- The actor who who found involved in unethical business
- The cricketer who asked for an unjustified favour for bringing in his sports car.
- The celebrity who was sued for sexual harassment at the workplace.
- The class topper who was caught in the drug expose.
- The world champion boxer who ended up biting his opponent’s ear in a live match.
- The ultra fast runner banned for taking steroids.
We all have had instances where someone ‘God-like’ is caught for wrong doing. These are moments where we feel shattered, betrayed and terribly let down. Our memory goes back to all the previous memories/engagements with that individual and we start quickly doubting each of his/her achievements, records and put them under a scanner. Media adds to the fire, by not just going deep into the incident, but they bring in his personal life, look for expose there and manipulate or misread as much as they can, to get more ‘masala’. Everyone loves to hate someone who they have loved too much and then been betrayed.
But really should it be that way?
Can an incident or two of wrongdoing really take away from the individual, the years (decades in many cases) of hard-work, perseverance, practice and perspiration that the individual had put in to win that love and admiration?
We all have multiple instances of many such celebrities and you all can fill in the names if that is needed here. There is no field where we have not had such instances, Amitabh Bachchan with ABCL, Tendulkar and the Ferrari incident, Ben Johnson caught for steroids, Mike Tyson bit the ear of Evander Holyfield, etc. etc.
I was prompted to write this article when I recently read Unstoppable, the memoir of famous tennis player, Maria Sharapova, in which she described how her career came to a grinding halt because she was found to have consumed a banned substance. The substance in question was found in a medicine that she used to take regularly. This medicine was something as common as an aspirin, which we would not even think can be a problem. It was not on the banned list and the regulation had been changed just a few months prior to the incident and Maria was not aware that it made the new rule would disallow that particular medicine. She clearly was being honest about her side of the story, which was later justified when she later appealed and her ban was reduced drastically. But the damage to her image and career was already done by then.
The art and his artist need to be separated as much as the act and actor in our daily life.
- Does a parent who never scolded become a ‘bad parent’ in the very first instance that he scolds us?
- Does the boss who never shouted and gave orders nicely become a ‘harsh person’ just because he screamed at you?
- Does a dear friend become ‘mean’ the very instance he/she refuses to help in one instance?
Wether it is a celebrity or someone dear in our personal life, we need to always separate the act and the actor. A few instances of wrongdoing, many times in the ‘heat of the moment’ or due to ‘some kind of pressure which would not be known to us at that time’ cannot undo the years of hard-work and practice that has gone behind building the profile or the relationship. These are small tests for us to hang in, be there with the friend or reposte the faith in the celebrity, as these are the moments when they need their friend or their fans the most. These are times when the relationship is valued the most.
So have a huge heart, don’t be judgemental, understand that the person is a human first and celebrity later. And all humans are prone to making errors. Any one, including super achievers , can make errors. They all have their ‘low moments’ when they might have let their guard down. We ourselves do that, but of course we will see our bloopers from a different lens and back them up with justifications and excuses for the errata. Life is too short to let years of friendship and follower-ship be given up or broken by a few instances or moments of misdemeanour. So go back and patch up with that friend, reconnect with the celebrity and renew the relationship, they need you now more than ever.