Ever since my kids were old enough to hear and understand news reports of celebrities behaving badly, I have tried to talk to them about those situations. I would discuss with them why what that person did was wrong, and explain the results of that poor behavior affecting that person’s career. I think this is important to do with all children, so they have a clear understanding of what they are hearing or reading about. But I also feel the importance is greater for those children who aspire to have a career in the entertainment industry and may themselves someday be celebrities.
When news of the latest Donald Trump scandal broke on Friday, I know as a woman, I was supposed to be shocked by the comments he made about women the most. I have never been one to be offended by “vulgar language” so for me it was not about the swear words. And don’t get me wrong, it is never ok to sexually assault someone or make unwanted sexual advances and the fact that anyone would brag about doing so is appalling. But what upset me most seems to be something that is getting glossed over, the fact that he said, “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything … Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”
Let that sink in for a minute Donald Trump believes that because he is a “star” he can do anything he wants to including sexuality assault women, which let us not forget, not only violates those women personally but also is against the law. If he believes he is allowed to do this as a celebrity, what does he think being President of the United States will allow him to do?
As a mother of two children who are occasionally exposed to celebrities and in the future will be even more so, and may even themselves be classified as a celebrity someday, I see this as an incredibly important teaching moment. Not just for me and my children but for all those Momagers and Papagers out there who also have children who are in the entertainment field.
The following letter was inspired by the very real conversation I had to have with my 14 year old daughter after she had read all of Mr. Trump’s and Billy Bush’s comments and decided to watch the talking heads this morning on the news. I could have turned it into a political conversation but instead chose to relate the message in a more personal way.
I want to be very clear that this is NOT a political statement it is a human one.
My dear children,
As I know you both have heard, Donald Trump has been caught on audio tape bragging about making unwanted sexual advances and sexually assaulting women. I want to make this very clear to both of you, it is never ok to make unwanted sexual advances toward anyone nor is it ok for someone, regardless of who they are, to make unwanted advances on you or to sexually assault you.
Now I know you think you have heard this speech “a thousand times” because I have cautioned you about being careful since you were little due to sharing dressing space and been backstage with adults, but this lecture is a little different. So please bare with me and pay close attention.
Right or wrong, in our culture, with celebrity, comes a degree of power. However being a celebrity does not give you the right to break the law or excuse boorish behavior. As the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility. In fact being a celebrity brings with it a responsibility to try your best to set a good example for those who look up to you. I get that celebrities are people and all people make mistakes, and you my children will make mistakes. We all do. But following the laws of our country and the bounds of human decency are things everyone should aspire to do.
Also being a celebrity should not give someone power over you as an individual. You should never feel that you have to let someone touch you inappropriately or have sex with someone because they are famous. THIS IS NOT OKAY!
Please always remember that no job, role or career is worth tolerating, or suffering abuse at the hands of another, period. Your self-esteem and self-worth are more valuable than any riches that may come from your career. By being strong, saying no and reporting anything that is inappropriate or illegal, you may not only save yourself but possibly many others from enduring the unthinkable. It will only be when people are brave on a regular basis and stand up for what is right that less and less people will be like Mr. Trump and think that being a celebrity gives them license to behave badly, violate others and break the law.
Remember that, despite what you have witnessed recently in our country, being respectful, kind and professional will always take you farther in the long run.
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