Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

I've Got No Time for Some Celebs but Even Less for Those Who Pretend to Be Their 'Friends'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

I've Got No Time for Some Celebs but Even Less for Those Who Pretend to Be Their 'Friends'

Article excerpt

Byline: Rob Rinder

WHENEVER I see a celebrity behaving like a fool in public, my first instinct is always the same: "You poor darling, who on earth and where on earth are your friends?" The TV and film industry is so full of egomania-enablers it's hardly surprising that, within weeks of getting one's first taste of real fame, old friends get driven out and the so-called "talent" is left to the mercy of sycophants and suck-ups, resulting in a toxic outcome, especially among the young and those who have never had a proper job.

Some of the famous people I've encountered make Kim Jong-un seem like Desmond Tutu. In every case their friends, usually recently acquired, are terrible human beings.

I once walked past some sort of "bad taste"-themed hen do. The adult baby was the first to catch my eye. Complete with nappy, dummy and bonnet, she was certainly distasteful. The bride-to-be, though, was not just in full black-face make-up but a near-floor-length dreadlock wig. I soon realised she was "blacked up" from head to toe. How could they? These ghastly people had achieved their own humiliation quite brilliantly but they had failed in the hallowed duality of dearest friend/harshest critic the bride should never have been able to step out of the door.

We need to be able to turn to our immediate circle to ascertain whether our internal checks and balances are functional, and to be able to rely on them to point out gross errors. As soon as these vital relationships are abandoned, monsters proliferate we need to conspire constantly with one another to make this not happen. This means telling the truth to people around you, even when it feels easier just to stay quiet.

Some people fall beyond the realms where friendship can save them, and I am not here casting aspersions on those around Harvey Weinstein. There are cases such as this where someone's lack of boundaries or emotional reaction can be blamed and many of those around them suffer terribly. When someone's behaviour is as abject as Weinstein's, the responsibility lies with the individual. The discussions about the industry and wider society through #metoo are shocking and vital but Weinstein is responsible for his own actions. …

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