Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Jodie Foster Thinks Celebrity Reporting out of Bounds

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Jodie Foster Thinks Celebrity Reporting out of Bounds

Article excerpt

Jodie Foster came to the defense of her media-battered "Panic Room" co-star Kristen Stewart last week in an essay for the Daily Beast.

Her frustration with the coverage of Ms. Stewart's reported indiscretion with "Snow White and the Huntsman" director Rupert Sanders was not particularly surprising. Ms. Foster is known for her loyalty to colleagues, as well as someone who strongly values the need to maintain privacy. What was more compelling is what she had to say about celebrity culture circa 2012.

"In my era, through discipline and force of will, you could still manage to reach for a star-powered career and have the authenticity of a private life," she wrote, referring to her rise to movie stardom in the 1970s. She added: "If I were a young actor today I would quit before I started. If I had to grow up in this media culture, I don't think I could survive it emotionally. I would only hope that someone who loved me, really loved me, would put their arm around me and lead me away to safety."

Is Ms. Foster right? Has the notion of celebrity transformed drastically since she swapped identities with Barbara Harris in the 1976 version of "Freaky Friday"?

As the Oscar winner noted in the piece, we've always been interested in the none-of-our-beeswax details about the lifestyles of the rich and famous. But there's no question that celebrity- coverage times have changed. The question is: Why?

Ms. Foster mentioned social media and a general sense that members of the media and the paparazzi not only regularly cross the line, but have also stopped acknowledging there is one. But should we blame Twitter for this? The TMZ-ification of America? Our hunger for nitty-gritty details about the famous people we admire?

Honestly, it's a swirling mess of all the above. Technology has collided with human nature and created a culture in which everything -- including our interest in and the generation of entertainment news -- is accelerated and magnified. Once upon a time, we might have merely wondered what was happening in Ms. Stewart's love life. Now we can hunt down the details, true or wholly invented, via a few taps on our iPhones. …

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