Angelina Jolie Promised Good Press Coverage from People
Is it a deal with the devil or a do-gooder?
Celebrities will do anything to get attention. Some of them date wildly inappropriate men, some of them wear vials of blood around their neck and some of them tongue kiss their brothers.
Oh wait, that’s all Angelina Jolie. But these days, Jolie is insisting on a different kind of attention.
As the New York Times reported last week, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt made a deal with People magazine to sell pics of their new twins, Knox and Vivienne. The price tag was an estimated $14 million – plus a promise of ongoing positive coverage of the couple as well as input on the “editorial plan” for the magazine’s layout.
People denies allegations that Jolie received promises of editorial control, but media sources insist Jolie was guaranteed positive press from the magazine.
The Times article reads like a big “gotcha” story. Shocker: Celebrities manipulate the media! And this is news … why? Celebs have been manipulating the media since Rock Hudson told the press he was marrying Phyllis Gates.
It’s not like anyone thinks of People, which regularly pays for photos and access to celebs, as a pillar of journalistic ethics. That mousy mag was never gonna write anything really nasty about “Brangelina” anyhow. (A nickname which People reportedly can’t call the couple anymore, according to the agreement. As if not-so-cleverly combining two names into one word constitutes “negative” coverage in a universe of Perez Hiltons and TMZs!)
While I condemn People for selling its soul to the Devilgelina, I commend Angelina for negotiating with such savvy. Whatever her personal ulterior motives, the woman has undeniably used her powers for good.
According to the Times, the Angelina-Pitt Foundation, funded partially by money from sales of their family photos, has given grants of $2 million, with additional commitments of $5.6 million, since 2006. The grants will go to charity programs in Ethiopia, Cambodia, New Orleans and Iraq, among other nations. (Many the homelands of some of her six children.)
There are a lot worse things Angelina could be doing with her celebrity spotlight than pointing it toward United Nations humanitarian work and international aid. She could be reveling in the debauchery of Dubai or kissing her brother, for instance.
Other celebs have been similarly criticized for using the media to draw attention to more serious matters than film openings and Oscar gowns. Wired has a wonderful piece on the disparaging of celebrity do-gooders like Bono, Elizabeth Taylor and Michael J. Fox. But as the article points out, “What’s so bad about Bono trying to save the world? Shouldn’t someone be trying? And doesn’t every bit of effort count when it comes to fighting formidable foes like disease, slavery and poverty?”
As long as we’re counting, let’s count Angelina on both the “naughty” and “nice” lists this year. Right where all interesting, complicated and intelligent women belong.
Do you think Angelina Jolie is naughty or nice for making People promise her positive coverage?