Warning: you may want to take a shower after reading this post. It’s that messy. But it raises some important questions about the AFL, power, sex, exploitation, responsibility, media and what it means to be 17 in 2011.
The short version: the girl who last year released nude photos of St Kilda AFL players Nick Riewoldt, Zac Dawson and Nick Dal Santo, claiming she had taken them (and then later admitting she hadn’t) has now told the media she has been having an affair with the manager of one of those players for the past few weeks. He denies it. She says she has photos of him on her bed in his underwear. The media has photos of him leaving her hotel at 7:15am. And all of this is being played out via Twitter, Facebook and the media.
This morning, both Nixon and the girl – who cannot be named because she is under 18, even though she is obsessively determined to put herself out there – have been making the radio rounds today, giving interviews to put forward their sides of the ugly ugly story.
We have chosen not to publish her name, her images or even links to her Twitter or youtube videos.
What’s worth discussing is this: at what point is a 17 year old girl responsible for her own actions? She has been referred to as ‘disturbed’ frequently in the media but there is unquestionably also a sense that she is enjoying the attention tremendously and continues to court it. That is not to excuse the actions of player manager Ricky Nixon whose dealings with this girl have clearly been inappropriate – whether they technically had sex or not.
Reports the Australian:
Nixon said today he expects police to intervene in the matter and “take control” of the controversy, and demanded to see proof to back the girl’s allegations.
The 47-year-old is facing claims from the girl, who last year released nude photos of St Kilda players, that the pair had a sexual relationship. While Nixon has admitted to “inappropriate dealings” with the girl, he denied claims of a sexual relationship.
The 17-year-old claims to have made potentially damaging videos and audiotapes of Nixon, which she has handed to the Herald Sun and to Victoria Police. Victoria Police said today they had received material from the Herald Sun and would investigate the matter.
Someone on Twitter asked “Where are her parents?”. Well, I believe they’re in Queensland, are appalled by her actions and are distancing themselves from her after she refused to listen to them. Can you blame them? Seriously, how can you control a 17 year old hell bent on drawing the media flame back to herself via whatever means she has? You can’t cut off their access to social media. You can’t stop them from calling newspapers or radio stations. You can’t take away her phone and her computer.
It’s too easy to dismiss her as ‘crazy’ or ‘disturbed’. What’s far more terrifying is that in the actions of this girl, we may be seeing the result of a generation who have been brought up on a TV diet of reality shows. When making a sex tape (Paris, Kim) is enough to turn you into a superstar with millions of endorsement deals and your own perfume.
Where press conferences and sex scandals and social media combine into a toxic and intoxicating mix of modern celebrity and fame.
I fear that we have created a culture among some girls where fame and media attention is the pinnacle of achievement. The end-game. The short-cut to great things. They could certainly be forgiven for thinking it’s the road to wealth and success…..Paris? Kardashians? Chik-chik-Boom girl?
There are so many shows on E! and commercial TV that make stars of girls whose lives are train wrecks or who have become famous on the back of scandalous things.
My fear is that this girl has her actual life confused with a semi-scripted reality show.
Is that what we’ve created?
UPDATE: In response to some comments below aghast that I would be ‘blaming’ this on the 17 year old girl instead of the actions of the 47 year old man, it’s fair to say that I should indeed have been clearer about my distaste for Ricky Nixon, the married father of two who behaved (by his own admission) inappropriately. DISTASTE. Huge amounts of it.
But there seem to be many men travelling in and out of this story. The constant is the 17 year old girl. So for the purpose of this post and the questions this latest installment has raised, I was focussing on her and what the bigger picture here might be. I think it is extremely interesting how she is indeed redressing the power imbalance between a 17 year old girl and high profile AFL players and managers. She’s using social media and traditional media in ways that have been both surprising and disturbing to watch.
UPDATE: Fifi Box and Jules Lund spoke to the St Kilda Schoolgirl on their radio show this afternoon:
[courtesy of Fifi & Jules Drive Show, 4-6 Monday to Thursday, on the 2DAY Network]