When you are constantly in the public eye, your every word is scrutinized by pundits, news anchors, and TV idiots. To some, this is a pain in the butt that may require lengthy apologies and humbling interviews broadcast around the world. Others consider it to be a highlight of their career and feed off the negative attention they get for stirring the pot.
We may not agree with the opinions of many of these celebrities who are using their moments in the spotlight to air an opinion, but surely we can give a nod to the courage it takes. Willingly throwing yourself to the lions requires courage, a resilience to the barrage of insults that many of them know must come their way.
Speaking out has sometimes lead to a revolution. Other times it has been nothing more than a passing celebrity stunt, soon forgotten amidst the abundance of newsworthy opinions shared. Then there are those who just seem to keep coming back to speak up for something, be it politics, religion, or equality. These people can provide us with some great, thought provoking opinions, and may even help us change our attitude towards a particular argument. They may even change our opinion to one that is exactly the opposite of the one they are making.
9 Sinead O'Connor
When Miley Cyrus twerked for the world and got naked for Wrecking Ball, she triggered a response from Sinead O'Connor, a long-time player in the music industry. She had simply wanted to pass on advice to the overly confident Miley from her years of experience dealing with all kinds of people who only wanted to make money from her. Her warning was that nothing but harm would come to Miley if she continues to exploit and effectively prostitute herself for money and fame.
In the open letter Sinead is quite direct, stating that the music business does not care for her sanity, only for the money that artists make. She also makes it clear that Miley is an inspiration and role model to many young women so she has a responsibility to be on her best behavior. This letter opened the door to a quite public spat between the two singers, one that drew in arguments from an audience that had views on both sides.
8 Angus T. Jones
For most of his formative years, Angus T. Jones was part of the hit sitcom Two and a Half Men, playing the young son, Jake. His upbringing as a Christian took hold of him a couple of years ago, and he spoke up against the very people who had paid for his lifestyle for all those years. His appeal to the public was a clear statement of his values: "Please stop filling your head with filth."
Money wasn't everything for this self proclaimed "paid hypocrite," as he walked away from $8.4 million per season in 2012. It was his posting of a video on the internet that sealed the deal for him. He left the show and continued his journey to find God. His words fell largely on deaf ears, though maybe, secretly, it is the reason behind the cessation of the show coming at the end of the next season.
7 Elizabeth Hasslebeck
You probably know Elizabeth Hasslebeck best for her role amongst the women of TV debate show the View. She had a few heated moments with her chatty friends due to her very strong conservative viewpoints about a number of subjects. Hasslebeck and Whoopi Goldberg had a particularly heated exchange over the subject of the proposed $5000 bonds given to mothers when giving birth to a child. Always anti-abortion, the exchange centered on her opinion that fewer women would abort their children if they knew money was involved.
She also has strong opinions about celiac disease, something she herself suffers from, and she has written a book, The G-Free Diet: A Gluten Free Survival Guide. Never afraid to share her opinion, she also spends a lot of time in the public eye defending it, and she is often outnumbered.
6 Tyrese Gibson
One way to share your opinions with the world is to write a book. More specifically, a self-help book. This is what author, singer, actor, television producer and fashion model Tyrese Gibson has done with his recent debut book offering, How To Get Out Of Your Own Way. He has strong opinions on the do's and don'ts of dating - opinions that have received differing levels of acceptance from amongst readers.
During an interview with All Hip Hop, he criticized people who are overweight, especially those in the public eye who he believed should be setting an example and inspiring others to get healthy. Calling them "fat" and "nasty" bodies did not win him any favors amongst a good percentage of the public, and he apologized for the use of words - though, notably, he did not apologize for what he was implying.
5 Anne Coulter
Ann Coulter continues to get attacked quite publicly for her often controversial viewpoints and labels for people. In 2012 she was ridiculed by many on the internet for her use of the word "retard," a word many find deeply offensive. She has used it more than once, though, and seems to be wholly unrepentent in her use of it.
Then again, why would she care? If she cares most about getting on the cover of a newspaper or magazine somewhere, then the more hatred she gets from the world, the more publicity she gets. This is publicity that she continues to use to share her perspectives and get on many people's nerves. She herself has claimed that she likes to "stir the pot," creating enemies on both the right and left wing, so it is unlikely she will disappearing too soon.
4 George Takei
With his Oh Myyy! Facebook page, and all kinds of products to go along with it, George Takei has been voicing his opinions with a pinch of humor. With over 7 million followers on his page, he is known in many circles as the funniest man on facebook, updating his fan page regularly and including pictures with hidden innuendos and meanings. Even when he is voicing his opinions about people that he disagrees with, or even vehemently dislikes, he will inject his trademark humor to add a little fun.
He is a loud voice for gay and lesbian rights and has actively taken on those who continue to oppose changes being made in courtrooms around the United States. The Gay And Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation has recognized him for his great efforts online to make a significant difference in the efforts to promote equality for the LGBT community.
3 Ashton Kutcher
Chris Ashton Kutcher used his winning of his Teen Choice Award to share his thoughts with the young people of the world and the video of the event went viral. It was a brief speech with three simple premises; 1) Opportunity looks a lot like hard work. 2) The sexiest thing in the world is being smart. 3) Build a life, don't live it. He insists that the world around us was built by people no smarter than us and that any teen watching his speech could do the same thing.
It would appear his role as Steve Jobs in the movie Jobs led him on the path of doing some inner reflection and becoming a little more outspoken. These three premises were the simple conclusions he came to and they struck a chord with millions around the world.
2 Donald Trump
He has made a name for himself with his money and his hair, and Donald Trump has used this fame to weigh in on a couple of public scandals with his opinion. Most recently he commented on the fate exiled LA lakers owner, Donald Sterling, stating that the man had "the girlfriend from hell." At the same time, he fully acknowledged that Sterling's racist comments were reprehensible and racist.
He has also never been shy on his thoughts about Obama as president, and was of course the loudest voice in the challenge to the president to prove his citizenship. He has repeatedly attacked some of the president's political and military decisions, most recently in reference to the problems in Ukraine. He seems to have an opinion about pretty much anybody and is quite convinced he would do a much better job if put in charge.
1 Russell Brand
Russell Brand is no stranger to criticism from others, or his own criticism of others. For a long time he enjoyed a life of sex, drugs, and superstardom, before acknowledging his addictions and checking into recovery. Since then, his spiritual awakening has resulted in him becoming more more outspoken on issues that have mattered to him.
Though he revelled in the life of a celebrity, he is keen to discourage others from pursuing it for reasons of fame alone. Don't get him started on voting and the government either - his opinions on both are quite clear, and other opinions are unlikely to sway him. He caused quite the furor in British politics recently, when he stated that he does not vote and doesn't think you should either. Some saw him as being part of the problem, but many could relate to his perspective on pressings issues related to government control.
His long winded philosophical and esoteric rants are both thought provoking and infuriating to people of all political leanings. Disagree or agree with him, he is making an impression on many around the world who see him as a voice for change in a screwed up world.