6 Foreign Celebrity Problems That Are Unthinkable In The US
Imagine how boring it would be to wait in line at the supermarket without celebrities' personal problems. But Hollywood doesn't have a monopoly on dramatic movie star woes. Around the globe, it can get much worse than profanity-laden DUI arrests and paparazzi punch-outs. For example ...
Anyone In Egypt Can Sue Public Figures For Inciting Debauchery
In Hollywood, wearing the wrong dress to a red carpet gets you snide remarks from TV presenters, and maybe some memes. In Egypt, the same thing can get you ... prison. That's what actress Rania Youssef faced year after she attended the Cairo Film Festival wearing the equivalent of a black swimsuit with a bedazzled fishnet over it. This was enough to get her charged with "inciting debauchery" and questioned for four hours.
If Cardi B had showed up, the event would probably have been cancelled as a result of exploding heads.
Egyptian law allows for any random citizen to make such a complaint against whoever they choose. This is how pop singer Shyma ended up being jailed for a year for "suggestively eating a banana" in a music video. Another singer was arrested for a pretty tame video whose title rhymes with an insult.
While the average Egyptian isn't losing any sleep over these things, some concerned citizens have made a career out of tattling on celebrities. In Youssef's case, it was two lawyers named Samir Sabry and Amr Abdel Salam, who gained notoriety for suing belly dancers and "potty-mouthed" puppeteers and publicly attacking foreign visitors for "insulting Egypt." Said foreigners were also women, in case you were starting to sense a pattern here.
The charges against Youssef were dropped after she apologized for her fashion crime. Matters were presumably helped when word got out to the international press and the lawyers behind it all became global laughingstocks. That's not to say you should go and seek your fortune by performing on the streets of Cairo with belly-dancing sex puppets any time soon.
For Asian Pop Idols, Dating Is Tantamount To Career Suicide
In the U.S., if a pop star hasn't dated and dramatically broken up with at least three other celebrities by their mid-20s, we assume they must be some kind of weirdo. In Korea, it's exactly the other way around. As a general rule, Korean idols are prohibited (or at least highly discouraged) from dating. Supposedly this is to "prevent scandals," but it probably has more to do with the idea that people are more likely to buy an album if they think they have a shot with someone depicted on the cover.
And if they're caught dating anyway? That's like spitting on their fans' faces, apparently. Taeyeon, the leader of the group Girls' Generation, had to apologize to her fans both through social media and in person after it came out that she was dating someone. Another idol apologized because fans thought she was dating one of the guys from BTS, based on a series of (completely unintended) "clues" found on her Instagram posts. K-Pop fans are even more frightening than Stanley Kubrick obsessives.
And it's not just Korea. When a member of the Japanese girl group AKB48 was seen leaving a boy's house, the effects were so extreme that she felt the need to shave her head and post a tearful apology video. Mind you, she was barely 20 at the time. Say what you will about how the West treats its pop stars, but at least they're usually past 25 when they reach the head-shaving meltdown phase.
Many Telenovela Stars Are Secretly Broke
Telenovelas, our daily Spanish-language serving of steamy sexy drama, have become so popular in recent years that many now shoot in major U.S. cities, such as Los Angeles and Miami. For the actors, this means fame and ... uh, just fame, actually. Despite their devoted worldwide following, some well-known actors working in the U.S. have struggled to make ends meet between jobs. Take Pablo Azar of Mexico, who once went from attending an awards show full of adoring fans to driving for Uber on the same night.
For the longest time, telenovela actors were given almost no benefits or protection, because they're considered foreign shows by American networks such as Telemundo. Until last year, they didn't even have a recognized union. This means that they didn't get health insurance, overtime, residuals for the endless reruns playing somewhere in the world 24/7, or coverage for accidents on set. Like, what if your legs atrophy while pretending to be in a coma for 20 straight episodes? Tough luck, amigo.
Additionally, the whole "daily episodes" thing means the actors are often overworked, and the writers' love of plot twists means there's little job security for everyone but protagonists. Every other character can be killed off at any moment, or undergo plastic surgery and suddenly look like a whole other actor. Fortunately, things are starting to change due to stars like Azar sharing their ironically telenovela-worthy stories with the media.
