Celebrities and Privacy do not go together andI'll tell you why...

Jun 27, 2003

The Bottom Line Just because you happen to be famous, doesn't mean you deserve special treatment.

Lately, it seems that the press is taking away the right to privacy of many celebrities. There should be laws established to protect famous people from being constantly hounded by photographers and reporters. Do you agree or disagree?

There should not be laws established to protect famous people from being constantly hounded by photographers and reporters because when one takes on the "lifestyles of the rich and the famous", he or she must take all the good and bad things that come along with being famous, but mostly the bad such as having very limited or no privacy at all. Celebrities should realize that once they become famous, their lives are in the spotlight and they lose all rights to privacy. Also, loss of privacy is the price a celebrity is paying for choosing to become famous and they should be fully aware of this before choosing to take on the lifestyle of a celebrity. Furthermore, if a common person is not guaranteed the right to privacy then what makes celebrities the exception? A celebrity should not get "special treatment" just because of the mere fact that he or she is famous. Another reason is that some invasions of privacy are beneficial. In addition, establishing laws to protect celebrities' privacy would limit the power of the press and the government has no right to do this. Moreover, celebrities should stop complaining about what they don't have and should instead be happy with what they do have. Celebrities already have more luxuries than anyone in this world and more money than they know what to do with. Also, the public has a right to know what goes on in celebrities' lives because celebrities are nothing without the common people. I will further explain these points thereby proving why there should not be laws established to protect famous people from being constantly hounded by photographers and reporters.

Before I explain my points why celebrities should not have laws protecting them from being hounded by photographers and reporters, I will give a definition of the right to privacy according to legal scholar, William Beaney. Beaney defines privacy as: “…(T)he legally recognized freedom of power of an individual (group, association, class) to determine the extent to which another individual (group, class, association, or government) may (a) obtain or make use of his ideas, writing, name, likeness, or other indicia of identify, or (b) obtain or reveal information about him or those for whom he is personally responsible, or (c) intrude physically or in more subtle ways into his life span and his chosen activities.”(5) In other words, one person has the power to limit the other person from obtaining information about him or her and intruding in his or her life. Nobody is guaranteed this right to privacy and celebrities shouldn’t be allowed to have laws protecting their privacy either.

There should not be laws protecting the privacy of celebrities because loss of privacy is the price they are willing to pay when becoming famous and celebrities should be aware of this. As a matter of fact, some celebrities actually like being in the spotlight, which is the case with television personality Lauren Booth.
Lauren Booth admits that:
When the cameras and diarists (briefly) turned there
attention to me in 1997, I was in heaven. I'll never
forget the first time that Joanna Lumley was moved
to one side so that a tabloid photographer could get
a shot of moi on the red carpet. I nearly died with
embarrassment. Yeah right. Actually, I basked in
the sheer ego-twisting joy of being made to feel
important. Perhaps most intoxicating of all is
when my name is greeted with the words "Are
you the Lauren Booth?" Being "the" anybody
(even for a short while) is like being stroked
and probed by the masseur of your dreams.
Mmm, it's very nice, but when it stops you
are left feeling a little tired and emotional.(47)

As one can see, Lauren adores being in the spotlight so much that she is in "heaven.” It is clear that Lauren is extremely flattered and proves true what George Bernard Shaw once said: “What really flatters a man is that you think him worth flattering.” However, not all celebrities would agree with Lauren in her particular situation. Other celebrities may not like being in the spotlight or hounded by photographers and reporters. Well, all I have to say to those celebrities is "too bad." Being bombarded by paparazzi is something celebrities are just going to have to deal with whether they like it or not. Celebrities should all know that they lose their privacy once choosing to become famous and they have to accept this reality or else they should refrain from being famous. Also, celebrities who complain about paparazzi and no privacy should just simply shut up or stop complaining and look on the bright side of being famous. To celebrities, paparazzi and no privacy may be a "bad" thing but when one has fame, one usually has fortune. For example, celebrities are millionaires or at least some of them used to be. Whatever the case, all celebrities, whether popular or featured on VH1's syndicated show called "Where are they [celebrities] now?” have all received fifteen minutes of fame at least once. In addition, most celebrities usually pursue something they love to do whether it is acting, writing, singing, etc. So, shouldn't celebrities be happy that they are earning recognition and publicity for something they love to do? As the well-known saying states "There's no such thing as bad publicity." This means that even if the celebrity is involved in a scandal, it is good because at least he or she would be getting some form of exposure and would be in the spotlight. Celebrities should be grateful to have someone mention their name than to be labeled a “has been.” This makes me pose one question: If I don’t get any privacy in my house, then why should a celebrity get any?

