- The employer quickly dismisses the accused, claiming no knowledge or responsibility for the misconduct. In doing so, the employer claims the moral highroad by swiftly declaring there is zero tolerance for such behaviour,
- The accused releases a predictable apology in which the accused, lamenting the deplorable actions, admits little or no fault for the incident(s), giving the appearance of the accused taking the moral highroad which is nothing more than a veiled attempt to hold onto the credibility/brand he once had,
- The accuser is praised for speaking out (a brave thing which should be commended) while also scrutinized for any history of impropriety or reasons to discredit the story,
- The world reacts with shock, surprise, and dismay that once again a beloved persona is not who we think they are.
In celebrities, we find an escape from our mundane lives filled with disappointed and struggle; we connect ourselves to the character the celebrity plays. We may be attracted to the good guy who always comes to the rescue; the underdog who looks like they should fail but miraculously succeeds; the deeply flawed character who struggles but gets through life; the sports hero who comes through in the clutch. We are attracted to celebrities and the roles they play because there is a part of us that wants to identify with them. We identify with celebrities because they offer us hope—an escape from what our lives actually are to that which we long for.
There is so much shock each time a different celebrity’s deplorable actions are revealed because our hope in the celebrity’s persona is shattered; the escape and dream we found in them is exposed as not real. We have treated celebrities as if they were gods, able to rescue us (at least momentarily). We’ve welcomed them into our lives, we’ve believed what they said, and in them we’ve found hope for something better than we have. Like all people they too will fall short, disappoint, and ultimately seek their own power and glory.
Why are we still surprised by the endless stream of allegations? It is because we are looking for hope; we want hope in a world and a life that can feel downright hopeless some days.
In God we find hope and the promise that the wrongs of this world will be made right. We are right to be saddened each time we hear of abuse whether celebrity or otherwise because it is a symptom of our world broken by sin. We ought to be saddened but we should not be surprised. Scripture tells a horrifyingly predictable pattern of God’s people failing to get it right, failing to love God and each other perfectly; it is a story of people seeking their own glory and honour.
But more significantly Scripture is a story of redemption and hope where we learn of a God who will never disappoint because His words and actions are always unchanging. We learn of a God who offers us hope and escape from a life of disappointment, pain, and frustration. We learn of a God who cares so much for you that He invested Himself in this world in the simplest way, as a baby, to bring life and relationship with Him now and forever. Because we believe in a God of redemption we should pray for the victims to receive the healing power of God’s presence in their lives and for the accused to come to repentance and restoration in Jesus. We should also examine ourselves: we are all sinners in need of God’s grace and we all turn away from God to chase after those things that seem to offer us hope in the present.
The next time you hear allegations of celebrity misconduct,, ask yourself ‘why am I still surprised?’ Is it because of the brokenness of the situation where lives were damaged and people hurt? Or is it because in our search for hope we thought we found it in this larger than life person, only to be disappointed once again? Keep looking to God, the only One who won't disappoint you!