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.