Celebrities should absolutely be held accountable for what they say and how they act on social media, purely because of the platform that they possess and the high regard that they are looked at by society.
Whether it’s by choice or not, celebrities are more often than not looked up to as role models by many people, and mostly the youth who are very impressionable and therefore, celebrities should be held accountable to a higher degree than a regular person in regards to what they say and do on social media.
Now, that’s not to say that they are not allowed to voice their opinions or live their lives, but also, they should not be surprised when the way they are judged is more magnified and if their actions are met with more scrutiny than a regular person’s due to their elevated platform.
There have been instances in the past in which an athlete’s old tweets resurfaced from when they were kids. In those tweets the athletes often voiced opinions on topics that today more than ever, are regarded as controversial or touchy.
In that case, despite it not being an excuse, it is more understandable when the person is given more benefit of the doubt as they were a child that was likely unaware of what they were posting on the internet. And of course, kids learn the rights from the wrongs as they get older and mature. But, there have also been instances when athletes have made derogatory remarks as adults and have been punished accordingly.
In England, two famous soccer players had their old tweets containing derogatory remarks towards the LGBTQ community resurface and different actions towards them were taken based on the ages when those tweets were published.
For Mason Holgate, a soccer player of Everton, although his old tweets were met with a lot of criticism and scrutiny, no action was taken to punish him as he was 16-years-old at the time of the tweets. For Andre Gray, a soccer player of Watford, his derogatory remarks towards LGBTQ community resulted in him being suspended for four league games and being fined $33,000.
Therefore, athletes or other celebrities who are adults and are consciously voicing their opinions or making remarks in regards to those controversial or touchy topics, should be held accountable and rightly face repercussions.
Of course, people can grow, change, evolve, all of those things. But your excuse is not being a child who may be unaware of what they are saying at the time. You are an adult who is consciously voicing their opinion or making a remark on a touchy subject and whatever you say, will be met accordingly by a reaction from the public.
Another example of this instance is comedian Kevin Hart, who in 2009 voiced his opinion and made derogatory jokes regarding the LGBTQ community on social media. Those social media posts resurfaced as he was about to host the Oscars and Hart had to face the consequences of his actions. In 2009, Kevin Hart was 30-years-old and well aware of the statements that he was making. He wasn’t an impressionable child, he was the person that was doing the impressing.
As those tweets resurfaced, Kevin Hart responded via an Instagram video in an attempt to clear things up.
“These tweets were from eight years ago. I am (now) almost 40-years-old. If you don’t believe that people change, grow, evolve? I don’t know what to tell you,” Hart said.
Of course, people are allowed to make mistakes and people do change and grow, that’s a fact. But in 2009, Kevin Hart was already a respectable presence in the public eye with a significant audience and he really should have known better than to make derogatory and hateful jokes regarding the LGBTQ, or any community for that matter, on social media.
In his case, he didn’t know better and he did make those remarks public and it backfired on him years later as he was met with criticism on social media and removed from hosting the Oscars.
It’s only natural that everyone has their own opinion and by no means should everyone agree on every issue. But in the world that we live in today, some people get more spotlight than others and therefore, those people have more responsibilities than others, whether they want that or not, it’s just the way it is.
This by no means makes it okay for a non-famous person to make derogatory jokes and hateful remarks on social media. It just means that when a celebrity makes such remarks, they will be seen and magnified, especially in the social media era.
Not only will they be seen by people who will criticize them and deny them of privileges such as hosting a prestigious awards show. They will also be seen by people who look up to them and want to act like them and therefore, celebrities have to know the rights from the wrongs and what they should and should not post on social media. Otherwise, they will rightly be held accountable.