Last week, yet another famous name was trending on X as an influx of supposedly perfect parents passed judgement on TV chef Gregg Wallace over a throwaway remark made about his son in a column that delved into his weekend routine.
The 59-year-old wrote a harmless, if a tad pompous, account of his ideal start to the weekend in The Telegraph’s ‘My Saturday’, and likely didn’t dwell too much on what he’d written, thinking the subject matter was so trivial it could never lead to calls for his cancellation.
However, the woke brigade has decided to rip the chef apart. Hours after publication, they’d nabbed a small sentence in the piece and twisted it into something nasty.
Unsurprisingly mentioning his five-year-old son in his entry, Wallace alluded to the fact he feels like a better dad now he’s older, but admitted he had initial doubts about having a child later in life, something many men and women can likely relate to.
“I’m a much better father now I’m older, although another child isn’t something that I would have chosen at my age,” he confessed before continuing: “I was always very honest with Anna, but it’s what she wanted and I love her.
“I just requested two things – that we had help in the house (so her mum moved in), and secondly that we had at least one week a year when we holidayed just the two of us.”
Gregg Wallace mentioned his initial concerns about being an older dad
Lo and behold, the cancel culture team was out in full force to claim Wallace clearly “doesn’t want” his beloved child, with many jumping on the fact the youngster has autism and this must be the reason Wallace “resents his child”.
Storming to their X accounts, a swarm of keyboard warriors soon had the MasterChef star trending as they launched a verbal onslaught at him which snowballed as others eagerly jumped on the bandwagon, probably without reading the article in question.
We’ve seen it over and over again in recent years, a famous person making an ill-thought-out remark, an honest comment or even trying to articulate a valid argument, only to be met with fury by those demanding to control who gets to keep their jobs and who doesn’t.
While being held to account is important and those in the public eye shouldn’t be able to make outrageous remarks without expecting some kind of public response and potential consequences, the chant for people to be essentially erased from screens, books and minds over harmless statements has left nobody safe.
Wallace took to Instagram to explain what he had meant in the piece
The tongue-in-cheek column isn’t supposed to spark debate, rather than provide an interesting piece of escapism for readers to glance an eye over while enjoying their Sunday breakfast before scrolling away to the latest tragedy unfolding in the world.
Instead though, Wallace found himself having to justify his remarks this week, tearfully taking to social media to argue how much he loves his son.
He confessed: “I’m almost going to cry over this – people saying that Sid was unwanted. It took us two years to conceive with Sid. Two years.”
Worse still is the immediate assumption Wallace is being prejudiced about his child due to his disability, which he never even alluded to in the piece in question.
Gregg Wallace’s ‘My Saturday’ article sparked a huge backlash
Gregg Wallace’s weekend diary sparked bizarre fury online
The insistence of bored people looking to stir the pot for a quick power hit by requesting people to lose their beloved careers over a sentence or two taken out of context would be laughable if it weren’t for the fact it often seems to work, making the practice quite frankly dangerous and dystopian.
Whatever people’s thoughts on the likes of Roald Dahl’s dated works or arguments put forward by JK Rowling and several others cancelled by the growing disease of over-powered social media trolls in recent years, the removal of their names or changes to their work shouldn’t be something to be celebrated but should instead instil fear.
While some have justifiably lost their right to continue their successful careers in the public eye due to claims and/or proof of extreme and concerning behaviour, expressing a comment or opinion others don’t like shouldn’t be treated in the same way – but the flock of sheep on X seems to act as though everything can be treated as a crime of this nature.
Wallace’s remark regarding older parenting could have been something to help parents who might feel alienated in their concerns about starting a family later in life to feel more understood, but instead, the chef was met with calls for him to be axed.
In what can only be described as a modern-day witch hunt, the practice seems to have become all too common, with people seeming to enjoy nit-picking at things said in interviews or print and running with them until they make so much noise people have to take notice.
Sadly, others will probably now have to think twice before submitting a fluffy piece on what they like their weekends to look like – where will it end?