News

Celebrities: Publicly protected?

MandiBy MANDI STEFFEY

Columnist

On March 15, the rapper Lil’ Wayne reportedly suffered a seizure and then was treated at a nearby hospital in Los Angeles. This kind of celebrity news is something we hear all the time: this person suffers a heart attack, that person falls victim to a drug addiction. For some reason, the knowledge of the health and wellness of celebrities is very important to us. So, per usual, the internet lit up with news about Lil’ Wayne’s reported seizure.

I work at a local news organization and I was at work when I first heard this. One of my co-workers saw on a newswire that Lil’ Wayne had suffered some type of injury and was in the hospital. Knowing this could possibly be newsworthy, another co-worker found out the real name of Lil’ Wayne (which happens to be Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr.) and the reported hospital he was being treated in. A call was made, and no information was given by the staff at the hospital. This made me think.

It could be that the tip was wrong and Lil’ Wayne was at a different hospital, but what if he really was there? It seems almost impossible that a celebrity wouldn’t demand that no information be given to any callers that aren’t relatives. But aren’t regular people (like me) subject to my information leaking out to whoever would call if I were in the hospital?

The latest news I’ve heard about Lil’ Wayne’s seizure is that it did in fact happen. Lil’ Wayne personally tweeted about it. CNN reported he was being treated at an LA hospital. Before the information was confirmed, internet crawlers were left to their own devices. And like always, rumors started. I read a lot of stuff on Twitter about it and I saw many “reasons” for Lil’ Wayne’s seizure—one being that he overdosed on codeine cough syrup.

But why did it take hours for the real information to surface? Wouldn’t it have been better if all of the information was just truthful from the source? If you’re in the public eye, you’re in the public eye. There’s no sense in covering things up because they’ll eventually surface.

This kind of odd, sketchy medical cover-up seems to happen with celebrities often. When Jay-Z and Beyoncé had their baby, no press was tolerated. Rumors started swirling, and eventually their baby, Blue Ivy, was linked to ridiculous theories like the whole Illuminati thing. People are like sharks when it comes to celebrity news, savagely taking it in with no real regard to what it is.

Even though Lil’ Wayne’s seizure was confirmed by multiple large news sources, I still don’t expect the real truth to come out for a few days. It’s like that with a lot of celebrity news, and sometimes we don’t really find out who they are until their usually untimely demises.

Why are celebrities untouchable, out of reach entities? They’re famous—it doesn’t make sense that most of them are extremely private about their personal lives. If you’re lavishly paid to stand in the spotlight, you’d better stand in it.

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