Laws should not be established to protect the privacy of celebrities because the common person isn’t guaranteed the right to privacy. As a matter of fact, no one is guaranteed the right to privacy no matter what your social status is. Is it justifiable for a famous person to have total privacy just because he or she is famous? No, it is not because celebrities already have advantages in order to protect themselves than the common person does. For example, celebrities can hire bodyguards and security guards to protect them at all times. Celebrities can get away with anything because they have a lot of money and security wherever they go. Take Christina Aguilera’s wardrobe at the MTV Video Music Awards for example. I’m not even sure if what she wore is a wardrobe. Ms. Aguilera was either on the verge of stripping or just wanted to show off her body as much as possible. She had on a micro mini skirt that instead looked like a “wide belt” according to disc jockey Julie Slater on radio station 92.3 FM KROCK, as well as what looked like a scarf for a shirt. Why can Christina Aguilera get away with dressing practically half naked? The answer is simple. Christina is protected at all times by bodyguards and is not the common person. Any non-famous girl Christina’s age that attempted to wear what she wore would probably be raped. Christina Aguilera probably travels everywhere in limos so she does not have to take public transportation or walk out on the street by herself surrounded by people such as rapists and perverts, etc. In other words, she is protected at all times no matter what she decides to wear. So, does someone like Christina Aguilera deserve her privacy? No, because most of what celebrities do they do by choice. If Christina Aguilera intended to show off her body and expect to be stared at, talked about, and photographed by what she was wearing, well then she succeeded and she can’t expect any privacy. Furthermore, if Christina Aguilera likes the attention and it makes her happy, then it can’t be that bad.

If a celebrity or a common person has their privacy invaded, the invasion of privacy may be beneficial. Kent Greenwalt, in his final report about the legal protections of privacy writes, “The social values for which informational privacy may be invaded include every purpose for which information is useful, including simple curiosity. Often the information is used to the detriment of the subject for the benefit of some other person or social group, or society at large, as in the criminal process. Sometimes, however, the information disclosed may be for the subject’s own benefit, as would be the case if people’s medical histories were easily available, and sometimes the information may be crucial for a transaction, such as the granting of credit, of mutual benefit to the subject and the organization that seeks information” (11) On one hand, Greenwalt is suggesting that sometimes an invasion of a person’s privacy may be beneficial for another person wanting to obtain criminal records of the subject. As a result, this invasion of privacy would not be beneficial to the subject. Usually a lawyer obtaining the criminal records may be doing a good thing by possibly proving the criminal (subject) is guilty and sending him to jail. On the other hand, an invasion of privacy may be beneficial solely for one person’s benefit such as having access to your own medical records. Having your own medical records with you, rather than having them kept at the doctor’s office, would help because then a person would know what medical conditions they have and any allergies, etc. All invasions of privacy are not always immoral Just as lawyers have the right to obtain criminal records for beneficial purposes; the press has the right to say what they want for beneficial purposes as well.

There should not be laws established protecting famous people from being hounded by photographers and reporters because if these laws were established, then they would limit the power of the press and the government has no right to interfere with the press. A lot of celebrities damn the paparazzi and publications such as magazines that print photos of them, as well as what the press writes. Paparazzi produce material most people consider repugnant. But just because some people don’t like paparazzi doesn’t mean they have no rights. If photographers and the press act within the law, then they shouldn’t be condemned. They are merely doing their jobs and they are successful at it, too. For example, tabloids wouldn’t pay money for photos of celebrities if the photos did not make money for the tabloids. Most tabloids are filled with senseless trash but people have the right to publish and read senseless trash. As long as the paparazzi and the press can find publications that print what they write, then they are entitled to write what they want. However, if the publication is sued for defamation, then they should be held accountable for that. Writing a story or taking photos of celebrities is not a crime, but a photographer who trespasses to take a photo is committing a crime. While the government has a role in protecting people from being harassed, it has no business interfering with the press. Celebrities may not like people taking pictures of them or writing stories about them, but they have to deal with it. While they are not guaranteed privacy, they are mostly guaranteed anything else they want, so they should at least be grateful for that.

