Save The Celebrities

Ottawa XPress – Shotgun – March 30, 2006

Bardot the babykiller?
Bardot the babykiller? (Photo: Aaron McKenzie Fraser)

Celebrities from far and wide are being tortured in Canada. That’s right, last week media and pundits abused and ridiculed the McCartneys and Brigitte Bardot for speaking out against Canada’s seal hunt, or “massacres,” which they call horrific.

Being the polite, reciprocating Canadians we are, we paid them back – in unkindness.

On Larry King Live, the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, Danny Williams, was this shy of telling the McCartneys to stuff it because they didn’t know what the heck they were talking about (

In an opinion piece in the Ottawa Citizen on St. Paddy’s Day, Williams again discredited the ex-Beatle and his wife, warning readers that the McCartneys’ “misleading photo ops accompanied by false information should not sway people.” As in, don’t believe the hype.

Over at the Marriott about a week later, ex-sex symbol Bardot received a beating – or at least looked like she had. Most media (except compassionate XPress photographer Aaron McKenzie Fraser) made a farce of the 71-year-old on crutches by snapping her ludicrously posing in fits of tears. Even Stephen Harper turned her down, presumably for reasons other than being held up at Good Life with his recent (we hope) preoccupation with saving his whale of a belly.

I thought Bono had sent out a clear message about the arrogance of celebrities intersecting with politics.

One could say celebrities are no different than politicians – full of hot air, and no one believes them. But in saying Canada’s seal hunt is “inhumane” and “brutal” and “barbaric,” the impact of all the inaccurate information, publicity and highly charged rhetoric from the overpaid starlets is great.

Already because of these loudmouths, StatsCan has reported figures showing that Canadian snow crab exports to the U.S. have dropped by more than $150-million, or 36 per cent, since the anti-seal hunt campaign began last year.

They’re screwing with our economy, jeopardizing the livelihood of rural Canadians, and they’re also plain ol’ hurting our feelings.

The Ottawa Sun reported that Bardot insulted Harper by writing in a note that “only idiots refuse to change their minds.” And she called industry supporter Senator Celine Hervieux-Payette a “damn idiot.” (This coming from Bardot who, in her book called Un cri dans le silence, attacked Islam, homosexuals and immigrants.)

So Hervieux-Payette responded with the cryptic retort that if the anti-seal hunt campaign continues and hurts the future of certain populations, “we could see what we could do.” In other words, ve have vays to make you shut up.

But while anyone, including celebrities, should be encouraged to stand up for a good cause, it’s largely suspected that when celebs do it, it’s more about an orchestrated public relations stunt, right?

Sean Lennon placed an ad in the New York Post looking for a girlfriend. A Google search shows he got a date with Lindsay Lohan, who just happens to be working on a new film about John Lennon. Coincidence? And I hear Stella McCartney’s fashion biz needs a boost.

If not for the publicity, then it’s that stars have nothing better to do. Or maybe they are researching a new role?

Perhaps a better explanation comes from another Ottawa Citizen article last week, titled “Stars evoke emotion more than debate.” Celebrities make us think with our hearts, the local news source explained, calling Bardot’s appearance a “performance” that was “a mixture of noble intentions and showbiz.”

And the graphic poster Bardot displayed of a baby seal pounding a human baby to death with a bloody club, which read, “Do not do to others that which you would not want to suffer yourself,” was extreme.

Celebs exude authority because of their star-status popularity, no doubt. I’ll trust Lakota capsules even though I can’t recall what the hell the medicine is for. The guy seems convincing enough, so why not, eh?

But contrary to everything the glamorous “experts” are saying, the fact is that the seal hunt is licensed. Killing white-coat seals was outlawed in 1987, and since then hunters must wait until they turn grey. By then the animals are weaned, not torn from their mothers as depicted in scandalous activist videos. In fact, a report in the Canadian Veterinary Journal concluded 98 per cent of the hunt is conducted humanely.

False optics, people.

Get the real facts on Canada’s seal hunt and watch My Ancestors Were Rogues and Murderers on CBC Newsworld’s The Lens, Tuesday April 4 at 10 p.m. (ET/PT) with a repeat on Saturday April 8 at 10 p.m. (ET/PT). The film is produced by Kent Martin for the National Film Board’s Atlantic Centre.

See, the McCartneys and Bardot aren’t getting the right information because living a privileged life from afar compromises their ability to absorb an issue they are not intimately connected with.

Sort of like Will Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who just started up a heavy metal band called Wicked Wisdom. As if she “gets” metal. See Jada rock: Comes complete with her own tour van and vaporizer. Put the time in, Miss Smith, is all I’m saying. You’re not legit, so quit.

Celebrities fighting for poverty, baby seals, a love life or talent. The question is not what they’re going to save, but who’s going to save them.

You interested? To quote Bardot’s lyrics, “Tu veux ou tu veux pas?”

Moi – j’veux pas.

– Sylvie Hill