Ben and Liam R U OK Day
WORDS BY ABBEY LENTON
At ten past eight this morning on triple J, ‘Breakfast’ presenter Liam Stapleton made an emotional plea to his critics to think before they speak.
In the spirit of today’s R U OK? Day, the radio host shared his troubling experiences dealing with intense criticism from the station’s listener base.
As a pair, Ben and Liam have received intense, and often extreme, condemnation since they started at the station at the beginning of this year. The comment sections on the ‘Ben and Liam’ Facebook page are riddled with criticism. Ranging from “What are you guys, six year olds?” to “Booking myself in for a round of chemo after myself to this absolute cancer”. Stapleton also stated this morning that he has received private messages from listeners telling him to take his own life.
Beyond the online negativity, the pair have received abuse over the textline, and even on the street. Stapleton went on to detail a terrifying face-to-face experience. The twenty-one-year-old emotionally relayed how he felt literally cornered by several men when walking on his own once. He stated that it was one of the lowest moments in his life.
Although this was not the first time Ben and Liam have spoken out against their critics, today was a particularly significant day for it. R U OK? Day occurs annually on the second Thursday of September. Suicide prevention is at the heart of the not-for-profit organisation’s message. R U OK? Day’s ultimate goal is to have Australian’s check in with their loved one’s mental health, and to point them in the appropriate direction.
Since taking over the breakfast slot at the beginning of 2017, Ben and Liam have struggled to maintain the mass popularity of their predecessors, Matt Okine and Alex Dyson. In their final year of hosting breakfast together, Matt and Alex saw some of the highest ratings in the station’s history.
At only 21 and 23, the young duo balance the incredible and arduous duty of leading one of the nation’s most popular radio stations. Concluding the poignant segment with Gang Of Youth’s song ‘Magnolia’, the message was clear. Think before you act. And always take the initiative to ask your loved ones ‘are you okay?’.