To Whom Much is Given, Much is Required
As a journalist for the last 15 years, never have I seen a week of news like last week’s news cycle.
Salacious stories involving well-known figures such as New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, R&B icon R. Kelly and child molesting Catholic priests dominated the airwaves creating more drama than “Green Book’s” controversial win for Best Picture at the Oscars.
Furthermore, the arrest of “Empire” actor and singer Jussie Smollett also riveted the nation after the Chicago Police Department arrested him for filing a false hate crime report, alleging the activist paid Nigerian brothers to fake an assault to garner Smollett more media attention in hopes of securing a more lucrative contract from the Fox show.
Although the news captivated me all last week and into the weekend as the barbershop conversation centered around those tantalizing stories, many people online could not understand why stories about Kraft, Kelly and Smollett garnered so much media attention when regular John and Jane Does do the same things everyday to little fanfare.
Many just could not understand why some of these stories became newsworthy.
For people who do not understand why the owner of the Super Bowl winning Patriots getting caught in a prostitution and sex trafficking ring is news, they simply do not understand what makes for an interesting story.
And for those who think that Kraft should not have the media spotlight on him if other people arrested for the same offense do not get the media attention that the billionaire sports team owner has received, they simply do not understand the old adage that to whom much is given, much is required.
Making billions of dollars, not shying away from the media spotlight, hanging out with rappers young enough to be your grandsons and hobnobbing with the president puts a person in a media spotlight that other people never get to enjoy.
Therefore, if Kraft can enjoy the media spotlight during good times, he should be able to handle the media scrutiny during bad times.
Putting yourself in the public eye opens you up to scrutiny whether you are in the athletic, entertainment or the political arenas.
When a politician runs for national office, they usually do not run from media attention because they know that publicity and airtime could benefit their candidacy.
I personally know politicians and activists who show up uninvited to events just to get on the microphone and get some press.
Additionally, I personally know politicians who have their interns sit inside the United States House of Representatives chamber all day so that they can reserve a seat in the perfect spot during the president’s State of the Union Address in order to get a handshake from the POTUS right in front of the camera.
Therefore, they should expect that since they love the spotlight so much, some reporter would delve into their background to see if they have any skeletons in the closet.
Because when you put yourself out there in the public light, all of your private business has the potential to go public because your life no longer belongs to just you.
Your life will always be a public skeptical.
If being in the public eye is cool when it brings you cash, it should still be cool when it brings chaos into your life.
When I complain about the pressures of being in the media, one of my best friends always says, “You signed up for it.”
And Kraft signed up to own the Patriots.
No one forced him to purchase the team for over $100 million.
When he became a celebrity, his name automatically is going to generate more attention in the media and in the public space, than an unknown john at a massage parlor.
In short, more people care about Kraft’s business than Pookie that works at the neighborhood corner store.
Therefore, Kraft’s dirty laundry is going to stink a little worse than Pookie’s dirty laundry.
Furthermore, when a celebrity has as much money and power as Kraft and Kelly, they have more ability to abuse that power and victimize people that are in a weaker position than they are in.
Sure, many men are guilty of the crimes that Kelly is accused of.
But would a man have the ability and power to allegedly sexually abuse little girls and women like Kelly is accused of if he was not a celebrity with a lot of power in the music industry?
If Pookie’s cousin Little Hennessey who works at the corner store too tried to urinate on a woman or on a little girl like Kelly was accused of years ago, that same girl that allegedly let Kelly get away with it, probably would have put hands on Little Hennessey.
Therefore, if celebrities love their publicity, power and influence because it makes them hefty amounts of money, they cannot shun it when it makes headlines for negative reasons either.
The rich and famous, just like regular folks, cannot have their cake and eat it too.