Three questions we need to ask ourselves before sharing comments about famous people

Few celebrity interviews have drawn as much worldwide attention as Oprah's recent sit-down with Harry and Meghan, which should come as no surprise. These people have a level of worldwide recognition and fame that far surpasses most world leaders and even most entertainers.

With fame comes critics, with criticism comes controversy, and with controversy comes conversations among the masses. And in those conversations, people often feel free to say things to or about famous people that they wouldn't say to or about someone they know in real life. It's easy to dehumanize celebrities who seem so different from the average person, and since they're never going to see what we say, it doesn't really matter anyway, right?

The problem is that others—people we actually care about—do see what we say. And it does matter to them.


Social media is currently filled with reactions to Meghan Markle sharing how the abusive British tabloids and lack of support she had from the palace led to her having suicidal thoughts. While some celebrate her courage in speaking out, some have called her a "drama queen." Some say she's an attention-seeking narcissist. Some scoff at her claims, questioning how she could be suffering so much when she literally lived in a palace with a handsome prince, wanting for nothing.

Meghan will never see the vast majority of those comments. But other people who struggle with suicidal thoughts will. People who live economically privileged lives and those who don't. People who have good marriages and those who don't. If we call Meghan Markle a drama queen for sharing that she felt suicidal, what people who also struggle with those thoughts will see is that we can't be counted on for support. They'll see that we might judge and dismiss their feelings as undeserved at best or manufactured at worse. They'll see that we can't be trusted.

That doesn't just apply to Meghan Markle and suicidal thoughts. People play fast and loose with celebrity commentary all the time, and when our comments involve things like mental health or other struggles that are common to the general population, what we say matters because it can impact people we truly care about.

Here are three questions we need to ask ourselves before we comment critically about a famous person.

1) Am I criticizing them for something they did/said, or something they're going through?

There's a big difference between calling out a problematic behavior or a harmful statement someone has made and criticizing someone for sharing a personal experience. When we have a dislike for someone famous, that line can get blurred, but it's an important distinction.

When we criticize a famous person for something they're going through—a mental health crisis, struggles with addiction, abuse, or loss—we're making a judgment about something we aren't in a position to judge. And our judgment has the potential to hurt everyone who's going through something similar.

2) Is the thing they're talking about a common struggle?

People often dismiss celebrity struggles because they seem to "have it all" and live above everything. But they don't.

Famous people are people. Their life may look different than ours in many ways, but they are human beings first, prone to the same mental and emotional experiences as everyone else.

Mental health issues, addiction, racism, sexism, loss, grief, and other struggles don't discriminate by class. Fame and privilege of wealth or status don't shield people from any of those issues, and sometimes the reality of celebrity can make some of those issues worse.

Look at Anthony Bourdain, for example. He had plenty of money and the coolest job in the world, traveling the globe and exploring delicious food everywhere he went. But he died by suicide. And he's certainly not alone.

If there's one thing that connects us all, it's these common human experiences that anyone—rich or poor, famous or not—can find themselves in.

3) If I have a loved one who has experienced the same or a similar struggle, how would they feel if I directed this comment to them?

When a loved one who struggles with suicidal thoughts sees us criticizing someone else's struggles with suicidal thoughts, what does that say to them? Will they think of us as a safe, supportive person they can go to? Or will they be afraid we will dismiss their feelings as being "overly dramatic"?

When a loved one who has experienced racism sees us rolling our eyes at a famous person's experiences with racism, what does it say to them? Will they see us as someone who has their back?

When a loved one who has found themselves in an abusive situation sees us tell a famous person, "What did you expect? You knew what you were getting into," will they see us as a safe person to talk to?

Most of those struggles are endured silently, but they are definitely there and far more common than people think. Our loved ones are listening to our words, whether we're talking directly to them or commenting on a public social media page. Rethinking the way we talk about these things can save a lot of hurt feelings and avoid damaging our own relationships. If it's not something we'd say to or about someone we love, we're probably better off not saying it at all.

via PixaBay and PixaBay

A cat sitting funny and a happy pug.

When my old dog Murray really wanted to tell me something and his barking or pawing didn’t get the job done, he would start making sounds that I swear mimicked human speech. Now, I’m not entirely sure that he was attempting to get through to me as a member of my own species would, but I don’t know how else to explain this quirky behavior.

It’s pretty amazing when we see our pets cross the imaginary line that separates the species by exhibiting human-like behaviors. But if you were to try to explain them to someone who’s never had a dog or cat (or parrot you will soon see) most of them would probably just shrug it off.

So, I never really talked to anyone about my dog’s strange but funny human impersonation.

Reddit user DMLorance created a safe space for pet owners to share their stories that no one believes on the AskReddit subforum.

“Pet owners of Reddit. What quirk does your pet (past or present) do that nobody believes when you tell them?”

Here are 16 of the best responses.


Keep Reading Show less
via © Jakub Gojda/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021 and © Zoe Ross /Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021

Two of the winners of the Comedy Pet Photo Awards.

A few weeks ago, Upworthy shared the hilarious winners of the 2021 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards and the winner was a well-timed shot of a monkey who appears to have hurt the family jewels on a suspension wire. (Don't worry folks, no monkeys were harmed for the awards.)

The awards were created six years ago by Tom Sullam and Paul Joynson-Hicks to promote positive awareness of animal welfare issues. The competition has been so successful, the duo decided to branch out and create the Comedy Pet Photo Awards, where photographers can submit pictures of their furry friends for a £2,000 ($2650) prize.

Donations generated by the competition go to Animal Support Angels, an animal welfare charity in the UK.

This year's winner is Zoe Ross for "Whizz Pop," a photo of her labrador puppy Pepper who appears to be tooting bubbles.

