War of Words Ignites as Paltrow Puts Foot in Mouth


Oh, Gwyneth.  You went too far this time, and now, you are the subject of the war you spoke about so openly a few days ago.  It begs the question; how are you and your publicist going to bring this to a peaceful conclusion?  The war of words that has been ignited by a poor choice of words is not likely to end anytime soon.

Communication has become a precarious business these days, thanks to the immediacy of it, and too often, buttons are pressed before full thought has been given to what has actually been said.  Such is what happened in this case.  Ms. Paltrow, you overstated your case.  Yes, it is difficult to read nasty things about yourself daily, and with social media and technology being as immediate as they are, you can be inundated with it.  The idea that people may hate you – or at the very least, dislike you – on a daily basis can be disheartening.

However, let’s put it all in perspective.  It is your publicist’s job to handle all this flak.  You should not have to worry about reading the negative press – that’s why you pay the publicist, I am assuming.  I am also assuming that, more often than not, your speaking engagements are generally pre-arranged and you are often going into situations like the one at the tech conference with something prepared, not an impromptu situation where you will have to speak without While the speech you gave at the tech conference was heartfelt, it was impromptu, and that is where all the trouble started.  Ms. Paltrow, you are an adult and you are doubtless able to speak very eloquently for yourself.  However, you also need to think a bit about your choice of words.

You are someone whose every word is followed, for better or for worse, and you had to be aware, on some level, that comparing life on social media to war would have sparked a great deal of controversy.  Many would envy your position in the social strata of this world, especially when you consider that there are so few who could even possibly achieve the level of income that you have.  Society also understands that celebrity does come at a price, particularly in this world of money hungry journalists and paparazzi who have been known to go too far in their pursuit of the ultimate picture.  Comparing your life in social media to war is logical, particularly to those youth who have been relentlessly attacked on social media.  These teens and children – the most public faces of the war on cyber-bullying – are no doubt very familiar with how war-like their worlds are.  These are the people who endlessly dodge the verbal assaults that occur online daily, and while you are no doubt also a victim of cyber-bullying, you also have an option that other victims of cyber-bullying do not.  You can tell your publicist to handle it, and you can also stay off social media.

Comparing your life on social media to actual war is not the most responsible choice of words that has ever been executed.  In fact, it demonstrated a lot of carelessness on your part.  There are soldiers throughout the world who have participated in any number of conflicts, and they have been completely traumatized by their experiences.  While it’s clear that links can be made between the assaults people exchange on social media and the assaults that occur in war, it’s important to remember, Ms. Paltrow, that none of us have exclusive rights to the term war.  There are several thousand people across the globe suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that would be vehement in their response that your life in the spotlight is nothing like war.

Please, Ms. Paltrow, do society a favor and weigh your words more cautiously prior to giving future impromptu speeches.  There will hopefully be fewer wars of words that are ignited as a result of your poor choice of words.  Giving your words careful consideration, rather than lamenting about how challenging your life may be, is more important.  It is important to remember that difficulties are in the eyes of the beholder, and no one is denying that there are challenges in your life.  However, you need to consider that your words can also hurt.

by Christina St-Jean


The Daily Beast


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