There are no Winners Here

Amanda Eagleson
10 min readMay 15, 2022

Fandoms, Scandals, Social Media, and the Celebrity Slaughterhouse

Johnny Depp, By Vanessa Lua, Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Early in the pandemic (as in the entirety of 2020) I thought I might be witnessing the imminent death of celebrity culture. I had read a great piece in POPSUGAR by Mekishana Pierre tracking its downfall.

Mekishana astutely observed that while nobody wanted to hear from celebrities about unity or the challenges of life in lockdown, the public was simultaneously hungry for content (and celebrities for attention). This created the potential for massive missteps from a class often painfully removed from the experiences of its fans.

“The real peril for celebrities came from their inability to understand how they’re expected to move within such trying times, and it remains so as a new year approaches.” — Mekishana Pierre

In an article for the New York Times, Amanda Hess outlined the perils of fame at a time when “The #guillotine2020 hashtag is jumping”.

The wealth of celebrities is constantly on display because celebrities are marketed as aspirational. So it stands to reason when a crisis exacerbates the wealth gap celebrities might absorb a disproportionate amount of vitriol. In her article, Hess points out that Jennifer Lopez has a net worth “a fraction of a percent of Jeff Bezos’s”.

And on that note, feel free to peruse the responses to this 2020 tweet of hers, or just trust me when I say the overwhelming sentiment is SHUT. UP.

Fast forward to the midway point of 2022 and the Johnny Depp vs Amber Heard defamation trial…and we are wallowing in filth.

I didn’t anticipate following the #metoo movement, and our reexamining the treatment of female celebrities in the late 90s and early aughts, that making videos mocking an account of abuse and sexual assault (even one people find suspect) would be so damn popular.

I didn’t know that a conversation about men being victims of a gender role that demands they are not the aggressor when fighting with a woman but simultaneously mocks them for appearing “weak” in a heterosexual relationship…could be summarized in a gif.

I didn’t expect to still see cosplay at a trial.

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Amanda Eagleson

Poet, Writer at Optimistic Learner and Digital Economy Forum. Board member at Vancouver Poetry House. www.optimisticlearner.com