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Paparazzi & Tabloid Reform: What Does an Intentional, Career-Smearing Campaign Against a Celebrity Look Like?

Updated on May 1, 2016
Amanda Burns being harassed by paparazzi as she tries to get into her apartment in New York. All photos for educational purposes
Amanda Burns being harassed by paparazzi as she tries to get into her apartment in New York. All photos for educational purposes

April 2015 Interview: "If you think about the source of it all," says Kristen Stewart, "which is really the big, big, big green monster of cash, there's just no way that that's stopping. It's a new industry – [instantaneous internet] celebrity news is a whole new form of entertainment – and it's a huge, booming, f---ing money-making industry, so why would it stop? I love what I do and so it's worth protecting. Hopefully, one day people's priorities will shift a little bit." The Hollywood Reporter

How Harmful Can Celebrity Gossip Be?

For the majority of us, tabloid gossip is a nonsensical thing to get caught up in. They are nothing more than amusing magazine covers to help pass the time while waiting in line at the grocery store checkout.

But if you think about it for a moment... Tabloids manage to pull even the most ardent of us resisters in every once in a while if they are causing a sensation about a well-known person whom we admire for whatever reason.

These days, it is especially true that online tabloids are far more accessible than printed versions. Plus, you don't always have to actually buy a printed tabloid - you easily find them as a staple in libraries and doctors & dentists waiting rooms around the world.

Tabloids are such a normal, 'harmless' part of our lives; and we seldom pay attention long enough to any one scandal to realize... Tabloids can be harmful on the life of an individual celebrity, the quality of life for fans, and even affect an entire society.

If is a well-known 'probability' that illegal tabloids spreading smear propaganda against Marie Antoinette at least partially led to The French Revolution.

There is one celebrity scandal that I have been following closely for two years, now... And I can tell you that what they do is frightening and wrong, if not illegal.

Jennifer Lawrence: "If I were just your average 23-year-old girl," she says, "and I called the police to say that there were strange men sleeping on my lawn and following me to Starbucks, they would leap into action. But because I am a famous person, well, sorry, ma'am, there's nothing we can do. It makes no sense."

One Example of Subtle Tabloid Evil: Career-hindering Smear Campaign Against Robert Pattinson

Robert Pattinson is one of those celebrities who has literally MILLIONS of dedicated fans - and he also has even more millions of 'anti-fans' (especially men) because of his portrayal of Edward Cullen, a sparkling vampire (not his fault), in The Twilight Saga movies.

Both he and Kristen Stewart, the lead actress who portrays the Human girl he falls in love with, Bella Swan (and with whom he had a romantic relationship with in real life); have been dealing with extreme mistreatment by paparazzi & tabloids since they were cast in Twilight in 2008.

This is because of the unusual & accidental over-obsessions of the fanbase - as demonstrated by the misogynistic 'cheating' scandal smear campaign that Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and their emotionally-invested fans have been trying to navigate through for two years and counting: longer than Tiger Woods & Arnold Schwarzenegger's REAL & MULTIPLE adulterous altercations combined.

When the tabloids have the emotions of their (many times young) obsessed fans stirred up - they make them money.

Also, both Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart personally do everything they can to NOT give the paparazzi any extra images or quotes beyond what is necessary to promote their films because they have always been so harassed by them. In fact, they very seldom speak to tabloid reporters - because their real words make them more money than any rumor they can come up with.

Because Hollywood's tabloids have a notorious reputation for lying among Twilight Fans; they don't receive nearly as many hits as when Robert or Kristen give exclusives to them - because fans rush in to see what they really have to say.

Since tabloids & paparazzi can't really appreciate celebrities who intentionally 'steal' from them by not cooperating and contributing wholeheartedly to their livelihoods... much animosity has built up over the years.

That's probably why this particular smear campaign specifically against Robert Pattinson happened - and it is probably one of the main reasons why the one they have going against Kristen Stewart still continues.

