Skip to main content

The negative effects of the media on celebrities

Media: Celebrities and how it portrays them

"Celebrity breakdowns" may have existed as long as the star system but are now investigated and exposed to a degree arguably considered excessive. In this digital era, it is not difficult to find information about celebrities, no matter how personal; private addresses of stars have been posted in both gossip columns and traditional media outlets like USA Today. And now, thanks to uncensored weblogs like that of celebrity-basher Perez Hilton, those in the spotlight suffer the humiliation and disgrace of having statements about them - true or untrue - broadcast for millions to find.

The extent and quality of celebrity news in the media appears especially inordinate today, multiplying and intensifying at such a rate that "legitimate" news has fallen in precedence. Whether it likes it or not, the public knows more about Britney Spears and how many pills she swallowed than about many political issues.

Mainstream media content is most likely increasing in sensationalism due to competition with celebrity news sources, particularly those online. As said by marketing author David Giles, "The defining characteristic of a celebrity is that it is essentially a media production, and its usage is largely confined to the twentieth century."

After researching relevant articles and performing content analysis on entertainment web sites for my senior project, it was concluded that broadcasts containing information potentially harmful to the well being of celebrities was present in both mainstream to entertainment-focused sources. Thus, based on the content researched, as well as the outlets analyzed for this project, it was found that the media may indeed negatively affect celebrity behavior and psyches.

Trends toward sensationalism in mainstream news have been found in previous studies, most likely as a result of competition between traditional media outlets and celebrity-news sources. These statements were not disproved by this study, allowing it to be said that competition between the two media types may result in more efforts to investigate and cover the latest, boldest, most intimate information relating to celebrities.

Maintaining a particular image is made difficult by the media, which makes the effort to share information concerning a celebrity's life. These details, public or personal, may cast a negative light upon him or her - and they may not even be true. The fact that there were more counts of exaggeration, opinion and potential falsity means that content does not even need to be supported for viewers to read it and generate opinions from it, rendering media credibility relatively inconsequential in this study. It could be said that the high credibility of blogs in the eyes of readers is not negatively affected by unsupported or questionable information.

The publication of such information may prove detrimental to the health of a celebrity, as the constant pressure of maintaining a certain public image can result in various psychological conditions, such as anxiety disorders, as well as chronic stress, the symptoms of which include eating disorders, body aches, insomnia, anxiety, anger and depression. Also, in attempting to maintain a particular image, celebrities may repress rage, fear or sadness caused by negative or excessive media coverage, which may lead to psychological and physical damage.

There are many ways in which celebrities are negatively affected by extreme media coverage that are difficult to demonstrate or that may only apply to certain stars. For instance, the fear of being stalked may increase anxiety and supplement issues already present, such as mental conditions. Also, cruelty on the part of media practitioners may have its effects on celebrities as well, but such intentions are difficult to prove at best.

Additionally, readers can leave comments to celebrity blogs, which are often critical of celebrities if not unduly cruel and insensitive, as if celebrities do not read them and their words have no effect. It is unfair that blog posts can be anonymous, rendering a celebrity incapable of knowing who exactly sees them negatively, and giving him or her virtually no chance for defense against such scrutiny.

The mere frequency or repetitiveness of coverage of a certain celebrity may be enough to cause that person stress, anxiety or another form of physical and mental harm, as suggested by the study on community stress levels in Hong Kong following the 2004 tsunami. While infrequent negative press alone may not have a considerable influence on celebrity mindsets and behavior, it may have undesirable effects when broadcast multiple times, whether by the same publication or various ones.

There is no law against broadcasting a story or photo too many times, so long as information was legally obtained, but the effect on celebrity psyches and behavior of repetitive publication or broadcasting of a single topic was not investigated in this study, as the level of coverage frequency sufficient to affect a celebrity's well-being would differ among stars and again would be difficult to determine.

To read the rest of my senior project, please click here for the PDF.


poetryman6969 on January 30, 2015:

I tend not to feel sorry for millionaires but I did feel that nice Kate Middleton was treated shoddily by the press.

glassvisage (author) from Northern California on June 17, 2014:

I agree... So often when I find myself liking a young, talented celebrity, something happens where they end up becoming troubled and going down the tubes. It's nice when there are success stories!

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on June 17, 2014:

So many talented young people enter showbiz and do great in their careers -- then they get swept away by its industry vices. I wonder how other young actors do it -- how they get past the celebrity and still lead quiet lives, like Anne Hathaway, Selina Gomez, Fred Savage and going further back, Shirley Temple Black. Maybe they should design a blueprint.

