I’m sorry. While you were going through a mental health crisis, brought about by the pressures of fame, new motherhood, family issues, and who knows what else, I was a mean girl. I didn’t think about your humanity, your vulnerability, your feelings, or what you must have been dealing with… I only thought about getting web clicks, being first with the “dirt”, and profiting off your pain.
It was wrong, and I’m sorry.
I wonder how things might have been different for you if the people surrounding you were lifting you up instead of swarming you for that $1,000,000 paparazzi shot. As someone who has struggled with mental health issues, I can’t even imagine how I would have felt if my worst moments were caught on camera, scrutinized, and mocked for the world’s entertainment.
I doubt you ever saw my website or heard a single mean thing I said about you, but I know that I was an active participant in the circus that brought you down, and for that I am sorry. You deserved better.
Now that I got that off my chest… Here’s more.
Over the last few years I’ve thought quite a bit about how much I have grown as an individual and how our general culture no longer accepts body-shaming and the other types of mean girl stuff I did on this website for so long.
No doubt there are still lots of trolls on the internet, and we all enjoy a good celebrity gossip story, but contributing to the destruction of a young woman in crisis was truly heartless. I regret that I wasn’t mature enough to be better. I was also dealing with many insecurities and drama of my own. It wasn’t until years later that I realized the truth – bullying behavior stems from a lack of inner peace. I was also applauded and encouraged – my web pages and Dana’s Dirt reports were popular and successful. There was a lot of demand for what I was doing. By today’s standards, I would have been canceled 1,000 times over for the nasty stuff I said about people.
I think many of us, gossip bloggers and those who couldn’t get enough of “the dirt”, considered celebrities to be larger-than-life and immune to the hurtful things we said. They’re in their big mansions with everything they could possibly imagine – fame, fortune, beauty, talent, why would they care what we say anyway?
I think social media has really changed this dynamic as now celebrities can fight back and say, “hey, I’m human too!” They share their personal lives and struggles, and we see that they’re human beings and they’re not immune to pain and hurtful scrutiny. I’m not staying that I have mad love for all celebrities or that they really are “just like us” in every sense, but nobody deserves the crushing negative attention that Britney was subject to.
Let’s be honest, many of us were eager spectators of her downward spiral. Her heartache was a hot commodity. We couldn’t wait to see what she would do next. Where was the empathy?
I actually hesitated to write this because I know that I’m not, and never will be, perfect. I don’t want to be called a hypocrite if someone looks at old posts on this site or scrolls my feed and sees something they could call me out on. I actually just went back and unpublished some older articles, things I wrote a few years ago that I wouldn’t post today. Side note – while doing that, I came across my “leggings are not pants” rant from several years ago… Well believe it or not, I sometimes wear leggings as pants now. Proves the point that I’m always growing and evolving.
After watching the Framing Britney Spears documentary on Hulu, I realized it was time for me to put this out into the world… And by world, I mean the 20 or so people who might still be interested in reading my blog. I hesitated, like I said, for the reasons stated above, but when something weighs on me for more than a day or two it tends to be my gut telling me to get it off my chest.
This leads me to share another dilemma I’ve had for a while… I still have the “danasdirt” name on Twitter, Instagram, and this website… But I don’t feel like it fits me anymore. Sure I share some celebrity content here and there, but I haven’t felt like that snarky dirt-slinger in years. I’m going to start figuring out what changes to make to fully drop this “branding” of myself because I think it’s time… Just plain “danamckay” is already taken – the domain and on social platforms – so I’m working on other options that will be consistent.
Thanks for reading… More to come.
Here’s the Framing Britney Spears trailer if you haven’t seen it yet. It’s not just about the conservatorship with her dad, it’s also about the media frenzy and the emotional turmoil she suffered leading up to the meltdown that ultimately gave her father the justification to take control of her life and finances.