I wasn’t going to write about this, mainly because since I’ve got more in to blogging I’ve been reading more of other people’s blogs; they’re more inspiring and less vacuous, but as Charlie left me a comment yesterday, I thought I’d throw in my two pence worth.
What are your thoughts on the current news about celebrity gagging orders?
As it is a hot topic which seems to be hitting the news a lot, I assumed you would have a thought or two. Also it has involved Twitter (which I know you are partial to), and this has caused major scandal.
Do you think that people who cheat, or those who cause hurt and upset to another person by trying to sabotage a relationship should be accountable for their actions within the courts and public eye?
I have been looking at the Laws regarding issues such as “sexting”, which is sending inappropriate messages with sexual content (whether picture or vocabulary) to another party.
The Laws are unclear, but what seems to be pretty clear is that the people who recieve them can choose to pass them on to the police if the texts are deemed sexually inappropriate and harassing if they are unwanted…..food for thought perhaps.
An awful story that I read had a young lady had sent sexually explicit photo messages to a man and ended up being completely embarrassed and mortified as he had posted them on a social networking site and other sites on the internet to teach her a lesson.
I feel all this ties in together, as a sign that there is no decency and moral fibre among a lot of people at the moment. And with Social Networking vibrating with gossip and free speech, no wonder all of these celebrities have been “outed” online!!
How do you feel about all of this??
Do you think that people/celebrities should be “outed” for what they have done? Would it teach them a lesson, or do you think they have to realise for themselves that they cannot get away with acting inappropriately?
Thanks for the comment, Charlie. There’s quite a few questions here. I’ll start from the top.
Yep, I do use Twitter. I use it to promote my blog, links and other useful and/or interesting information as well as asking questions to my network. I’ve found out about video editing tools and answers to Web Analytics and Social Media questions. I don’t tend to follow celebrities. I don’t think they offer much value. And I don’t tend to add banal status updates (but I’ve just eaten some Pringles if you’re interested!).
However, I recognise that people use Twitter for different reasons and it’s been popular across many cross-sections of the population. I discovered that these super injunctions were flawed by the fact that they could not be enforced across Social Media. I thought this was a win. The thing I love about Social Media is that it empowers people to communicate, share their stories, news and opinions, and if they resonant with other people they get promoted and popularised. This ability to communicate represents a spread of power to a wider group of people, when previously this was only possible by print publications or people with the knowledge to create websites. This has to be a good thing.
Do I agree with gagging orders? Not really, no. There are slander and libel laws in place which stop print publications and news networks from spreading false information. I’m no legal expert, but if information is not true, then there are legal avenues people can explore to seek compensation and to dispell these myths. They have the same ability as everyone else to publish the truth, as some celebrities have taken to Twitter to do. There are also websites where they can highlight specific errors and correct them (if I remember the names of these I’ll insert them here).
It’s understandable why Gabby Logan and Jemima Khan are upset by false allegations made against them on Twitter, but I’ve always found it hard to care about the opinions of people who have drawn conclusion based on misinformation or false statements and who have absolutely no bearing on my life. There’s a reputational element, I suppose, but as quickly as these statements are made, they can be refuted.
I think celebrities relinquish some of their privacy rights by using their fame for personal gain. For example, footballers are happy to use their fame to gain commercially in sponsorship deals, yet aren’t happy when their questionable sex lives are revealed. I do think publishing these stories in such a public forum could hurt and humiliate a third party; the wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend, but then it’s up to the guilty party to control and manage this or not do it. If you’re open to sleeping with someone who is out to nail a celebrity or sleep with someone for money (hooker), how surprised can you be that they’re willing to sell their story? Also what’s the exit plan? If you have a long term affair, how do you end it amicably so that the neither person goes public with the information, whether or not they are a celebrity?
I don’t think this is a legal issue. Adultery isn’t a matter for the courts. I don’t think anyone is being held to account in public either. No one is being asked to explain their behaviour. But for every broken super injunction, there will be a scorned woman or a reformed man (genders interchangeable) ready to sell their story of woe to the highest bidding weekly gossip mag. Imogen whatever from Big Brother whenever is already at it and she’s not even PR trained, making for an appalling interview on This Morning; poor, professional, silver fox, Philip Scofield.
I’m interested to know who gains the money for the gagging orders? It should really be the publications that lose the ability to tell a story, it should be compensation for them in terms of lost sales revenue.
In terms of the sexting, this is a seperate debate, but I don’t think there’s a problem. Generally I think if it’s between two adults, then it’s not really an issue. You need to trust the person you’re sending it to not to share the content or at least be comfortable that if the content is shared, you’re happy with it. If you’re ashamed of something you’re doing, then don’t do it. If you don’t trust the person you’re sending it to, don’t send it. However, this isn’t true of all situations or content. Being forever fearful of what you send, what you put out there isn’t a great mindset either. Sometimes you have to do something a bit controversial or take a risk to get a high return, a big win, a successful blog.
As for someone posting a picture to teach someone else a lesson, the main considerations for the subject of the photo should be:
- Considering who they’re sending images to before sending them.
- Making sure they look smokin’ hot in any shot they do send.
When it becomes extreme to the extent of harassment, then yes, that could become a legal matter. Not all sexting is harassment though and I think harassment is a greater topic, one which I’m not going to address currently.
Regarding the third party, I think if you’re not in a relationship, it’s at your discretion what you send or do, though I suppose people need to be aware of the reputation or judgement they may receive for that. I’ve always thought it’s the person in the relationship that should be responsible for protecting it. Why would anyone in a relationship want a faithful partner by default, just because everyone else stayed away? Why should a third party respect a relationship with someone in that relationship does not?
Ultimately, I don’t think anyone has the right or enough money to be able to buy themselves out of cheating, lying and philandering. Entering into these reportable situations is a question of morals and calculated risk. You’ve got to be OK with your actions, you’ve got to be able to sleep at night, you’ve got to be able to live with the consequences of the decisions you make and be happy with the person you are. I’m not going to tell anyone that their actions are right or wrong. Whatever the situation, famous or otherwise, a person should be aware of the impact of their behaviour.
Additionally to this, I would hate to see Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc. moderated, censored or restricted. That would be a big and dangerous step backwards.
UPDATE: I’ve just been watching Sheryl Gascoigne complaining about being in the public eye for 19 years and having no privacy for that time. I have no idea what she’s been up to for the last 19 years, so I’m not sure how accurate she is here. However, she does make the point that by the time these stories come out, it’s a bit too late to be worrying about hurting your partner or family. Good point.