However clever one feels, however superior to the currents and eddies of popular culture, it is impossible not to know Matt Hancock is in the jungle for I’m A Celebrity. Everyone knows and (practically) everyone is angry, but the truth is, he’s not the “celebrity” out in the jungle with the most egregious record. Far from it.
I watched Boy George’s recent tirades at Hancock with astonishment. It was funny, I suppose – Hancock is a chump, of course – but firstly, he wasn’t actually behind Covid, which is what you might think from listening to the way some people talk about the former health secretary. Secondly, and much more importantly, Boy George ought to know the importance of forgiveness for errors, even if they were unintentional.
The Culture Club singer, lest we forget, was sentenced to 15 months’ imprisonment in 2007 for chaining a sex worker to a radiator and beating him with a metal chain.
At least someone on the show had the courage to confront Boy George about this. A Place in the Sun presenter Scarlette Douglas asked him on Wednesday: “What happened with you, and some guys and handcuffs and a radiator?”. Impressively nonchalant. It was met with stubborn disdain from Boy George, who accepted he cuffed the sex worker Audun Carlsen. He then denied he had chained him to a radiator before emitting an awkward giggle.
Boy George also tried to claim questions about the 2007 incident were “inappropriate.” That’s not quite right, as I see it. Nor as Carlsen himself sees it. Earlier this month Carlsen told a newspaper he was distraught that the man he dubbed a “monster” would be endorsed by ITV.
The fact Boy George is the reported highest paid star, with a £500,000 contact, was insult to injury. “When it gets scary he can say ‘I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here’. I couldn’t do that when I was chained to his wall,” Carlsen said. It takes bravery to relive trauma publicly. But clearly Carlsen felt he had to say something.
And yet with this little touched upon past, it is Matt Hancock who takes the shellacking. You wouldn’t see me running to give Hancock a hug – he should never have demeaned his former office by taking the I’m A Celebrity Cash. But it beggars belief that one of his chief tormentors is the brass necked Boy George. Enough already.