Friday, 17 July 2009

Mischa's meltdown

With Britney all fit, shiny and rehabilitated, the world's media must be delighted about Mischa Barton's breakdown. Police were called to her house on Wednesday to assist her with an undisclosed medical issue, and she was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Since then, it's emerged that she has been sectioned under Section 5150 of the California Welfare and Institute. This means that authorities can keep someone involuntarily if they present a danger to themselves or others, or suffer from a mental disorder.

Over at Heat magazine, they're probably feeling a little guilty, since they ran Mischa's pictures on their cover last week. The coverline screamed that the 23-year-old OC star was out of control, stating that she was too gaunt in January, and bloated by June. Just days before her breakdown, she spoke to Life & Style magazine about the Heat cover to insist that she was "healthy and comfortable". Despite a generally upbeat perspective, Mischa also expressed frustration at having to "address the same non-issues on a repeated basis."

Of course, that didn't stop websites like Hollywire running pictures taken on Tuesday with the headline 'The mess that is Mischa Barton pre-meltdown photos'. It helps that the not-particularly-startling images were accompanied by copy stating "You can tell just by the way her face looks that she is completely vacant and bloated from some sort of drug abuse..." Whether or not Mischa has had a drug-induced breakdown is yet to be determined, but it's good to know that in the meantime there are tabloid hacks out there willing to state it as fact.

Also comforting is the fact that Mischa has the support of the people around her at this difficult time. People like the spectacularly named Bingo Gubelmann, producer of Mischa's new movie 'Homecoming' which premiered this week without its young star in attendance. Speaking to US Weekly, Bingo said "It's frustrating. And it's not ideal, but I'm not going to sit here and trash her because we're young as a company and we've got to live and learn." Maybe someone in the publicity team had a word with him, because within 24 hours he was telling Access Hollywood how professional she was.

Hopefully, Mischa will get the care and attention she needs to find her way back to the top of her game. After all, this is a girl who was winning rave reviews at the age of eleven for her performance in acclaimed drama Lawn Dogs. But maybe, just maybe, the media will also take a moment to question their complicity in pushing people to the brink, only to pull out the zoom lens gleefully as they tumble over it.

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