BBC Stars Are Public Servants, And Everyone Gets To Know How Much They Make
Quick, how much does Seth Meyers make? The answer is "I don't know, who gives a crap?" But things are a little different in the UK, where talk show host Graham Norton was paid $757,000 last year, and half the country agrees that's an absolute outrage.
That's because by far the UK's largest media producer is the BBC, which runs two of the three most popular TV channels, four of the five most popular radio stations, and possibly the most popular streaming service. If it ever starts making porn and magazines about steam locomotives, no British person will ever need to look elsewhere for entertainment.
Since the BBC is a publicly owned entity, this means that many UK TV and radio stars are technically public servants, and the government has recently started forcing the Beeb to disclose their pay. This, in turn, means that they receive a yearly torrent of abuse from people outraged that their money is being used on huge salaries for a bunch of London-based millionaires. The right-wing media in particular hates the BBC with a passion, and misses no opportunity to whip up outrage every time some DJ is caught buying his racehorse cocaine "with your money."
Left-wingers are equally outraged by the obvious gender imbalance among the top earners, meaning the BBC's annual report has more or less turned into a day where the whole country comes together to shout at Gary Lineker on Twitter.
In fairness, it's kind of understandable. Plenty of people hate Jimmy Fallon, but it's easier to shrug and ignore him when you can't be fined or imprisoned for refusing to fund his show.
Bollywood Discriminates Against Dark-Skinned Actors
The Indian film industry has been known to shun actors who look too, uh ... Indian? A casting director once told dark-skinned actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui that he will forever be segregated from the "fair and handsome" folk because "it would look so weird" otherwise. Siddiqui gave a heartfelt response, although perhaps Twitter wasn't the best medium:
This effect also trickles down to members of the audience, who are encouraged to "scrub out that tan" in beauty salons. One might assume that this is a holdover from the bad old days of British colonialism, but nope. That occupation appears to have merely intensified an already existing system wherein everyone was of the opinion that dark equals bad. And now that the British are gone, celebrities have stepped in to fill the void, shilling for products that promise they'll make you look paler than a MMORPG-loving Nosferatu.
There's now a growing outrage over the issue, which seems ... a little late? It actually took until 2014 for ads depicting darker women as inferior to be declared officially taboo, and the national obsession with changing one's natural tones remains. And American companies like Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, and Procter & Gamble will be there every step of the way to assist them in their epidermal bleaching needs.
Homosexuality Is Banned In The Chinese Movie Industry
In 2016, China implemented a new set of rules intended to protect people from media content that "exaggerates the dark side of society." This includes smoking, drinking, adultery, and the ultimate vice, reincarnation. Oh, and homosexuality. Homosexuality has been decriminalized there for over 20 years, but watching other people be gay on TV is verboten. Any shows that have dealt with the topic have been kicked off the air. Fans believe the censors even forbade two actors from appearing together again, lest their new characters become possessed by their old ones via evil gay reincarnation.
This also affected Hollywood films. Call Me By Your Name was initially accepted into a Chinese film festival, but had to be pulled due to the new rules. Bohemian Rhapsody wasn't banned, but they cut any scene mentioning Freddie Mercury's homosexuality, plus the scene when the band dresses in drag for the I Want To Break Free video. At that point, why even bother showing the film at all? Just pop a Queen Live At Wembley DVD into the projector and pretend that's the movie.
But it's not just the government. A popular streaming service independently decided to start blurring out earrings worn by male celebrities on TV, making it look like they must have a dong growing out of their ear or something.
Of course, the public isn't fooled, and this censorship only makes some folks more curious about the stuff they're being "protected" from (which is easier to find than ever, thanks to the internet). Who knows, China might be raising its gayest generation ever.
E. Reid Ross has a book called BIZARRE WORLD that's due to be released in September. He's practically on his knees begging that you pre order it now from Amazon or Barnes and Noble and leave a scathing/glowing review.
For more, check out 6 Insane Foreign Remakes Of Famous American Blockbusters:
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