Do you like it? Drew Barrymore, Ashton Kutcher, Jennifer Hudson, Mila Kunis and Jimmy Fallon
You've probably already seen the Instagram video that married actors Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis posted over the weekend. They were the subject of an outcry on social media after it was revealed they had written character reference letters to the judge who sentenced their former That '70s Show co-star Danny Masterson for raping two women. Particular anger was rightly caused by Kutcher calling Masterson a “role model” and Kunis saying she “felt his innate kindness” from their first meeting.
Their joint reputation as well-meaning and likeable Hollywood stars was in jeopardy, so they released an apologetic clip in which they looked either ashamed or sullen, depending on how generous the minute was. the long film has been interpreted – it could be seen as offering damage limitation, as well as genuine remorse for defending someone they had, after all, known for 25 years.
Few were convinced of this, and so the debate continues; he will undoubtedly do so until some other misdeed on the part of some other celebrity comes to light, and Kutcher and Kunis gratefully retreat from their reluctant time in the spotlight.
But did this couple do anything so terrible? Their decision to send letters of support on Masterson's behalf was certainly misguided and indicated that, as the actors' strike entered its third month, they may not currently have access to the support network of agents, publicists and intermediaries that I would advised me to refrain from such a terrible PR move.
But in other circumstances, their decision to stand by their friend and damn the consequences might have been seen as admirable and offering a degree of consistency rarely found in Hollywood. It's just too bad that their friend is a rapist who is currently serving a 30-year prison sentence for his crimes.
View this message on Instagram :hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;”>A post shared by Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk)
Kutcher and Kunis aren't the only previously popular celebrities who have gotten into trouble recently. The once untouchable Jimmy Fallon found himself the target of a Rolling Stone expose, revealing his unpredictable and intimidating behavior on his talk show The Tonight Show, which was described as a toxic work environment; clips of his apparently “difficult” interactions with guests went viral, although some of those guests, including comedian Jerry Seinfeld, angrily defended Fallon.
Meanwhile, Drew Barrymore, long one of Hollywood's most beloved stars, has come under fire for her decision to revive her eponymous talk show in the midst of a writers' strike that shut down her peers. “I'm also making the decision to return to this strike for the first time for our show, which may have my name on it, but it's more than just me,” she said by way of justification. “This choice is mine.”
Protests against her in the form of picketing unemployed screenwriters (even though she won't use pro-union writers, raising the question of who exactly will write her witty one-liners) may indicate that she might regret your choice. (She's already been kicked out as host of the National Book Awards.) And Jennifer Hudson, who is set to bring back her own program, The Jennifer Hudson Show, on the same basis, should prepare herself for the same level of criticism. .
Jimmy Fallon with Hilary Clinton in 2015 Photo: Getty
The irony is that the stars who are now being pilloried have made their names and reputations as likeable, down-to-earth people who exhibit approachable and decent qualities. However, they are now criticized for either clearly supporting a dangerous rapist, for having a short temper, or for putting work (and the large fees that come with it) above solidarity with striking actors and writers. None of this fits with carefully crafted profiles of stars as “decent” types.
But isn't it ridiculous and naive to expect multimillionaire movie stars and idols, many of whom have risen to fame over decades, to possess a quality that seems vanishingly rare in Hollywood today: graciousness?
There are, of course, actors whom everyone recognizes as good, with an almost tiresome predictability. As far as I'm concerned, no one – no one – has ever said a bad word about Michael Palin, and having had the honor of knowing Bill Nighy briefly, I can attest that he is truly a most patient, generous and humorous man. men behind the scenes, and also damn charismatic and dynamic when necessary for the performance.
And there are other movie stars who have successfully traded on their innate goodness for decades; It's hard to find many who would go against Hugh Jackman, Emma Stone, Keanu Reeves or Dwayne Johnson, who have somehow managed to combine massive success with maintaining an often hard-won reputation for being decent and kind at all times, even when it might be it is inconvenient and even tiring.
However, this is countered by endless celebrities who may seem charming when required to advertise, but have a terrible reputation in the industry for being extremely rude or worse. There are some major players who don't seem to care how they are perceived; Hugh Grant's awkward encounter with Ashley Graham at this year's Oscars went viral due to his obvious discomfort with the situation, but he's happy to discuss other similar incidents in interviews, apparently with pride. Grant, however, has long since retired his reputation as a sweet but tongue-tied romantic babbler and is enjoying his new image as a witty, misanthropic scoundrel; few others managed to escape punishment for the same behavior.
The likes of Christoph Waltz and Tommy Lee Jones are often uncompromisingly candid in interviews and in public, apparently without fear of appearing harsh or worse, and the ever-divisive James Corden was infamously banned by restaurateur Keith McNally from New York hotspot Balthazar due to his lawful and obnoxious behavior towards a waitress.
And I remember many years ago meeting a famous actor and writer at a media event, asking him an innocuous question about his latest TV show, and being shocked by a tirade of four-letter rudeness that ended with, “No, you can't ask me any damn questions. because I’m not doing any damn interviews tonight!” This doesn't seem like the time to mention that he was there to promote the program.
Striking writers picket the Drew Barrymore Show in New York. Photo: Getty
Actors are human, and we all have bad days. An unhappy Tom Hanks was filmed in 2022 shouting angrily at some overeager fans who pushed his wife Rita Wilson, demanding his attention. While the incident didn't damage his reputation—he was completely right, after all—in an interview earlier this year, he candidly admitted, “Not everyone is at their best every single day on set. I've had difficult days trying to be professional, when my life was falling apart in so many ways, and on this day I was expected to be funny, charming and loving – and that's the last thing I feel.”
It's no doubt frustrating to be jostled a hundred times a day by fans who want selfies, autographs, or worse, to argue with you about some aspect of your personal or professional life. Most celebrities manage to smile and bear it, but others are less patient; The downside of attacking in the moment of irritation is that your momentary expression of discomfort or anger can easily go viral.
It's a cliché that fame corrupts, and A-list fame absolutely corrupts. But the unifying thread in every case of bad or at least erroneous behavior described in this article is that those who behave in an obnoxious or arrogant manner have lost all sense of common sense or perspective, usually because they are surrounded by sycophants who allowed their actions while taking care to distract their well-paid clients from the trials and tribulations of the real world.
It's no coincidence that major actors like George Clooney or Michael Caine, who rarely attract criticism, were older before they became famous and, as a result, were less likely to be negatively influenced by the circus. However, despite all the #BeKind hashtags that actors (or their social media teams) accompany their carefully choreographed and curated Instagram posts, it is undeniable that the vast majority of stars are difficult, self-centered and spoiled and expect them to be truly decent and decent people. thoughtful behavior on their part is playing the fool.
So the next time you see your favorite actor telling some self-congratulatory story on a talk show (when writers are allowed to return) about his charitable efforts or something like that, and the host (whether Fallon or anyone else) congratulates them on their mutual ego massage, take this with a grain of salt. More often than not, they've already yelled at the underpaid assistant for not bringing them their matcha latte at the right temperature, and this, rather than window dressing, is a much more accurate guide to understanding who they really are.
Politeness in Hollywood? It exists, but like the old joke about virginity in a brothel, there isn't much of it.