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How the Bradley-Irina Story Highlights the Lack of Ethics in Celebrity Journalism

Oh. My. Gaga. Bradley Cooper and Irina Shayk have “reportedly” called it quits. Well, this is HUGE.

Because it means there are reports out there, saying Bradley and Irina are over. Do I personally know for sure that they’re actually over? Nope. Have I double checked with their reps to see if they’re actually over? Nope. But hey, I’m on a deadline and every other major news outlet is reporting it anyway, so, let’s just go with it.

Where are these “reports” coming from exactly? According to BuzzFeed, “Guys, it’s official.” Their source? People magazine. According to News.com.au, they’ve “split after four years in a relationship together.” Their source? People magazine. According to PerezHilton.com, they’re “DUNZO!”. Their source? People magazine.

And what does it actually say in People, which – for the record – is meant to be one of the more decent celebrity news publications out there (although, they don’t always get it right do they Jennifer Garner)?

Look, it’s all a little confusing to be honest. In the People story, they start by saying the split is “confirmed” but then explain that neither Bradley’s reps nor Irina’s have responded to a request for comment. (Hey, at least they tried.) Their exclusive story that’s sparked hundreds of other stories around the world comes from an “insider” who says the pair is trying to figure out custody arrangements for their daughter.

Who is this insider who has no name? Who is divulging this deeply personal info about the couple? Is it a friend? But a real friend wouldn’t do that! Is it an enemy? Maybe? Who would know this stuff? Are we really just relying on a mystery person and spreading the news like wildfire on the internet? Yes. Yes we are.

What if it’s not even true? Oh, but what if IT IS?

Assuming our trusty/untrusty “insider” friend is telling the truth, is it still not just a little bit wrong to beat the couple to the punch when they’re obviously not ready to reveal this sort of info yet? Isn’t Bradley Cooper and Irina Shayk’s private life still their private life? Just because they’re public figures, does that mean everything they do is fair game for the media? Isn’t there a line? And aren’t we crossing it?

Unless you’re “consciously uncoupling” Gwyneth Paltrow-style (and even then, I’m sure she’d have some tales to tell), it’s safe to say separation and divorce is pretty devastating stuff. And when kids are involved, well that’s next level devastating. And to have it plastered all over the media before you’re ready to tell the world that it’s happening? To have everyone commenting on it and giving their opinion about why your relationship failed, what you did wrong, what your partner did wrong. Seems very, well… wrong.

And what about the other humans being dragged into this whole thing? Because, you see, the break-up quickly becomes old news. It’s time to find a new angle to keep the story going, to keep people clicking, to keep people buying.

“A Star is Torn: Bradley Cooper’s split from Irina Shayk could be because no woman lives up to his beloved mum,” states The Sun.  Sorry Gloria Campano. But at least you’ve got it easier than Lady Gaga. 

With the Twitterverse pointing the finger at Gaga as soon as the unconfirmed news broke (because, hello, did you see that performance at the Oscars?), it seems like the logical bandwagon to jump on.

I mean, really, what does it matter if Gaga was minding her own business, building her own career, living her own life at the time? What does it matter if we pretend we never heard her say this little, widely-reported bit on Jimmy Kimmel Live:

“First of all, social media, quite frankly, is the toilet of the internet and what it’s done to pop culture is abysmal. People saw love and guess what? That’s what we wanted you to see! This is a love song, ‘Shallow’. The movie A Star Is Born [is] a love story. We worked so hard. We worked all week on that performance.”

What does it matter if we basically imply she’s a home-wrecker, fuel the keyboard trolls with theories about her involvement and tear her down too?

Is it not… irresponsible? Isn’t there a line? Aren’t we crossing it, again? (To be fair, there have been lots of articles about how wrong it is to imply Gaga in all of this. Here’s one. Phew.)

It’s so easy to forget that celebrities are human too. They feel things. They have loved ones who feel things. They have families and children who are all impacted by what we write, what we report. Our words are more powerful than we realise.

Let them cry into their millions you say? Guess what – the millions don’t safeguard anyone from mental health issues.

We need to care about the direction celebrity journalism is going because in this Insta age, where literally anyone can become a celebrity overnight – a teenager who throws an egg at a racist politician, a daughter who loses her famous dad and is suddenly thrust into the spotlight – any one of us could be the story. We need to remember that these are people we are dealing with. They’re not just names on a page.

Last night, at a gig in Vegas, Lady Gaga yelled out “be kind or fuck off”. Can’t possibly imagine why.

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