For today's entertainers, everyone's out to create a buzz by any means necessary. For adult personalities, creating media headlines by acting outlandishly is irresponsible and sets a horrible example. Even though Paris and LiLo's antics are reprehensible, these two work independently and make their own choices as to how they are perceived by the public (but it is important to note that Lohan's market value to studios has dropped dramatically since her history of embarrassing antics have been made public). For child stars, whose images are closely guarded by the sponsor brands they represent, acting out to draw attention to themselves presents a much bigger problem: they disparage themselves along with their parent brand and put their well-crafted image on the chopping block.
Time and time again, fresh young starlets, always branded with a wholesome image, are being caught baring all in a pic or video that circulates the web at light speed. The paparazzi scramble to get new shots. Headlines fill up with the latest shocking scandal. And, parents roll their eyes in disgust as yet another child "role model" disproves their clean cut image and disappoints young followers. I've watched this occur repeatedly, thinking it will eventually die down, but the issue always seems to escalate and pop up again and again. Last week, yet another round of naughty photos floated out into the web cloud, this time of former 3LW member and current Disney Cheetah Girl Adrienne Bailon.
What is it that these girls think they will benefit from this exposure? Maybe they're attempting to sabotage their current business deals and create a more "mature" image; or maybe they are caving to overwhelming pressure to keep their name in the spotlight at any cost. In any event, neither strategy works. A year ago, Vanessa Hudgens, another Disney dynamo, had her own scandal, but Disney chose to continue the relationship. And while Adrienne could just be seeking attention after seeing her star fade, this will likely just see her story sink lower in entertainment lore. It's a lose-lose for both her and Disney, but what is Disney going to do about it?
Instead of allowing the behavior to continue, often in violation of a behavioral clause in their contracts, Disney has to take a stand. They have a responsibility to speak out against such lewd behavior by the leaders of their brand. Because they directly target children and market almost exclusively to them, Disney has to start enforcing their rules and setting parameters. Instead, by turning the other cheek, they passively condone the behavior and continue to try to profit off the "buzz". They are failing in their responsibility to keep their brand wholesome and choose brand icons who can cleanly portray a positive image for millions of child fans. There are, however, a small handful of child stars who have the wherewithal to stay clean. It looks like Raven got the memo.... at least for now.
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