• Thu, May 17 2012

What To Do When Famous People (Like James Franco) Hate You

Drew: Totally a win. Especially because my rebuttal forced him to actually add a link in his HuffPost Livejournal to our original article that he was complaining about. That’s the power of change. That being said, the idea of pissing people off or hurting their feelings in a real way makes me very uncomfortable. If he had sent a private note, I would have felt like shit. But since he wrote an insane, incoherent essay about it in The Huffington Post, I feel nothing but glee.

Jen: What’s the best response? I mean, as a general rule, I think when people get mad about something you’ve written you should, “never complain, never explain.” Because you’ll dig yourself into a pretty deep pit.

Drew: Well, the biggest rule for celebrities is to never respond on Twitter. Twitter is where celebrities go to ruin their careers by saying horrible, stupid things. And for journalists, it’s like blood in the water. As a journalist receiving legitimate criticism though, the biggest rule is to not respond immediately. Take your time, think about how you want to handle the situation. It’s good to think like a PR person: how do you want to manage your image? Anything you write on email can be used by another journalist unless you are off the record, so the best response is usually a well-considered response. And those take time.

Jen: Do you worry about your image with these things? I mean, I actually feel like the journalists who do not do well are the ones who are afraid to ever take shots at celebrities and cling to the notion that one day they will wake up and they will be a celebrity themselves. I don’t think that ever worked for anyone, ever.

Drew: No, fawning celebrity and social columnists are pointless, but I think if you give people a fair shake, and can be funny about it, why, whose to say you can’t be the next Liz Smith or Aileen Mehle?

Jen: Liz Smith did have a super close relationship with celebrities, in part because she was willing to let them help mold the story. But that was before the Internet, When the story could be, to some extent, controlled.

Drew: But she also wasn’t afraid to call out b.s. Right. I think the problem with celebrities in the age of the Internet (I just threw up writing that) is that they can cut out the middle man by doing their own publicity on Twitter, Reddit’s AMA, or what have you. And they really, really, really can’t. If anything, it’s just extra fodder to mock them. They do themselves a disservice by refusing to talk to the press, because they think they can control the public’s perception of them.

Jen: There’s such a good line All About Eve.

Drew: there’s more than one!

Jen: High five through the Internet. The one where the social scribe Addison DeWitt say that magazines keep persisting in writing articles where they insist stars are “just like us”, which is ludicrous, because their whole appeal is that stars are nothing like us.

Drew: God, George Sanders was great in that role. He’s the perfect social reporter: a bitchy Greek chorus who doesn’t take sides.

Jen: BE LIKE HIM. But without all the weird sexual blackmailing, maybe?

Drew: My goal in life is to one day tell a star: “You have a point. An idiotic one, but a point.”

Jen:  So. Wrapping up. How should/do you respond when famous people hate you?

Drew: Well, it depends on how they approach it. If it’s an issue with a snarky tone in a piece, I’m more than happy to discuss it with them over the phone…or even better, over drinks. There’s nothing wrong with making amends…especially if it gets you the inside scoop to a subject. And as terrible and snarky as journalists can be, they also can be immensely generous, if you give them reason to respect you. I’m not saying I can make or break James Franco. But if he keeps responding to blog posts with lengthy Huffington Post articles, someone is going to. Break him, I mean. Actually, he might already be broken.

Jen : So the correct answer is not “drink bourbon and cry.”

Drew: I’d like to say one thing to Mr. Franco, if he’s still listening: “You’re maudlin and full of self-pity. You’re magnificent!”

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  • Falene

    I love this article! One thing I have noticed living in the US is that there is a certain “seriousness” attached to be ing a celebrity. In England we don’t allow them to be that way, if they behave like that they are openly ridiculed at every opportunity. Unless of course you are a queen who has earned his brownie points for years in the biz, charitable donations and surviving drug addiction, eg Elton. Elton John can pretty much get away with anything, he also can sound like a soccer thug which scares people. A very fabulous soccer thug mind you. It’s all very tongue in cheek. Here celebrities tend to get on their soapbox veering either to the extreme left or the extreme right and that is acceptable, but God forbid you mock them for it! I think all American celebrities should be on the Graham Norton Show at least once and Never Mind The Buzzcocks, these experiences can only help them get a reality check. Truth a lot of Americans won’t go on his show because they don’t trust what he will say or ask. I will get off my soapbox now:)

    • Amy

      Graham Norton is the BEST! He’s hilarious and you can really tell the great celebrities from the wankers. Being self-deprecating and willing to laugh at yourself when you make millions of dollars off of people liking you is totally key.

  • Alexis H

    God, I hate JFranc (you like that?) so much. I’m a pretty reasonable person, but he makes me irrationally angry. Maybe it’s because I went to art school and have dealt with this faux-philosophical nonsense several times over? That smug douchebaggery that people are actually willing to indulge for reasons unknown. It’s garbage! Argghhhh!

    He reminds me of a drawing teacher whose class I dropped after he decided to not work on technique and instead explore our abilities to psychically connect with our fellow students. We were not allowed to speak in class for any reason and had to work on projects like drawing the same line a partner was drawing based on sound. I dropped the class before we got to the session with the Oijia board (that is absolutely not a joke).

    I was told by a former classmate that my mind just wasn’t ready and that in time I would “get it.” I’m in law school now and she’s still a waitress, so I guess I’m glad I never did. Anyway, my point is that James Franco sucks and so do people who buy into his crap.

    • Fu_Basho

      And we should totally care someone who’s apparently a judgmental douchette says about a celebrity who no one, genuinely, personally knows.

      haters love to hate.
      lovers love to love.

    • Alexis H

      Says the person who just called a complete stranger a “douchette.”

  • MeenaK

    I met James while working at Tribeca FF and he was so laid-back and nice. People were fawning over him everywhere he went and he kindly took pictures and signed autographs and actually spoke to everyone. As someone who has worked with many celebrities, he’s one of the most down to earth I have had the opportunity to meet.

    • superjack

      PUBLICIST

    • Alexis H

      Totally.

  • Eileen

    Any celebrity who actually bothers to hate you is being petty. Along those lines, any celebrity who will engage you on Twitter to argue is kind of lame.

  • Jason

    Cool article, great response. This poser had 15 minutes in Spiderman. Since then in my opinion he has given only mediocre performances with the exception of 127 hours and even that was debatable. Truth be told, if that subject matter had not been based on a real event, no one would have bothered to comment at all about his acting as he portrayed the same character he portrays in every movie, the difference being his wardrobe. Yeah, yeah, I know about the awards nominations–very political if you know the inside track so that is no verdict on his performances at all. The guy is all sugar and spice if you’re flirtatious (male or female) but all 6 year old school bully if you call bullshit. I think he will set off his own demise in the business without any outside help at all eventually. I believe it would have already happened by now were it not for his legion of babysitters, falling all over themselves cleaning up his spilled milk.