By Alex Lambden
The feud between two famous British ‘wag’s stormed social media’s attention last week when Coleen Rooney claimed that Rebekah Vardy (or at least her account) had leaked stories about her to various tabloid newspapers.
This discovery was found after a five-month investigation Coleen took upon herself by uploading various fake stories to her private Instagram such as baby gender selection in Mexico, being excited to go on Strictly Come Dancing and one about a flooded basement. Due to prior suspicion, Mrs Vardy’s account was the only one user given access and like a moth to a flame,
Coleen’s fake stories were all over the press.
Becoming an instant online sensation, new memes were uploaded to Twitter in seconds, some depicting Guess Who? board game boxes, with others parodying Scooby doo with Rooney uncovering Vardy’s identity. The level of conviction Coleen displayed earnt her the title of ‘Wagatha Christie,’ as well as igniting the new concept known as the Wag War. Rebekah Vardy posted her response within minutes, but since then, both women have stayed quiet on social media.
We were all left rushing for our jumbo-sized bags of popcorn after the dramatic reveal, excitedly anticipating which celebrity would speak out next. Providing a seemingly innocent escape to an ever-depressing news reel, this story actually has a more sinister side and an ugly reflection of online humiliation.
Many have criticised the way Coleen made this feud public, with Rebekah herself calling it ‘disgusting’ and believes she should have been phoned prior in order to clear the air. Whilst it’s understandable that Ms Rooney wanted to expose the alleged betrayal in her own words, she didn’t stop to think that it may not have been Vardy. Being a high profile and well-off celebrity, Vardy most likely has a team of PR people behind her social media accounts. Alongside being bashed by tabloids, Vardy has received a multitude of vile tweets attacking the star, with some even sending death threats. Whilst the leaked gossip is very suspicious, we have to remember that Coleen Rooney is not affiliated with Scotland Yard and this is purely an allegation. Even if this accusation were true, in no way does this warrant Rebekah Vardy being subjected to having hate or violence.
Death threats are now carelessly sent by online trolls and are commonly received by reality stars, especially those depicted less favourably. It’s shockingly dystopian how some users can feel so involved in a situation that they aren’t related to whatsoever. I also have to question Coleen’s actions in this situation too. By posting her tweet, she knew she would gain international media coverage, not even via media, as well as internet virality from her 1.2 million Twitter follower count and beyond. Coleen intended to publicly humiliate Rebekah, and I do feel she is a victim caught up in all of this, especially due to her known sensitivity towards nasty comments left about her on the MailOnline, that she tweeted about just days before the incident.
Whilst this celebrity drama all seemed very tongue-in-cheek, I believe it underlies a serious problem with online drama today. If Coleen didn’t want a story leaked, she could have just stopped sharing to Instagram. Instead, she chose to set an elaborate trap to defame someone she has no definite way of knowing is guilty or not. But hey, it all created a lot of fun on Twitter for a day, right?