Celebrities and Politicians as Public Figures

Certain celebrities and politicians have crossed over to each other’s line of profession, thus paving the way for the emergence of “Celebrity Politicians.”

As public figures, both celebrities and politicians are frequent subjects of vicious and unforgiving professional and personal attacks. Although it naturally comes with the territory, a lot of people have gone overboard in the exercise of their right to free speech. In spite of their stature as "public figures," they are human beings who deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

Accessibility has opened up opportunities for greater interaction between public figures and their fans. Social media has provided a platform where people can instantly track a public's figure's whereabouts or schedules by simply following them on Instagram or Twitter. People have also been accorded with the means to directly communicate with public figures through their respective social media accounts.

However, accessibility has also provided some people with the opportunity to interfere and meddle in the lives of public figures. Recently, Maine Mendoza addressed in an Instagram post some fanatics, who have insisted that her on-screen romance with Alden Richards should become real life. While she expressed her appreciation for the continued support of fans to their loveteam, she also lamented her current lack of control over personal decisions due to immense fan pressure.

I find it understandable that prominent public figures like Maine Mendoza and Vice Ganda have drawn the line when it comes to respect for one's personal life. Indeed, no one person or group has the right to control anyone's life. This is true for both public and private persons.

There are certain aspects though wherein politicians and celebrities, as public figures, differ. This is particularly true in terms of decision making. In the case of politicians, they are voted by an identified constituency, therefore any decision they intend to make must be based on the best interest of their respective constituencies. On the other hand, celebrities do not directly owe their stature to any particular segment of society. Though their rise to popularity is largely driven by fan support, they are not exactly beholden to their fans when it comes to choosing projects, contracting with any film outfit, and/or negotiating for advertisements.

In recent years, however, the classification of celebrities and politicians has changed. Certain celebrities and politicians have crossed over to each other’s line of profession, thus paving the way for the emergence of “Celebrity Politicians.” This reality probably explains why some people have become nosy with celebrities in the same manner as they are with politicians. The tendency of celebrities and politicians alike to impact the opposite sector/industry has further narrowed the already thin division between show business and politics.

As a result of technological evolution and due to the behavior shown by some politicians and celebrities, the standards and expectations on public figures have never been greater as before. Today’s public figure, whether politician, celebrity or celebrity politician, will have to contend with an increasing number of bashers and critics. Today’s public figure must find the balance between exercising patience/tolerance and speaking out to draw the line.

Public figures have less ownership over their lives today due to technological advancements. While this may be the case, people must remain diplomatic and careful in their words as public figures too deserve control over their lives.

At the end of the day, respect and dignity are deserved by everyone, may he/she be a private individual or public figure.

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About the Author
Mr. Aaron Benedict De Leon is currently a Business Development Practitioner in a private consulting firm. He has more than six years of professional experience in leading and managing political and non-government organizations, specializing in organizational management, policy development and program management. He has had stints with notable political/socio-civic organizations, serving in various capacities as: Secretary-General of the Centrist Democratic Party of the Philippines (CDP) [2013-2015], Founding Chairperson of the Centrist Democratic Youth Association of the Philippines (CDYAP) [2012-2014], Philippine Representative to the International Young Democrat Union (IYDU) [2011-2012], Chairperson of the Christian Democratic Youth [2011-2012], Secretary-General of YOUTH Philippines [2010-2011], and Spokesperson/Communications Director of the GT2010 Gilbert Teodoro Presidential Campaign [2009-2010].
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