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Kobe Bryant

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Image Credit Kobe Bryant and nine other people, including his daughter, died in a helicopter crash. Since he was a celebrity, his death was extensively covered. Since he was accused of sexual assault in 2003, that incident figured prominently in the discussion of his death, with writers struggling (in various degrees) with how to include that in his legacy. This raises various philosophical questions. People feel connected to the celebrities they admire but this is a one-way relationship: fans think they know the celebrity; the celebrity knows they do not know the fans. From the perspective of a fan, this is analogous to loving or liking a fictional character. This is not to deny that in the one-way relationship between the typical fan and the typical celebrity can be meaningful or significant. For some, their love of a celebrity is a dominant part of their existence. For others it is merely important. Because of the importance of celebrities to their fans, there seems to be a need to discuss their death in the public arena. This is to analogous to how one would discuss the death of a friend or relative with other friends and relatives. In the case of a public celebrity, the conversation also occurs in the public arena—which is both an obvious and appropriate thing. That said, one could object and argue that celebrities deserve privacy in death and that it is especially inappropriate to speak ill of the dead. While celebrities do not forfeit all their privacy rights, by voluntarily being celebrities and profiting from their status they morally warrant others to engage with them and their past in the public arena. This is the other side of the coin of fame; one cannot profit from being a celebrity and then consistently demand the full privacy rights of a non-celebrity. As such, there is as much right to discuss Kobe’s misdeed as there is to discuss his great accomplishments. A case can certainly be made that it is not fitting to bring up the 2003 incident. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

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