The media’s treatment of Grant Hackett is simply sinister

Whilst undergoing mental health issues, Grant Hackett doesn’t need to be hounded.

The media’s treatment of Grant Hackett is simply sinister

Grant Hackett was once an Australian sporting hero. It goes without saying that, since his retirement, he has suffered a fall from grace.

A multiple Olympic gold-medal winner and sporting icon, Grant Hackett held the hopes and dreams of Australians in his hand, performing great feats of heroism in the pool. After retiring, Hackett has struggled with life outside the pool and has swum in murky waters ever since.

From his documented addiction to sleeping pills to the infamous ‘nipple-tweak’ episode, he has endured as much media spotlight for his acts off the sporting stage as he did on.

The latest twist in the Hackett saga occurred this week, as a family ‘disturbance’ on Wednesday night led to his disappearance from the Versace Hotel at 7.30am on Thursday.

On Wednesday night, Hackett was taken to the Southport watch house in an agitated and aggressive state. He was calmed down and released without charge.

Recently, Hackett’s brother, Craig, took to the media to comment on the family's struggle with Grant’s "chronic" mental health issues.

Grant Hackett then turned to social media, posting on Instagram that "My brother comments to the media ... but does anyone know he beat the s*** out of me?

"Everyone knows he is an angry man."

Neville Hackett, Grant’s father, contacted the media on Thursday to plead with his son to contact the family to let them know he was okay. He had been missing for half a day.

"He's definitely a missing person and he's mentally disturbed and needs urgent help," Neville said told reporters.

"If anybody's seen him, contact the media or police or the Hackett family.

"Grant, let us know where you are, we love you and we want to help you."

Neville Hackett said that Grant was “very depressed and not in a good condition" when he last saw him. Others have also noticed warning signs about his mental health issues.

One must question the wisdom of turning to the mainstream media for help. Surely making Hackett’s condition more public would work against him. You don’t have to be Einstein to figure that the media would like nothing more than to snap the next ‘Grant Hackett slumped in a wheelchair’ photograph, rather than to help him with his woes.

Grant Hackett’s struggles have been well-documented. The Herald Sun certainly took no time in jumping on the bandwagon, with click-bait headlines and sensationalist stories. The Courier Mail also posted an article during the week, listing Hackett’s highs and lows, with an emphasis on the lows.

What is also well-documented is the part the media has played in bringing down celebrities. Cases that instantly come to mind are the hounding of Brittany Spears to the point of her breakdown, the demonising of Russell Crowe and Mel Gibson, the James Hird witch-hunt – and let’s not forget the paparazzi’s involvement in the death of Britain’s favourite Royal, Princess Diana.

What Grant Hackett needs is the space and privacy to work through his troubles with professionals. We can’t presume to know the Hackett-family situation in its entirety, but neither do we have the right to speculate.

Dealing with mental health issues is a tricky tightrope affair. The last thing Grant Hackett needs is the Australian public on his back whilst he tries to walk that fine line between healing and breaking.

If you or anyone you know is experiencing mental health issues, please contact Lifeline, Beyond Blue or the Black Dog Institute.

What do you think of the media’s involvement in Grant Hackett’s affairs?



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    Queensland Diva
    17th Feb 2017
    I absolutely agree with this article, but knowing the reading public's salacious greed, it's unlikely to happen any time soon. I wish Grant all the best.
    17th Feb 2017
    Agree. The media needs to find somebody else to attack. Maybe the CEOs of the relevant media outleys. I'm sure they all have skeletons in their closets to hound.
    19th Feb 2017
    Queensland Diva. I think the 'salacious greed' you mention, belongs more so to the media and the publications and programs it's members represent.

    Mick, I KNOW they (members of media) have skeletons in their closets because they are kept well under wraps. They will have been tutored to 'close ranks' when necessary just as do other groups; like the police and medical professionals.
    The job of media is to report news and the more sensational the better. The money is in sensationalism. It matters not that someone's life may be ruined.
    17th Feb 2017
    Grant needs to be left alone by the media. He needs help he doesnt need to be hounded by reporters who only ask stupid questions. How would you feel if the tables were reversed
    17th Feb 2017
    I could not agree more Liz!
    17th Feb 2017
    The Australian media is a disgrace, and more so in this case because EVERY "news" service has had this first up on their "news" program! Grant should be left alone because what he is going through is only being exacerbated by the "gutter press"! Even you at Your Life Choices is just as bad. And what I also think is disgraceful is the way the Hackett family is airing all of Grant's problems to the masses, rather than telling the media to p*** off.

