Hating Tulisa Contostavlos is a horrible pastime for all kinds of people. The former X Factor judge and N-Dubz member has been vilified for years.
It is quite difficult to explain the extent of her crimes. The drugs trial against her in which she was set up by fake sheikh Mazher Mahmood collapsed last week. She had been accused of dealing drugs in a ludicrous sting executed by the Sun on Sunday. Mahmood was clearly an unreliable witness. Most lawyers can’t understand why the case even went to court.
It is also worth asking why Tulisa was targeted in the first place. The targets of the fake sheikh’s exposés have often been members of the establishment or royal family. Tulisa is famously a working class girl made good, though of course made good is never what she is allowed to be.
Having spoken about her upbringing in a council flat, hanging out with gangs and her mother’s mental illness, Tulisa has been branded by the media as a chav and therefore almost anything can be said about her. And it is.
We cannot hear or see enough images that relay the promiscuity and lack of morality of working class women these days. While middle class celebrities hang out on yachts hoovering cocaine and we all know it, it is women like Tulisa for whom a special kind of class venom is reserved.
When Tulisa’s ex-boyfriend released a sex tape of her at 19, she gave dignified interviews expressing her hurt at the incident and told other young women not to let their mistakes ruin their lives for ever. At the end of last week she was seen in court again, for assaulting a blogger who posted a link to her sex tape. She was convicted but is appealing this.
Her female colleagues have hardly been supportive. Indeed, she has been torn to pieces on a regular basis for such crimes against humanity as wearing white bikinis, having a tattoo, enjoying herself and worse. Her self-promotion on the X Factor as The Female Boss, a mixture of warmth and candour, has won people over, though Louis Walsh suggested she would be wearing a tracksuit. Vicky Pollard lives on in the popular imagination. What was once a joke becomes a folk devil: the gobby, out-of-control, avaricious female chav.
Tulisa has gone through a year of depression of which she is now talking openly. She is now wondering herself why she has been “stitched up”. Her connection to “urban” music is said to be part of it. This is a euphemism if ever there was one, otherwise the racism lurking under all these stories would be all the more apparent.
As Tulisa has said of the Mahmood trial: “Part of it I think is a class thing. With me I think they thought it would stick, it’s more believable.”
We think we like rags-to-riches stories but this is all about trying to put a young woman who escaped an unpromising background back in her place by tainting her with drug dealing. Tulisa’s message of female empowerment was strong and hopeful. That a concerted effort was made to destroy it is surely the true crime here.