Jodie Foster surprised the world during the 2013 Golden Globes, when she announced -indirectly, of course – that she is a lesbian,and that she was in a relationship with her former partner Cydney Bernard for over 15 years from 1993 to 2008. Now, the fact she is a lesbian wasn’t the surprise, since Hollywood gossip rags have speculated for years. The more surprising fact was Foster made the announcement on one of the most watched award shows on television – and she had the sense of humour to do so in a light-hearted way.
Foster’s had a long career, but little of her personal information has become public knowledge. She’s been in the business since she was six, first appearing in Mayberry R.F.D., a sitcom about postal delivery in 1968. Since then, she’s has kept her personal life private, despite a legendary Hollywood career, and her connection to John Hinckley Jr. and the attempted assassination of U.S. President Ronald Reagan.
The reaction to the announcement was huge. Richard Dreyfuss, Rosie O’Donnell, Ricky Gervais, Chelsea Clinton and Kelly Osbourne among others took to Twitter to announce their support of Foster’s announcement. But it wasn’t received positively by all of Hollywood.
Bret Easton Ellis, author of American Psycho and The Informers, who at times has refused to identify his sexuality, (he announced he was gay while writing an apology for The Daily Beast after criticizing the It Gets Better campaign), posted on Twitter: “What is everybody talking about? Didn’t I just hear Jodie Foster fake a coming out speech? I’ve never heard the word PRIVACY said so loudly. The Hollywood hypocrisy is complete: Jodie Foster accepts her Lifetime Achievement award at The GG’s and then demands PUBLIC PRIVACY..”
He’s right. In her speech Foster said, “You guys might be surprised, but I am not Honey Boo Boo Child,” a reference that her life wasn’t a reality TV show.
This is a generation where The History Channel runs reality shows such as Pawn Stars, Swamp People, and American Restoration among others. Perez Hilton runs a gossip website mostly concerned with unflattering shots of celebrity private parts, which is the 433rd most viewed site in the United States over such websites as PBS Online (477th) and NASA’s website (458th). Hell, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t visit Perez daily.
That’s our world, but that’s not Foster or, likely, her generation. The Internet has made it so a picture can be snapped, sold and published in seconds. Celebrities don’t have privacy, and it’s one of the reasons Foster felt the announcement should be made. Maybe now people will leave her alone.
Twenty-nine-year-old paparazzo Chris Guerra died after getting struck by a car, following a vehicle he thought was driven by Justin Bieber. Guerra capturing Bieber driving his Ferrari would have likely sold for a lot of cash. But why? Because we as a society crave what celebrities do 24/7.
Johnny Depp, Beyoncé and Jay-Z refuse to talk about their personal life in interviews, a strategy Foster adhered to, up until her announcement. It creates the opposite of the desired effect, since instead of respecting their privacy, we crave information even more. Why? Because their lives are lavish. People Magazine paid $4.1 million for photos of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie with their baby Shiloh. And the proof is in the pudding, as that copy sold 2.2 million copies.
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, commonly known as Kate Middleton, is arguably the hottest celebrity in terms of people wanting information. Pictures of her sun bathing semi-nude brought up the biggest of ethical questions in junk-magazine history.
December 3, she announced she was pregnant and a week hasn’t gone by that she hasn’t appeared in People or Us Weekly. The same month, Australian radio hosts called a hospital where the Duchess was a patient, and pretended to be the Queen and Prince with nurse Jacintha Saldanha, and asked her personal questions about the Duchess’ state. Public backlash lead to Saldanha committing suicide. This is a horrifying repercussion.
Jodie Foster’s announcement was important because coming out despite her desire for privacy will likely inspire other celebrities — and non-celebrities — to come out, when they’re ready. Canadian actor Victor Garber came out two days after Foster, saying he has been in a relationship with his partner Rainer Andreesen for more than 14 years. Their announcements are both top stories, because we do, and always will, care about the lives of the Hollywood elite.
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