Celebrity trials aren’t a new phenomenon, but public scrutiny and opinion have certainly intensified in the digital age. People now have round-the-clock access to the lives of celebrities through a variety of channels, including traditional media and social platforms.
Legal proceedings, particularly where partners and family are involved, can be extremely personal events. Any “ordinary” person would surely find it distressing to have details of their life broadcast to the whole world. Perhaps to the surprise of many, celebrities are people too and publicized legal cases are likely to have similar consequences.
What types of legal battles are publicized?
Media outlets are looking for headlines to sell. Celebrity trials and legal battles are some of the best opportunities to engage mass audiences, particularly where household names are involved. They’re not far from being marketed as reality shows with the type and level of coverage they experience.
Everything from divorces to defamation trials, phone hacking to conservatorship disputes – celebrity cases receive public attention like never before. We recently witnessed the conclusion of the Amber Heard vs Johnny Depp trial, where the film stars fought a libel case concerning domestic abuse claims.
Other famous cases in the news recently have included Prince Harry, Megan Markle, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Ed Sheeran.
How are celebrities impacted?
The publicization of legal procedures surely has an impact on the cases themselves and the people involved. For celebrities, private matters being the subject of media and public scrutiny can’t be a comfortable or preferable experience. It can be assumed that most individuals would rather family matters be tackled by family solicitors behind closed doors than aired for everyone to their take on.
The media attention and public opinion surrounding a case can be extremely influential on the legal proceedings too. Following a legal battle, public perception can so quickly exonerate individuals or parties on either side. It almost creates a separate battleground – who’s winning the PR war?
In circumstances that are incredibly testing and traumatic times for the people involved, the public almost sees invulnerable celebrities that are the perfect target for mockery and humiliation. The reality could be significantly different in most cases. Health and wellbeing are rarely considered when it comes to these figures put on a global pedestal, but more thought for private and public boundaries would surely be a step towards creating a more healthy limelight for celebrities.