The Price of Trouble For Celebrities

January 6, 2011  |  

by Alexander Cain

Thanks in part to the popularity of celebrity media outlets like TMZ, Star Magazine, and countless others, access to the personal lives of our favorite celebrities is easier than ever. Twitters allows celebrities and anyone close by to share news and information to millions. The consequences of this information influx can be seen throughout media: more headline news of our favorite celebrities heading to rehab, getting into trouble, or showing destructive behavior. What might seem like harmless gossip about famous people can cost stars millions of dollars due to a loss in endorsements or a loss in work.

Personal lives and the celebrity persona are often blended together for many stars. As celebrities’ personal lives begin to take a hit, the public becomes engaged and the problems begin to mount for many of our famous figures. Two famous athletes, Michael Vick and Tiger Woods, are perfect examples of how an incident in one’s personal life can have severe repercussions to one’s celebrity. Michael Vick was sentenced to two years for his involvement in a dogfighting ring. According to a MSNBC report, his combined loss between his NFL income and endorsements was over $24.5 million a year. Even today, Mike Vick is still paying off all of the debtors he owes, because of all the income he lost while in prison. Even without committing a crime, a major event such as divorce or adultery can cost a celebrity millions.

Tiger Woods involved in the sex scandal also lost key endorsements including Gatorade, AT&T, and Accenture amounting to close to $22 million.  Even those affiliated with hip-hop, music that often boasts evading the law and engaging in unlawful activities, can be hurt by their unlawful ways.

T.I. who was recently sentenced to prison again for violating his probation, lost two of his major endorsements with Axe Body Spray and Remy Martin Cognac.  Even more important than losing an endorsement is losing time, which could’ve been spent on touring. For many artists, the income comes from touring. Artists can make upwards to $100,000 per show with increases depending on profit-sharing percentage. With prison time sentencing, while it might not mean a drop in album sales,  can mean less time for touring and less money earned throughout the year.

While prison might mean lost income for some, other superstars are immune to any losses for album sales. Lil’ Wayne stands an example of a superstar’s popularity that couldn’t be lessened. His album, I’m Not A Human Being, released during his prison stint was a Billboard #1 album and the first album since Tupac Shukar’s Me Against the World Album to reach #1 while the artist was in jail. Lil’ Wayne has proven that a star’s faithful following will continue to support an artist even while serving a stint in jail.

Getting into trouble forces celebrities to evaluate their private lives and re-assess their priorities. As they stay in seclusion away from the spotlight, they are also losing the attention of their fans and the public as a whole. With such an influx of media at everyone’s disposal, if a celebrity doesn’t make headlines, they are easily forgotten. The cost of getting into trouble can cause a celebrity millions in endorsement or other opportunities.

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