Staff Ed: Fans who idolize their favorite celebrities should also recognize their missteps in their personal lives

The Knight Errant staff believes while a certain level of idolization is natural, when it comes to celebrities, fans need to use their own judgment to discern the difference between talent and a celebrity’s personality and actions.

In the hyper-connected generation that we live in, pop culture has become deeply ingrained into modern life. Social media has increased the widespread influence of celebrities; no longer are they simply artists of their craft, but they have transformed into role models, and in many cases, deified idols that are exalted by their fans. Carefully curated pictures on social media platforms can build a facade of perfection, leading to obsessive fans blinded to the faults of these very imperfect human beings.

Public figures are often placed on a pedestal, and this makes it extremely difficult for victims of these idolized celebrities. Many fans are quick to deny that their idols could possibly have committed any wrongdoings, despite the available facts or evidence. When accusers appear to shine a light on celebrities’ hidden, but serious, imperfections, many are quick to deny or excuse the accusations because of a personal attachment to that celebrity’s work.

While it’s fine to appreciate the work of our favorite celebrities, we shouldn’t blindly look to them as role models, as it gives them undeserved power and influence.

Many celebrities are extremely skilled in their line of work, and they should be praised for their talent and influence within their field. However, more times than not this translates into praise of their personal character and integrity. This could be a result of a common psychological phenomenon called the ‘halo effect.’ The halo effect is the tendency to view a person as either completely good or completely bad. According to Psychology Today, “one characteristic (albeit positive or negative) seems to ‘outshine’ others and bias our perception in the respective direction.” This could easily apply to the portrayal of public figures; celebrities are praised for their talent or fame, therefore making it easy for many to view them in a one-dimensional manner and ignore their other faults.

However, this becomes especially detrimental when it comes to serious crimes. In recent weeks, Robert Kelly (known as R. Kelly) and the late Michael Jackson have been accused of a variety of crimes, including sexual abuse of underage children. None of these accusations are new, but with both celebrities, more information has brought the allegations to light yet again. While it is impossible for the staff to make a foolproof statement about the validity of all of the accusations, we can say that accusers should be listened to, and all of the facts should be taken into consideration, despite the fame of the accused. Fans should not turn a blind eye to the crimes that R. Kelly and Michael Jackson have been accused of, just because they enjoy their music. Everyone has the right to their own opinion, but that opinion should not be based on an admiration for their artistry.

While it’s fine to appreciate the work of our favorite celebrities, we shouldn’t blindly look to them as role models, as it gives them undeserved power and influence. We should be aware of the facts and look at these cases with an unbiased eye, because, the reality is, we do not really know the true character of the celebrities that we admire.