“We never ever thought that we would win but entered the competition because we loved the idea of helping a charity just by sending in a funny photo of Pepper," Ross said in a statement. "She is such a little monkey, and very proud of herself, bringing in items from the garden and parading past you until you notice her. She is the happiest puppy we’ve ever known and completely loved to pieces.”

Here are the rest of the winners of the 2021 Comedy Pet Photo Awards.

Overall Winner: Zoe Ross "Whizz Pop," Penkridge, UK

© Zoe Ross /Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021

Did this puppy swallow a bubble?

Best Dog Category: Carmen Cromer "Jurassic Bark," Pittsboro, North Carolina

© Carmen Cromer/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021

"My golden retriever, Clementine, loves to stick her face in front of the hose while I water the plants. Her expression in this photo made me think of a tyrannosaurus rex, hence the title, "Jurassic Bark." Duh nuh nuuuh nuhnuh, duh nuh nuuuh nuh nuh, dun duh duuuh nuh nuh nuh nUUUUUUhhhh," Carmen Cromer.

Best Cat Category: Kathrynn Trott "Photobomb," Ystradgynlais, UK

© Kathrynn Trott/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021

Jeff stealing the limelight from his brother Jaffa.

Best Horse Category: Mary Ellis, "I said 'Good Morning," Platte River State Park, Nebraska

© Mary Ellis/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021

"I like to visit the stable horses before I begin my hike at the State Park. This is the reply I received when I said 'Good morning,'" Mary Ellis.

All Other Creatures Category: Sophie Bonnefoi, "The Eureka Moment," Oxford, UK

© Sophie Bonnefoi/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021

"Cutie and Speedy are two chicks hatched from eggs placed in an incubator at home in August 2020. They spent their first few weeks indoors. In the photo, they are just over two weeks old. They were curious about everything. This is the day they discovered their own shadow. It was hilarious to see them wondering and exploring that 'dark thing' that was moving with them!" Sophie Bonnefoi.

Junior Category: Suzi Lonergan, "Sit!" Pacific Palisades, California

© Suzi Lonergan/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021

"Our granddaughter gave the command to sit. Beau is very obedient," Suzi Lonergan.

Pets Who Look Like Their Owners Category: Jakub Gojda, "That Was a Good One!" Czech Republic

© Jakub Gojda/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021

"This photo was taken by accident during the photography of my ex-girlfriend with her beloved mare. For this cheerful moment, I thank the fly that sat on the horse's nose and he instinctively shook his head," Jakub Gojda.

Highly Commended: Chloe Beck, "Hugo the Photobomber," Walsall, UK

© Chloe Beck/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021

"This is my best friend Faith, her husband Alex, and their cheeky Sproodle, Hugo. Faith wanted a photograph to mark a special occasion—her first outing after shielding at home for 14 months. Hugo jumped into the frame at just the right moment!" Chloe Beck.

Highly Commended: Luke O'Brien, "Mumford and Chum," Coventry, UK

© Luke O'Brien/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021

​"Losing the opportunity to play with my human bandmates during lockdown, Flint, my rescue dog, soon taught me that we didn't just have sharp bones in common, but musical ones, too. He soon became the perfect substitute for a collaborative stomp up at home, so much so that we felt we deserved our own band name (Muttford and Chum). With my camera set up remotely during this shoot, I think it's fair to say that the image is proof that his conviction as a performer matches my own," Luke O'Brien.

Highly Commended: Kathryn Clark, "Wine Time," Clichester, UK

© Kathryn Clark/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021

"It's that time of day again! Little Blue enjoys it almost as much as me," Kathryn Clark.

Highly Commended: Diana Jill Mehner, "Crazy in Love with Fall," Paderborn, Germany

© Diana Jill Mehner/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021

This is Leia. As you can see, she definitely loves playing with all the leaves in autumn. It was really tricky to take this picture because you never know what the dog is going to do next," Diana Jill Mehner.

Highly Commended: Christine Johnson, "Boing," Crosby Beach, UK

© Christine Johnson/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021

"I was busy playing with my dog on the beach and this dog came to play. I liked the shapes he was making in the air," Christine Johnson

Highly Commended: Manel Subirats Ferrer, "Ostrich Style," Platja del Prat de Llobregat, Spain

© Manel Subirats Ferrer/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021

Nuka playing hide and seek at the beach.

Highly Commended: Colin Doyle, "Nosey Nieghbor," Bromsgrove, UK

© Colin Doyle/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021

​"According to Ozzy, we need a new fence panel ASAP. He is fed up with Chester our nosy next door neighbor spying on him every time he has a meal," Colin Doyle.

Highly Commended: Corey Seeman, "A Warm Spot on a Cold Day," Michigan

© Corey Seeman/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021

"Two of the morning regulars at the dog park are Gary (hound mix with the jacket) and Kona, one of the most chill dogs ever," Corey Seeman.

Highly Commended: Lucy Slater, "So What?" San Diego, California

© Lucy Slater/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021

"This is how I like to sit!" Vincent the cat.

Highly Commended: Mollie Cheary, "Photobomb," Poole, UK

© Mollie Cheary/Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2021

"Bailey was so excited to see her friends, she couldn't sit still for a photo!" Mollie Cheary.

Kelly Clarkson and Ariana Grande duked it out on Jimmy Fallon's 'The Tonight Show.'

There are pop stars, and then there are singers. While recording studio technology can make people sound like amazing singers, the proof is in their live performances.

Kelly Clarkson and Ariana Grande took it a whole step further on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," delivering not only a jaw-dropping live performance but doing so in the form of revolving pop diva hits in an "impossible karaoke" showdown. In less than five minutes, they showed off their combined ability to nail pretty much anything, from imitating iconic singers' styles to belting out well-known songs with their own vocal stylings.

Watch this and try not to be impressed:

Keep Reading Show less