As many of you may have heard, my friend and co-finalist for “MasterChef” season 3, Josh Marks, recently passed away from an apparent suicide. Josh was one of my closest friends from the show, and it greatly bereaves me to have learned of this news. As if this wasn’t enough, I see that someone who doesn’t know either one of us personally has been making judgments online. Today someone posted on my Facebook page (and I paraphrase) that “nobody cares about Josh, that none of us helped him before it was too late.”

I am sorry, but I have to express my disappointment in reading this statement. This comes from a person who admits he/she does not know Josh nor I nor any of his family and friends personally, and to make that sort of a judgment is completely uncalled for and wrong. To think that nobody tried to help him dismisses the great lengths his mother went through to try to help her son. To say this is to believe her efforts were nonexistent.

I am the kind of person that does not like to focus on the negative, but rather the positive, of a situation or person. I am also the kind of person that believes in respecting people’s privacy. This is why I choose not to post or write about Josh’s circumstances on my blog, Facebook, or Twitter. Josh’s loved ones are going through enough grief; they don’t need the additional stress of any unwanted media on them. But after reading this person’s allegations that nobody cared about Josh, I had to say something.

Is it not enough for us to be going through this grief, now we have to answer to people’s accusations, too? I am deeply saddened by Josh’s passing, but I prefer not to air it out online. My bereavement is personal and between me and those who knew Josh. It is not between me and the rest of the world. It is not my responsibility to report publicly what my relationship with Josh was like, how many times we’ve talked or emailed, what we talked or emailed about, how he felt, how I’m feeling, what transpired between us, what I have or have not done, and so on. And I think anyone who questions what any of us are going through or are thinking or have or have not done should really mind their own business. It greatly upsets me to know that people would think just because we have been on TV means 100% of our lives belong to the public. This is simply not true. And it upsets me to know that some people confuse our choice of keeping some things private with not caring. These are not equivalent.

With all this being said, there has only been one person who had anything negative to say. Everyone else has sent their sympathies, and these are very much appreciated. On behalf of Josh’s family, friends, colleagues, and his fellow MasterChef family, thank you for your sincere condolences. Please continue to keep Josh and his loved ones in your thoughts and prayers.

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21 Discussion to this post

  1. Paul says:

    People with public personas have private lives, but this is sometimes forgotten. I'd suggest that anyone who wants to know you better should go and read your thoughtful and insightful blog post, "thoughts on winning masterchef usa 2012". I for one really appreciate all that you've generously shared with the public about yourself and how you make your way through this world without vision. And one thing you said in that blog post is the modern aphorism, "haters gonna hate." This instance of someone writing that "no one cares about Josh" is just an example of that. The internet is full of trolls and unfortunately one of them found you.

    I'd just like to add my own condolences to Josh's family and friends. Josh's life may have drawn to its close, but the people who he left behind are only just beginning the long process of grieving and healing.

    • Christine Ha says:

      I truly appreciate the understanding and compassion you and many others have offered. THank you for the encouragement.

  2. misty says:

    Your letter was beautiful, and spot on. People's business is their business…and it's up to each person to decide how much, or how little, of themselves they wish to make public. Josh, his family. friends and loved ones are in my thoughts.
    There are so many unknowns concerning mental illness. This could be any one of us. Don't judge.

  3. Shone Jones says:

    You do realize that the state of Illinois has no Mental Health Care centers because of lack of funds, but that's beside the point.

    Josh Marks was dropped by two sponsors because of his mental health issues, even though he was trying to get help for those issues. Culinary Fight Night dropped him because, in their own minds, he was a liability to their brand. Make a Sound dropped him as well, but did damage control after his death by saying that they were still working with him in light of his issues. Now that the man is dead, both sponsors are trying to be apologetic.

    If that's not caring about someone, I don't know what is.

    • Christine Ha says:

      I agree all of this is extremely unfortunate. It sounds like these are organizational and government systems, not individuals. And so what I mean is a blanket statement saying no one cared is extreme, though what transpired is not condonable.

  4. Jason says:

    I'm so sorry to hear this, Christine. While I've had my own issues to fight through, as we all have, I can't imagine being in such a state as to lead to suicide. All I can do is to offer my condolences to Josh's family and friends, and my prayers to help speed him to comfort. Would that it could be more.

    As for the troll, David Wong over on Cracked wrote an article a while back called "What Is The Monkeysphere?" He discusses the results of studies saying that there is only room in the human brain for a finite number of acquaintances whom we consider "people", and anyone outside our particular "monkeysphere" is easily considered fair game for maltreatment and exploitation if it benefits those within, however slightly. While this certainly doesn't excuse your particular commenter's behavior, it does lend a bit of insight to why people behave that way.

