled job, but it’s hardly brain surgery!
Now, I don’t for a second deny that Ant is great at his job, but we’ve invested in him as a nation, trusted him, rewarded him for his achievements, and he’s blown it. So it’s only fair that he does as much as he can to fix this, help himself and hopefully, if he’s smart enough, help others in a similar situation. I don’t think anyone who’s in this frame of mind should be left broadcasting live to millions of people so to step down this weekend was a wise choice. Go and get some help Ant, please!