Robert Pattinson, Cannes 2014. Photo: FameFlyNet
Robert Pattinson, Cannes 2014. Photo: FameFlyNet

Robert Pattinson Cops an Attitude Against Tabloids & Paparazzi at Cannes 2014

Robert Pattinson was at Cannes this year promoting two movies - The Rover and Map to the Stars, respectively - and he made a couple of slip-ups that tabloids & paparazzi probably didn't like:

1) He declined to take individual images like the other Stars during the premier for MttS because he wasn't one of the Stars. He is a supporting actor in that movie, and he didn't want to take away from their limelight. (It should also be noted that he did pose for individual pictures for them at the afterparty later, which was a less formal venue.)

2) He made this comment in an interview, "I'm just trying to not be in stupid gossip magazines, basically, and I think the best way to do it is never be photographed ever..."

Yeah, his fans have hardly seen him outside of work this year, and many of them have been complaining about it. It seems like he and Kristen travel from one pretty prison into another to get around.

Within a few weeks after Cannes ended, rumors flared up about Robert Pattinson possibly being cast as the new young Indiana Jones and the new young Hans Solo in the upcoming productions of those beloved old franchises - whose mostly male fanbases far outnumber Twilight fans.

An eye opener that explores how fame has changed from a highly-structured studio system to the current free-for-all press & paparazzi frenzy.

What Did the Indiana Jones & Star Wars Fanbase Tabloid Manipulations Accomplish?

Robert was forced to start talking through the tabloids for last-minute damage control because The Rover, especially - a movie targeted at men and was just due to come out - was receiving the kind of bad press that does not help a celebrity's career:

Some very clever tabloid-manipulators were trying to sabotage Robert Pattinson's attempts to continue his career past Twilight BEFORE people had a chance to see him in this highly-anticipated 'man' movie - by reminding the majority of the male population (especially) that he played the despised character of a 'sparkling vampire' - something they do NOT want associated with THEIR beloved movie franchises.

And/OR they were trying to get him to CORRECT the lie so they could make money they wouldn't have made off of him, otherwise.

The end result is, they got both.

The Rover flopped because of this smear campaign.

One of Many Negative Responses from Star Wars & Indiana Jones Fans

6/12/14 - Emily Markoff This is horseshit! I've been waiting for more Starwars movies for years, and I hope this sparkly bitch doesn't ruin it!!! If he gets cast I'm not even going to watch it. Fml
****

It is NO LONGER NECESSARY to ridicule young Twilight Fans or the actors just because Stephenie Meyer didn't 'get' why her vampires needed an explanation to sparkle.
HERE IT IS!!

I mean, what Star Wars or Indy fan who didn't like The Twilight Saga would want to go see The Rover now? Twitter and social sites lit up with hate around the internet - which is exactly what they wanted.

Robert had no other choice but to give tabloids exclusive after exclusive to try to undo some of the damage.

This is what he has had to say about it (notice: via a tabloid - they have received many quotes from him that they would not have otherwise received; although 'The Beast IS one of the better ones. His camp chose these first tabloids to talk to, very well. Robert and Kristen have both been catering a little more to these 'better' tabloids, recently. They obviously GET that their FANS want to hear from them.):

So the rumor has no basis in reality? Rob: No, no.

What about another famous Harrison Ford role: Han Solo? The buzz is that you’re being considered for a standalone Solo movie. Rob: Oh no. I think all of these things are made up so I get tons of bad press (notice all the mean twitter comments they captured for this ‘rumor’.)

UPDATE: There USED to be a long list of almost a dozen twitter comments tacked onto the end of this article (and so did just about every other article that reported on this).

Hollywood Life and I have a stormy history, I'll tell you about it... Those twitter comments were taken down several days after they banned me from their site and I wrote about this on my blog.

I didn't realize, at first, what was going on when this recent smear campaign against Robert Pattinson started - although I was very puzzled about why he was suddenly talking so freely (and now I realize, desperately) to the tabloids.

Comments Removed from HL

X Posted at 10:17 AM on June 13, 2014 Amanda you did NOT get the exclusive interview. I saw another news outlet getting interviews and your microphone was just close by. Stop fabricating your stories there wasn’t an exclusive anything.

