Thursday, April 13, 2017

What IS Invasion of Privacy?

Even if you've never listened to a podcast in your life, you may have heard of this one:



It was only six episodes of about a half an hour each, but Missing Richard Simmons made a huge impact. It was the top podcast in iTunes for much of its run and it put the fitness guru back in the news.



Spoiler alert: Richard Simmons isn't being held against his will. He isn't ill or transitioning or any of the other "theories" the podcast explored. As he said in a statement last June, he simply wants to live quietly



Missing Richard Simmons was created by Dan Taberski, a former Daily Show producer and customer at Simmons' fitness studio. Taberski, calling himself a "friend," claimed genuine concern for the celebrity as he dug into this "mystery."


Simmons and Taberski

Simmons has confirmed he's okay. Police have conducted welfare checks and confirmed he's okay. His spokesperson has repeatedly confirmed he's okay. Yet the podcast attempted to get to the heart of this "mystery" and possibly draw Simmons out of retirement. (Because people are "missing Richard Simmons"...get it?)



The question is, at what point are we just invading someone's privacy for our own entertainment? Tabloids and legitimate news sources have dug into the lives of celebrities for years, occasionally even after they've left the spotlight. With a podcast, though, it goes beyond a simple news story...or does it?



This story does have a twist, though. Earlier this week, Simmons' manager announced the celebrity has signed a merchandising deal and may emerge from hiding soon.



Does it feel like an invasion of privacy now???

32 comments:

  1. Hmmmm - good question. I think that there is a lot that comes with choosing celebrity, even after you've decided to be done. I've never really agreed with hounding people, but then I'm not the star struck type anyway.

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    1. I think people who seek fame don't realize what it means to not be able to go anywhere without people hassling you. They want their lives to mean something, I guess? But privacy is way underrated!

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  2. It could be a well orchestrated publicity stunt.

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    1. Could be! That wouldn't surprise me.

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  4. Fame creates a lot of weird dynamics regarding what is good and bad publicity, and what is an invasion of privacy.

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    1. So true. Some think that when you "sign up" for celebrity, you give up all rights to privacy. But not everyone signs up for celebrity. And some don't realize what they're getting into. Some people just want to act or dance or sing...and they don't realize that success means that they can never go out in public again. Richard Simmons-level fame is probably like that. He's SO recognizable. It would be hard for him to go anywhere without someone over the age of 40 recognizing him right away. (Now I'm sure that's even worse, since podcast audiences are typically young and now THEY all know who he is!)

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  5. As the person above said, a lot comes with being a celebrity. With so many people posting things online today, it seems hard to tell what is private anymore, if you know what I mean.

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    1. Bill Murray has a well-known quote, advising people if they want to be rich and famous, try rich first and see if that isn't enough.

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  6. I think he may have had a relapse in health and gained some weight. That could be a pretty embarrassing thing to happen when you've spent your entire public life as an advocate for fitness. Maybe he didn't want to be seen until he got back in shape, thus the desire to make an appearance now.

    Who knows...

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    1. I did wonder if he'd gained some weight...honestly, that's the biggest reason I could see for a fitness guru to decide to disappear.

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  7. I have a sneaking suspicion that commenter Maria Z may be on to something!

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    1. Yeah, I'm starting to think that, too. Don't tell fans of the podcast that, though. They get a bit...passionate about it!

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  8. It does seem a little fishy if he comes back to advertise something, but also smart if it's true.

    K is for Kevlar—Gift From Aliens?

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    1. If it was, I'll feel silly for saying I couldn't listen because it was an invasion of his privacy. But at least I didn't waste my time listening to something that just led to him coming back.

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  9. From one who had a TV reporter knock on her door for an interview, I say, just let folks do their jobs, which, if it is entertaining you, leave them alone when they are done entertaining. MYOB.

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    1. Let me amend that, if someone calls from the Daily Show, jump at the chance to be interviewed no matter how painful it might be at the time. You'll regret that you didn't do it later in life, LOL.

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    2. Possibly...sure sounds like this guy got a LOT of people to speak to him.

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  10. I think sometimes celebrities disappear so people will start talking about them again....could be, yes?????

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  11. I kinda does. I think he knows where the spotlight is if he wants to be in it. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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  12. I have to admit that I had not given Richard Simmons much thought at all and when I heard something on a TV talk show about missing him, I thought he had died! I'd rather be outside in the garden than pondering his whereabouts.

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  13. A serious pop culture buff, I didn't see the podcast, but I heard all the rumblings about the "missing" Simmons, remembering that he's been around for zillion years motivating us to Sweat to the Oldies, but I can't say I actually noticed he was gone until all this came up. Dave Chapelle withdrew from the public eye for a while too. His reasoning was that he just wasn't prepared for the notoriety . I think Richard was just tired and wanted to relax. Unfortunately, once people decide to entertain us, they loose a part of themselves to the masses, so even though they definitely deserve privacy, people don't necessarily respect that need. Before we know it, our feelings change, and they are bashed for wanting that alone time, creating this really weird cycle. Imagine what would happen if we stopped hearing about Oprah, or Adele, or Katy Perry or Beyonce? Hmmm...

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  14. I suppose it's a problem we'd all love to have, until we have it.

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  15. I'm not one to care about the personal lives of celebrities. I think that's for them, not me. Just like I don't want them in my personal life. ;)

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  16. sounds like a stunt to me, and that's okay. Richard Simmons has always been on the cusp of absurd. If he wants to be in the public eye, he can be. Nowadays it is hard to tell what is real and fake - big sigh

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  17. I understand the desire to live with a sense of privacy. Perhaps he just needed a break from the spotlight for awhile. I deactivated my facebook account because I had so many friends I no longer knew who was a real friend and who had simply added me to keep tabs. When your life is private, your circle may be smaller, but there's more certainty about exactly who you're letting into your life.

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  18. There's a downside to fame and fortune isn't there.
    Happy Easter, Steph.

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  19. I pay little attention to celebrities so had no idea he was "missing." Personally, I prefer my privacy.

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  20. I feel so out of it. Like Beverly, I didn't know he was missing. As for the larger question about invasion of privacy, it's a serious problem today. There is no respect for our fellow human's dignity. Roosevelt was in a wheelchair, but the magazines and newspapers never showed it while he was alive. Kennedy is now said to have entertained girlfriends at the Whitehouse, but the press respected his privacy and never mentioned it, so we (the public) didn't know about it. We don't need to know every detail and I wince at some of what is blared out on the evening news today.

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  21. Celebrities or not, people should have every right to keep their private lives private.

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  22. I have to ask, what is real and what isn't? Does he truly want to be out of the limelight or is it the opener to a real comeback? Hmmm...if it's real and he wants to be left alone then I feel bad. I don't like the invasion of personal life stuff though I know that is a reality too.

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  23. Hmmm...I don't know?? I think if he wanted to be left alone, he would have kept out of the spot light. Now he's coming back with a merchandising deal??
    Happy Easter!!

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