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Is Tiger Woods entitled to his privacy?

December 6, 2009

Here we go again.  A private marital issue that the public neither needs nor is entitled to know about, hits every news and entertainment show.  This time it’s the otherwise sterling-imaged Tiger Woods, who had a strange car crash in his driveway that is somehow – supposedly – connected to infidelity and/or marital problems.

I wish I could figure out why the press and entertainment media keep serving up celebritys’ private miseries for public consumption, particularly when they have to do with issues of infidelity or divorce. 

This is what Tiger Woods argues in his recent public statement:

“…no matter how intense curiosity about public figures can be, there is an important and deep principle at stake which is the right to some simple, human measure of privacy …

Personal sins should not require press releases,” he wrote, “and problems within a family shouldn’t have to mean public confessions.”

I wholeheartedly agree.  Call me naive.  But for the life of me, I just don’t see any relationship between Woods’ marital issues with his athletic accomplishments – which is, after all, what he is known and admired for.

Ken Makovsky, president of the highly respected Makovsky + Company, one of the largest global independent public relations firms in the U.S. recently addressed this question his My Three Cents blog.  Ken, who knows a thing or two about reputation management and the commercial value of a celebrity’s public image, disagrees with me.

 “Unfortunately, as a result of his empyrean celebrity, Woods doesn’t really have a private life,” Ken writes.

But truly, don’t we all have a lot more important things to think about? To anyone who finds the grungy details of another person’s marital problems a source of fascination, I would like to say just this: “Get a life.”

What am I missing here? Your thoughts?

9 Comments leave one →
  1. chaunte permalink
    December 6, 2009 7:13 pm

    Regardless of Tiger Woods celebrity status, marital issues are a delicate subject I feel the media should allow him privacy at this time. There will be enough trauma without the media prying in.

  2. December 6, 2009 10:49 pm

    I agree with you- we should all have better things to think/talk about. Unfortunately, it’s true that celebrities are not automatically entitled to privacy– but that’s our fault. It’s not a law of the universe. And it’s not the wishes of the celebrities themselves. As a society, we should be more respectful of celebrities’ private matters. It won’t stop until people stop talking. Reading the headlines while standing in line at the supermarket seems a harmless way to pass the time, however it feeds the epidemic-level lack of consideration.

    • December 7, 2009 12:04 pm

      Thanks for the great comments. You’re right about supermarket tabloids. I always feel icky when I see them at the supermarket checkout. The bottom line is, why should we care? Thanks for your thoughts.

  3. Christine Pakkala permalink
    December 7, 2009 12:04 pm

    I think the media isn’t the puppet master here; it’s the public dictating to the media. We’ve made heroes out of people who catch balls or swing clubs and then we eagerly watch them screw up. We’re exactly like the Romans at the Coliseum. We want blood. We can’t blame the media. We are the media.

    • Risha Shaw permalink
      December 7, 2009 4:20 pm

      Celebrities pay the price for fame, and it is a disgrace.

    • Risha Shaw permalink
      December 7, 2009 4:21 pm

      wonderful comment.
      as Pogo said, We have met the enemy, and it is us.

    • December 7, 2009 7:17 pm

      I’ve never been one to blame the media. You’re quite correct, the media sells what people will buy. But we have a choice of which media to support.

  4. December 10, 2009 4:30 am

    I agree that Tiger does not owe the public an explanation. I also agree that we, the public, create the demand. The media is doing their job by producing the supply.

    There is an interesting discussion on this topic, from a few angles going on over on my blog and on Jamey Stegmaier’s blog The discussion has touched on whether Tiger owes the public an explanation, why the public is fascinated with the personal lives of celebrities, why children look to professional athletes as role models and the character of people who cheat.

    It’s amazing how much controversy emerges from “news” like this. I actually feel a little guilty feeding the fire…

  5. December 10, 2009 4:38 am

    Jessica, I agree 100% with you. And I think it’s startlingly UNNATURAL for a hugely famous and rich man like Tiger Woods to be monogamous. Which might explain why he has – allegedly – given in to temptation. Which man wouldn’t, unless stopped by religious belief? If Woods were a poor and unknown man not one of those women would have had sex with him, without money changing hands first. Isn’t it time we were more realistic about gender differences and sex?

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