The Rebellion

Celebrities Should be Held Accountable for Their Crimes

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Celebrities Should be Held Accountable for Their Crimes

Jess Ferguson, Editor-in-Chief

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Whether consciously or not, people glorify celebrities. Despite the fact that they are normal humans, despite the fact that they make their fair share of mistakes, people still regard them as godly, perfect beings. When “normal” people commit crimes or make mistakes, people automatically assume they are guilty until proven innocent and that they deserve to be punished. However, when people like rapper 6ix9ine are arrested, the reactions are a little different.

6ix9ine has been arrested for crimes including but not limited to sexual acts with a minor, assault, obstructing governmental administration, sale of illegal substance, and was most recently arrested on Nov. 18 for six counts of racketeering conspiracy to promote gang Nine Trey’s status. And despite his multiple arrests and charges against him, his album “Dummy Boy” reached the number one spot on the Billboard 200 on Dec. 5, while the rapper was behind bars.

Yes, celebrities are more talented, wealthy and powerful than the average person; however, they should still be held to the same standard as the average human is. Just because they are wealthy or talented does not mean that they should be pardoned for doing immoral things or being reckless.

When celebrities commit crimes, people are quick to make excuses for them; they claim it was an accident, people do not know the real story, the accusers are lying. For instance, in the age of the #MeToo movement, people often defend the assaulter, not the victim, because they believe the assaulter is being defamed. Actor Johnny Depp, accused of physically and emotionally abusing his wife Amber Heard, has not experienced significant backlash since Heard released her statement. Despite his history of domestic abuse, since Heard filed a restraining order and reporting his abuse in May 2016, he has starred in over a dozen films, which likely would not have been the case if he were not famous.

Over 3,200 U.S. prisoners are currently serving life sentences without parole for non-violent crimes such as shoplifting or drug possession, according to The Guardian. In 1996, Louisiana resident Timothy Jackson was charged for stealing a $159 jacket from a department store and was sentenced to life without parole due to his three other robbery convictions, one of which was a juvenile charge. Although Jackson had prior convictions, a non-violent crime like shoplifting does not warrant life without parole. Yet in 2001, actress Winona Ryder was caught shoplifting over $5,500 worth of merchandise but only received three years probation and a fine. Even though Ryder’s stolen items were far more expensive than Jackson’s, since Ryder has more influence and connections, she was able to more easily get away with her crime.

Celebrities need to be held accountable for their actions, whether it be crimes or scandals, because having more wealth and connections should not dictate how easily people get away with wrongdoings. People need to realize that just because people are celebrities, does not mean they are larger than life or that they can do whatever they please. And most importantly, the criminal justice system needs to apply the same punishments for celebrities that they would for an average citizen who committed the same crime. This will not happen overnight, as this is an issue that has been going on for years; however, through small actions like bringing celebrities down to the same level as an average person, society can hold famous people to the same standard as non-famous people.

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