    Grant does not need this and the media needs to just butt out and his family needs to also be told to keep his life and problems to themselves and not to feed the gutter press!!
    17th Feb 2017
    I agree with you Pablo, and it epitomises the greed of the gutter press, where there's money involved,-remember that circus in Indonesia every time Shapelle Corby made an appearance, it was just unbelievable,-- they are as bad as our press here; everything is centered around money irrespective of who is the sufferer, anything for a story. We are getting tired of watching the news nowadays, the only thing entertaining in it is what problems Trump is having !
    18th Feb 2017
    Agree Pablo. The media in this country is an absolute disgrace.
    17th Feb 2017
    With you Leon. What he is up to now is none of anybody's business other than those he has to assist him. Pretty much like swimming anyway. There could be nothing wrong with marvelling at achievement but hero worship (the ghoulish, gossipy domain of those who can find nothing useful to do with their time and which media so often plays to) is a gross degradation of the human experience.
    Tom Tank
    17th Feb 2017
    Cheap journalism at it's worst but money talks and there is, unfortunately, profit to be made from someone else's misery.
    17th Feb 2017
    The media is a horror. It manages every day to make me sick. It's about sensationalism and money.
    Leave Grant Hackett alone.
    "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." (And yours!)
    17th Feb 2017
    Unwanted cameras & microphones thrust into one's face is an invasion of privacy and governments must do something to stop this. Grant and others from law courts, etc, suffering these pests need compassion, not harassment. My family wishes you all the best Grant and a speedy recovery. RGEE
    17th Feb 2017
    Once a champion always a champion. Get the help you need Grant as soon as possible and come back a shining star. It must be difficult to establish oneself after all the glory of years gone by. I wish you all the very best.
    17th Feb 2017
    I agree with all the comments so far but I wonder how likely it is that Grant (or anyone with addiction/mental problems) will recover since it's impossible to be out of the media's eye for very long. As the parent of an adult child with addiction problem I'm aware of how useless most of the "help' agencies are these days. What's really needed is a boost in proper treatment centres - I hesitate to use the word 'asylum' because of its bad connotations - but some facility where people can be treated indefinitely away from a prying media.
    17th Feb 2017
    FCM I too have an adult son with some mental health problems. Maybe bi-polar. Outside of the city, who will make a diagnosis and then suggest correct treatment? I did the diagnosing many years ago and in the past 10 yrs some medication has been prescribed - with some sort of success. I like what you said about the 'useless' help agencies. My son has never been properly diagnosed so far as I can tell. I cannot speak for paediatricians in the capital cities but; in my own experience, they don't actually do anything. There are a couple of consultations with no outcomes. I have grandchildren growing up with problems. 2 of these are in the late teens and quite honestly, there have never been results from so-called counselling or the paediatric visits when they were younger.
    I'm just hoping for myself a not too lengthy life. To be so helpless, has at times been unbearable.

    17th Feb 2017
    Already leapt in on another forum last night... leave the boy alone. Bloody media...
    17th Feb 2017
    Agree 100%.
    Watched his father on TV last night & couldn't believe he kept answering their questions.
    He should have retreated back into his house, & told them he needed privacy - as Grant does.
    17th Feb 2017
    Not only do I feel for Grant, but his parents and family.
    Nobody can understand the pain and fear of having a child or relative with a mental condition unless they have a experienced it themselves.
    The damned media and their constant innuendo''s and fascination with people's private lives is becoming uncontrollable, they cause such distress The Hackett family deserve some privacy to deal with thier situation.
    17th Feb 2017
    We have something called a Mental Health System. What is it? Where is it? It's not in the country area where I reside. My son and his children have not benefitted from it.
    It seems that every second household is affected. Can anyone tell me whether,50 years ago, the schools had so many children with autism, Aspergers and the like. I don't recall that my school had anyone with these conditions. Were those affected placed in the 'asylums' of the day?

