The Treatment of Ant McPartlin & Caroline Flack is Further Evidence of Gender Inequality.

The ITV’s reaction to both cases, further shows how males are still considered more worthy than females.

Sam H Arnold

If you live in the United Kingdom you can not help but see the coverage of Caroline Flack, taking her own life. For those that don’t know Caroline Flack was a British television presenter. She was accused of common assault on her boyfriend. Her boyfriend later dropped these charges. Our criminal justice service pursued the conviction anyway. Sadly Caroline took her own life before the trial came to court.

As terrible sad her decision was, for me this has highlighted a bigger issue. The difference in treatment between males and females in the public. Even within incidents like these, there is a clear gender divide.

When Males Are Charged

The Case

In March 2018 another ITV presenter found himself in legal trouble, Ant McPartlin. He was arrested for drink driving after causing a three-vehicle pile-up in South London. Luckily no one was hurt, however, the result could have been much worse. One of the passengers in the car was a three-year-old girl, who was taken to hospital to be checked over.

He was charged and received a record fine and twenty-month ban. Many people predicted that this could be the end of his presenting career. For those that don’t know he is one half of a popular presenting duo Ant and Dec.


The executives he worked for knew he had a drinking and mental health problem. Their reaction was to give him time to seek the help he deserved. One of his shows was cancelled, the rest was covered by other celebrities temporarily. His partner Declan Donnelly hosted the hugely popular Britains Got Talent on his own. The lovely Holly Willoughby stood beside him to host I’m a Celebrity.

Eighteen months on McPartlin recovered. He has been handed back his place presenting all his shows. The new series of Saturday Night Takeaway starts this week, with him firmly back at the helm. ITV have supported him completely.

When Females Are Charged

The Case

Then in comparison, we come to the sad story of Caroline Flack. In December police were called to her home, she was discovered intoxicated, fighting with her boyfriend. It was clear that they had both been violent to each other. It was also clear that Caroline was in an unstable condition and in the middle of a mental health break. She was found to have inflicted several wounds to herself, as well as her boyfriend. She was in such a worrying state that she could not be interviewed immediately. She needed medical treatment for the wounds she had inflicted on herself.

When the alcohol had worn off, her boyfriend demanded all charges were dropped. The crown prosecution service had other ideas. You can read more about the case by searching on the internet. It is not my intention to discuss this side of things.


Instead, let’s look at how her employers treated her. As soon as the story hit about the incident, ITV effectively sacked her. She was a hugely popular presenter of Love Island. She wasn’t offered any support from them, instead, she was cast out without support. ITV have stated that they were in contact with Flack and were discussing her coming back to the show. This has come out since her death and was never mentioned previously to it.

Regardless, the way they dealt with the situation was completely different. Publicly they sacked her, never did they say she was taking a break to get the help she needed and would be back. Never did they offer the support and compassion they showed McParlin.

Many will say that each case should be treated individually. They both had mental health issues, potential both also had drinking problems. I don’t disagree with the fact the cases were different and should be treated as so.

The two major differences in the cases were -

Caroline Flack was never convicted of the charge of common assault.

What would have happened at court will never be known? As far as our criminal justice system states, you are innocent until proven guilty. So in the eye of the law, Caroline Flack was guilty of no crime at the time she was sacked by ITV.

In contrast, Ant McParlin was charged and pleaded guilty to the charge of drink driving. He was found to be over twice the legal limit. He received an £86 000 fine and banned from driving for twenty months. He was given time to recover and his job held open.

The second difference between the cases -

Caroline Flack was female and Ant McPartlin male.

There will be many more discussions on whether the CPS should have continued with the case. The media for one are trying to lay the blame for this sad incident on the CPS. The media, however, have their reason for doing this. They pursued and bullied, a mentally ill woman continuously.

No one has questioned ITV’s part in this, yet. Clear questions need to be asked about how they treated a vulnerable woman. Why they didn’t offer her the support they offered her male equivalent. Is this another case of gender inequality?

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UK writer & writing coach - views on writing, parenting, mental health & more. Want to improve your writing —

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