Americans are currently occupying cities across the country demanding an end to corporate greed and malfeasance and a more equitable share for the middle class. Celebrities are not part of the 99%. They are not even the 1%. Many of them are lower than even .01%.
Yet, the middle class continues to prop up the .01% —the Hollywood celebrities who make millions just for being themselves. When it comes to making money, celebrities are very abnormal. Their enormous salaries make them outliers in the American economy, on a pay grade above most chief executive officers, surgeons, and lawyers—the professions that typically come to mind when we think of the wealthy.
It is time for us to Occupy Hollywood, to demand that celebrities stop being paid such outrageous sums.
Rich people, celebrities included, can’t politely ask to pay more taxes. They can donate more of their incomes to charitable causes, but that will not remedy the enormous disparity between what you make for working an honest job every day of your life and what they make while living a life with as much leisure time as the average retiree.
We can ask for two things to happen to create a greater balance between the wealth of Kim Kardashian, Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp, Jennifer Aniston and yourself:
You, the consumer, can stop buying their products. Don’t buy Smart Water because Jennifer Aniston told you to. Don’t go to Old Navy because Tori Spelling tweeted that she liked their down vests. Don’t pick up the latest celebrity fragrance or diet supplement. Don't sign up for their monthly shoe club. At the very least, stop and think about who your money is going to when you purchase any of these celebrity-driven consumer goods. In other words, be a thoughtful consumer.
The second burden falls on the celebrities themselves. The best way to redistribute the wealth is to urge celebrities to create a trickle down effect for their enormous incomes. They need to employ more Americans to do more things: if they start a handbag line, they need to make sure it is manufactured here in the United States. And instead of hiring friends and family to work with, they should be hiring a team of hardworking Americans who need jobs and health insurance.
Celebrities should be a part of the solution. They have the power to craft a new New Deal. Celebrities need to use their influence to make sure a large part of the egregious salaries granted to them gets down to the people who need it the most—the 99%.
So what can we do? We can Occupy Hollywood. Sign this Occupy Hollywood petition to simply agree that something has to change about the wealth disparity between celebrities and the rest of us.
Tweet your favorite celebrity and ask them if they think they deserve what they make. Ask them what they pay their employees. Ask them if those employees have benefits.
Think before you consume a celebrity. It’s the only way the .01% will really ever be “just like us.”