People, it’s time we had a chat about your idols. A lot of them are terrible. We get it: They’re either good at something or they’re pretty - or maybe they’re just good at being pretty - and they’re often hard workers on top of it. It stands to reason that an amount of talent mixed with an amount of hard work will pay off both financially and in terms of adoration, and while the zeitgeist of celebrity obsession isn't healthy, it still makes sense.
Some of the people society is obsessed with, though? Some just don’t make sense.
We need to be able to analyze both our idols' positive and negative contributions to society. Take the well-worn example of Chris Brown: Yes, he's a good looking man, and he makes music that a lot of people like. He also beat up Rihanna. Now, he’s been talking a lot about how he has been getting help in dealing with his anger issues, and he appears to be determined to make everyone think he has learned from his mistakes. That might be a good thing (although his continued run-ins with the law are evidence that he’s still not a great dude) but fan reactions are worrying. Take this tweet, posted by a fan in 2012 after Brown appeared at the Grammys:
“Call me crazy buttttttttt I would let Chris Brown beat me up anyyyy day”
That’s only a sample of a larger problem: celebrity culture often idolises genuinely bad people. To help our fine readers reconsider some of the people you adore, we've compiled a list of celebs people love but really, really shouldn’t. It might come across as the bitter mutterings of a basement-dwelling blogger, but this writer lives above ground level and pays taxes. So, let’s do this.
5 Theresa Caputo
Ever hear of the James Randi Educational Foundation’s challenge? It’s a prize of a million dollars, which will be awarded “to anyone who can show, under proper observing conditions, evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event.”
It began as a $1,000 prize back in 1964, but donors kept padding that up to its current heft. And it’s dead simple to win! A psychic just has to demonstrate the same powers he or shes claim to have. Easiest million dollars ever, surely?
The fact that nobody has ever won the prize isn’t definitive proof that Theresa Caputo AKA the Long Island Medium, doesn’t have powers – but it's pretty compelling anecdotal evidence.
Caputo’s game is to trick people into thinking she's speaking with their dear and departed loved ones, and she does this by asking vague, hinting questions until she hits on something that resonates with her mark. Cue amazed reactions, tears, applause, and a continued belief in spirits.
The aforementioned James Randi took to the net to call Caputo out on her shenanigans, and to explain to the world why what she does is so harmful.
“Such performances seem to prey on people at their most vulnerable moments — those who have suffered the loss of loved ones — and these mediums use such grief to make a buck. Psychologists tell us this keeps the grieving stuck in their grief, rather than going through the natural stages of acceptance that are healthy.”
... Somebody please get her off of TV.
4 Tom Cruise
Ok so we might enjoy Tom Cruise’s films. He’s talented, and really got way too much guff for that couch thing. He’s also in a difficult situation with the custody of his children, and wacko or not, that’s not fun. All of that said, Mr. Cruise needs to learn when to shut his mouth.
It’s a secret to nobody that Tom Cruise is Captain Scientology, and scientology isn't big on psychiatric medication – in fact, it believes that taking antidepressants does a person a good deal of harm. Cruise has gone so far as to say “When you study the effects, it’s a crime against humanity.”
Why is this such a problem? For starters, mental health is hard enough to deal with without having influential people like Cruise dismissing tested treatments with nothing to back themselves up. Mental illness is still a taboo, and the idea of curing it by just taking vitamins and getting more exercise, the way Tommy wants you to, could lead to seriously ill people making life-threatening decisions.
It looks as though Cruise has cooled off on this issue in recent years. Thanks to the internet, though, his older nonsense is still out there, helping keep the ill in the closet where they can’t get the help they need. Recant, Mr. Cruise - it would be best for everyone.
3 Dan Bilzerian
Dan Bilzerian is so gross, it seems like he’s covered in a film of slime not unlike that of a slug. A poker player and investor (of sorts), he’s perhaps best known for his Instagramming of his non-stop hedonism, which results in pages and pages of photos of his guns, parties, and hordes of half-naked women – with a tank and plane thrown in every once in a while, just for good measure.
Unsurprisingly, there’s a lot of love for him in those circles that crave the kind of Bacchanalian lifestyle he has thrown himself into so wholeheartedly. And he’s an unapologetic man’s man, too. Here’s a sample of some of his “best.”
“Feminism is bad, I'm glad to see our youth is fighting back.”
“Just got to Vegas, our pilot Chris let a woman fly the plane, based on her landing performance, I think she was blindfolded or giving him a blowjob.”
“Small tits are not fashionable.”
... And then there’s the time he threw an adult film star off the roof in an attempt to land her in the pool. She missed, breaking her foot on the side of the pool. Shockingly, he didn't apologize.
It’s worth noting that this captain of moronitude didn’t even make his own fortune. He’s just spending dad’s money. Good on ya’, Danny. Everybody else, please find a new hero.
2 Bill Maher
Bill Maher is a strange one. On the one hand, he regularly takes religious figures to task for having beliefs that run contrary to observed evidence. On the other, he’s anti-vaccination, which is a belief that runs contrary to observed evidence.
Now, a quick amendment. Maher’s not anti-vaccine for everyone. For example, he thinks that for kids in countries ravaged by deadly disease, vaccines might be the best bet. Conceding that, in 2005 he warned Larry King that “If you have a flu shot for more than five years in a row, there's ten times the likelihood that you'll get Alzheimer's disease,” which is a bogus claim. He also tried to lecture a heart surgeon about the dangers of the swine flu vaccine, which they aren’t.
Maher claims his distrust of vaccines comes from his distrust of government. He doesn't trust the government to get vaccines right, he claims, and so he isn't going to go and let them inject him full of a virus. Never mind that the virus is inactive and that there’s no evidence to support the idea that they’re bad for you.
1 Floyd Mayweather
Floyd Mayweather Jr. The sensational boxer is 47-0, seemingly undefeatable and living large at the age of 37. Not so long ago there was a story floating around that he kept $132 million in a checking account, which is among the great feats of financial stupidity. Seriously, you could get a tidy return by investing that... But I digress.
So why is Mayweather an awful role model? We could dock some points for his personality – he flashes money like it’s going out of style – but there’s no better reason than his history of domestic violence, as well as his frankly idiotic response when asked about the allegations of his abuse.
In an interview with CNN’s Rachel Nichols, Mayweather goes on the defensive when asked about seven allegations of domestic violence – including at least one occasion that was witnessed by his children, whom he also has allegedly threatened with violence and/or death. His responses included “They’re only allegations” “I signed a plea bargain” and the classic refrain, “Only God can judge me.” It turns out money can make these kinds of problems go away. Shocking.
So, everybody. Stop glorifying the guy for being a talented boxer. There's a lot of bad beneath the good. And Mr. Mayweather, everyone can and should judge you.