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Thursday 16 August 2018

Michael O'Doherty: Louis has won... but he's lost his trust in people

Under normal circumstances, I would hate to say 'I told you so'. But in this case, I'm absolutely delighted to shout it from the highest rooftop -- Louis was 100pc innocent all along. I told you so.

The accusations that he groped a man in the toilets of Krystle have been proven to be 100pc false, and were nothing more than the fantasies of one sad, deluded nutjob.

We may never know why he did it, but to be honest, we don't really care.

What we need to do now is reflect on the damage his outrageous claims have caused to the victim of this whole, sordid case -- Louis Walsh.

Because while Louis has been cleared of any wrongdoing, sadly, as in all these cases, the whiff of suspicion will linger, long after the accuser in question has come clean that he made it all up.

I was at the Respect Charity lunch on Saturday, just as the allegations against Louis were already starting to unravel, and the organisers displayed some video messages of support for their cause on a giant screen.

The audience listened respectfully as one Irish celeb after another offered their support, and then Louis' face appeared.

A murmur went round the room. It wasn't one of disapproval, more a light snigger at the face that he was talking about a charity called 'Respect'. Because, you know why, nudge nudge...

This is the fate that unfortunately befalls celebs caught up in a scandal -- no matter how quickly the allegations are shown to be false, no matter how conclusive the evidence that the accuser made the whole thing up... a whiff of sulphur lingers in the air because, as so many people will have said over the last few days, "there's no smoke without fire".

Louis is now going to have to live with the fact that every time he goes to the toilet, someone may make a joke about what he's doing there -- it's human nature, and its the cruellest aspect of this whole farce. Because of one man's vindictive fantasies, Louis's life has changed for ever in the past five days.

And of course, he's going to have to react to that new reality. As I said when the story first broke, Louis has been the victim of his own generosity, his own amenability. While other celebs surround themselves with minders, and sit in cordoned-off areas of nightclubs, Louis has never been like that.

He's always mingled in crowds like a regular Joe Soap, chatting happily to anyone who'd come up to him and believe me, on an average night out for Louis, that runs into hundreds of people.

Tragically, those days are now gone. Because of the actions of one delusional wannabe to whom he was kind enough to give the time of day, Louis will now instinctively become suspicious of everyone who comes up to him, even if they're just looking for an autograph or photo.

He'll have in the back of his mind the fact that this person might invent some ludicrous story about him, and that a newspaper might print it the following day.

And that, even more sadly, will turn some people off Louis. They may now think he's a bit aloof, a bit stand-offish, or even downright rude.

The cruellest twist to this story is that even though Louis has won, he has also lost so much. His privacy, his dignity, and his ability to trust people.

Bounce

Knowing Louis, however, he's a well-placed as anyone to bounce back.

He has huge support from family and friends -- all the people who knew immediately this story wasn't true.

He's on top of his game career-wise, and will use work to help him forget about the trauma of the past few days, which he described as "the worst time of his life".

Most of all, once the dust is settled, he'll probably even have a laugh at the whole thing. Because that's exactly that the cheeky, charming, self-effacing Louis that we all love would do...

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