Bhargav on July 31, 2013:

Scroll to Continue

I was really confused, and this answered all my quteoisns.

formchaos on May 21, 2012:

Yes, Media tells us about the celebrity life what they are doing?? Without media we cant take more information regarding celebrities.......

Syakira Cuneeu on March 18, 2012:

A snarky gossip blog with the latest celebrity gossip, news, pictures, photos, scandals, and rumors.

pseudonym jim on February 10, 2012:

I have always had a dream to become a professional musician. I am a songwriter, guitarist, keyboar player and have been performing to audiences with great feedback. At times I want to approach record companies or managers. However due to the whole concept of media abuse which comes with any form of fame or even partial popularity, I am too paranoid and apprehensive to such an extent that on the one occasion that I had been approached by a well known music producer and publisher I was too afraid and said that I wasn't ready. I'm a rather laid back guy and don't want the rock and roll lifestyle or the media attention. But yet I want my music to be famous.tob Your article has given me a lot to think about, should I worry about this kind of shit or should I just go for it and try to keep a low public profile here in Ireland lol.

Jenny Tabassum on February 03, 2012:

You are posting a Sports & Entertainment article. It's most important for any amusing people.


Jenny Tabassum

Lacey Rain on January 27, 2012:

Thank you very much! I generally keep that sort of thing to myself or within my family. But after reading what I read yesterday about me I wanted to vent somewhere publically. Answering back in those forums keeps the negativity going. Im glad that I stumbled across your site. Knowledge truly is power. Hopefully I was helpful to someone else, as this was truly helpful to me.

glassvisage (author) from Northern California on January 27, 2012:

Lacey, thank you for posting and for sharing your story. I'm sorry that people post such terrible things. I give you props because I don't think I'd be able to handle that kind of negative feedback! More power to you and just let it motivate you even more!

Lacey Rain on January 27, 2012:

All I have ever wanted to do was dance and perform. I fell in love with the old school Burlesque dancers and admired their bravery to bare all (literally) to a society that was still struggling with (and still is to some extent) women's rights. I became a stripper 9 years ago because of a organic love for nudity and the creative freedom to be 100% myself and perform. Some examples of that is fire hooping, body contortion, pole dancing (yes it IS a sport), glittery costumes, wigs, body paint etc. I was never the bump and grind lap dance sort of girl but unfortunately I am in an industry that probably has the most bad press and negative misconceptions of any business or celebrity around. I now am booked by the biggest featuring agency in the country and travel 3 weeks every month to perform across the country. I work hard (drug free, always have been) and take real pride in my shows. I have met thousands of people who support me, adore me, ask for autographs etc. Im not a terribly emotional girl by nature but I find it incredibly hard to deal with the negative backlash that comes with being in this industry. I am now learning to deal with it on a more mainstream level as well. I googled "How do celebrities deal with bad press" today and this site came up. It is 5 in the morning and I have spent the past hour crying because I happened across a forum where people where posting that I was ugly, and old (I'm 26). Along with a lot of other terribly rude and untrue things. I am happily married and work very hard to make MY life what I want it to be. For me and my husband. Not for anyone else. Unfortunately it hurts to the core when someone I don't know (who clearly doesn't know ME at all) posts things about me. I can't even go to my local diner without getting backed into a corner by" fans" who think they know me or" haters" who think they know me. And they ALL have something to say. I truly do feel for the celebrities who just want to practice the craft they love. Luckily Im not famous enough to be in Star or Enquirer. Let's hope it stays that way.

lol on January 16, 2012:

that is really sad but kind of makes me happy!!!!!!

glassvisage (author) from Northern California on January 12, 2012:

Thank you all for your comments and insight. I feel like this issue just keeps getting worse and worse!

NYCPhotog on January 12, 2012:

As an event photographer in NYC I've seen firsthand the frenzy that erupts around particular people. Some of them are absolutely worshipped with a literal red carpet laid out for them. This alone has to at least create a psychological pressure that could easily lead to mental health issues. This is before they are knocked off their pedestals which is even more damaging I'm sure. There is also the aspect of everyone in normal society being "less than" celebrities. IMO the cult of celebrity is a set-up for outright mental illness if not just a symptom of already widespread mental illness.

cherryfeb minglana on December 28, 2011:

happy 2nd anniversarry bhie-bhie kouh.......ilove you so much..and i miss you...take care alwayzzzzzzzzzz...

Dawsonator27 on December 16, 2011:

Several people induse these types of actions that the media shares to the world. If the average joe did not buy gossip magazines, they would go out of buisness and not have to create "juicy stories" about celebrities.

