Celebrities. Don’t we just love them? We are a world obsessed with famous people. When we see one of our favorite actors hosting an awards show, something we normally wouldn’t even think of wasting time viewing, we sit glued to our TV hanging on their every word and action, especially if we’re watching a living legend. It’s a moment we’ll talk about for years to come, especially if we happened to be in the audience and got to see our hero live. Talk about being able to die happy.
On a recent episode of Boston Legal we saw a celebrity shoot a reporter who was about to take a photo of her because he jumped out from behind a garbage can and she was startled and thought he had a gun. She claims she shot in self defense. The question was, would the jury buy it? The prosecutor’s case was that it’s okay for the celebrity to get all the perks of being able to go into a fancy restaurant and be seated even without a reservation, among other things, but then they want to be a big star and have their privacy too. The defense made the case of other celebrities being assaulted, some killed even. He brought up John Lennon’s murder as an example. His argument was that even celebrities have a right to some privacy.
We’re not going to try to answer the question of who’s right and who’s wrong. The jury decided in favor of the celebrity. But that’s just TV. We know that real life can be quite different. The sad truth is, celebrities are not like other people. They are constantly in the public eye, either in movies, TV, theater, radio, or whatever specialty they are involved in. Many of us would argue that they have no problem being paid $1 million for one TV episode, but try taking one lousy photo of them and they go crazy. Others would say that they are entitled to the same privacy as you or I, even though they may have a job that puts them in the public eye. After all, if you’re a carpenter, nobody is following you around town trying to take your photo every five minutes.
So, what’s the answer? Maybe laws need to be made. This is not suggesting that the laws be in favor of the celebrity or against. But some kind of law governing what are reasonable and unreasonable actions in regard to how much “space” a celebrity should be given when not “working”. Should they be allowed to be approached in a supermarket when doing their weekly food shopping? Or should their be laws stating that they can only be approached 15 minutes before or after coming off the “set” where they work, whether it be a TV station, radio station or movie set?
Most likely laws like this will never be enacted or even if they are, enforced. That is just the way it is. It has been like this since the beginning of celebrity status. It has killed many in the past and most likely will end up killing many more before this madness is over.