He commented on the influx of celebrity-featured confessional podcasts that almost mimic a therapy session – all without a professional therapist present. These podcasts often capitalise on celebrities sharing deep, often traumatic experiences in their lives.
Popular podcasts of this genre include Elizabeth Day’s How to Fail, Alex Cooper’s Call Her Daddy and The Diary of a CEO with Stephen Bartlett.
Weighing in on the podcast aspect of oversharing, James wrote in an opinion piece for The i: “I’ve found myself listening to quite a few podcasts recently that make me feel like I’m listening to a deeply private therapy session, but instead of a trained professional asking the questions, it’s the man from Dragon’s Den nodding and saying ‘wow’.
“I’ve shouted out loud at such exchanges: ‘WHO IS THIS FOR?!’ ‘WHY ARE YOU SAYING THIS!?’”
He continued: “It appears that the interview is only deemed a success if you’ve excavated your innermost thoughts and ended up a blubbering mess, only to be comforted by the host asking you if you’re OK to continue while offering you a nice refreshing warm glass of Huel.”
James remarked that when he appeared on Elizabeth Day’s podcast, the feedback he received from a friend was one of disappointment that he didn’t “give all the gossip” about his life.
Though James said he’s “failed” in his personal life, he did not want to share it with anyone but a trained mental health professional.
“Elizabeth asked me where I ‘keep my darkness’, during the podcast, which is a fantastic question. But with all due respect, the real answer to that question is for my therapist to hear.”
While he admitted to having insecurities and complex relationships, James continued: “But why would I say them all in that room to a person I respect greatly but hardly know, and which will be listened to by thousands of people I’ll never meet?! I ended up giving some stupid answer about getting angry at buses that drive too fast or something.”
James concluded by urging people, especially people with platforms on social media or as celebrities, to think about the long-term consequences of oversharing.
“It would be insane to walk into a pub and ask someone you didn’t know very well where they keep their darkness but on social media it’s now almost expected of you,” he said.
James’s comments come at a time when celebrities are keen on making confessional statements to huge audiences. Prince Harry’s tell-all memoir Spare is among a slew of celebrity memoirs that have been released this year alone.
Celebrities have also been keen to make confessions about their sex lives as of late. For example, on the Call Her Daddy podcast, Gwyneth Paltrow recently compared the sexual performance of her ex-boyfriends Ben Affleck and Brad Pitt. Just last week, Peter Crouch’s wife Abbey Clancey revealed the three sexual emojis he sends her when he wants to get “lucky”.