UPDATE / Feb 24: Mainstream media were just as culpable in Charlotte Dawson's death as much-maligned social media, says commentator Bill Ralson.
"She was a very fragile creature. When I picked up the Sunday papers yesterday, I was appalled at the way they were feasting on her death," Mr Ralston said on TV3's Firstline this morning.
"Because we talk about the social media bullying, but there was a lot of mainstream media bullying too, particularly by gossip columnists and women’s magazines.
"She left New Zealand because she just found it too hard."
Picking on celebrities was good fodder and sold newspapers, said the former Metro editor and head of TVNZ News & Curent Affairs. "But at what cost? It cost this woman her life."
Media commentor and trainer Brian Edwards did want to focus on social media, in part, saying "Twitter seems to be to be something that’s there for people who’s thought processes don’t extend beyond 140 characters. And it’s a vicious and brutal thing, largely because of its anonymity. People can say the most horrible things. I doubt that was the cause of her depression, but it would have exacerbated things."
Mr Ralston continued to focus on mainstream media's role, adding, "If you’re a model and your looks are everything, and you constantly have to worry about your looks, then things are going to get bad when you hit 50.
"She would do a bit of botox, She was beginning to look a bit like the cat woman at times ... and of course the media would focus in on that and that would be humiliating.
"It's just a cycle and she was a fragile creature.
"It’s just a cycle and she was a fragile creatre. The media should learn a lesson here. If you’re dealing with someone, who’s fragile, take care."
He did not expect the lesson would be learned.
Charlotte Dawson found dead
Feb 22: Chalotte Dawson (47) has been found dead in her Sydney home.
The New Zealand-born television personality was discovered in her apartment in the central city suburb of Woolloomooloo by a security guard late Saturday morning. The alarm had been raised by a real estate agent who had been attempting to contact Ms Dawson over the auction of her property, which was due to take within an hour.
A police media spokesman told news.com.au: “About 11am police from the Kings Cross local area command were called to Cowper Wharf Road after the body of a woman had been located in a unit. No suspicious circumstances at this stage and a report is being prepared for the coroner.”
Ms Dawson was axed as a co-host of Australia's Next Top Model in November. Australian media reports say she took the decision hard.
It has also been reported she was under financial pressure.
Ms Dawson was hospitalised after a reported suicide attempt in August 2012.
Her hospitalisation followed an online war with various "trolls" who left abusive messages on her Twitter account.
After a series of back-and-forth tweets with those firing personal abuse at her, Ms Dawson signed off from 2.07am with: "you win x" and a picture of a hand holding tablets. She also tweeted: "Hope this ends the misery".
Last night on her Twitter account, after appearing on a Channel Nine panel show about empowering women, Ms Dawson posted multiple messages about people suffering from life-threatening cancer, in particular one man suffering from stomach cancer.
In the book, Air Kiss and Tell, she revealed she had had an abortion with her former husband, Olympic swimmer Scott Miller, so that he would not have any distractions in the lead up to the Sydney Olympics.
She had been looking forward to having a baby but sensed “hesitation” in Miller, she told The Australian.
”Everything Scott had done was leading up to this moment and nothing could stand in his way, so it was decided that we would terminate the child and try again later. Who needed a developing foetus when a gold medal was on offer, eh?”
Ms Dawson wrote that she was alone when she had the termination 16 years ago, and that it was first experience with depression.
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