Culture

The media need to stop using social media content out of context. Right. Now.

James Rolleston Ayeesha Taylor

When it comes to trolls, some might say ‘that’s what you sign up for’ when you have thousands of followers. But Miss FQ says enough is enough.

Actor James Rolleston, who suffered critical injuries in a car crash 10 months ago, has been dating 20-year-old Aucklander Ayeesha Taylor for a few years now and last night she bravely spoke out for the first time about how his accident affected her.

“I never imagined I would be sitting next to my partner on life support,” her emotional post begins. “Wondering if he was ever going to wake up, having no way of knowing what would lay ahead for him. I remember wondering if he would simply be able to look left and right or squeeze my hand.”

She goes on to explain the toll it took on her, teaching Rolleston to “relearn the basics; to talk, walk, use a knife and fork, do up a button.”

“Everyday was a journey in itself. Being in a relationship with someone who’s emotions, memory, ability to empathize and have perspective, organizational skills, speech, temper, motivation and much more is compromised is almost impossible.”

Exploring New Zealand’s back yard with my partner in climb 🌏

A post shared by James Rolleston (@jamesrolleston) on

It’s clear from her words that the road to James’ recovery has been an emotional journey for Ayeesha, one that she herself admits “taught me lessons I may not have even learned in my lifetime.”

As someone who – as far as the media are concerned – is on the side-line to her boyfriend’s acting career, she has put herself out there by opening up about how impossible the task of his rehabilitation seemed.

“Being so focused on his needs and wellbeing for so long, understandably I left myself behind a little. I’m taking some reflection time out, time for healing, travelling, growing and time for me.”

As a result, she’s embarked on her OE, and in case you were wondering, James Rolleston, who is now fully recovered, supports her 100%.

“She has given up so much of her time and love to get me back to where I am now and to see her go tonight was pulling the heart strings man…” his touching Instagram post reads.

So, where are the trolls? And why? Well, like many other news media posts, one of her social media photos have been taken out of context – for clickbait reasons, obvs.

“Sad about her partner but is this the only photo she could post? a pic of herself on the beach in a skimpy bikini? It sounds more about ‘look at me everyone’,” one Facebook user has said in reaction to the media’s Facebook post.

“And what does showing off your assets have to do with James being on life support.. is this a firkin selfie moment??? Pfft give us better news..he’s fine,” reads another.

“While sad, to me u just wanted to show your body more then the sad story…”

The problem – and IMO, it’s a massive one – is that Ayeesha didn’t actually use this bikini-clad picture in her original post; it’s from a previous Instagram. She actually used a photo from her trip in Italy, and rightly so, because you know, she’s on her OE.

Her message was intended to “thank everyone for the unconditional love and support I’ve received around the accident over the past 10 months” but thanks to the news media it’s turned into a cowardly and inappropriate opportunity for trolls to comment on her journey.

Yes, the awful keyboard warriors, who clearly have nothing better to do, need to be told that people do actually exist beyond the realms of the internet and their big screen TV. But I’ve learnt that when it comes to the internet, often you sadly can’t teach an old, disrespectful dog new tricks.

The media, on the other hand, can and should take responsibility. It’s not ‘fake news’ by definition, but it is in execution.

At Miss FQ, we’re not perfect with our posts; I’d never claim to be but accuracy is something we strive for. We try to create an environment where our followers feel proud to read our stories. We do not condone trolls and we do not condone negativity. I wish, I wish so often that more publishers had the same no-nonsense approach to this sort of douchebaggery.

I’m fed up with my newsfeed being flooded with stories taken out of context, it’s a breeding ground for negative opinions. But more importantly, there’s a girl out there, an incredibly lovely, supportive girl who set out to do one important thing with her post and she’s been met with unwarranted shaming and blaming.

“Please drive safely,” Ayeesha Taylor signs off.

Isn’t that the point we should be talking about?

Words: Skye Ross
Photos: Facebook and Instagram

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