Many of us are aware of the glamor that comes with a celebrity status. Be it for political efforts, theatrical moments or carrying that perfect tune. Likewise, many of us hear about the issues those people face. Their lack of privacy and need to be ever the perfect role model is a hotly debated subject. Some people believe that if you are a public figure you have to exemplify virtues, morals and a fantastic figure. Other people believe that it is the flaws of the person that give them celebrity authority.
There are times in which a celebrity can go overboard and push themselves far enough away from public favor that they are forced to exit stage left. One such person is former Toronto mayor Rob Ford. The former mayor was forced to resign amid admission that he abused drugs while in office. However, as celebrity status rarely dies, he was hosted on Jimmy Kimmel to discuss the situation.
As it would turn out, Kevin Spacey was also to appear on the show. Spacey enforces a strict “no taking pictures with fans” policy and upheld it when the former mayor wanted a picture together with him and his brother. After said refusal, the brothers went on to bash the actor on their own YouTube station. Ever the classy man, Spacey responded via twitter with a photoshopped picture of him and the two brothers.
The questions here is not merely about the picture but about the choices, the options and the responsibility our supposed role models carry. As a person, Spacey has the right to refuse any pictures with any people he wants. As a person, Ford has the right to talk about it in his YouTube channel. However: as an actor, people could consider it “Arrogant” that Spacey would not allow pictures and that it was “whiney” of Ford to make an issue of it.
Over and over again we see instances of people jabbing each other back and forth more and more publicly. With the invention of social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like- it seems that these tools which were inherently developed to bring people closer only pushes them further apart. Ego and harsh words are so easy to explode through a screen. Before you have the chance to delete or regret a word, thousands of people may have already seen it and once seen- cannot be unseen.
Celebrity status is a fickle thing. In a world where everyone has an opinion, how can you please everyone? Where does public image end and private rights begin? Unrealistic expectations have been placed on people. Some of the most classic examples include: a person cannot be too skinny but she cannot be too thick either- for fear of bad press. They can’t be too smart or too vocal, too right, too wrong. People are people, they make mistakes and they have choices. Even if we put them on pedestals, that doesn’t change the truth. There is no shame in being your own person as long as you own up to it and as long as others are aware of that truth. While illegal behavior should most certainly be grounds for discipline- what about childish behavior and retort?
As Dave Chappell once said on Inside the Actors Studio: “You can never get un-famous. You can get infamous. But not un-famous”.
By Atar Kishon