Sophie Wilkinson | Contributing Editor | Tuesday, 9 June 2015

By Defending Dan Osborne, Gemma Collins Insults Men And Essex

By Defending Dan Osborne, Gemma Collins Insults Men And Essex

The Debrief: Gemma was quick to brush off her former TOWIE co-star's behaviour - 'Death threats? Yeah, that’s Essex boys for you.’

Gemma Collins, one of the major stars of Towie, has called for Dan Osborne, her ex-co-star, to make a ‘comeback’ to the show. And in the process, she’s not only insulted a whole bunch of Essex, but a whole bunch of men.

See, Dan, who fits the bill of a resident heart-throb on the show - all rippling muscles and tribal tattoos and baby-faced grins - was dropped from Towie after audio recordings of him threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend were made public.

In the recordings, a male voice is clearly heard to say to Megan Tomlin, the mother of his 2-year-old son, Teddy: ‘If you go near another man I promise you I will stab you in the fucking throat. I swear on this boy’s life I will end your fucking life if you shag another man’

It seemed as if he was frustrated that Megan was moving on with her life e.g. potentially dating new men, while he was, um, going out with Eastenders’ Jacqueline Jossa, who was then pregnant with their child, Ella. ‘As long as you’ve got my son, you’re a part of my property,’ he told Megan.

His apology read as one of those sorry-not-sorries: ‘I am truly sorry to anyone who was offended by what they heard,’ he pleaded. But it seems to have been lapped up by his fans. Dan now continues to work with The Dreamboys (a Magic Mike-style naked men dancing act) and gets comments on his Instagram (mainly photos of his gym-toned abs or himself with his children and Jacqeueline) like ‘your actually perfect’ and ‘Wanna run this tongue all over that!’

And now Towie’s Gemma Collins has excused Dan’s comments, because, she told The Mirror: ‘People say things in temper. That’s what all the Essex boys say to their girlfriends. Death threats? Yeah, that’s Essex boys for you.’

She added: I’ve had boyfriends say to me if I ever leave them they will kill me. In Essex, it’s a normal thing.’

It’s not Gemma’s responsibility to be a spokesperson for domestic violence. But according to domestic violence charity Refuge, two of the combined causes of domestic violence are  ‘society’s attitudes and community responses’, so it’s clear that trying to minimise abuse and assuming the worst of Essex boys is damaging.

READ MORE: Towie's Dan Osborne Threatens To Hospitalise Ex

Some really bad things happen a lot, but it doesn't mean they're alright. If Gemma’s claim is true, that she’s had death threats from guys, well, then, they’re criminals who should be dealt with by the authorities. Two women die each week at the hands of their partner or ex-partner, and the time at which they’re most vulnerable? When they’re trying to leave an abusive relationship. And it’s worth remembering that, in the voice recordings, Megan is heard saying: ‘You can’t threaten me, Dan, so just stop,’ to which he replies: ‘It’s not a threat, it’s a promise.’

It certainly makes Gemma’s comment of ‘he was never going to kill her and I think he deserves to make a comeback to the show’ that much more sinister.

As for the ‘Essex boy’ thing. It’s too easy for both snobs and those jealous of the nouveau riche lifestyles of the Towie lot to put them down. But it’s worth giving them a bit of respect. Too often ‘boys will be boys’ is used to excuse bad behaviour from a small minority of men and tar other, well-meaning men with the same brush. At the most flippant end, boys will play up (or down) to the expectations made of them. At the more extreme end, as with violence and sexual violence, ‘boys will be boys’ uses pseudo-science to justify unchecked criminality. If Dan returns to television without any punishment for what he’s done – threatened to kill the mother of his child by putting a knife into her vagina – then Towie would be not only brushing over what he’s done, but condoning it. For a youth audience enjoying Dan as a reality star – he’s not playing a role here - that’s simply unacceptable.

Dan might have apologised, but as far as we can see, he’s not done enough to undo his comments, instead blaming some sort of Jekyll and Hydery for his outburst, as if it wasn't actually him who made the comments: ‘I am ashamed and embarrassed that I allowed myself to reach such a dark place that I behaved in a way that even I didn’t recognise.’

As much as Gemma wants to brush off domestic violence as a normal part of Essex boys’ lives, Dan and everyone around him could benefit from looking at why it became so normalised to him that he thought he could get away with threatening it. Until the day comes that he publicly acknowledges the damage his threats could do – not just to his custody arrangements but the wellbeing of a woman he once loved – well, we think Towie will do just fine without him.

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Tags: Sexual Assault, Domestic abuse, Domestic violence, TV