Caroline Flack, a British television presenter who hosted the controversial reality TV show "Love Island," has died at age 40, her family said Saturday.
"We can confirm that our Caroline passed away today, the 15th of February," the family said in a statement. A family lawyer said Flack had killed herself and was found in her London apartment.
Flack hosted "Love Island" from its launch in 2015, but stepped down last year after being charged with assaulting her boyfriend, Lewis Burton. She denied the charge and was scheduled to stand trial starting next month.
British commercial network ITV, which broadcasts the show, said in a statement that "everybody at 'Love Island' and ITV is shocked and saddened by this desperately sad news."
"Caroline was a much-loved member of the 'Love Island' team, and our sincere thoughts and condolences are with her family and friends," the network statement said.
The sixth season of the show is currently airing. A "Love Island" highlights episode titled "Unseen Bits" that was set to air Saturday evening on ITV2 was pulled from the schedule after Flack's death was announced.
The next new "Love Island" episode is scheduled for broadcast on Sunday. The network did not indicate if it will air it.
"Love Island" deposits young and attractive contestants in a tropical paradise, where they must pair up or risk being exiled. Critics claim the program puts vulnerable young people under intense scrutiny and pressure, increased by blanket tabloid newspaper coverage of the show.
Two former "Love Island" contestants, Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis, died by suicide in 2018 and 2019.
Their deaths renewed a debate about the ethics of reality TV that has raged in the U.K. since producers started making British equivalents of sensationalist American programs like "The Jerry Springer Show" two decades ago, putting ordinary people under a microscope on reality shows such as "Big Brother."
Until her arrest, Flack enjoyed a meteoric career rise after co-hosting Saturday morning children's television shows. She fronted companion shows to the popular ITV programs "I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!" and "The X-Factor."
Flack's career blossomed further after she won the BBC show "Strictly Come Dancing" in 2014, the British version of "Dancing With The Stars." While hosting "Love Island," Flack made her West End stage debut in 2018, playing Roxie Hart in the musical "Chicago."
Fellow TV presenters expressed shock over her death Saturday.
Talk show most Piers Morgan tweeted that Flack "was a fun, bright & sparky person whose whole world collapsed recently, both professionally & personally. She told me it had been the worst time of her life, and was clearly struggling to cope with losing everything she held dear. This is such sad, awful news."
Another well-known host, Eamonn Holmes, tweeted: "Caroline Flack .... Dear God. Shocked beyond belief. May she have found peace . #Rip Has to be repercussions for Love Island now surely?"
Climate change activists stole the show Saturday on the opening day of London Fashion Week, stopping traffic with a street protest as they demanded the cancellation of the British capital's five-day style extravaganza.
Dozens of protesters from the Extinction Rebellion group drew attention — and anger from some drivers — as they fired colorful smoke flares into the air and blocked busy intersections in central London near the fashion events. Some protesters wore gas masks and dresses made from chains, while others carried placards reading "No fashion on a dead planet."
They called on the British Fashion Council to take more action to lobby for environmental policies.
Adding strong gale winds blowing rain horizontal, it was an eventful day at London Fashion Week, which brings crowds of style editors, photographers, models and celebrities to the city twice a year.
Burberry, Victoria Beckham, Tommy Hilfiger, Erdem and Christopher Kane are among the leading fashion houses and designers showcasing their latest fall and winter creations over the next few days.
Organizers of London Fashion Week have said they want to help promote sustainability and create positive change within the industry. This season, the trade show is featuring a "Positive Fashion" exhibition and a "swap shop" where visitors will be able to exchange used clothes for donated items.
Most fashion week attendees, however, will have their eyes firmly trained on new season offerings.
On Saturday, Temperley London staged four catwalk shows that were open to the public as part of a wider drive to make the displays — traditionally only accessible to fashion insiders and VIPs — more public-facing and instantly available to the masses.
The brand, adored by fans for its romantic evening and bridal wear, showcased summer dresses with bold prints and an array of opulent and ultra-feminine evening gowns featuring plenty of ruffles, jeweled embellishments, sheer fabrics and show-stopping sequins.
Kim Da-hye, a 29-year-old South Korean, said that moving into a semi-basement apartment was her least-preferred option when she was looking for a new place to live.
But after a rigorous search and a close examination of her finances, she was forced to settle for a "banjiha," the Korean word for a cramped basement flat.
South Korean director Bong Joon-ho's Oscar-winning film "Parasite" has brought banjiha dwellers like Kim to worldwide attention, thanks to its depiction of two families — one living in a semi-basement apartment and the other in an airy mansion — and the differences in their social status.
In 2015, around 1.9% of South Koreans lived in semi-basement apartments, according to data from Statistics Korea. It's an affordable choice for urban dwellers in Seoul, one of the most expensive cities in Asia.
The apartments, which are often cramped and sometimes squalid, generally cost between $210 and $500 a month with a hefty deposit.
