Kiss, and don’t tell

This is an article by Alicia Chadwick.
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The media is an echo chamber of news, stories and celebrities. It is a large part of what forms the public’s opinion of a celebrity, yet, we the public are now being deprived of vital information which could have a strong impact on one’s opinion of a celebrity.

‘Super injunctions’ are the new trend among celebrities who have done something wrong. They allow the guilty celebrities to keep their name untarnished by ensuring that their name and the wrong doing is kept out of the media.

However they come at a price; this week PRWeek estimated the minimum amount spent on the legal fees to obtain a super injunction is £50,000. Although, while £50,000 may sound like a lot, it could be mere pocket money in relation to what they could face losing if their story hit the press.

Celebrities have become an everyday part of 21st century life. They are no longer known solely for what they do, whether that is a footballer or actress; they have now become role models and icons to all ages.

They therefore have a responsibility to ensure that they behave appropriately; after all they are aware that the world is watching, and within that audience are naïve children who believe and follow everything that they see and read and aspire to be like those mentioned.

The old saying ‘Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time’ is now obsolete in celeb world as they no longer have to ‘do the time’. Why, just because they have money should they be protected from being out-ed for their wrong doing?

In the real world people have to take the repercussions of their actions, so why is it that those who many people aspire to are allowed to hide these actions?

It is in a sense in the public’s best interest to know when celebrities have done wrong and not simply for the purpose of gossip. If you were to find out your partner had cheated on you, you wouldn’t continue to fund their career; however we do this with celebrities while we are unaware of their wrong doing.

Twitter truth and lies

Social media now plays a massive part in society and there is little to no control over what is submitted and how quickly it is seen and spread by others. This means that while super injunctions can protect people’s identity and hide the scandal, there are new means of spreading the stories.

This was seen when a Twitter account was set up to out celebrities who had injunctions. While this caused controversy, with false accusations being made, it shows the power that social media has and suggests that nobody is above it.

However, Max Clifford claimed in PRWeek that ‘social media just does not have the same credibility that mainstream media have’ meaning that what is written on social media sites does not and will not undermine injunctions.

PRWeek’s headline for the article was: ‘Celebrity publicists defend injunctions as pressure mounts for privacy orders review’. Admittedly the use of injunctions makes it easier for celebrity PROs to maintain their client’s image and in a lot of cases injunctions are effective. However, what they are doing is unethical.

Why should celebrities get to use the media as and when it suits them? The good comes with the bad, and if they are willing to do something which could tarnish their reputation, they should be prepared for the outcome.

The only plus side of injunctions is that we no longer have to read the kiss and tell stories, which were becoming a regular fixture in newspapers and magazines. While celebrities may be the ones causing scandal, there is no reason others should be able to make money off the back of someone else’s name, selling tasteless stories to the press.

Admittedly everyone deserves a degree of privacy and I understand that injunctions are not merely in place to protect the celebrity in question, but that they also protect their families. However, in my opinion, everybody is aware of the implications of their actions and no one more so than a celebrity, whose name and life is continually thrown across the media.

Therefore I think that in order for them to learn from their mistakes they should be shown for what they are. It would appear that nowadays money really can buy you anything, however it does not make the actions correct. In no cases are injunctions feasible, celebrities need to appreciate who they are and the impact they have and act accordingly or take the consequences.

We have seen celebrities like Wayne Rooney who have their antics published in the press and yet he still has his career and family. People need to understand they will gain more respect from being honest than paying to hide what they have done. After all, everyone makes mistakes – but not everyone has £50,000 to hide them.

What future does PR have if people and organisations can continue to pay their way out of trouble?

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