Why are we suddenly ok with bashing celebrities?

I woke up this morning, looked at Twitter, and saw that people were attacking a bunch of celebrities for making an “I Take Responsibility” video and I haven’t checked Twitter since. However, this incident has inspired me once again to write because I wanted to talk about this a few weeks ago but I kept pushing it off. Today, I feel motivated once again to give my two cents on the whole thing…Please keep in mind this is my opinion and how I feel at this given moment in time.

Since the early days of Hollywood, people have long admired and fallen in love with the idea of being a celebrity and living a life of fame and fortune. We love watching them perform whether it is on the big screen, small screen, or even on stage. We look forward to one day getting our chance to meet them and take a selfie with them. We read magazines and watch tv shows that are dedicated to reporting what they wearing, who they are dating, and how they feel about everything from a hamburger to social injustice. We all have our favorite celebrities and we will “stan” with them at least until they do something that gets enough backlash from others in the media.

As social media continues to grow stronger and more powerful every day, these platforms continue to impact our love of celebrities and how we see them and how they see us. We have become so quick to judge them whenever they tweet something that just doesn’t sound right or isn’t said in the exact way we want to read it or interpret it. They judge us too whether it is our reactions to their work or if you just so happen to tweet something that gets enough traction that they end up seeing it. There have been many incidents recently where a person decides to say something negative about celebrity or a person in the media, and then, we the media, get on our computers and write a series of articles about that situation until it trends on Twitter and becomes a much larger conversation for a good portion of the day or until something else happens that takes over the conversation.

Now, while this isn’t anything new and has happened a lot over the past four or five years, ever since COVID-19 hit in March and we have been forced to stay in our homes, this seems to be happening on almost a daily basis. To be honest, I have lost count of how many celebrities have been “canceled” or which celebrities have been “canceled and uncanceled” over the past three months since the Coronavirus started but it has been a lot of them.

With all this built up anger and hatred towards many well-known celebrities, I am wondering how many entertainment journalists will be held accountable for their comments and whether they will still be invited to interview these celebrities in the future. I wonder about this because I can tell you from my own experience that even when you admire a certain celebrity but don’t like a film or tv show that they are associated with, you can be rejected or removed from the press opportunities surrounding that film or tv show. Yes, this has happened to me many times. And while I can understand why to a certain degree, I’ve always found that rather strange because film and television is an art form and therefore is subjective. I can dislike a movie or tv show but still, be a professional and ask respectful questions. Instead, it seems like the majority of studios and PR would prefer journalists to lie to the talent or not say anything at all about their feelings towards a project that is disappointing.

So, if studios and PR reps get upset about a critic or journalist disliking a film and refuse to let them talk to their client about said project, I can only imagine that the same studios and PR reps would be even more cautious about letting that said talent be interviewed by someone who bashed them for trying to make a joke to lighten the mood or speaking up about social injustice or simply trying to make people feel good by singing a song or participating in an advertisement about wanting to take responsibility. And what is even stranger about all of this is the fact that these are all things that celebrities have done in the past and are usually celebrated but now are being used against them while being labeled  “tone deaf” or “disingenuous.” Throughout the history of this industry, many celebrities have spoken out about important topics in the world like equal pay, gender equality, racism, censorship, and politics. I don’t know what changed all of a sudden why there is this level of backlash. This isn’t anything new so why now?

Personally, I have always annoyed by these sort of things because they always seem like they were part of some planned agenda or campaign but it is 2020 so I guess journalists have decided to say screw you for trying to make us smile by singing a song or giving them the middle finger for trying to take responsibility by throwing together some generic yet harmless ad that has good intentions. Furthermore, what is even more mind-boggling, is how so many are claiming that if a celebrity wants to help they should be writing checks and swiping their credit cards to do so. I’m very confused about why celebrities should have to pay for things. If they want to donate or if they care about a cause, they have the resources available to donate and can but they shouldn’t have to.

As someone who loves all forms of entertainment and still gets excited whenever I get to talk to or interact with a celebrity whose work I admire, I have always understood that they are just people. Most celebrities have a special skill set that inspires others but to be fair, they are still human beings who make mistakes and have flaws. I have never understood why throughout the history of this industry have we collectively as a society put celebrities on a pedestal. This applies to all celebrities regardless of the industry. I don’t get why we hold actors, musicians, and sports players up on this pedestal. In addition, I don’t understand why they need protection to go out in public or why they can’t just walk amongst us “normal folks.” The majority of doctors and nurses don’t have bodyguards and they save lives daily. These people entertain us. If a celebrity doesn’t want to take a photo or wants to exit a theatre, why do they need a PR person or a bodyguard to tell others that? Why can’t they simply say “hey, I got to run to the airport so sadly, no time for photos today.”

Now, I realize I got a bit off track but it does make you wonder what is going to happen now when traditional press events resume. Are celebrities and their reps going to completely pretend like nothing has happened and they weren’t being constantly attacked for whatever thing they did no matter how big or small it was? Is the press going to tell them that they love them after they spent the time to write tweets and articles bashing them for trying to bring a little joy into the lives of others or voicing their opinion? I do honestly believe that some celebrities were simply trying to do the right thing and had good intentions. Sadly, it ended up blowing up in their faces and people attacked them for it. And another thing, why aren’t they allowed to make mistakes? Everyone is complaining that they don’t get it yet at the same time those same people want them to donate money because they believe it is the right thing to do. Who is going to want to do something like that after they’ve been attacked for trying to do something they personally felt was the right thing to do?

I can’t help but think back on things that have happened over the past three months and all of the backlash that so many celebrities have gotten. I’m not saying that some of the decisions made were handled correctly but how is this any different than celebrities stating “we got this election” but we ended up with Donald Trump or George W. Bush for a second term. I would rather a bunch of celebrities sing me a song than to lead me to believe that someone controlling our free world is going to be elected and then it doesn’t happen. It makes no sense to me. And I do believe that celebrities have every right to refuse to do interviews with any press people who attacked them because these situations felt more like personal attacks rather than just a movie that didn’t end up connecting with a viewer.

Written by
Born in New Jersey, Scott Menzel has been watching film and television since he was three years old. Growing up, he watched as many movies as he could and was highly influenced by the films of Tim Burton, John Hughes, Robert Zemeckis, and Steven Spielberg. Scott has an Associate's Degree in Marketing, a Bachelor's in Mass Media, Communications, and a Master's in Electronic Media. He has been writing film reviews under the alias of MovieManMenzel since 2003 and started his writing career as a contributing critic at IMDB.com and Joblo.com. In 2009, Scott launched MovieManMenzel.com where he posted several of his film reviews but in 2011 decided to shut down the site when he launched We Live Film.com. In 2015, We Live Film became We Live Entertainment. The domain name change occurred after months of debate but was done so that he and his fellow staff members could write about anything and everything in the world of entertainment.

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