I realize I am in the minority on this issue, but when it comes to celebrity scandals, I just don’t care.
I thought about this recently while I was trying to avoid the wall-to-wall coverage of the circus involving Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard. I won’t comment on that specific case because I haven’t paid any attention to the circumstances. The little bit I have seen is the result of my being flooded with headlines about it every time I turn on my computer, and that is a poor way to learn about anything.
People have been devouring celebrity scandals ever since there were celebrities. What has changed is the variety of ways this information can be delivered.
Nonetheless, celebrity scandals are nothing new. One early example involved Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, one of the biggest stars of the silent film era. He was at the peak of his popularity in 1921 when allegations that turned out to be false led to his being charged with manslaughter. That and other heinous accusations portrayed him as a monster and destroyed his career and personal life. Even though he was acquitted, the damage had been done. He spent the rest of his short life working behind the scenes under an assumed name because he was no longer able to find on-screen work in Hollywood.
I mention the Arbuckle case because it illustrates how long this sort of thing has been going on.
As I thought about celebrity scandals, several things occurred to me.
The first is that it is a sad reflection on our society to see how eager some people are to see others dragged through the mud.
Another is that whether a person is a film star, a popular musician, or an ordinary citizen, the presumption of “innocent until proven guilty” should still apply. The principle of treating others as you would like to be treated would also be a good thing to remember.
If someone is guilty of criminal activity, they should be held accountable, but they should be afforded due process of law, not tried and convicted in the court of public opinion, which often seems to operate based on false or malicious claims.
The fact that someone’s career is public in nature does not mean that every detail of their private life should be public as well.
It saddens me that some people have nothing better to do with their time than engage in idle speculation and gossip about others. We can be better than that.