On Tuesday night, news broke that embattled tennis star, Bernard Tomic had staged quite an exit from the I’m A Celebrity jungle.
It had been a mere 72 hours since he walked in.
His mental state, he said, wasn’t holding up. He needed to re-surface and re-commit to his tennis, the game he has played, loathed and loved for the better part of his 25 years.
“Half the time during the day, I’m just depressed,” he told fellow contestant, Jackie Gillies.
“I’ve never really had time to think about my thoughts. I’ve always had people around, my mobile phone… everything was so fast-paced.
“Everything’s slowed down in the last few days. I don’t want to spend half my time depressed here… thinking about how I played last year and where I should be.”
LISTEN: Why are people so mad at Bernard Tomic for leaving I’m a Celebrity? The Mamamia Out Loud team discuss.
Despite our consistent and loud calls for men, in particular, to be open and transparent about the depths of their struggles with mental health, Tomic’s despair curiously fell on a country of deaf ears.
Jokes were made, frustration aplenty and bullying pervasive across social media. Australia didn’t have much time for the “quitter”.
Get up, get going and get over it, they yelled, deliberately blind to the nature of mental illness and the hold it so clearly has on the tennis star.
Right now, Tomic can’t – and shouldn’t – give us much. He doesn’t owe us his time, his loyalty or even blazing performances on the tennis court. He owes it to himself, away from the prying eyes of a critical, impatient public, to get better.
But after two or three days in a jungle purporting to be for the Ronald McDonald House, Tomic probably owes some sick kids some money.
Prior to going into the jungle, in an interview with News Corp, he said as much:
“That is on the top of my mind, to win for them,” he said. “I haven’t done much charity work in my career so far, so for me it is something I want to do. It is a perfect way to start here and try to win for my charity.
“I chose Ronald McDonald House because it is helping sick kids and their families. Kids don’t know about money — they don’t care, they don’t know and we as adults have a responsibility. It is meaningful to do something like this and to play for them.”
For going on the show, it’s rumoured Tomic was paid upwards of $1 million, however, whether that pay packet still stands is unclear after he voluntarily left the jungle.
Regardless, one thing we do know is that Tomic isn’t short of cash. He told us, just a few weeks back, that he “counts his millions”.
And so, the right thing to do, to appease and outraged public and fulfil a standing promise to some young, sick children, would be to donate.
The calls for such an act were loud on social media:
Meanwhile, entertainment journalist, Peter Ford told everyone to slow down:
“Funniest part about people demanding Tomic hand over money to his chosen charity is they think the charities actually make much money out of all this. It’s a sham. Last year Tziporah Malkah charity [sic] made just $5,000. Others much less. So just keep it in check.”
Of course, there’s a salient point in the idea that perhaps charities aren’t making as much from the show as production would have us believe.
But regardless of history and past seasons and whether or not Tomic will walk away with the pay check he gladly accepted, there was a promise he made upon walking in: To play the game for sick kids.
Tomic had every right to walk away from the game if his mind was muddled and his health at risk. But walking away shouldn’t come at the expense of a charity he promised to support.
You can listen to the latest episode of Mamamia Out Loud, here.