Cathy from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri on October 26, 2011:

Pop culture. That sums up our society. "Who cares about Lindsey Lohan?" is something I have heard routinely this year. Young actors and entertainers go into show business must know by now what the expectations are. In regard to the media, ome must enjoy the hoopla and some who don't are curious. Sensationalism makes me crazy. Behaviors, including use of drugs may be enabled by newly found economic success, but the act of choice is present. A lot of the media hype would be watched or sold, though, if there wasn't a demand for it. The media, depending on the information, can make or break a celebrity.

Julu Leota on September 28, 2011:

i yah point its reli great

kairi choi on September 14, 2011:

loll! an unfortunate good point!!

kek ^_^'

Deepika on December 12, 2010:

people are crazy lem ma tell ya

Quelita on November 19, 2010:

I have never liked "showbusiness" itself and don't

like that career for anyone. It has too many risks,

shows too many ugly things and if actors or singers

become famous they end up with serious mental disorders,

drug addicts or alcoholics. If they live in Los Angeles or New York life there is unbearable. Those

that can't deal with showbusiness anymore or are very

unhappy with it should choose another profession that

doesn't deal with Hollywood and the media. Also,while

these famous actors and singers continue working papara

zzis will always be there.

John on November 17, 2010:


glassvisage (author) from Northern California on November 04, 2010:

Lol, an unfortunate good point!

dahlia202049 on November 03, 2010:

Without the media where would all these people be? Back in the day, like 50 years ago, major studios controlled their actors. NOTHING was released.

When Hearst tried to kill Chaplin but ended up killing a studio exec by the name of Ince, did anyone hear about it? Nope.

Clark Gable..hit someone in his car, the public was never notified. Partially because the studio HIRED A FALL GUY.

Loretta Young had Gables baby but she went away to England and "adopted" a little girl a year later.

Fatty Arbuckle was involved in what sounds like a vicious sexual assault; the woman involved eventually DIED...yet the public never heard a thing about it.

So yes, the media could be said to be responsible for major celebrity meltdowns. But would we accept anything less than the information we all obviously crave?

ayush agarwal on October 27, 2010:

you are rite. media, news channels and type are the biggest harassers of the world.

questioner on September 22, 2010:

can the person that made this article please contact me on the following email address:

iluvceleb on July 14, 2010:

I am very glad that Britney Spears has already overcame her problems in the past. She already busy with her kids and her career too.

celebrity on June 20, 2010:

its true that media is always depend on celebrities

glassvisage (author) from Northern California on May 29, 2010:

Very true, Carol! It's sort of symbiosis, with the media depending on celebrities and celebrities counting on the media to show their antics.

Carol on May 13, 2010:

I do not blame the media "entirely" for the stupid, sexual behavior of celebrities.They are famous and some young people tried to emulate them, so celebrites do not acknowlege that they behave badly. Rather, they prefer to confess, say they are sorry and then add the caveat "I am adicted to sex, drugs, alcohol". Public beware celebre's will inaguarate a multitude of new and other behavior stunts. The latest is the saddest is David Boreanaz. Finally, he got a tv series, where he garnered fans only to forget to kept his pant zippered and mouth shut. To the women who want those attentions, keep your clothes on, your legs and mouth shut. All of you are egomaniacs who feel the need to show what should be private made public. For the record, the public is weary of all this hype, crawl back into your mansions, so our country can start to focus on the good people (not publicity seekers)and make us feel better and happier. I encourage everyone to stop buying or reading any media that promots celebrities' addicitions.


Me from DG

castingcalls on October 22, 2009:

Nice hub............!!

kylaann on June 19, 2009:

i think Britney Spears is a nice and cool singer!!!!

glassvisage (author) from Northern California on July 30, 2008:

Thank you for your comments! Yes, while many factors may lead to the fall of celebrities, we as the public certainly don't help either :(

OrangeCast from Dallas, TX on July 30, 2008:

It really is sad and somewhat tragic how we build people up into celebrities and then seem to have such shallow criteria and such an insatiable appetite for tearing them down. When I look at someone like Britney Spears, a part of me just wants to hear from her again because she has been given so much, had so many opportunities, and at the end of day I am a believer that we all dictate our path in life by the choices we make. However, I can't help but have a little bit of sympathy for her and other celebrities who sometimes seem to be mentally and emotionally incapable of handling the pressures and challenges of celebrity. We don't make it easy on them. ;-) As a social media marketer, we see the growing influence of the Internet to shape peoples' opinions and perceptions, and the sometimes flippant and offhanded comments that "regular joes" make in blogs, forums, etc that can sometimes be taken and run with and multiply. It can be a vicious cycle, but unfortunately it is what it is. You just hope more celebrities will learn lessons from those who came and flamed out before them, and try to handle all the madness that can be the unintended consequence of their celebrity.

Great hub glassvisage! It definitely made me think.

Related Articles