There’s a lot to be troubled about lately with the headlines of scandals involving actors. Just in the past month, we’ve seen Jussie Smollett, Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin caught up in alleged bad behavior. However, one aspect that I’ve not seen mentioned much in the media is the unfair vilification of actors as “entitled elites” who used their fame and fortune to cheat the system.
What bothers me most about that depiction is the broad brush with which this paints actors. Though the ones who achieve the most notoriety might be rich or even entitled, most actors are hard-working people who struggle with economic insecurity and even poverty in order to pursue their chosen field.
Along with musicians, actors practically invented the gig economy thousands of years ago. Many must worry about what and where their next job will be, even as the try to concentrate on the one they have now. And unlike an Uber driver or Grubhub delivery person, actors have specific skill sets and talents which are usually the result of years of training and hard work. Actors face more rejection than just about any job. For most, it’s hardly a glamorous life. Yet somehow, it’s a calling that remains fulfilling, even as they struggle to pay rent or afford healthcare. So, that Uber driver or Grubhub delivery person might also be an actor working a second or third job to make ends meet.
In so many ways, most actors are just like the rest of us. And, yes. That means a small percentage of them are unethical and deceitful. But isn’t that true for any profession? It might seem logical to think that those trained to embody characters would excel in real life deceit. In truth, an actor’s love for their craft is what keeps them honest.
So, let’s give actors a break. Unethical people are everywhere. And a few bad apples who happen to be rich and gained celebrity from their acting don’t represent the vast majority of hard-working artists with tremendous integrity, perseverance and grit.