It’s not often that I look at what is ‘trending’ on Facebook, but last night I looked. Top of the list, despite all the horrific conflicts going on in the world and mass shootings that have been happening, was the fact that 36-year-old Kate Hudson and her older brother Oliver’s biological dad, Bill Hudson, had been reported as saying that his two children with Goldie Hawn were “dead to me now.” He went as far as saying that he would “ask them to stop using the Hudson name.”
His comments have come in response to Instagram posts made by Oliver and Kate on Father’s Day earlier this month in which Oliver wrote “Happy Abandonment Day” while Kate instead posted a picture with her stepfather, Kurt Russell, who brought them both up, with the caption “Pa, just simply… Thank you. Happy Father’s Day – I love you to the moon and back.”
It can, of course, be argued simply that in posting such images and captions, they had willingly put themselves in the public eye for whatever would come next. Their family laundry was well and truly hung on the line. However, since Bill came forward with his denouncement and rejection of his children, I can’t help but wish that Oliver and Kate weren’t being made to face all this quite so openly.
My news feed has been absolutely littered with articles from all number of publications claiming to spill the ‘juicy details’, reporting both facts and opinions. The comments sections are full of readers putting forth their two-pennies worth; some are on the side of Kate and Oliver with many highly critical of Bill, while I’ve also seen others analysing the behaviour of Hawn, coming to wildly speculative conclusions as they break down the Hudson’s personal lives with all the familiarity of a close friend, yet with the knowledge of a total stranger.
However, as someone who has had to deal with the rejection of a father myself – and having endured the heart ache and pain that it causes – it only bears thinking about what Oliver and Kate are now feeling behind closed doors. Not only are they grappling with the stinging ache of Bill’s words, but they are having to face this wrath in front of millions of eyes, all waiting and watching for a reaction. We forget ever so easily that behind every celebrity is a human being; someone that does get upset, that does cry and that does want two parents – a mother and a father – just like all of us. Yet with baited breath, the media wait.
Did Bill Hudson’s words need reporting? Did we even need to make the initial reports about Oliver and Kate’s Instagram posts? Sure, they are adults and they are ‘celebrities’ but their initial comments, in my mind, are just like any other person trying to make a dig at someone that has rejected them in order to show, to some extent, how much they are hurting – and to get a reaction, of some kind, because anything is better than nothing. It was something that was guaranteed to make them recognised by him - to remind him of their continued existence. I highly doubt they quite expected or anticipated his response though. And with the agony that has no doubt ensued, let’s now give them some privacy.
Their heartache and parental loss should not be filling our news feeds, and neither should it be serving as the media’s entertainment bait.