Jesy Nelson’s BBC Three documentary Odd One Out is incredibly brave and we must all do better.
The hour-long feature sees the Little Mix singer talk candidly about the horrific abuse she has been a victim thanks to social media, revealing how she attempted to take her own life in 2013 when she ‘couldn’t take it any longer.’
There are absolutely no frills here. The subject matter isn’t wrapped up in cotton wool and the camera doesn’t cut when Jesy reveals all the ugly and upsetting details.
Beginning with her suicide attempt, Jesy recalls how the constant trolling made her feel so embarrassed and ashamed that she just wanted the pain she felt to stop. Just minutes in we’re sat with a lump in a throat and tears in our eyes. Yes, it’s harrowing stuff, but it’s the girm reality of the darker side to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and it shouldn’t be ignored.
Jesy shot to fame in 2011 after her girl group Little Mix won The X Factor, but cites that going on the show ‘wasn’t worth her happiness’.
The night they won, Jesy remembers scrolling through her Facebook messages and finding abuse from a stranger that said she ‘deserved to die’, adding that from there on in they just got worse and worse.
One particularly cruel comment came from Katie Hopkins after Little Mix performed on X Factor in 2013.
After the group’s gig, Katie tweeted: ‘Packet Mix have still got a chubbier in their ranks. Less Little Mix. More Pick n Mix.’
‘All I remember feeling at that time is ‘what’s the f***ing point?’ Jesy admits. ‘I starved myself for a week and I’m still getting called fat. I could be the skinniest girl in the world and this is never going to go away.’
Jesy’s own mother Janice White fights back tears as she talks about the impact the abuse has had on her child, confessing that she’d choose to have her before fame took ahold if she had the chance.
‘If I could have my Jes back to how she was before… I miss her,’ she says. ‘I just feel like I’ve lost Jes to social media.’
From Jesy’s mum yearning for her old daughter back before her X Factor success, to her bandmates at a loss of how to bring back the fire and passion they miss in their friend, it’s clear that the star is not the same person she was.
Cyberbullying ruined Jesy’s life and these personal accounts verify that. But there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Beyond her own experiences, Jesy meets with other victims of online bullying as well as a brokenhearted couple who lost their daughter to suicide as a result of trolling. She was just 16.
Odd One Out is hard to watch and it’s meant to be. Jesy is extremely brave to open up about her struggles at the hands of cyberbullies and it’ll no doubt act as a support for those dealing with their own demons.
Cal Strode, Media Manager at the Mental Health Collective, tells www8.sale-north-face.org of the impact that the documentary will have on audiences up and down the country, saying: ‘Many young people are living in the shadow of the darker side of social media, facing things like Cyberbullying.
‘This programme will no doubt send a powerful message that they are not alone.’
Call adds: ‘Though speaking out about it can be daunting, Jesy Nelson shows that great strength can be found in vulnerability.
‘There is nothing to be ashamed of and talking about what is happening with someone you trust can be the first step on the road to recovering your mental health.’
Jesy Nelson: Odd One Out is available to stream on BBC iPlayer.
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