Katie Hopkins shows us that fame really is a fickle food
Given a platform to get yourself on television, the only way to stay there if you lack any notable talents is to be the most extreme version of yourself you can be.
Katie Hopkins is known to some demographics as the lady who has made a career out of saying what others are thinking and not being afraid to speak the truth, whilst she is known to others as a controversial, racist, xenophobic extremist. Whichever side you fall on, the demise her career has seen over the last few months is there to be seen by all.
By her own admission on her homepage Hopkins calls herself; ‘Columnist, broadcaster and business woman’, but what she broadcasts and writes about seems to be based only on extreme views.
What is Katie Hopkins famous for?
It’s easy to forget, because she’s been in our lives for 10 years now, that Katie Hopkins isn’t much more than a reality TV star. She first appeared on the apprentice having come from a management consultancy background; her last role before appearing on The Apprentice was working for the MET office as a brand consultant. This is a role that she was not allowed to go back to after the apprentice, due to her public outbursts.
From early on, Hopkins stated she was an “Alpha female” and a “game player” who intended to use the opportunity of going on The Apprentice as a way to find fame. This would make sense because she turned down the opportunity to appear in the final 3 because she couldn’t uproot her family from Devon to London on short notice if she won, something you’d think was surely explained to her before she was even cast in the show. With her speech to Sugar saying she couldn’t make it into the final being watched by over 3 million people, she had already gained the audience she was hoping for, and so the Katie Hopkins rodeo began.
It is worth noting that just because The Apprentice has people from the realms of business who seem knowledgeable and intelligent (some of the time) it doesn’t hide the fact that the people on it are still nobodies; that is, they are not in any way in the public eye, and believe that reality TV is a notable way to enter a career. This places them in the same group as Big Brother and X Factor contestants – people who want to bypass the hard work in exchange for fame. Whilst Hopkins stopped short of inserting a wine bottle inside herself, or being caught having sex in a jacuzzi, this doesn’t mean she is any better than any other people trying so desperately to achieve their 15 minutes of fame.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to bypass the hard work it takes to become ‘famous’, however it is no coincidence that the type of people you are left with from a reality TV show is typically the most extreme type of people in the public eye. Who remembers 90% of Big Brother, X-Factor or The Apprentice contestants? Barely anyone. However the people well-remembered by most are the likes of Jade from Big Brother, Mark Wright from The Only Way is Essex, Cher Lloyd from the X Factor, and of course, Russell Brand, who gained a large portion of his fame from Big Brothers Little Brother, the supportive aftershow of the reality TV circus. And of course, there’s Katie Hopkins.
These are the people you remember because they were outrageous, extreme and over the top. Given a platform to get yourself on television, the only way to stay there if you lack any notable talents is to be the most extreme version of yourself you can be. Jade Goody, who saw her fifteen minutes of fame begin with the third series of Big Brother, is widely remembered for her horrendous racist comments to Shilpa Shetty, an Indian actress and former house mate. Mark Wright makes money off the back of public display of unintelligence, Cher Lloyd took to being a glamour model after an unsuccessful singing career, and Russell Brand did whatever it took to get in the spotlight, including quite literally masturbating a stranger in a Soho toilet for a TV show. Katie Hopkins chose extremism, xenophobia and racism to ensure she remained somewhat in the public view. Every time she felt her fame slip from public image, she blasted out another ill conceived and poorly timed accusation, just to make sure we knew she was there lurking in the background like the Pennywise clown from IT.
It says it all that after her claim to fame came from the Apprentice which aired in 2007, for the following few years all she did was appear on Celebrity Big Brother, that hotbed of the ultra famous, and had guest appearances on day time TV and comedy quiz shows, probably hoping she would make an outrageous claim which would give the comedians fuel for ridicule.
