De-celebrification: Beyond the Scandalous

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In this article, we propose de-celebrification as a term in celebrity studies to designate celebrities losing legitimacy to inhabit the public role and possess the formal and symbolic power formerly attached to their celebrity status. De-celebrification does not refer to celebrities acting scandalously, as scandalous performances often play out within the confines of celebrification. By contrast, de-celebrification is occasioned by transgressions so serious that celebrification is eroded. In recent years, social media genres have rendered de-celebrified individuals visible in new ways. Media users have come to play an active role in the process of de-celebrification, as they reflect and contribute to the visual deconstruction of celebrities’ public image and visibility. Critical, playful and humorous internet memes constitute a central case in point. To illustrate our arguments, we engage analytically with internet memes generated in relation to two recent cases of de-celebrification: Bill Cosby and Kevin Spacey.

KEYWORDS: Bill Cosby, celebrification, de-celebrification, Kevin Spacey, memes, scandals
Original languageEnglish
JournalCelebrity Studies
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)89-100
Publication statusPublished - 2020

ID: 217699746