    I have many times wondered about the effect of childhood vaccinations and is it possible they have caused some of these conditions??
    OK! Keep your hair on. Don't yell at me. My adult son was once a little tacker who had the vaccinations. By way of disposition, temperament, etc etc., he was in every way a perfect baby and small child. At almost age 3, there was a distinct OVERNIGHT CHANGE, like something in the brain snapped. Had I been totally aware of this, it would have been possible to name the date. From that day, the child was hyperactive, concentration became poor and just about everything went downhill. Then the hell of school began where all of the above was his normal behaviour. Class disruption was a serious issue. Over time his social skills suffered.
    I won't continue with this little rant. Believe me, I will go to Heaven. I know this for sure because I've already done hell.

    Whatever it is at the root of Grant's unhappiness, I wish for him anything, everything that will help get him to a good place.
    I believe the whole country cares about his welfare.
    Nan Norma
    17th Feb 2017
    brainstraina, Of course there was autism 50 years ago. We have just given it a name today. Many children would have been thought to be just naughty and punished.
    I'm sorry you never found out what made your little boy suddenly change. It could have been any number of things. But certainly something did happen. Sounds like he was a very stressed little boy.
    20th Feb 2017
    The incidence of autism etc. has increased dramatically. Autism incidents rose from 1 child in 68 to 1 in 45 in just one year in 2014. And while I'm sure there were autistic kids and Aspergers sufferers when I was at school, and I'm sure they were misdiagnosed and wrongly dealt with, the fact is that the numbers (relative to population) were far, far less than today.

    There is also some evidence that suggests childhood vaccinations may contribute to autism in some children. Many parents are resisting vaccinations for that reason. Would I, if I had young children now? Probably not. I am too aware of the risks attached to the diseases we vaccinate for. But I don't believe ANY of the wonderful medical treatments doctors recommend are entirely safe, and I certainly wouldn't jump down anyone's throat for suggesting that a vaccination or treatment might have had undesirable side effects - potentially even resulting in serious and ongoing behavioural problems or, yes, possibly autism.

    Hopefully instances are rare, but I'm sure they are not imagined. Parents know their kids. They usually recognize behavioural and health changes quickly.

    brinstraina, don't apologize for telling it like it is and sharing your concerns about the possible causes of your son's behavioural changes. We need to be aware of concerns, and we need to be confident that there is ongoing investigation into the safety of vaccinations as well as into the causes of rapid growth in the instances of autism and Aspergers. These conditions present a serious risk to the future of our society, and cause endless pain for sufferers and their loved ones.

    When it comes to behavioural problems not caused by named conditions, parents need all the empathy, understanding, compassion and help they can get. I also have been to hell with a difficult child. It's far too easy to attribute problems to parental failure, and far too hard to challenge common beliefs. But if we don't challenge, we don't learn.

    Please keep on questioning, brainstraina, and don't let anyone fob off your concerns.
    17th Feb 2017
    Memo to Grant - take yourself overseas to a retreat where they can help you. The media here will only crucify you. Matthew Newton achieved peace - you can too; you have the fighting spirit to do this and Australia will welcome you back with open arms when you are ready.
    Nana with experience.
    17th Feb 2017
    Unfortunately this will never happen, the media will hound him and others like him (Ben Cousins) until the have blood on their hands, then they will come out with the "sad but what a great bloke he / she was" pathetic articles.
    If only they would apply their bloodhound noses to finding all the good news stories surrounding mental health issues, alcoholism, drug addiction etc they might just go some
    way to assist in making these issues less stigmatised and ultimately having those affected more willing to reach out for the help they so badly need.
    17th Feb 2017
    goanna321. We need to question the character of news reporters. I suspect they are selfish wankers mainly trying to hitch a ride on other peoples fame. That's why they are underdeveloped in the compassion area. Reporters don't have conciences they just have sycophantic jealousy of anyone who has done anything exceptional. Mainly, not them
    Nan Norma
    17th Feb 2017
    Remember it was his family called in the media.
    19th Feb 2017
    Perhaps the family was feeling desperate and didn't know where to turn. I feel their pain.
    17th Feb 2017
    "The last thing Grant Hackett needs is the Australian public on his back whilst he tries to walk that fine line between healing and breaking."