Another reason laws should not be established to protect celebrities from paparazzi and reporters is because celebrities should not be allowed to get whatever they want just because they are famous. Don’t celebrities have everything they could ever want? They have more than the average person and they should just shut up, stop complaining, and be happy with what they have instead of complaining about what they don’t have. Not everybody can be fortunate enough to live in a mansion, show off “bling bling”, own five or more cars, have maids clean up for them and not everybody gets the “exciting” privilege of letting television viewer’s see his or her house, or rather mansion, on MTV’s show called Cribs. The music group Good Charlotte put it best in one verse of their song, “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”, when they sing: “I’ll see it on TV/ or read it in the magazines/ celebrities who want sympathy/ all they do is p*ss and moan, inside The Rolling Stone/ talking about how hard life can be/ I’d like to see them [celebrities] spend a week/ living life out on the street/ I don’t think they would survive/ If they could spend a day or two while being in someone else’s shoes/ I think they’d stumble and they’d fall, they would fall/ (fall).” The lyrics to this song are self-explanatory. Celebrities complain too much and don’t deserve sympathy from anyone. The artist opines that if celebrities were in someone else’s shoes, such as the man with a wife and kids who suffers at his nine to five job everyday, would have no chance of survival. All I have to say is it’s about time a music group wrote a song that states the truth. Also, celebrities are in newspapers everyday, two of these celebrities being Michael Jackson and Winona Ryder. Winona Ryder, a well-known celebrity has been accused of shoplifting. Should a celebrity’s name and the words “shop lifting” even be mentioned in the same sentence? Winona Ryder makes millions of dollars acting. Why should she have the right to shoplift and get exposure for it? She should be able to afford anything she wants. If a non-famous person were caught shoplifting, he or she wouldn’t get publicity for it. Instead, he or she would probably just end up in jail. Now onto Michael Jackson and his poor excuse for a nose. “Wacko Jacko”, as he is usually called, is always in the newspapers and the public eye for his weird antics such as his nose jobs, and the most recent antic, dangling his kids over a railing of a balcony. While celebrities have a right to do whatever they want, no matter how outrageous, they are still going to get exposure for it. However, celebrities should not expect any sympathy for any wrong they have done or anything written about them that criticizes them. All celebrities should expect is to be bombarded by camera flashes and roving reporters looking for a “good story” that the public will find worthy of knowing.

Celebrities should not have laws protecting their privacy because the public has a right to know about certain things that go on in their lives such as if a celebrity dies. People should have a right to know about celebrities’ lives’ because celebrities are nothing without the common people. By common people, I mean fans and supporters, people who go out and pay money to see their favorite celebrity in a movie or concert. If we are supporting celebrities and supplying them with income, then we should know if they are at least still alive. A common person equals fans and supporters. Fans and supporters equal fame. Fame equals fortune. And fortune equals celebrity status and a whole lot of money.
Clearly, there should not be laws established to protect celebrities from being hounded by photographers and reporters for many reasons I have explained in the above paragraphs. Celebrities must realize that there are good and bad things that come along with being famous. When one has fame, one may have misfortune instead of fortune. Also, once a celebrity is blinded by the spotlight, they no longer have any privacy. Loss of privacy is the price a celebrity is willing to pay in order to uphold their celebrity status. Common people are not guaranteed privacy and celebrities should not have this guarantee either. Furthermore, some invasions of privacy can prove to be beneficial and establishing laws to protect the privacy of celebrities would limit the power of the press and the government cannot interfere with the press. In addition, celebrities should be happy with what they do have and should stop complaining about what they don’t have. Last but not least, since celebrities are always in the public eye and are supported by common people, then common people have a right to know about celebrities’ lives. Therefore, there should definitely not be laws protecting celebrities from being hounded by photographers and paparazzi.

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