Rebekah Brooks Is England’s Most Hated Public Figure

Sort of.

Tim Whitby / Getty Images

The London Dungeon — a popular tourist attraction that glorifies various outdated macabre events and practices — had a funny idea. Let’s ask 500 of our visitors which British public figure they like least, and then lock an impersonator of that person up in stocks and allow some other visitors to throw rotten fruit and eggs at them, they thought.

What fun!

But The London Dungeon didn’t exactly give a huge selection of detested figures for voters to choose from. The options were as followers: former News International CEO and News Of The World editor Rebekah Brooks, conservative Chancellor George Osborne, and controversial comedian Jimmy Carr.

Brooks won (or lost, depending on how you see it). I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s partially explained by the fact that tons of non-British tourists go to the London Dungeon, and they probably didn’t really know who the other two were.

Jonathan Short / AP

Brooks faces serious charges for “conspiring to pervert the course of justice,” allegations that are connected to the News Corp phone hacking scandal that dominated headlines in 2011. So it’s understandable that she’s disliked, but this still feels…wrong.

A tourist attraction doesn’t have to adhere to a presumption of innocent until proven guilty — and people have every right to dislike Brooks. That said, the whole thing seems needlessly cruel and just plain bizarre. It’s not even Brooks locked up in the stocks! It’s an innocent red-haired woman who agreed to wear a mask and get paid to have tourists toss eggs and rotten fruit at her. It’s icky — in more ways that one.

For the record, my parents took me to London Dungeon when I was five years old. And that place is scary.

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