Laura Whitmore pays powerful tribute to Caroline Flack and condemns 'tabloids looking for a cheap sell'

Danny Thompson
Contributor

Watch the full tribute above

A broadcaster and close friend of Caroline Flack has paid tribute to the “vivacious and loving” TV presenter following her suicide on Saturday night at the age of 40.

Laura Whitmore, who has known Flack for around 10 years and replaced her as host on the current series of Love Island, said in a tearful tribute on her Sunday morning radio show that “none of this makes sense”.

She also criticised “tabloids looking for a cheap sell” during the tribute.

Flack was found dead at her east London home on Saturday.

Opening her show on BBC Radio 5 Live on Sunday morning, Whitmore – who had previously tweeted her shock that Flack was dead – said she had been “debating whether I should, would or could come on air today”.

Her voice cracking, she said: “Yesterday we lost someone before their time.

“We’re going to talk about her and give her the respect that she deserves and that she didn’t always get.”

Flack was found dead at her London flat on Saturday after taking her own life.

Whitmore urged listeners to “be kind” to each other.

She also called out keyboard warriors and said they “need to look at themselves”, adding: “To the newspapers who create clickbait, who demonise and tear down success. We’ve had enough.

“I’ve seen journalists and Twitter warriors talk about this tragedy and they themselves have twisted what the truth is. You don’t have to tear someone down to feel good about yourself.

“So to listeners, be kind, only you are responsible for how you treat others and what you put out in the world.

“Your words affect people. To paparazzi and tabloids looking for a cheap sell, to trolls hiding behind a keyboard – enough.”

Caroline Flack pictured in 2014, the year she won Strictly Come Dancing in the UK. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)

Whitmore said she herself has “been harassed for just doing my job and this is where the problem is, and I want to use my platform to call people out because it’s gone too far”.

“Your words affect people,” she added. “To paparazzi and tabloids looking for a cheap sell, to trolls hiding behind a keyboard – enough.”

Whitmore – who had already tweeted her shock at Flack’s death – told listeners that she had been “debating whether I should, would or could come on air today”.

Audibly emotional, with her voice breaking, she said: “Yesterday, we lost someone before their time.

“We’re going to talk about her and give her the respect that she deserves and that she didn’t always get.”

Read more: 'Strictly' star Seann Walsh 'not surprised' by death of Caroline Flack

Whitmore, 34, said that “anyone who knew Caroline knew she was vivacious, loving, and had a passion for life, which is why none of this makes sense”.

“Caroline loved dancing. Angels by Robbie Williams always reminds me of her because she danced so beautifully to it on Strictly, and I’m going to play that song after I’ve said what I want to say.”

She said Flack “loved music, she loved to dance, we shared many a dancefloor at gigs, festivals”.

“She was bubbly, and for such a small stature commanded a room,” Whitmore added. “She loved to laugh and had the most infectious chuckle.

Flack's final post on Instagram, in which she posted a collage of images of her dog, Ruby, on Thursday

“She also had many struggles. I’m not going to pretend she’s perfect, but she lived every mistake publicly under the scrutiny of the media.”

Read more: Eamonn Holmes questions future of Love Island after death of Caroline Flack

Whitmore said Flack “loved to love” and “that’s all she wanted, which is why a show like Love Island was important to her because the show is about finding love, friendship, having a laugh.”

Whitmore also defending the dating show, saying: “The problem wasn’t the show; the show to work on is loving and caring and safe and protected. The problem is the outside world is not.”

For confidential emotional support at times of distress in the UK, contact The Samaritans at any time by calling 116 123 or emailing jo@samaritans.org

For our US readers, if you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also text HOME to 741-741 for free, 24-hour support from the Crisis Text Line. Outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.