The Hollywood Gossip Machine Is It Better to Be Hated Than Ignored?


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Celebrity gossip industry has a combined revenue of over $3 billion each year. Hollywood gossip is often judged as frivolous, or the domain of women. Yet, it would be laughable to claim that the latest Hollywood gossip doesn’t influence how the public views musicians, actors, artists, etcetera, and therefore what they choose to spend their money on.

People who are skeptical of the persuasiveness of a celebrity endorser should consider the following study. The Harvard Business School conducted a study in 2011 on the monetary effects for a brand after that brand signed a well-known celebrity to endorse a product or service. They found that the business experienced an immediate increase of $10 million each year in sales, as well as a 0.25% increase in stock returns.

The hip hop demographic group alone is said to have a combined $500 billion to contribute to the marketplace each year. This is how a solo rap artist like Jay-Z is able to beat out Elvis for the coveted title of most number one albums. To note, it was the 11th album The Blueprint 3. While talent will take an artist far, it is just as vital, if not more so, to have one’s name in the public zeitgeist.

Having a recognizable name is essential, and if it becomes that by way of Hollywood gossip, it seems that’s just how the game is played. Surprisingly, many will quote that old adage, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity,” when discussing the latest Hollywood gossip and how it might have an effect on an entertainer’s career. The truth is that there is a fine line between controversy and scandal. While there are plenty of reality T.V. stars whose names received more public recognition after a controversy, there are plenty of other stars whose career trajectory plummeted after a scandal.

Controversial gossip is not as damning to a career. It may surprise or even anger some people, but the news dies down. The gossip seems less upsetting after some time has passed. After a few years, perhaps it even seems that the news wasn’t worth the fuss. To put it another way, the crime was minor, and all is forgiven once some time has passed. Changing cultural perceptions and exceptions may have something to do with it.

Scandal, on the other hand, is damning. Scandal is unforgivable, whether because of the nature of the infraction or by societal mores. When the latest celebrity news includes a scandal, all other stories fall by the wayside. This type of news can still cause a reaction in people years later.

Society loves gossip. It’s how we check up on our community, a who’s seeing whom of sorts, as well as who’s fighting with whom. What’s important is to acknowledge the influence such gossiping can have on our perception of others, nearly all of whom we don’t know personally. Reading gossip can be fun, but it should always be acknowledged for what it is, just a diffused version of another Hollywood story.

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