Misfit Chick (me) Posted at 10:31 AM on June 13, 2014 That’s what I figured. The day Rob or Kris give an exclusive interview to HL is the day hell will freeze over.

Amanda Michelle Steiner (the HL author) Posted at 11:58 AM on June 13, 2014 You’ll note by the reporting credit that one of our LA reporters, Russ Weakland, got the interview, and by reading the story you’ll also note that the interview was obtained on the red carpet. Furthermore, the quotes in the story were asked by us, answered by Rob. Therefore: exclusive. Have a lovely day!

Callmegela Posted at 12:17 PM on June 13, 2014 Wow! This is the first time I’ve ever seen a reply by the HL staff!

Caroline Posted at 12:51 PM on June 13, 2014 You have the video of the interview?

Doubtful Posted at 1:57 PM on June 13, 2014 If so, they probably had to lie and say they were someone else. LOL

Auntmisfitchick (me) Posted at 3:32 PM on June 13, 2014 OMG, thanks for PROVING that you HL ‘writers’ NOT ONLY read this crap; but you actually perpetuate it. I can certainly believe that Robert was just going down a line of Red Carpet interviewers and answered a couple of questions from an HL ‘reporter’. GOOD JOB on actually getting a REAL EXCLUSIVE – it’s just that we’re all so SHOCKED that you could possibly achieve such a thing, you know, LoL?!!

Bonnie Fuller's 'Hollywood Life' Online Tabloid Receives Unlikely Celebrity Validation

The tabloid, Hollywood Life, has been one of the most notorious online gossip magazines - going well above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to attacking Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and their fans since 2008.

HL managed to get a couple of exclusive comments from Robert on the red carpet during the LA premiere of The Rover; AND we managed to get a response from the article author!!

Up until this point, I had been an on-off again article commentor - but when their 'exclusives' from Robert Pattinson started coming out; they removed these comments (on the side) from this article - (that they removed twitter comments from); and banned me (along with a few other mad-stalkers) from commenting about how unrealistic they were...

I mean, after two years of me rambling on and on about what mean liars they are... While probably laughing about my comments as they read them because they KNOW obsessed fans will never hear me - suddenly they cut me off?

Apparently, Freedom of Speech applies to them but not to us regular folks out here - unless what we are saying is making them money.

If they had allowed me and the others to continue dissing them; they wouldn't have been as capable of making themselves seem like an honorable celebrity reporting source to all those NEW Robsessed fans coming in who haven't been paying attention to their lies for months before Robert Pattinson actually REALLY spoke to their 'reporter'.

UPDATE: Hollywood Life restored my commenting privileges after about six weeks - long enough for them to both chase people away from this movie (yeah, it failed miserably); and make plenty of money off of this smear - and my message has not changed in there. They don't care what I say about them because I make them money with my comments - because I inspire so many responses, both positive but usually negative - from Twilight, Robert Pattinson or Kristen Stewart fans. Freedom of Speech reigns once again!

Clive Standen - 'Rollo' from The Vikings - Favored My Series Review Tweet!!

It is such a thrill to directly connect with a celebrity - even if it may be through an assistant, ha! *silly giggles*
It is such a thrill to directly connect with a celebrity - even if it may be through an assistant, ha! *silly giggles*

How are Online Tabloid Stories a Little Different Than Print Stories?

Back in the day, in a time I can barely remember anymore... We didn't have the WWW to get instant information about our favorite celebrities. As a teenager, I read entertainment magazines such as Tiger Beat for young celebs to keep up with them once a month, or so - although many came out once a week.

I am a little envious at times; when a celebrity communicates with their fans via social media - because it comes 'straight from them' and you know it. Princess Diana definitely could have used her own social media accounts. And, can you imagine getting tweets from Mr. T or Madonna back in the 80's while they were climbing to the heights of their careers? In fact, I have had this experience (see twitter image); and there is nothing that tickles your insides quite like it. :)

But, back in the olden days - because of the limitations of print along with the space of time in between stories; tabloids were still mean-spirited rumor-mongerers; but they couldn't be so incessant about it - and they didn't do NEARLY as much blatant lying.