Hopkins later went on to be a columnist for the natural habitats of the extremist The Sun and then later the Mail online. It was here when her reputation for being outrageous really captured the attention of the public. In one article she claimed that migrants were ‘cockroaches’ and said that gun ships should be used to stop them crossing the Mediterranean, an article that led to over 200,000 people signing a petition to get her sacked. If the readers of ‘The Sun’ want your head for being too extreme then you know that you’re really on the wrong side of the moral track. Hopkins later found another role with the Daily Mail online, where she continued with such ‘telling it like it is’ articles as ‘You’re right, Theresa. We cannot go on like this. But do you have the balls to do what’s REALLY needed and lock up the 3,000 terror suspects tomorrow?’
Hopkins was then given a spot on LBC radio, a station renowned for giving different people from different viewpoints the microphone and letting them discuss ideas with the audience. Here she took democracy’s number one asset of free speech to the limit. After the Manchester attack, Hopkins claimed that a “final solution” was needed in response to the rising number of attacks from terrorists on British soil. Her statement rang eerily close to that made by one psychotic Austrian during the modern world’s darkest hour.
Her statement was condemned, and calls for her to go from yet another broadcasting post surfaced. LBC had no choice and they agreed to part ways, to the tune of the other presenters actually applauding her exit. It wasn’t the only time she has called on an ideology from the Nazi’s, however; Hopkins once stated that the house of Lords should be ‘gassed’.
However, it seems the public are getting bored of this minor face in the press who seems to have tourettes without actually being diagnosed, who does nothing but think of the most outrageous things to say in order to achieve airtime. It is said that she has applied to UKIP to become a party member, only to be turned down on multiple occasions, more than likely because even they cant deal with the bad press she brings with her.
In a country which has seen many horrible attacks in recent years, it is understandable to see why some people feel that perhaps there is not enough action taken by the government; you can argue that people want an alternative to what is happening, which is likely why people like Hopkins originally got airtime. The difference for most people is, even with what Hopkins stands for, most people can see that it isn’t a viable solution. The only thing she seems able to do is to be over the top without thought into how her statements could possibly be acted upon.
I am the Jesus of the Outspoken. I will be crucified for your sins. But I will rise again. If only to piss on your chips pic.twitter.com/22fyqrudLr
— Katie Hopkins (@KTHopkins) October 29, 2017
The most hardened xenophobes want action, not words, and thankfully all she can deliver is words so that she can cling onto her dimming spotlight. Therefore, her airtime inevitably declines, as people don’t want a loud mouth for the sake of it, they want a loud mouth that actually does something. This is the nature of fame.
Putting your money where your mouth is
Think what you will of Farage, he is a character similar to Hopkins in many ways and has similar views on what they perceive the current situation the UK is in. The difference being Farage actually went and did something, he challenged government, gained support form some of the public, got UKIP a seat in parliament and spoke in Brussels that ultimately led to Brexit. You can agree or disagree with his opinions and actions, but he at least acted on his far-fetched ideas.
Likewise Donald Trump – someone Hopkins is an unsurprising supporter of – love or loath him, is a man acting on what he said he would do, or at least to the extent that sane legislation will allow him to, which gives his supporters hope that he can make a change to their country. People really aren’t interested in what some washed up Reality TV star has to say anymore, people have seen through the Hopkins façade and are inevitably growing tired of it.
The metaphorical 15 minutes of fame is hard to hold on to, especially if you’re not talented. The people who stay around after those 15 minutes are those with talent, even if that talent is small, questionable or not to your taste. There are X Factor singers who can actually sing, and there are some of them are still around today with successful albums to their name. Russell Brand has branched out into Hollywood movies, stand up, books etc. a display of talent. All Hopkins has been able to do with here 15 minutes is give a lazy, hurtful commentary on national disasters and displaying grossly inappropriate views with wildly unrealistic solutions.
It is no surprise that her shelf life is now less than a pint of milk in the desert; her comedic value gone like a poor ‘knock knock’ joke. Her lack of talent in any area has been revealed, people are bored of her. There may be some neo-Nazis that will always stick up for her, but other than those who hang so far onto the far-right that they wouldn’t look our of place in a History Channel documentary, we have moved on from this woman. Like a bad smell that has lingered too long, even the smell cannot stay forever, it causes havoc whilst it was around, but as soon as it’s gone, everyone forgets it was even there.