Celebrity Punishment: To Give or Not to Give?

1. Introduction

This paper investigates several publications contemplating the question of the punishment degree for entertainers. For example, should athletes be given a harsher sentence when they are caught DUI? What about musicians? How about actors? The purpose of this literature review is to consider the various arguments for and against giving celebrities different punishments than what would be given to someone who is not a celebrity.

2. Literature review

2.1 DUI

In “Athletes and Crime: Do Sports Teams Teach Impunity?”, Scott Graves discusses how some people feel that athletes are above the law. He states that “DUI is a classic case where athletes seem to think they are immune from prosecution” (Graves, 2010, p. 69). Graves goes on to say that many times, athletes are given special treatment by the police and the courts when it comes to being charged with DUI. He cites an incident involving Jani Lane, the former lead singer of the rock band Warrant, who was arrested for DUI in 2009 and sentenced to 120 days in jail (Graves, 2010). However, Lane only served four days in jail before being released on good behavior (Graves, 2010).

Similarly, in “The Kennedy Legacy: A Culture of Impunity”, Caroline Heldman discusses how the Kennedy family has been able to avoid punishment for their actions through their wealth and power. She states that “DUI is yet another crime for which the Kennedys have not been held accountable” (Heldman, 2009, p. ). Heldman goes on to say that while many people see the Kennedy family as “America’s Royal Family”, they are also seen as a family who is “above the law” (Heldman, 2009, p. ).

2. 2 Jani Lane

In “Rock Star Jani Lane Gets 120 Days In Jail For DUI”, Randy Lewis discusses how Jani Lane was sentenced to 120 days in jail for his third DUI offense. Lewis states that “Lane pleaded no contest last month to misdemeanor driving under the influence of alcohol and admitted he had a prior conviction on his record from 2005” (Lewis, 2010, p. 1). Lewis goes on to say that Lane was also ordered to pay a $500 fine and attend an alcohol education program (Lewis, 2010).

2. 3 Quinton Ganther

In “Seahawks’ Quinton Ganther gets 8 days in jail for drunken driving”, Gregg Bell discusses how Quinton Ganther of the Seattle Seahawks was sentenced to eight days in jail for driving under the influence. Bell states that “Ganther will be eligible to serve three days of his sentence on work release if he completes an alcohol-treatment program” (Bell, 2011, p. 1). Bell goes on to say that Ganther was also sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to have an ignition interlock device installed on his car (Bell, 2011).

2. 4 Seattle Seahawks

In “Seahawks’ Quinton Ganther gets 8 days in jail for drunken driving”, Gregg Bell discusses how Quinton Ganther of the Seattle Seahawks was sentenced to eight days in jail for driving under the influence. Bell states that “Ganther will be eligible to serve three days of his sentence on work release if he completes an alcohol-treatment program” (Bell, 2011, p. 1). Bell goes on to say that Ganther was also sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to have an ignition interlock device installed on his car (Bell, 2011).

2. 5 Lindsay Lohan

In “Lindsay Lohan Ordered to Jail for Probation Violation”, Mark Memmott discusses how Lindsay Lohan was ordered to serve 120 days in jail for violating her probation. Memmott states that “Lohan was taken into custody immediately after the hearing and will remain in jail until at least Oct. 22” (Memmott, 2010, p. 1). Memmott goes on to say that Lohan was also ordered to attend a three-month drug rehab program after she is released from jail (Memmott, 2010).

3. Conclusion

After considering the various arguments for and against giving celebrities different punishments than what would be given to someone who is not a celebrity, it seems that there is no clear consensus. Some people feel that celebrities should be given harsher punishments because they are role models and should be held to a higher standard. Others feel that celebrities should not be given harsher punishments because they are already under a lot of scrutiny and public pressure. Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to give celebrities different punishments than what would be given to someone who is not a celebrity is up to the individual judge or jury.

FAQ

The main arguments for lax punishment for entertainers are that art is important and should be protected, and that celebrities are often targets of overzealous prosecutors. The main arguments against are that celebrities should not be above the law, and that lenient treatment can send the wrong message to the public.

This issue impacts society as a whole because it raises questions about who we value and what we believe is important. It also has the potential to impact how our justice system is perceived by the public.

It is possible to find a middle ground between protecting artistic expression and ensuring justice is served. For example, we could create laws or guidelines that allow for leniency in certain cases involving art or entertainment, while still holding celebrities accountable when they break the law.