Stop treating celebrities like zoo animals

When the spotlight is too bright


Artwork by Porter Nicoll

Taylor Swift is anti-onion?! Jack Black wants to adopt his own parents?! Dwayne the Rock Johnson completely and actively advocates for the freedom of imprisoned embezzlers?! 

Seeing celebrities constantly getting bombarded by paparazzi and sensationalized by “journalists” for a profit really irks me.

Sure, while people in this industry earn millions –– or perhaps billions –– of dollars, they are undeserving of the dehumanization of their character as a result of being in the public spotlight. It’s ridiculously easy and accessible for fans to create their own narrative of who these icons may be in their private life, but so much of that conjecture operates on hearsay, a detriment to those in the entertainment industry.

When paparazzi capture photographs or mere moments of celebrities’ private lives, people often immediately jump to conclusions and assume things about this celebrity that lack any credibility. I’m guilty of this, myself. This can pervert the way celebrities are perceived by the public, a common occurrence in the industries of music, film and entertainment. 

American singer and actress Ariana Grande got married in May of 2021. According to Grande, she has been in a relationship for over a year — unknown to her fans and the public. In an Instagram story, responding to a 3-minute internet video made by Florence Pugh, Grande wrote, “Sharing special, personal life things that make u happy can be truly traumatic. I know I’ve taken a step back from doing so to protect my loved ones and myself.” Since the hate and backlash she received after her previous relationship with her ex-fiance, Pete Davidson, Grande has chosen to keep most of her life private and protect her loved ones, an indicator of the viciousness of sharing something as simple as a relationship to the public.  

It’s not breaking news that Ariana Grande has been devoid of privacy since her acting career on  “Victorious” and “Sam and Cat” as a teenager; however, she’s not alone in the dehumanizing treatment faced by so many celebrities. 

A similar incident happened with English singer-songwriter Harry Styles. When Styles was just 16 years old, he became known to the public in a 2010 audition on X-Factor; he was in a boy band called One Direction, and his life was constantly on blast thereafter. Now, at 27 years old, most of his life is private. Pictures recently came out of him and the director Olivia Wilde in Italy together, seeming to be romantically involved. I continue to see people bash their relationship. Olivia Wilde was interviewed and asked if she was married to Harry Styles. In response, she said,“I’m never going to talk to you guys.”  Wilde simply wants space from the tabloids, one luxury the celebrities of the world seem to never be afforded.

Furthermore, in January, paparazzi pictures came out of Styles and Wilde, wherein Styles appeared not to be  wearing a mask properly, according to fans and articles. Many immediately jumped to conclusions and gave him hate. According to W magazine’s headline, “Harry Styles Doesn’t Mask Up Properly, Disappoints Humanity.” As you may have expected, just a few weeks following this event, another angle shot came out and he was, in fact, wearing a mask under his bandana. Professing one “disappoints humanity” with no evidence is frankly gutless and cruel. 

At this point, the tabloids and social media trolls have been controlling fans’ beliefs and celebrities’ lives for far too long. I think that at some point a new set of laws and regulations need to be conducted to illegalize such behaviors.  Harassment and rumors should not be a byproduct of taking up a career in the entertainment industry … or any industry for that matter.

There have been many cases where celebrities have been put in danger due to the risky behavior of the paparazzi. Princess Diana for example, died in a fatal car crash during a high speed paparazzi chase. 

After this happened, many new laws and regulations were set into place in Britain. Does something like this need to happen here in America for legislative action to be enacted? It definitely shouldn’t have to. 

Celebrities are human beings; there is a degree of respect and privacy that must be offered to them. Our world needs to stop viewing celebrities as if they aren’t human beings, but objects instead. Sometimes, the spotlight simply must shine elsewhere.