star light, star blight
The misdeeds of celebrities are legion.
FORMER Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash likes to tell the story of how he came to wear a top hat – he stole it from a Hollywood store in the 1980s after trying it on and liking the look.
Few people would bat an eyelid at the revelation that Slash, who fronts his own band now, was a shoplifter. In fact, his street cred goes up because rockers are expected to be anti-establishment, and stealing from stores is still seen by some as thumbing one’s nose at authority.
But there is no reason for us to emulate the stars’ misdeeds. Many of them, like Slash, do it for the street cred they believe they will get. Others do so because they are drunk, often on their own success, or suffer from unmanageable anger and a lack of selfcontrol.
They do it because deep down, they believe that they can get away with it, often with just a slap on the wrist, and in the worst-case scenario whereby they do get punished, they can make a comeback, even after jail stints. And they do it because even if, for some reason, they lose their flavour with fans, many of them are wealthy enough to not have to work another day for the rest of their lives.
Former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash once stole a top hat that he fancied.
In American entertainment tabloids and magazines, the acronyms DUI and DWI are close to becoming full-fledged words in their own right and are often used without the need to refer to what they stand for – driving under the influence (of alcohol or drugs), and driving while intoxicated.
Celebrities caught DUI-ing and DWI-ing are Actress Lindsay Lohan has been in and out of jail for drunk-driving. a dime a dozen.
Getting drunk and getting high appear to be common vices among Hollywood celebrities, a regular succession of whom seem to think nothing of getting behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
A number of them do get caught, but usually only when there is a traffic stop or a patrol car happens to be passing by as they are weaving in and out of traffic, or when they get their cars wrapped around a tree, a streetlamp pole, or a no-parking sign, which seems to be a celebrity favourite.
The celebrity DUI alumni list reads like a Hollywood who’s who, with stars such as Mel Gibson, Thomas Jane and Mischa Burton being placed on probation for their offences. They are part of the overwhelming majority of celebrities who received fines and were ordered to go for rehabilitation or to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, depending on whether it was drugs or alcohol.
Such punishments are like a slap on the wrist, yet there are celebrities who violate the terms of their probation – by getting caught again for the same offence, by not completing their rehabilitation, by not attending AA meetings, or by testing positive for drugs.
Lindsay Lohan, for instance, has been in and out of jail, albeit for short periods, after two DUI offences in 2007 due to various violations of her probation, including failing drug tests.
The court took a dim view of Lohan’s denials that she had not been drinking when the alarm sounded on the court-mandated alcohol-monitoring ankle bracelet Lohan had to wear.
Lohan’s mother Dina later claimed that someone had spilled a drink on her daughter’s leg on the night in question, setting off the alarm. Lohan faces a 180-day sentence if she is unable to stay clean.
Other celebrities – such as Nicole Richie, Paris Hilton, George Michael and Kiefer Sutherland – have also served jail time for their violations, but their examples have not been very effective in reducing the number of celebrity DUI offences.
Part of their impunity is surely derived from the lack of real consequences to themselves. Even in jail, celebrities are a privileged class, despite the protests of prison authori-
On a whim: