Just a few simple steps for celebrity screw ups and scandals
By Catherine Fisher
Celebrities: They’re famous, they’re fabulous and they fuck up. Yes, much like that guy who had too much to drink at a party and pukes in the living room, the stars of America too have their moments where they fall from grace. Whether it is an untimely arrest or a social offense, the perpetrators go from being on the top of the VIP list to their own three-page spread in the latest scandal rag.
The gossip mill doesn’t hurt every star’s career—for some an arrest can actually fuel that bad boy image selling point they have going for them. When Madonna got racy in the ‘90s on her Blond Ambition tour and pissed off the Vatican, she wasn’t boycotted from MTV or the rest of the music-loving nation. The scandal only boosted the taboo, risqué reputation for which she is known today.
The ones who are actually affected the most are the good guys; the Disney stars, the teen singers, the PGA pro golfers. For these folk, a tarnished reputation can be devastating—career-ending even. They can lose sponsorships from highly esteemed companies and become the butt end of jokes on Saturday Night Live.
Thankfully, Hollywood scandals are as old as the Hays Code, and there are a few simple steps that need to be taken to overcome them.
Step one: Apologize. “I had affairs, I cheated. What I did was not acceptable, and I am the only person to blame,” Tiger said after being caught with mistress after mistress (after mistress). When people find themselves in the wrong, being humble can only help. As it turns out, the public is very forgiving. The truth is, the more we like a celebrity, the easier it will be for him or her to get back on top.
Written statements are the most popular method the guilt-ridden messages are released into the press as a desperate publicity ploy, but extra credit to any celebrity with the skills to televise an apology that’s convincing and put-together.
We can look at Chris Brown as someone who flawlessly executed step one. After being caught for domestic assault, it looked as though his family-friendly image was shattered. A single two-minute televised apology was released, and all of the sudden he wasn’t the anger-ridden monster everyone condemned him to be. It also didn’t hurt that he mentioned his appreciation of his mother and other “spiritual teachers” as rocks in his life that he looks for in such dark times.
This brings us to step two: Revert to family values. Nothing is more appealing than someone who has their priorities straight. Somehow even if someone cheats on his wife with countless other mistresses (word up Tiger), when he says that he is taking time to fix things at the home, everyone will think he is back on track. When Jamie Lynn Spears announced to the world she was pregnant, parents flocked to block her Nickelodeon show from being shown to their children. But once the young Nick star and her mother said that they were going to raise the baby to give it a “normal” lifestyle, the heat left young Jamie and went back to where it belonged: pestering the elder Spears sister.
In order to secure your place back in the arms of the public there is just one more crucial phase, step three: Come back bigger than ever. You might be sobered up or just donated all of your income to the hottest charity organization, but if you star in a flop movie or your voice cracks on stage, you might as well have taken the Lohan path. Step three is the most crucial because the only way that the comeback is a success is if you stay back.
Mel Gibson is an example of someone who flopped on the last one. Four years ago when Gibson was hammered with a DUI and alleged anti-Semitic claims it looked like his movie career was over. Then he came out with Apocalypto, which got him a Golden Globe nomination.
Gibson got sloppy, so vile recordings left to his ex-girlfriend leaked to the media, causing more trouble for the wayward star. There are claims that he has mental disorders, and people doubt whether he will ever walk down the red carpet with dignity again.
With each relapse into the scandal-addicting lifestyle, it gets harder and harder to become acclaimed again, and the public eventually just loses hope. But celebrities should have faith that they will never be completely erased from the public’s memory. Even if they go in and out of rehab, nearly overdose and have their early morning faces plastered on every magazine, they can wait about five years and try the steps again.
Hopefully, the public will do what they did with Robert Downey Jr. and call their new comebacks a “career rebirth.” Then, they’re golden.
Catherine Fisher is a sophomore cinema and photography major. They tried to her make go to rehab (she said no, no, no). E-mail her at [email protected].