When is a Celebrity “Off the Clock”?


Malieka Khan

These are several pictures of social media influencers at a convention where they go specifically to meet fans and say hello.

Malieka Khan, Editor

Ever since TMZ and wide spread media, the role of celebrities has began to evolve. However, is all this attention they are receiving in public part of their job description or are they “off the clock”. Some recent tweets came out from a fairly new celebrity where she had defended herself against a fan who claimed they had not had the best encounter with her. Her main argument was how she was not her character but rather a person who deserves privacy from the public when wanted.

Celebrities have been declaring this for years and years before Lili Reinhart, one of the main characters of the hit TV show “Riverdale”, had released this tweet. However, this tweet in particular raised many heads because of the exact reason she was debating against; her media presence. In this day and age, celebrities are constantly in the public eye and never do truly get a break while simply ten years ago all they had to do was go into their home and shut their doors. Yet, some can argue that part of their job description is to be in the spotlight and the media whenever it is necessary, but who’s to say when that is? With fairly new inventions of social media where people can find out where celebrities are and what they are doing in mere seconds, how far is too far?

The situation was said that a fan came up to Reinhart during a dinner, before she had finished, and asked for a picture where she then asked the fan to wait till her and her significant other, Cole Sprouse, had finished. The fan then went on Twitter and stated how Reinhart was not the most polite celebrity to her fans through her tone and attitude towards the situation. She had responded through Twitter about how that was her time and how “you [the fan] weren’t entitled to me at all” meaning taking the picture at any given moment was not part of her job as a human being. Predictably this led to an uproar in social media where the debate of whether celebrities and their privacy was compromised in today’s day and age.  

Many people on Reinhart’s side believe in the idea that as a human being she deserves the right to say no to and postpone pictures as she wills. These arguments shine light on how simply signing a piece of paper that does not state the specific requirements of public choices should not dictate the rights and lack of that a celebrity receives. To various people, if they had been asked the very same question they would have most likely given the same, if not an even more tempered, response to the fan asking. Simply stated, it is best worded as when Reinhart tweeted, “I am a human being. I am not Betty Cooper” in her response. Say if a teacher is out at dinner with her family, would you ask for him/her to help you with homework then and there? Chances are no, and that is where a large amount of people see the flaw in the way celebrities are viewed today, especially with social media. In fact Alexa Tanasescu (11) believes that, “It’s a a part of the job, but they should not get attacked by paparazzi when they are going to the grocery store or doing errands”. Celebrities never seem to be off the clock, when, as with any job, they deserve to be.

The other end of the argument is that they signed up for what they are receiving. It is no surprise that celebrities have much higher tolerance for being in the public eye, or else they would not have become who they are in the first place. And as it was stated, with sky rocketing use of social media it is almost impossible to misplace the role of celebrities and so called “influencers” in the limelight now a days. In that case, why would these people choose to be noticed and stand out, if they simply turn around and beg not to be seen? Though it is not specifically stated in their contracts to take pictures with fans at the fans’ will, many of their contracts have publicity clauses. These state how the celebrities should perhaps act and even dictate their day to day lives for the public appeal. So, if they signed off on presenting a certain idea of themselves, who’s to say that they should stop pandering there? In fact, many argue that those fans are what make their job a reality, so saying no to a simple picture is unjust to someone who idolizes said celebrity. Take the teacher example again, if a student were to perhaps come in after class to ask a question on an assignment and the teacher said no then as well because their time was simply during the class period itself then would that be an issue? This is where the line gets fuzzy because where, for celebrities, does the classroom end and the restaurant begin in the eyes of the public. When, and more specifically where, is a celebrity truly off clock since they are always in the public eye, even if that is their job?

After a poll taken of several students at Yorba Linda High School, a majority of students agreed with the idea of celebrities deserving the necessary rights and privacy they wanted despite them signing up for the job in the spotlight. 70% students agreed with this because celebrities should be in the spotlight, but simply not all the time. In the end, the debate on when celebrities are truly off the clock is still a mixed bag, yet many people do believe that with that comes the debate on what a celebrity’s job truly is. To the students at Yorba Linda, celebrities are people who should get the privacy they so wish, rather than be succumb to the people constantly demanding their attention.