The Curse of Lottery Winners

Today, the winners of the huge £161 million Euromillions lottery win made themselves known.

Like most people, if I had won, I wouldn’t have breathed a word to anyone but my nearest and dearest, but there have been comments that the couple were pressured into making their announcement. Some said they were told it would be “safer”, but I have no good sources to back that up. Personally, I can imagine they were pressured, but mainly because it benefits the consortium to show the public that “rags to riches” stories do actually happen. Then more people go to buy tickets, and the owners cash in even more.

(I do indulge in a Euromillions ticket now and then, so I’m not condemning buying them. Just the profiteers pressuring winners to make such a potentially unwise decision.)

I can’t say I’m not a bit envious. I can’t imagine ever spending that much money, but I can imagine helping all of my family and friends, my favourite charities…the list goes on. And, not so philanthropically, buying a house with a library, and having a walk-in wardrobe filled with Vivienne Westwood and original 1920s dresses…and a holiday apartment in Paris *sigh*. When it was announced that there was only one winner, and I knew it wasn’t me, I thought “lucky bugger!”, and hoped it would be someone nice. Not another cocaine snorting, obnoxious oaf, dripping in gold chains.

I was amazed by what people on Twitter were saying about the couple. It’s human nature to be envious (personally, I don’t think it’s a sin), and people will always make snarky comments. I’m hardly Snow White in those stakes! But I think there’s a line between being a bit bitchy, and being outright cruel. The winning couple are both big, overweight, whatever you want to say, and the husband obviously has mobility problems as he uses a walking stick. They said that they have both had serious health problems in past few years. It sounds about time that they had some luck!

There were a few minor bitchy comments. That isn’t what got my back up. There was some name calling, which I won’t repeat, but most was based around characters from Star Wars and Austin Powers. That started to rile me, but worse was to come. Tweets and Facebook statuses such as “f*cking fat f*cks. Kids are starving and they’ll spend millions on burgers”, “first thing they should do is get surgery so they don’t look so f*cking disgusting” and “if there [sic] to [sic] stupid not to eat so much, it’s a wonder they could fill out the ticket”, with retweets and ‘LOLZs’, really pissed me off.

I have recounted these tweets because people on my personal time seemed to think I was overreacting. Maybe I am, but I just cannot see how such comments are justifiable. Why does weight have to be such an issue? Not that they need a particular reason, but their severe ill health, and subsequent mobility problems might just have something to do with their size. You can’t very well exercise if you struggle to walk! Not all big people are so because they don’t stop eating! It wouldn’t be acceptable to bring race or religion in to it, and rightly so. And I do think, that given their health problems, there is a hint of disablism, conscious or not with some of the commenters.

All the couple have done is win a game of chance, which anyone could do. They’re not (as far as we know, at least) criminals, hate-mongers or anything unpleasant. Just two people who are happy to be able to help their family and friends, and being able to travel in a way that accommodates their health problems, having not been able to before.

Maybe it is just life, but I don’t see how body fascism is that far removed from racism and disablism. I would also say the same if the nastiness had been directed at people who were very thin. I’ve had family members suffer with anorexia, I’ve had family and friends abused for being “big”, and I’ve had friends abused for being thin (which apparently equals being vain, shallow, and whatever else!).

Maybe it has really riled me because I’ve been bullied because of jealousy. Not because I’m rich or beautiful (definitely neither of those!), but because I got “special treatment” i.e. being pushed in my wheelchair. I’ve also seen my loved ones to be attacked due to jealousy over their partners, their jobs, their clothes, even their fingernails! It hurt them, and I hated to see it.

Maybe, in fact probably, the couple don’t care what people say about them. I’m sure they are on Cloud 9 right now. But maybe it will hurt them; wealth doesn’t mean you suddenly stop feeling pain and humiliation. Look at these celebrities bleating to the media.

Earlier I said that we could say “that’s life” whenever someone is horrid. I didn’t mean that all horrible statements are equal in their offensiveness, as I’ve said above, but that we could dismiss all hatred, racism, sexism, homophobia and disablism as such. You get horrible people saying horrible things in life. It’s also life that people are living in poverty and dying of illness, but we rightly act against those things. Conservatism believes we are all inherently bad and need controlling. I believe the opposite, that we’re inherently good, even though we might naturally tend towards some negative traits like envy etc, most people do far more good than bad. I believe that only the goodness in people can spark change. I guess that’s why those tweets upset me so much.

I do not think that everyone in the world is a horrible sexist, racist, disablist, fascist person; I’ve been mean, and I’ve insulted people and bitched, when the recipient or target has done something wrong or hurt me or a loved one – not that I’m excusing it – but these people haven’t hurt anyone.

I’d love some of the ‘haters’ to say why they think they were so much more deserving. Maybe they’d like to say here….

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “The Curse of Lottery Winners

  1. agree completely! if I was them I’d hire Max Clifford or similar to deal with all the gratuitous opprobrium that will doubtless afflict them

  2. As I read down your article I kept nodding my head in agreement. It’s my long held view that almost everyone, I exclude those all too rare true saints, has at one time or another, jealous and prejudiced thoughts. The difference between us and those who voice such thoughts to all and sundry is that we recognize those thoughts for what they are, momentary weaknesses that do not reflect what we truly believe.

  3. A brilliant post, Melissa. I totally and wholeheartedly agree with you. I also saw a lot of negative comments about them on twitter. I think jealousy is definitely that main factor here, and like all bullies, it’s cowardly to pinpoint something that they see as negative, and enhance that to justify their jealousy. For me, it boils back down to the “deserving” and “undeserving” poor. This couple was viewed fairly widely as being undeserving, so when they came into money, people were outraged.
    Like you, I think they were actually more deserving than most, it sounds like they’ve had a rough time of it and I’m genuinely happy for them at their good luck. The interviews that I read showed that they were nice people with a great sense of humour. Good luck to them, and I hope that they can enjoy their money without being too upset by the negativity of small minded eejits.

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