Celebrity Selfie With A Fan: Do Celebrities Owe It To Us?

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Do celebrities owe their fans a celebrity selfie?

Are celebrity selfies part of the job of being a celebrity?

Do fans have a right to be upset when refused?

Check out my video response below:

More of my Old Simo videos are available on my YouTube channel

Justin Bieber recently toured Australia and had a run in with a fan wanting a celebrity selfie. 20 year old fan Sabah Helal had followed Bieber around Melbourne during his stay. Upon seeing him outside his car at Crown Casino she rushed over to him, stuck her camera phone in his face and told him that she was taking a selfie.

He didn’t want to take a photo . “I don’t want to take a photo. You are invading my privacy” Bieber said. She didn’t seem to care and started taking photos. “Look at you, you make me sick ” Bieber responded as he got into his car. Helal burst into tears. Check video below: 

Sabah’s mother was disgusted. “My daughter was bawling her eyes out. She was dying to meet him and then he humiliated her. After years of supporting him, my daughter will never see him again in concert”

“It has gotten to the point that people won’t even say hi to me or recognise me as a human, I feel like a zoo animal and I wanna be able to keep my sanity.” (Justin Bieber Instagram Post 2016)

People do make a horrid deal when they become a celebrity. A certain portion of their lives becomes publicly visible. Public scrutiny and public fodder seem to surround some more than others. Celebrities like Meryl Streep, Jack Nicholson, Daniel Day Lewis, and Al Pacino have proven that one can keep away from the high end of celebrity scrutiny if they choose to.

Princess Diana and Michael Jackson were cursed with it when they didn’t want or need it. The Kardashians have utilized it in order to create their empire. Without high level media and public scrutiny they would be nothing.

Celebrities need to accept that they will receive degrees of unwanted attention in public. They can’t just wish it away. It’s here to stay.  However, there is a line. No one should be photographed against their will. Bieber was right when he called it an invasion of privacy. It’s a cheap and desperate to insist upon a refused celebrity selfie.

“Without their fans they would be nothing” is a comment you often hear. That’s mostly true, but that doesn’t mean that the celebrity should make compromises to their privacy and their wishes in order to satisfy the demands and desires of a fan.

What disturbs me is how people put celebrities on a god/goddess platform. They worship them way out of proportion. Celebrities cease to be human. Fans turn them into one dimensional  figures. They treat them like zoo animals.

The approach of Helal was stripped of any good grace or humanity. She was so desperate to get that celebrity selfie that she did not even bother to say hello and ask him how he is. She didn’t even mention how much his work means to her.

Fans are often more interested in the celebrity side of a famous person, as opposed to their output as an artist. That is especially disturbing. There is a distinct and definitive worship of fame and celebrity status. It’s an artificial hunger. The media, advertising industry and pop culture has fostered it.

If Helal truly respected Justin Bieber as an artist she would not have approached him in that manner. Let alone follow him around town like a silly stalker.  She deserved Bieber’s response to her celebrity selfie demand. Perhaps when she calms down and thinks about her abortive behavior she will see this.

I am a massive film and music buff.  Because of this I never refer to people in the industry that I like as celebrities. I call them artists because I do not care for their fame or their celebrity status. Their artistry interests me. There is no dehumanization or grotesque worship behind my process.

I have met a number of artists that I admire. Woody Allen, Ian McKellen, Jane Fonda, Jessica Lange, Kathleen Turner, and Catherine Deneuve. It was exciting but I treated them like human beings. I asked them about their well being. We discussed their work and the craft in general. It was all very civilized.

Of course I asked for photos with most of them and I got them, though I didn’t take them myself. Others did. If they had said no I would have understood and moved on with life. It certainly would not affect my opinion on them. I wouldn’t push the rejected request .

That’s the difference between a person who admires celebrity and one who admires artistry.

 

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