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The Loss of Privacy: The Penalty for Celebrity Fame

Updated on May 26, 2012

The motif for a successful life is frequently identified with wealth, recognition, excelling in a certain field, and fame. For some, a successful life means having a loving family, and a great career. It seems fair to say success is generally perceived as advantageous, but are there negative consequences for achieving success? The level of success to which this question seems relevant , is the level of success achieved by major politicians, celebrities, and athletes. As public figures with private lives, privacy is one the casualties such individuals incur from achieving such a high level of success. The all seeing eye of the media has been instrumental in their fame, but it has also mitigated there privacy.

Some may feel no sympathy for celebrities who complain about not having privacy, on the basis, their wealth, income, and fame is a fair trade-off for their loss of privacy. Will Smith smacked a reporter who made unwanted advances at him, and dealing with fans, reporters, and photographers is a hazard that comes with high success. In order to avoid being spotted, at times Hollywood celebrities resort to wearing disguises and hiring personal assistants to run errands the average person takes for granted. Are these individuals justified in complaining about their loss of privacy knowing it's a sacrificial part of achieving high successes?

It's difficult to answer this question. Despite the loss of privacy, their careers are heavily wrought by exposure. It's hard to describe the career of a celebrity as successful if they have no exposure. That's the purpose of publicists. On the one hand celebrities are entitled to their privacy, but on the other hand they require exposure, which can mitigate their level of privacy. Take divorce as an obvious example, when a member of common society files for divorce it's known amongst friends and family and it's not highly publicized. In contrast, celebrity divorces garner ample media attention, and the details of the divorce is highly publicized. Ashton Kutcher's divorce has a search result of 3,320,00, and Michael Jordan's divorce has a search result of 184,000.

Even though celebrities require publicity as a part of their success, it would be extreme to say celebrities are not entitled to any privacy because they require publicity. This idea implies the public should have access to celebrities in the security of their own homes. Although they are public figures, they do have a life off camera, that helps draw the line between publicity and the invasion of privacy, and not having as much privacy as they would like is the penalty they pay for achieving such a high level of success.


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