Apparently, all you need to be able to publish a tabloid story is for 'someone' to have said it.

Sampling of online-only tabloids.
Sampling of online-only tabloids.

Did you know that MANY of today's current tabloid 'rumors' are started by FANS as they discuss rumors among themselves on Twitter AND in comments beneath their own stories? Tabloid reporters also seem to do things like just talk among their own friends and/or peers until an obvious 'direction' a story 'could' take comes up.

For instance, a celebrity is seen sitting next to someone at a party. Suddenly, they are rumored to be dating that person and/or of being in an adulterous relationship if they are attached.

I've been following the Kristen Stewart / Robert Pattinson 'cheating' scandal since 2012. The number of times they have accused Robert of dating someone else or Kristen of 'going after' an upcoming actor she is going to be starring in a movie with, is ridiculous.

It's been nothing but an utter insult to them, the people they are accused of sleeping around with; and their young (and young-at-heart) fans - whom tabloids are intentionally lying to about these things, for money.

Print Tabloids. Photo: Wikipedia Commons
Print Tabloids. Photo: Wikipedia Commons

Do You Read Tabloid Gossip Magazines?

See results

How Do Print Tabloids Still Survive?

Because of the difference between printed gossip magazines and online ones, the marketing possibilities are instantaneous - especially since most tabloids are published in both places in our information age.

Plus, they feed off of each other as 'rumors' are spread and sensationalized for the most money-making gossip.

Print tabloids still sell well despite the fact that interest in them has been dwindling for decades; and many reputable city newspapers have been forced to close down due to a lack of hard copy 'paper' interest by consumers, now.

How is that possible?

Simple... Print tabloids use online tabloids (including themselves) to instantaneously promote partial 'breaking' stories that they then publish fully in that week's print issue.

This causes fans of the celebrity or celebrities in question to go out and purchase the original print issue in order to get the whole scoop ASAP.

After that week's issue has passed, the 'hot' printed story of the previous week is often published fully online since it has served it's purpose of instigating hard copy magazine sales.

Now the story becomes useful online in mining pennies from clicks (and advertising sales) into the article by people who are still interested in it; AND it becomes a reference for future stories on the subject.

Celebrity Gossip Affect on Fans

Tabloids have quite a dynamic system of manipulation established; and the people who are the most unlikely to see it - or want to see it - are celebrity fans.

This is because most of the time fans are obsessed - like Twilight fans, but this applies to all celebrity fans.

Fans WANT to see and hear more about their favorite celebrities; but they don't want to be lied to and manipulated. If I had a nickle for every comment I've read beneath a tabloid article from a Twilight fan begging for them to leave Robert & Kristen alone, I'd be rich.

Why won't they stop? Because obsessed fans ALMOST can't stay away from the rumors, especially young fans. Plus, young fans (and women) are the most profitable demographic for movie and music producers - as well as entertainment industries related to them, like the tabloids.

What are things going to be like for this little Prince as he is growing up? We've already seen how mean they have been to his Mother and Grandmother.
What are things going to be like for this little Prince as he is growing up? We've already seen how mean they have been to his Mother and Grandmother.

What Do Celebrities Give Up to be Famous Aside from Personal Freedom?

Celebrities are also infamous for getting paid well. Despite how much they are worshipped by fans - there is an attitude present in our society that looks down on the professions of musicians and actors (in particular) because we all think 'we could do that' if given the chance.

All we need is a good shot up on YouTube, right? I mean, how many Justin Biebers do you suppose there still are out here in the world that have yet to be discovered?

They aren't really talents worthy of such high numbers, are they - not even after you figure in all the extra security and mini-fortresses they are forced to purchase and maintain to protect themselves and their families.

The attitude is... They get paid plenty to completely forfeit their basic rights of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness for our entertainment.

Paris Jackson, Daughter of Michael Jackson attempted suicide and was hospitalized for months.
Paris Jackson, Daughter of Michael Jackson attempted suicide and was hospitalized for months.

