Laura Whitmore tackles a series of contentious and thought-provoking subjects in immersive investigative documentaries for ITVX. Leveraging her journalistic skills, Laura delves deep into each topic to shed new light on them.
In this groundbreaking series, Laura embarks on a journey across the UK, Europe, and the US, aiming to uncover the hidden aspects of dark and troubling issues such as the "incel" culture, rough sex, and cyber stalking.
Through personal encounters with individuals whose lives revolve around these issues, Laura explores the subcultures and the profound impact they have on their participants, victims, and society as a whole. She also engages with those working towards understanding and addressing the repercussions of these phenomena.
In one episode, Laura immerses herself in the exploration of "toxic masculinity" within society, focusing on the disturbing subculture of "involuntary celibates" or "incels." These predominantly male-dominated online communities harbour misogynistic ideologies and serve as platforms for alienated individuals who struggle to connect with women. Laura conducts revealing interviews with young men immersed in this culture, as well as professionals striving to comprehend the underlying causes and assess the potential dangers posed by incels. The episode also sheds light on real-world instances where disaffected men, seeking vengeance for perceived rejection, have carried out high-profile acts of violence, including mass shootings in both the US and UK.
Another episode brings attention to the evolving attitudes towards sex in Britain, wherein BDSM has evolved into a multi-billion-pound industry. Laura investigates the darker aspects of this phenomenon, particularly the rising prevalence of choking during sexual encounters. Exploring the influence of pornography and examining the so-called "50 Shades" defence, where individuals accused of killing their sexual partners claim it was a result of rough sex gone wrong, Laura uncovers the potential risks associated with what some perceive as adventurous or harmless sexual exploration. With low conviction rates for sexual violence crimes and growing anecdotal evidence suggesting numerous unreported assaults, Laura conducts emotionally charged interviews with victims, their families, and experts who provide valuable insights into the dangers posed by so-called rough sex.
The alarming rise of cyber stalking is the focus of another episode, as Laura seeks to understand the motivations and modus operandi of stalkers while exploring strategies for self-protection. She meets with victims who share the profound impact online stalking and harassment have had on their lives, as well as a specialized police unit at the forefront of combatting this crime. Additionally, Laura travels to Europe to witness firsthand a technologically advanced business engaged in the fight against stalkers.
Through her compelling documentaries, Laura Whitmore shines a light on these highly charged and controversial subjects, utilizing her journalistic prowess to reveal new insights and foster greater understanding and awareness among viewers.
Laura said: "This series shines a light on a range of issues, which along with the contributors, victims and experts involved, we hope will resonate with viewers and help us to understand their dangers, complexities and consider possible resolutions. It's been a an intense, eye-opening and at times emotional experience and one that I'm incredibly proud of. Thank you to Rumpus, Zig Zag productions and ITV Factual for working with me on it."