I think I might know how it feels to be a celebrity.

My daughter is 42, so it must have been nearly 43 years ago when I got the feeling that a woman I barely knew emanated dislike for me.

I asked a mutual friend what the problem was.

“She says she just doesn’t like your type,” was the answer.

My type? Fat people? Pregnant people? Journalists? People from Zambia? People married to broad Scots?

I never discovered the answer to that question, so I know how Will Smith would feel if he knew what one of my colleagues said the other day.

“I don’t like Will Smith.”


“I don’t know. I just don’t like him.”

The woman in New Zealand and my colleague are both entitled to their opinions, as am I.

It took me ages to like the Beatles for fear I was being unfaithful to Elvis. (I was 13 – give me a break!)

But my colleague’s opinion made me think.

Celebrities are people.

It’s fine to critique a performance or a job.

But don’t attack the person.

It reminds me of the famous speech from Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, given by Shylock.

“Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed?”

We are all the same underneath – we’re all people, whether we’re a film star or a street cleaner.

I don’t care if you like Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, or not, but I HATE it when people compare her to a horse or make other disparaging remarks about her appearance.

Anyone who reads this column on even an irregular basis, may have figured I lean slightly to the left.

I can criticise Theresa May with the best of them – but not on her looks, legs or style of dress.

I can think of 50 million reasons why Donald Trump should not be leader of the free world but his hair is definitely not one of them!

Let me hasten to say my colleague didn’t say anything horrible about Will Smith or his appearance.

She just didn’t like him.

Her comment was met with outcry as those of us who are fans rushed to his defence.

We are entitled to our opinions, though. I accept some people don’t like Elvis.

What we are not entitled to do is treat anyone with disrespect and especially those we don’t know.

I was listening to an interview with a comedian the other day. I don’t remember his name.

I do, though, remember he said he would never go to a public toilet on his own.

He said he was afraid someone who had been drinking through his show would find it acceptable to attack him there.

What a frightening thought.

I’ve had letters to the editor about my column.

One, once, offended because it suggested I cared more about the death of an Indian man than I would have if the man was white British.

I had no right to be offended, though, because that person was criticising what I had written not who I am.

If he had commented on my size or my face then I could complain.

If he had commented on my abilities as a wife and mother I would certainly have retaliated.

Anyway, this whole ramble is to remind me, you and anyone else who is passing by to remember you can criticise the work but not the person. My colleague doesn’t like Will Smith and that’s fine.