MATT Hancock’s I’m A Celeb ‘confession’ was a carefully rehearsed “stage play”, according to a body language expert.
Judi James described the former health secretary’s guilty plea over his lock-up affair with aide Gina Coladangelo as “politically engineered”.
Hancock made the confession while being questioned by fellow contestant Babatunde Aleshe.
Judi told The Sun Online: “This is very much like Matt’s piece – the rehabilitation moment he’s been preparing for this jungle visit, as well as a moment he’s performed before, but clearly not for such a wide audience.
“It also feels like a politically structured performance meant to sidestep all the difficult aspects and details of his story and any emotional display necessary to show shame or regret, and redirect the audience’s attention to the positive message Matt wants to convey. completed with sound bites and emotional body language that would show him in a good light.”
The expert added that Mr Hancock’s stance seems carefully designed to “seek our forgiveness” and points to his “dog house” stance and “I was wrong and I confessed” sound bite as key giveaways.
She said: “There is a sense of humility and ‘being in the dog house’ in his chosen pose as he sits with his arms resting on his legs so that his back is hunched forward and bowed head.
“This is a ritual of submission in the animal kingdom and the lowering of the head would be seen as a survival response to avoid attack.”
The disgraced MP told his running mate Babtunde: “I was wrong and I confessed. I resigned and it’s no excuse, but I fell in love, didn’t I?
“That had a lot of other consequences as well, obviously.”
The comedian then jokingly replied: “You didn’t just ‘fall in love’, you were taking booty, man.”
In this exchange, Judi said: “Her redirection techniques are visible in the changes in her body language between the elephant in the room, which she quickly refers to as ‘other consequences’, adding the word ‘obviously ‘, which is a word of contempt that lets Babatunde know that he does not want to go.
“His right hand makes more of a dismissive gesture here and there are no bodily signs of remorse or guilt for these massive ‘other consequences’.”
Hancock split from his wife after The Sun revealed the affair and is now in a relationship with Ms Coladangelo.
Judi continued, “The whole focus of Matt’s body language here is on his key sound bite ‘excuse’ of being ‘a man in love.'” He looks away from Babatunde when he gets to this part of his dialogue and performs an illustrative ritual of looking in a reflective posture as if seeing Gina’s face.
“His features soften and his voice drops slightly and he smiles softly as if to show his emotionally helpless side.
“By using a lover’s smile and gaze as he thinks and talks about Gina, he seems to want to use non-verbal airbrushing to show the ‘good’ emotion that he says led to his downfall.
“But he also makes several subtler signals to let Babatunde know that he has his permission to ask these questions. His vocal tone rises and nods to suggest that he is eager to be interviewed.
“When he says ‘I resigned,’ he plays with his right fist in a smart, formal gesture, miming as if reliving a moment when he felt he did the right and decent thing professionally.”
The pundit added: “His body language cues also hint that he is not too displeased when Babatunde makes his ‘booty’ comments.
“Matt looks away saying ‘Oh, give in’, but his mischievous grin seems to hint at a certain connivance as his cheeks turn round and his eyes crinkle to suggest he’s as amused as ‘I’m ‘”.
Overall, Judi felt that the entire segment felt “like a politician’s ‘confession’ complete with a disparaging ‘I screwed up and confessed’ sound bite that he delivers so quickly it sounds prepackaged and overused.”
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