I don’t write about celebrities who get busted for domestic violence, rape & assaults because I don’t want to give them any attention and, if I may say so, press coverage. But…
In my thinking that as celebrities they are their own brands and that by the “any press is good press” philosophy by mentioning them I’m helping to promote them — but in reality, by not calling them on their crap am I somehow supporting them?
Recently, when an actor on one of the many popular crime scene science shows was busted, I thought about this all… I wondered if I should be pointing it out — if not calling for a boycott of the show &/or contacting advertisers, then implying same by letting readers know about it. My original thinking was that the actor is only one ingredient of the show, and that while he may be (at least allegedly) creepy & bad, the show isn’t “him.” He isn’t the only actor or participant; nor is his life &/or philosophy what frames the content or the messages of the show.
Yet, if his name is the billable one, if he’s the investment, the property, the celebrity which draws the audiences, then do I — do we — have a responsibility to act? Do we have the right to impact negatively upon his livelihood (as well as those of the cast & crew, etc.) based on his personal life?
If this man or the male singer who hurt Rihanna were regular Joes, we would be limited in what we could do & say. To disparage him & diminish his paycheck, even after the courts have found him guilty, could result in legal problems of our own. As employees, average Joes have protections to keep their jobs. If it didn’t happen at work, it’s not the employers business; if jail time affects work, employers may have to hold jobs for them (regardless of how the employer feels about it). But when celebrities have placed themselves in the fishbowls we have different expectations & results…
We collectively place upon celebrities (albeit slim in some cases) standards of decency in exchange for their fame. Entertainment contracts have clauses for this (whether they are “used” is another issue). Celebrities are given perks in exchange for being “role models” and so they are (sometimes) taken to task for their crimes (bringing attention to societal issues); other times they are so beloved their fame blinds people with a “he couldn’t have” or minimizes the crime in general so as to keep the hero a hero (resulting in additional victim blaming & diminishing the societal concerns for issues such as rape, domestic violence and abuse).
In a society in which we are all supposed to be equal, just where do celebrities fit in? Just how much are we allowed to hold them up? And when are we supposed to tear them down?
And does talking about them by name help or hurt their brands? Help or hurt the victims? Help awareness or hurt the causes?
Please do tell.