28th May 2012
Time for new role models?
Author: Ged McMahon
Grant Hackett, Candice Alley, marriage, olympics, role models

It would be fair to say that former Olympian Grant Hackett is having a pretty tough time at the moment. Speculation that his marriage was on the rocks had been rife for months before an official announcement was made earlier this month that his marriage with Candice Alley has broken down.

The speculation had begun after an alleged incident in October last year when it was reported that Hackett went on a drunken rampage in their home after over indulging at Derby Day celebrations. Alley is believed to have called the Police during the incident and over the weekend, images of the destruction taken by Police were published on news websites. Among other things they showed broken doors, holes in walls, shattered glass and an overturned grand piano. They were shocking images.

In the wake of these images being released to the public, anti-violence charity the Alannah and Madeline Foundation has ‘relieved’ Hackett of his duties as one of their ambassadors. This is a wise decision because no doubt Hackett’s public image has been tarnished by these allegations and he is no longer suitable as a public face of the Foundation.

This story again raises the issue of appointing celebrities to the position of ambassadors and role models in our society. It’s a tricky situation and to be honest I’m not sure where I stand. On the one hand I believe that ‘everyday’ Australians are often more worthy role models and can set a better example for younger generations. And yet, on the other hand, I understand that Joe Bloggs down the street might be an extremely solid citizen but he’ll never draw the same attention and awareness to a cause that a celebrity will. So, ultimately, for a charity trying to be heard and attempting to raise money, the power of celebrity will always win over.

Do we just accept the power of celebrity and acknowledge that famous people, like all of us, have their weaknesses and shortcomings? Or do we try to look elsewhere for our heroes and role models? Apologies for sitting on the fence with this one, but I’d love to hear what you think.


    To make a comment, please register or login
    Cat Lady
    28th May 2012
    I don't understand the word "hero" being used to describe sports stars', film stars or anyone else unless they have risked their lives for others. That's what a hero is. I believe the only information we have a right to know, is how well they play their roles in sport, etc. What he did was disgusting and if it's true, then he definately should be dropped . I learned long ago to not believe quarter of what's reported in papers or magazines. Personally, as far as buying products go, a star of any kind doesn't determine whether I buy it or not. I trust Joe Bloggs more than a star, but I am probably in the minority. They are only human and make the same mistakes as anyone else. He has made a criminal mistake and if he did it, deserves to be shunned by the public. I was a victim of violence and there is no excuse for that kind of behaviour.
    29th May 2012
    I have to agree with the decision to remove him from the ambassador role.
    He obviously has some issues he needs to address and I would urge him to do so.
    As a role model it does not do to suggest "heros"should be exempt from behaving appropriately in an acceptable manner as the public would expect from a role model. Unless there are no exemptions then the role it is ok if you are a public hero.
    Sorry, I do not agree with that notion.

    30th May 2012
    Re The Grant Hackett rampage and other occurances. Firstly, I am sick of hearing people that take on sport as an occupation being called hero's. That is a complete insult to the many brave souls that have given their lives so people can amuse themselves playing sport. Returned soldiers and firemen and lifesavers are the only hero's, so I hope this nonsence is stopped. That said, Hackett like lots of others that drink excessivly cannot hold his grog and never will. When alcohol has that effect, he is a sick alcoholic and his only salvation is to be dried out, never touch grog again, and attend AA meetings. Until this happens he will continue to get worse. He is mentally, physically and spiritually very sick.

    Join YOURLifeChoices, it’s free

    • Receive our daily enewsletter
    • Enter competitions
    • Comment on articles