Wednesday 7 December 2016

Eilis O'Hanlon: Michaella was silly and greedy, but why so much public hate?

She may be a convicted drugs mule, but newly-released McCollum doesn't deserve her allotted role as a pantomime villain, writes Eilis O'Hanlon

Eilis O'Hanlon

Published 10/04/2016 | 02:30

TALKING POINT: Michaella McCollum with her distinctive bun hairstyle back in 2013. Photo: Reuters
TALKING POINT: Michaella McCollum with her distinctive bun hairstyle back in 2013. Photo: Reuters

The path to becoming a public hate figure is rarely straightforward. It's not enough merely to do bad things. Some added element is needed to turn disapproval into collective animosity. There has to be something about you that people just don't like.

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For female offenders, it's often their appearance which prompts that initial hostile reaction.

Myra Hindley came to epitomise evil, not only for helping Moors Murderer Ian Brady kill five children in the early 1960s, but also for the infamous black and white mug shot which forever cemented her surly, apparently unrepentant face in the public imagination.

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