That should include NOT having to give up things like:

1) Being free to mingle with 'normal' people outside of their Hollywood bubbles and trusting them. The ones they have to trust are few.

2) Good marriages and relationships, in general - we're never surprised when we hear about celebrities getting divorced, are we?

3) Well-Adjusted Children - Oh sure, some of them turn out alright and some of them are even as amazing as their parents in whatever career they have chosen; but how many of them have gotten caught up in drugs and/or committed suicide?

4) Emotional Stability - How many celebrities have overdosed on drugs, attempted suicide or succeeded in doing so under the pressure of fame? We count the ones who make it through - especially with a 'nice' family - to be STRONG individuals who 'could take it'.

5) Room to Grow Up (for young celebs) - The ability to make mistakes without being judged on such a massive, humiliating scale; and the ability for their young fans to learn how to deal with those situations in some other way other than to argue about them.

6) Being able to walk peacefully through an airport (or any public place) without being accosted by paparazzi shouting rude comments at you in order to get a gossip-worthy image to talk about in the tabloids.

7) Having the freedom to carry on about your daily life without having to worry about the possibility of photographers staking out your HOME; and/or stalking you wherever you go to capture secret photos and watch your every move in order to 'report' to the tabloids, later.

Example of Parapazzi Bullying

The Difference is Entertainment vs. Harassment

Tabloids are highly-encouraged to continue entertaining people all they want; but stop harassing celebrities and their fanbases.

There are plenty of celebrity events for paparazzi to capture photographs of them. Heck, even if they want to camp out at the public places they frequent - like the gym, clubs and coffee shops - no big deal, if you're into that.

But their private lives should have relatively the same rights as ours do - with few exceptions.

Tabloids & Paparazzi can reform their own industry of celebrity mistreatment without tampering with the First Amendment by doing things like naming their sources and restraining from the kind of behaviors listed above.

It is the job of tabloids & paparazzi to contribute to reporting on celebrities for entertainment purposes for people to ESCAPE from the reality of their lives for a while - as opposed to harassing them and their fans in order to lower their quality of life for illegal profit gains.

Since suicides are a raging national and world epidemic - it is definitely cause for public concern; especially for the young adult portion of our population who are used by tabloids the most.

All Fans of All Celebrities Need to Unite for Tabloid & Paparazzi Reform

Fans uniting to insist that tabloids and paparazzi voluntarily reform their own industry makes it possible for ALL fans around the world to unite - because no country's laws need to be changed. It also means that any fan of any age could participate.

Hiding behind 'Freedom of Speech' and 'Freedom of the Press' for the reasons that they do - is no longer acceptable in this instantaneous-marketing age. These highly-valued, patriotic ideals were intended to provide transparency in order to protect the TRUTH about absolutely everything - not provide a way for greedy gossip magazines to intentionally lie to often YOUNG emotionally-invested fans; sacrificing their quality of life (and the lives of real, human celebrities) for their 'livelihoods'.

Dog Fighting, Child Trafficking and Slavery are all illegal, why? Why can't we just kill anyone whenever we want to? Why can't we rape or steal at will?

Yeah, it's Okay to insist on boundaries surrounding Constitutional Amendments (even 'voluntary' ones) when the parts of them that start to become a hindrance to society need to be tweeked. It is the job of 'We the People' to do that (reminder: amendment = a minor change in a document).

Photo: Toby Toons
Photo: Toby Toons

Tabloids & Paparazzi Don't Deserve Absolute Protection from the First Amendment

Los Angeles Times: The Tabloids Don’t Deserve the First Amendment. Here’s a splash:

“The problem is that the culture of tabloid journalism in both Britain and the United States is deeply tied to criminal acts. Without illegal conduct, tabloids could not preempt the mainstream press, and they would not survive....

The root of the problem is our reluctance as a nation to accept that something can be criminal when it involves expression. Crime is crime. Tabloid journalism uses illegal tactics, and it does not deserve absolute protection from the 1st Amendment.”

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    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      it is hard to be a celebrity. No privacy