  5. Sabrina Sophrosyne says:

    an eloquent and measured response, I'm sorry for the loss of your friend. He was a wonderful and talented person.

  6. Justin says:

    Christine, I am so sorry for your loss. I just spent the last hour on YouTube watching highlights of your season on Master Chef and as fierce as you guys were competitors, it was obvious that you guys were kindred spirits in your passion for cooking. I was completely heartbroken to read this blog especially right after seeing his daughter in his arms saying “I’m so proud of you daddy”. I can only hope the Good Lord is enjoying the wonderful feast Josh must be cooking up for him up in the heavens…

    I just wanted to say thank you. Your joy and passion and ability to rise above is an inspiration to so many people.

  7. Nichole says:

    I know this is a bit late but I watched your competition and I really loved watching you and Josh. I can't believe I have just stumbled upon this news. It is so sad and I express my condolences on your loss. He seemed like a great man and amazing cook. May my prayers go out to you and his family.

  8. adam says:

    I feel so sorry for Josh and his loved ones , it‘s a very tough moment for everyone who has watch you two compete on masterchef. We love both of you, and your words go with the concept of love and respect in the world we live. Apparently, some people don‘t know the truth and make unresponsible judgement, which is a big shame and disappoingting. Maybe they just wanted to impress the public, but in the worst way. Christine, we appriciate your comforting words which will help us to understand the difference between the real world and a reality show , and to learn to show sympathies and respect to a life.

  9. Claudia says:

    It´s hard to believe that its happen, Christine! 🙁

  10. Melanie says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. My favorite moment from the season was when Josh was behind you, holding your hands and moving them to mirror Gordon's motions during one of his demonstrations. You were his biggest competitor, even that early in the season, but Josh didn't seem to care at that moment. He just wanted to help you see. From then on, I rooted for him. I was happy that my two favorites made the finals, but I have to admit I was hoping he would get the win because I could not get the image out of my head of the dear, sweet, generous man that was captured in the background of those 2 or 3 seconds of film.

  11. Mika Sama says:

    Oh my…I watched masterchef and had no idea that he died.
    I kind of liked him, I was hopping either you or him to win the masterchef…I´m so sorry for your lost.

  12. Judy says:

    hi Christine. The very first time I watched MC is season 3 where you won…And since then, I got hooked watching it online. I am deeply saddened to know that Josh, your runner-up and friend, Josh passed away in a horrible kind of way. He is one of the contestants that I was cheering on during the competition. I liked his personality and his wonderful talent which he displayed on the show. My heart goes out to his mom and all his loved ones for his demise. I am saying a prayer for all of you tonight. (Btw, I just watched season 4 online where you were a guest judge. and that thing about blindfold really amused me. congratulations again on your winning Christine and I hope to get a copy of your book one of these days. From the Philippines with so much admiration.

  13. Roshaida says:

    Hi Christine.

    As I've only caught-up watching Masterchef season 3 recently, the news of Josh passing is indeed shocking and I am very deeply saddened from it. This post is a very apt response for such an irresponsible comment by someone who has no inkling of the true facts. People often forget that everyone, regardless of whether one is a public-figure or not, deserves privacy and others should respect that.

    I am grieving for the loss of such a talented and wonderful person. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends, .

  14. priyanka says:

    I can’t believe it

  15. Btw, I just watched season 4 online where you were a guest judge. and that thing about blindfold really amused me

  16. Paris says:

    I loved him so much and I just wish he were still alive. I just now found out that he died and it is 2015. I wondered last night when I watched the 100th episode of masterchef why he wasn't there. And so many other contestants were. I will pray for him Christine. I also love you too. You are a brilliant cook don't ever let anyone tell you different.

  17. Ada says:

    As I don't live in the U.S., I've watched the third season of MasterChef US just recently, on some minor TV channel as a rerun. I fell in love with Christine, I supported Josh with all my heart, and, like a lot of people, got annoyed by Ryan. And just recently learned about Josh's passing. That was like a blow to my soul. As you, Christine, said, any comment on how apparently no one saw and helped Josh was, is, really uncalled for. His mother went to great lengths to at least try helping her son. t pains me greatly to know that one of the best aspiring cooks lost battle with himself. I'm just bawling my eyes out every time I re-watch the season, read something about Josh, or whenever he's mentioned. I just hope that his family is somehow keeping up, and that he found his peace, three years later.

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