I think the media wants to sensationalize these celebrities’ inner turmoils for entertaining purposes. We pick and choose who we want to crucify and for how long. Chris Brown’s act of violence against Rihanna in 2009 will never go away–as it shouldn’t, but instead of starting a much-needed conversation about domestic violence and its effect on young men and women, we’ve created entertainment around it. I could search the hashtag #ChrisBrown or #Rihanna and I guarantee you a meme would show up that’s meant to cause laughter and not conversations. We may not know every single little detail in celebrity scandals, but we fill in the blanks with our own judgments and the mystery subsides.
I could hear mom’s voice right now. As God’s right-hand woman, she says, “No sin is weighed the same.” A lot of people, myself included, could argue that this biblical statement is incorrect. In my mind, murder weighs a bit more than stealing. But here’s the thing–my judgment of absolutely anyone doesn’t matter. Celebrities are human beings just like you and me, but with shinier toys. We don’t reserve the right to pass judgment on them. Yes, they placed themselves in the spotlight but that doesn’t make judgment ok. Being an entertainer is the job they chose and just like any job, there’s amazing perks and sucky disadvantages. One of their sucky parts is having their lives judged by the world.
When journalists feel the need to dig deep within the indiscretions of a celebrity’s past, judgment ensues. And I think the point of the digging it to rally support in this judgment. But I can think of another cliche that applies here–”Only God can judge me.” Who are we to sit and place a celebrated individual’s “sins” on a list where we get to rank them how we see fit? We are just as imperfect as these celebrities. There are people in the world who consume celebrity culture who may have killed, stolen, gambled, or sexually assaulted someone themselves, but when the celebrities do it–we weigh their indiscretions heavier because we think just because they have volunteered for the spotlight, we’re allowed to judge them.
I’m not trying to dismiss the bad things that court records proved R. Kelly did. I’d never say that I don’t believe Dylan Farrow’s claims against Woody Allen. And if Bill Cosby did what these women claimed, my heart goes out to those women and I would regard him as a predator. But what I am supposed to do going forward? There’s nothing about my life that says I support Cosby other than watching reruns of “The Cosby Show.” He’s an actor who was paid to play a role and he played that role well. This is his artistry. What he may have done to those women was his personal life. And no, I am not disregarding the women who have been victims to any of these celebrities accused of sexual assault. My heart goes out to them.
But am I wrong for watching “The Cosby Show” reruns because Cosby was accused of being a sexual predator? Should I feel guilty when “Your Body’s Calling,” which was released in the midst of R. Kelly’s accused sexual assault, pops up on my iTunes shuffle? Am I a hypocrite for abhorring Woody Allen’s alleged abuse of his adoptive daughter, but I’m watching “Midnight In Paris” on Netflix?
I know–or maybe I think I know way too much about these celebrities and while I don’t subscribe to their choices in their private lives, I still enjoy their artistry. What, am I not supposed to?