The other CSR: can "celebrity activism" create a culture of celebrity social responsibility?

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Jon, Hari
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Going to Africa, campaigning for human rights, or speaking on behalf of the United Nations (“UN”) has become the new fashion among celebrities today. The last few years have therefore seen a marked increase in the depth of celebrity involvement in human rights causes. Increasingly, stars are opening their eyes to global issues; and are using their fame and the medium which they work within to speak out on specific causes with a view to influence political outcomes. By all means, this is a welcoming development and what some celebrities are doing is more than what some of us do for the world. However, critics argue that some celebrities are doing more harm than good and question where their true motivations lie. Others, however, view celebrity activists as inspirational role models who are truly passionate about their causes. The question then remains as to whether celebrities can really have a positive impact. At the end of the day, issues such as the Darfur crisis attract immediate media and public attention thanks to celebrities. Although the answer to global problems may not be celebrities, it is important to understand the power of celebrities articulated through their various functions in modern society. However, given the special status conferred on celebrities, does it logically follow to assert that they have greater social responsibility? Or is the recent phenomenon of institutionalising celebrities into the UN a smart way to educate and guide celebrity activists to become more socially responsible? The truth is that more and more celebrities are beginning to realise that an attractive justification for their fame is to wield it for good ends.
Second semester University: University College Dublin
advocacy, celebrities, diplomacy, social responsibility