    And yet here you are perpetuating the crisis and criticising Grant's family for wanting to help in finding their clearly unwell son. Seriously?!
    17th Feb 2017
    Absolutely agree the media have a lot to answer for maybe they should try to focus on some "Feel Good" stories for a change there are many people and organisations doing good things that deserve recognition I wish Grant and his family all the best too and hope he get all the help he needs.
    17th Feb 2017
    No problem with the article at all. My problem is that the media are a constant source of real, imagined and made up 'news' using the excuse the public want it. Take a look 'New Idea' (and they aren't alone); they fill the front page of every issue with a range of 'come ons'. I have lost count of the number of times Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban have been getting divorced; number of times the Duchess of Cambridge has been pregnant and some salacious headlines for just about every public entity you have ever heard of.
    The media ARE to blame. they want circulation by any means.
    My real concerns are of course for the welfare of the Hacketts of this world, but what about the thousands of people with similar emotional problems? I sympathise with the famous film star whose father or mother, or brother or sister has passed away. But, I don't know why it should attract so much media attention.
    The problem is that most celebrities get themselves into drunk, drugs, marriage problems etc. because they have the power to get away with them and the media turns it into a frenzy of sympathy or hate. Just because someone is a top athlete or a multi award winning actor or the son of a millionaire does not make them anything, nothing better than your next door neighbours son who goes off the rails. STOP using celebrity lives to sell media for in many cases FREE PUBLICITY!
    19th Feb 2017
    Reeper, I purchased those ridiculous magazines for years. In the past 5 yrs I cannot look at them. It's all bull.... on the cover (and inside of course) but; I think what finally sent me over the edge was the terrible grammar in the articles. They sure do not employ any English majors. I admit that in one of these publication I particularly enjoyed the Sudoku puzzles.

    In the weeks to come, they will print anything at all about Grant Hackett. Most of which will be exaggerated and twisted in some way.
    17th Feb 2017
    Totally agree - the media has much to answer for in many similar cases of hounding
    celebs. Grant needs to be given the chance for his family and close friends to help
    him heal and get mentally well again. We do sincerely hope that he does let people
    who truly care into his world and give him the assistance he needs.
    All the best Grant -we care.
    17th Feb 2017
    So here we have heaps of comments from people who know "nothing"? Right? Anyone here know Grant - his family - what goes on "behind closed doors"? Doubt it?
    All people "know" is what "they" hear in the Media!

    Some of these comments are outrageous - especially from total "strangers"? Unbelievable! Sorry!
    19th Feb 2017
    Hey Foxy, I hear what you're saying but; keep your hair on.
    I do believe that we are mostly voicing our displeasure of media and that we really do wish for Grant peace and contentment.
    18th Feb 2017
    Everyone one of the responses so far have been to blame the media, and of course that is correct, the media are the lowest form of life on this planet, they are the most distrusted humans that breathe, the minute anyone criticises them their collective call is we are just keeping the public informed, or its in the public interest, NO YOU ARE NOT, NO IT ISN'T in the public interest. Finally someone is giving it back to them in Donald Trump just listen to the outcry from them every time he calls them out with their fake news, I am not making this political. So what's the answer, EASY stop buying their newspapers, stop buying their magazines, stop watching their news programs, you know the ones that the news interrupts the advertising for a few minutes every hour. How many of you are going to join me! None I suspect including myself, so does that make us just as culpable as the media leeches?
    18th Feb 2017
    Well said
    19th Feb 2017
    Hear, hear!
    19th Feb 2017
    It's about time the legal eagles got touch and had the media charged with breach of privacy and harrassment. Media Reports are not always true, and hasn't been since the 1940s.
    Sports people are constantly misquoted or blatant lies reported. You cannot make a comment about something you have no knowledge of. Strange about that.
    20th Feb 2017
    Rainey, I'm great grateful for your comments. On the few occasions I've expressed my opinion on the subject, I have been made to feel a bit silly, though; it has been by parents who are not having those issues and they feel quite righteous in their 'knowledge'.
    Of course! I understand the benefits of vaccinating.
    Thank you Rainey.

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