Celebrities need to be held accountable for their actions

Society depends on the cooperation and responsibility of citizens to follow predetermined laws. Stopping at red lights or paying for items before leaving a store brings order to our society only because we have all agreed to follow these rules.

If these laws are broken, the judicial system steps in and plays its role in bringing these malefactors to justice – supposedly in a fair and equal manner. 

But, in recent years, it has become clear that equality under the law has become blurred, especially for those men and women with a blue checkmark next to their name.

One such incident occurred on Friday, November 5th in Houston, Texas at Travis Scott’s Astroworld music festival.

At the rapper’s concert, a larger than predicted crowd caused unsafe conditions and led to about 300 injuries and the death of ten attendees, including nine-year-old Ezra Blount. 

During the performance, several men and women noted seeing other concertgoers being crushed by the crowd. But 30-year-old Scott claims he didn’t see anything from the stage – not even the people dancing on the security vehicles sent to aid the injured. 

Now, it seems Scott won’t even have to face criminal charges for the events that unfolded. 

Also in November, longtime Hollywood movie star Alec Baldwin made the news when he fired a real gun – which he said he thought was loaded with prop bullets –  while filming a scene for his upcoming movie Rust. But the gun misfired, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza.

Baldwin insists that he didn’t know about the real bullets and that he simply used the gun given to him. Critics, however, argue that Baldwin should have checked that the gun wasn’t loaded. 

In 2015, Caitlyn Jenner caused a four car pile up in Malibu, California after slamming into another vehicle. This tragic event led to the death of 70-year-old Kim Howe and injuring four others. The former track and field Olympian did not face any serious charges and reached an $800,000 dollar settlement with the family involved in the crash.

But, while Scott, Baldwin, and Jenner most likely won’t have a criminal record as a result of their actions, another celebrity will. 

Former NFL player Henry Ruggs III crashed his Corvette sports car into a Toyota RAV4 at 156 miles per hour on a residential street in Clark County, Nevada. The speed limit on that street is 45 miles per hour. The operator of the other vehicle, Tina Tinto, along with her dog Max, were killed instantly. 

An investigation revealed that Ruggs was driving under the influence with a blood alcohol level of 0.16%, double Nevada’s legal limit. Police arrested Ruggs and charged him with two felony counts of driving under the influence, two felony counts of reckless driving, and a misdemeanor gun charge. If convicted, Ruggs could face up to 50 years in prison, according to KTLA Los Angeles.

At his preliminary hearing, Ruggs’ defense attempted to switch the blame to the first responders. “Firemen did not attempt to extinguish the fire at Ms. Tintor’s vehicle for approximately 20 minutes at which time the entire vehicle was engulfed in flames,” argued defense attorneys David Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld.

While justice may be served for Tintor, no one will spend time in prison for what happened on the set of Rust or at the Astroworld Concert. And that doesn’t seem right. 

The irresponsible behavior of celebrities will probably not end soon. The first week of January Tampa Bay’s Buccaneers’ wide receiver Antonio Brown exited the football field in the middle of the game’s third quarter. 

This not-so-subtle exit included Brown removing his pads on the sidelines and running across the end zone to leave the stadium, while throwing equipment into the crowd and waving at fans. 

Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said that he attempted to put Brown back on the field but Brown refused multiple times. After these refusals, Arians asked Brown to leave the field at which point Brown began removing his gear in frustration. 

Arians commented saying that he had “never seen anything like it in all [his] years.” and shortly after the game, Arains announced Brown’s removal from the team. 

Oftentimes, the admiration the society holds for celebrities blinds us from recognizing the humanity in them. By placing celebrities on pedestals, the standards society holds for these individuals shifts, often granting them more leeway in their actions. 

Too many times, these reckless and erratic behaviors of celebrities are forgiven without any equality of consequence. An Instagram apology video does not reconcile the lives of innocent civilians. Society needs to come together in the realization that celebrities are akin to all of us, and, as such, must be held to the same standards to which we would hold each other.