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How many women tell lies like Roxanne and are never exposed?

By Lindy McDowell

She's referred to herself as "the most hated girl in Britain". And it would be fair to say that former soap star Roxanne Pallett has had a difficult week. Miss Pallett - no relation to our local Bonfire Pallets - has been in the sights of Outraged of Social Media in recent days after she made incendiary remarks about a fellow contestant, Ryan Thomas on Celebrity Big Brother.

She accused Thomas of punching her repeatedly, claiming this was assault and, as someone who'd previously fronted a campaign to raise awareness of domestic abuse, she suggested this "punching" was on a par.

Except...

CBB viewers (and now the entire world) have since been able to view the incident for them/ourselves. And from the footage it is blatantly obvious that Thomas was only what we'd call "gyping" around.

In other words, play-fighting.

If he'd made contact with her at all it was fleeting. There was certainly no indication that this was anything other than high spirits.

In the immediate aftermath Pallett herself made light of what's now being called "punchgate".

This, however, being Celebrity Big Brother, which commands higher audiences and is taken more seriously than televised parliamentary debate, viewers were quick to point out that Ms Pallett's baseless claims could, were it not for the video evidence to the contrary, have destroyed Mr Thomas's reputation and with it, his career.

Which explains why subsequently la Pallett has been subject to a tsunami of (several thousand) complaints to OFCOM plus a scathing exit interrogation/interview where she eventually admitted, yes, she'd "got it wrong".

Actually she didn't get it wrong. She made it up. To put it bluntly, she lied.

This unfortunate episode raises many big questions... about how television plays with 'contestants', and to some extent their mental health, for all our entertainment.

But central to it is also a question with wider significance for our society. The question of whether we tend to be more likely to believe girls just because... well... they're girls.

Roxanne Pallett was unfrocked as a liar quite by chance. Since her wild exaggerations have been laid bare, others who've worked with her - including our own Zoe Salmon - have piled in to report other incidents of her manipulative behaviour and outlandish claims.

So how, why, did she previously get off with it?

Is it because that, in some circumstances, we all have difficulty getting our heads around the idea that a girl too can lie. A pretty girl like Roxanne Pallett. A plausible girl. And maybe not so much of the 'girl' at that... at 35, Roxanne is hardly an ingenue.

I fervently, absolutely believe in gender equality. I also believe that women too can lie.

And that in any clash between he said/she said it is vital not to rush to judgment but to first look to the hard evidence before deciding right from wrong. We live in a world in which verdicts can be passed, vitriol spewed and lives ruined in less than 140 characters.

I don't agree with the backlash that Roxanne Pallett is now facing which is vicious and merciless and out of all proportion.

But I also believe in fairness. No matter the gender of those involved.

If that clip of film showing Ryan Thomas obviously larking around hadn't been available, doubtless he would now be the most hated man in Britain. If not worse...

Girls too can lie. And unusually in this instance the guilty party was exposed for all the world to see.

In how many cases hasn't it been?

Some shoppers are basket cases

An ASDA store in Cambridge has had to buy in more of its green plastic baskets because its previous stock had been pilfered by shoppers who hadn't had the foresight to bring a bag when shopping there. The store doesn't do single-use plastic bags. And no wonder shop bosses hadn't reckoned this might happen. For a start you would need a bit of a nerve to just casually walk out of any shop with one of their plastic baskets over your arm. You'd feel a bit of an eejit surely walking down the street with it.

But much worse I think is the issue of hygiene. I'm not saying ASDA is the worst, but in some shops you really would not want to put foodstuffs next nor near their baskets and trolleys. Do shops never clean those things?

David’s wrong to bare arms

According to a "source" (there's always a source) David Beckham, didn't appear with the rest of his family on the front cover of Vogue, because he's reportedly uncomfortable with his children getting so much media coverage. Pity he didn't feel the same way about his tattoos.

Mr Beckham, who is now wall-to-wall coverage in Latin inscription and meaningful symbolism, has taken tattooing to a whole new level. Tattoo much. Maybe the real reason why they didn't have him on the cover of Vogue was that he wanted to appear with his shirt off. And they didn't have enough ink to print him.

Conceited Stitt’s ‘street cred’ is all in his head

Controversial east Belfast man-of-the-people Dee Stitt has claimed that the now infamous photograph where he was pictured posing alongside then First Minister Arlene Foster ruined his "street cred".

Aside from the obvious fact that if you're still talking about your "street cred" in 2018, you haven't got any, Stitt's remarks do make you wonder, who does this arrogant clown actually think he is?

He's best known for being closely linked to the UDA, a supposedly illegal organisation. That's his claim to fame. Not his invaluable contribution to our society. Put it like this - we're never going to confuse Stitt, who has just stood down as CEO of a local charity, with Angelina Jolie.

Humanitarian of the Year, he ain't.

He's not the only one, of course, who's risen to what I hesitate to call prominence through association with paramilitaries. In Northern Ireland in 2018, that remains a sort of career trajectory. Which says everything still about this place.

If anyone's image was actually damaged by the photograph he refers to, it was the DUP leader's and her lapse in judgment in agreeing to pose alongside him in the first place.

But now that he's got a bit of extra time on his hands what can we expect next from the self-regarding Stitt?

With that "street-cred" stuff, an obvious opening would be as stand-in for Mr Incredible from the Incredibles. Another self-styled fantasy super-hero...

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