Kim, who moved into her $211-a-month banjiha apartment after leaving her job to take care of her mother, is no fan of her current accommodations, which flood during the rainy season.
"During one summer, I left the house with the window open," she said. "When I came back, there was water all over and the walls were wet."
She says that when she dries her laundry, "the walls get damp and my laundry smells."
Prior to moving in, she was very concerned about the apartment's toilet, which sits much higher than the floor in order to prevent flooding. "My bathroom has stairs just like that place," Kim said, referring to the basement toilet in the film that spews out filthy sludge during a flood that destroys the house.
"I could slip while climbing the stairs," Kim said, laughing and pointing at the two steep steps leading to the square bathroom. She joked that she doesn't attempt to go to the bathroom when she's drunk.
Since the apartment is half underground, it is difficult for sunlight to seep through the window, causing the walls to mold.
"It's easy to see inside from outside and vice versa," Kim said, adding that her window also invites dust from cars and motorcycles on the street.
She said she has mixed feelings about the film despite sharing her name — Da-hye — with the daughter of the affluent family.
"At the start of the movie when an image flashed of a drunkard who was peeing on the street, I didn't find it funny," she said. "I felt a bit bitter because (the movie) had moments I could totally relate to. I had mixed feelings because it didn't feel like someone else's story."
"I thought it really resembled reality," Kim said. "(The father in the movie) wanted to climb higher but ended up going lower than where he was before. That's similar to how I feel about my future."
Three people were shot and wounded on Valentine's Day at a restaurant just outside Atlanta that's owned by singer and "Real Housewives of Atlanta" star Kandi Burruss.
A man entered the Old Lady Gang restaurant on Friday night and targeted another man, East Point police Capt. Allyn Glover told news outlets. Police say two bystanders were also shot, and all three shooting victims suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
The shooter wasn't in custody, Glover said.
The names and ages of the people injured weren't immediately released.
Serving Southern cuisine, Old Lady Gang is owned by Burruss and her husband, Todd Tucker, and named after Burruss' mother and two aunts, according to the restaurant's website. The first restaurant opened in Atlanta in 2016, and the East Point location — situated in a large shopping complex about 5 miles (8 kilometers) west of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport — followed in 2018. There's also an outpost at the Atlanta Hawks' home, State Farm Arena.
Burruss has been a cast member on the "Real Housewives of Atlanta" since its second season in 2009 and met Tucker, a former line producer, on the show. She's appeared on other shows, including the 2019 iteration of "Big Brother: Celebrity Edition." She became famous in the 1990s as a member of the R&B group Xscape and co-wrote TLC's hit "No Scrubs
Oprah Winfrey's soon-to-be televised discussion about the controversial novel "American Dirt" is drawing scrutiny for not inviting some of the book's harshest Latino critics.
The talk show host organized her much-hyped conversation with author Jeanine Cummins on Thursday after inviting around 250 people to the Harkins Theatres Arizona Pavilions in southern Arizona, the Arizona Daily Star reports. The crowd was then directed to another Tucson, Arizona, location and asked to sign a nondisclosure agreement.
The discussion will be the next episode in Winfrey's new Apple TV+ series Oprah's Book Club, which features personal conversations with authors in front of a live audience.
Details of the gathering were not known since the audience was banned from speaking about the event until after the show airs in March.
The novel about a Mexican mother and her young son fleeing to the U.S. border had been praised widely before its Jan. 21 release. But anger built over allegations the book relied on stereotypes, caricatures, and material similar to another Latino writer.
Latino critics also blasted promotions at book release parties that had floral art centerpieces with barbed wire mimicking the border wall.
Oprah chose the novel for her book club shortly after its release, drawing more anger from Latino critics.
In a video posted on Instagram following the criticism, Winfrey said she now realizes the book struck "an emotional chord" with Latinos and created a need for deeper conversation.
On Wednesday, the group #DignidadLiteraria posted an open letter to Winfrey on the site Literary Hub calling for deeper conversations about "the continued underrepresentation of (Latino) authors in publishing and in your highly influential book club."
The letter mentioned the Tucson event and called for a private meeting with Winfrey and their movement.
"We urge to you open your mind and heart to actual Latinos the way you have publicly declared you did to Jeanine's fictional characters," the letter read.
Writer Roberto Lovato, one of the signers of the letter, wrote on Twitter about not receiving an invitation to Winfrey's Tucson event.
"People are starting to enter @Oprah's 'all sides,' completely staged #AmericanDirt spectacle for @AppleTV in Tucson. Though we were not invited & though we r interested in talking re industry, not spectacles, she will be hearing from #DignidadLiteraria," he wrote.
The episode, which is set to debut in March, is the third installment of the series. The first two episodes were hour-long conversations with book club authors Ta-Nehisi Coates and Elizabeth Strout.