Preferential treatment for celebrities is an unfair, but unfortunately common trend in our society. Using one’s fame or last name always seems to be the ticket to a second chance from a judge.
Garrett and Britt Reid, Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid’s sons, are facing serious charges from two incidents
on Jan. 30. And they are no different from the crop of celebrities
who think they can break the law and get away with it. Garrett Reid, 23, was charged with 14 misdemeanor offenses. Britt Reid was charged with carrying a firearm without a license and simple assault to name a few.
Having run-ins with the law is nothing new for the rich and famous. Although Garrett and Britt Reid aren’t exactly royalty, growing up as the sons of a prominent NFL football coach certainly makes them stand out from everyone else in their high school crowd. One would hope that they would learn something from their situations, but given the track records of rich-kid celebrities who routinely break the law and get off the hook, it’s doubtful.
Exhibit A is Paris Hilton. She’s the queen of getting herself out of jams just because she has the luxury of being a Hilton. It must be nice to use fame and recognition to get off for something like a speeding ticket.
If speeding tickets were all she was getting pulled over for, I might cut the girl some slack.
However, that is not the case for this wild child heiress.
Last September, policed pulled her over while she was driving in Hollywood, suspecting she was drunk. She failed her sobriety test and was fined $1,150 months later. The judge threw in two years probation and 40 hours of community service for good measure. Let’s hope that staggering fine didn’t hurt her spending
habits. For once it would have been refreshing to hear a judge sentence her to spend time in jail. Or better yet, a more appropriate punishment would have been to lock her in a room for a week with nothing but the sounds of her own recorded singing. That would have been more like corporal punishment.
All kidding aside, celebrities getting a slap on the wrist when they committ crimes needs to stop being funny and start being taken more seriously. It does not say a lot about our legal system if our judges keep giving celebrities endless second chances.
Mel Gibson’s arrest and anti-Semitic rampage this past summer proved how a celebrity’s out-of-control behavior can be waved off if he’s got an excuse handy. Claiming alcoholism doesn’t make it OK to drive drunk, speed and give the arresting officers a biggoted lip for it in the process.
Winona Ryder’s arrest in 2001, after stealing items from Saks Fifth Avenue, was treated more like a media circus and less as a crime. The prosecution didn’t send her to jail. The good news is her career took a hit. The bad news is the kleptomaniac
doesn’t have much to stop her from doing it again. Time will tell what will become of Reid’s sons. The book should be thrown at them. There are too many charges and signs of reckless behavior that come as a result
of years of being spoiled for the courts not to do so. Their stories would probably land them on E!’s “True Hollywood
Story” if they were Hollywood money.
We have hit a new low in how we deal with celebrities and their criminal activity. If they’re going to act like criminals, it shouldn’t be so hard to treat them as such.
The jails are already full of people serving time for petty crimes. We can make some room for the celebrity elite who act like they’re above the law and refuse to pay the consequences without uttering that annoying phrase, ‘Do you know who I am?’ In a more just world, who they are wouldn’t make any difference.
Megan Suermann can be reached