The impact of fan culture on celebrity hate


By Vimeo: Fenty Beauty by Rihanna via Wikipedia

After seven years, Rihanna returned to perform at the Super Bowl where she was faced with a lot of criticism.

Brooklyn Gowan, PV Only Editor

Rihanna’s Super Bowl halftime performance on Feb. 12 has sparked a lot of controversy. Comments were made about her weight, her dancing and some even went as far as to say it was satanic. These remarks have indicated that society will always find a way to criticize celebrities. 

The first thing many people noted about Rihanna’s performance was her weight. Those who watched were quick to make comments about her appearance because her stomach was not flat after having a baby in May. What followed was a debate on whether or not it was postpartum weight or another baby. The comments were shut down shortly when Rihanna’s representatives confirmed she was pregnant with her second child. 

When the assertions on her weight did not have warrant, viewers judged Rihanna for her performance and the costume choice. Many made innocent comments comparing the background dancers to marshmallows or astronauts while others put out absurd theories. The host of “Real America’s Voice,” Grant Stinchfield, claimed the performance worshiped Satan, comparing the red and white outfits to angels surrounding the devil. 

Rihanna’s recent performance is just one instance of a long pattern of excessive hate shown towards celebrities, especially women. Society tends to harbor strong negative attitudes towards celebrities for a number of reasons. Considering that famous people have their lives displayed for the world to see, this hate is a disappointing reality. When someone disagrees with an aspect of a celebrity’s life, their hatred is amplified because it is easier to project negative feelings towards someone we don’t personally know, especially with the prevalence of the media today. 

In 2013, Anne Hathaway gave an acceptance speech after receiving an Oscar for best supporting actress that made people upset. Her speech indicated that she cared about her image as a celebrity, which many did not like. When the standards created by the general public are not met by celebrities, people develop unnecessary and negative views towards people they do not even know. 

People struggle to separate their preconceived notions about a celebrity from their talent. Pleasant Valley junior Alexis Zaehringer experiences this struggle with some celebrities. “Since the trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, I will never be a fan of any of her work. Because of the trial and what I learned about her I formed an opinion about her as a person that takes away from any talent I may have seen in her,”  Zaerhinger said. 

Society tends to forget celebrities are real people who see the comments being made about them. Receiving negativity to the extent that famous people do could be harmful to their mental and emotional wellbeing. Because social media makes it easier to express discontentment towards a person, making people aware of the dehumanizing effect these kinds of comments have could reduce the unacceptable treatment of celebrities online.