‘I really fear for Roxanne’s wellbeing’
In the wake of the backlash, psychologist Emma Kenny explains how Roxanne could still bounce back
Her critics demanded she never work again, after it was confirmed last week that Roxanne Pallett had quit her radio show and stepped down from her upcoming panto role as Cinderella in the wake of the “Punchgate” scandal. One commenter Tweeted, “I hope Roxanne’s career is well and truly over, she has made a mockery of abuse charities and tried to destroy a man’s life”, while another blasted, “Roxanne doesn’t deserve to work again!”
TIME TO REFLECT
The star has indicated she’s quitting showbiz, with many of her critics believing there is no way back for her. So what does the future hold for Roxanne now? TV psychologist Emma Kenny – who interviewed the actress for Closer in 2016 – says she believes she needs to reflect on her actions and admit she lied in order to move on.
Emma says, “When I interviewed Roxanne, she was very pleasant to chat to, but I felt she was a bit rehearsed and was someone who craved the limelight. For Roxanne to say her past violent relationships explain how she acted towards Ryan feels false. Of course there are such things as emotional triggers; a woman who was once abused may react strongly whenever someone invades their personal space. But it’s a momentary response. It doesn’t explain why Roxanne seemingly embellished and then stood by her accusations days later, allowing them to become even more dramatic.
“From what many of her former co-stars are saying, I believe Roxanne displayed manipulative behaviours and intended to exploit a situation for her own gain – in this case, to grab the limelight. She craves the attention to an exaggerated level. It doesn’t matter that the CBB house had cameras, a narcissist thinks everyone will believe them, no matter what.
“That being said, the wave of backlash against Roxanne is scary. I admit I posted some angry tweets about her behaviour – which I still firmly believe was wrong – but the punishment should fit the crime, and it’s gone from Roxanne needing to apologise to her not being allowed to recover from this. And I’m a big believer that everyone should feel they can come back from a negative situation.
“I really fear for Roxanne’s mental health and wellbeing with this intense backlash. For her to move forward from this, she firstly needs to accept the fact she lied. When I work with clients who have caused hurt to other people, as a therapist I need to make them fully own up to their actions and feel the shame and remorse. Only then can you progress.”
Emma adds, “I do think CBB could have handled the situation better. Their big mistake was not showing Roxanne the footage when she first made the complaint in the diary room and explained that her version of events didn’t match up. By allowing her to sleep in a separate room and giving Ryan a warning, they made the situation appear serious and almost reaffirmed her version of events. If they had nipped it in the bud straight away, not only would they have saved Ryan a lot of emotional turmoil, but they would have likely prevented the huge public backlash.”
“I don’t believe Roxanne deserves the surge of hate she’s receiving, but she does need to own up to her mistakes. If she does, I believe she has the potential to become more humble and likable to others.”
But while Emma believes Roxanne could better herself, public relations expert Nick Ede believes her celebrity career is unsalvageable. He says, “I don’t see how Roxanne can come back from this. It’s become clear this isn’t a one-off incident, and the reality is that she’s had so many co-stars come out and publicly slate her. Producers
and directors may now feel she won’t put bums on seats in theatres or draw in huge audiences.
“Before Roxanne’s scandal, the biggest drama in CBB was the late Jade Goody being caught up in a race row against Shilpa Shetty. That almost ruined Jade’s career, but she pulled it back because she showed remorse for her actions. The issue with Roxanne is she wasn’t simply mean to Ryan; she appeared calculated and deceptive. It’s no wonder viewers don’t buy her apology, because now people feel they don’t know what’s real or fake with her.”
However, PR agent Mark Borkowski believes there could be hope, telling Closer, “It’s fair to say Roxanne is at a crossroads with her career, but nothing is over until it’s over. The first stage of crisis management with PR is self-help. If you have issues that need addressing, you have to seek help. Roxanne’s focus should be addressing her issues and taking some time out of the spotlight. Time is a great healer when it comes to public perception, and despite the backlash being intense, that usually subsides – especially if a celebrity shows they feel remorseful.”
Opening up to Emma Willis last week about whether she could ever save her career, Roxanne admitted, “I am scared about the future, but to be honest Emma, I just need to think about today. I saw a situation that was innocent and misjudged. And that was because of me and my sensitivity, fragility, overreaction. I used to think they were character traits but they are character flaws and that’s what I need to go away and work on and sort out.”