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Police Witherspoon and the Intoxicated Tirade

Reese Witherspoon better consult her legally blonde attorney’s handbook to make sure the ‘do you know who I am’ defense is admissible in court. Witherspoon was still making headlines last week as the dash-cam footage of her drunken meltdown was released, tarnishing the squeaky-clean, “America’s Sweetheart’ image she’s crafted over the course of her career. Embarking on the requisite morning talk-show apology tour, Reese was forced to repeatedly relive a night of too many cold ones, and apologize and accept responsibility for her actions.

With the same level of decorum in which David Letterman handled his cheating scandal a few years back, Reese owned up to her mistake, and wholeheartedly admitted that she was in the wrong. Everyone has had a moment of weakness where they lose their cool; add alcohol into the equation and it typically results in an overreaction, a pounding headache the next morning and a bad case of behavioral buyer’s remorse.

Witherspoon’s Atlanta incident will amount to little more than a mere blemish on her sterling career, but her immediate transition into damage-control mode speaks volumes about how detrimental outbursts like hers can be. One ill-advised move and your reputation is in jeopardy and you’re scrambling to contain the fallout. Reese’s utterance of the caustically cliché ‘do you know who I am?’ phrase certainly knocks her down a few pegs, but not enough to adversely affect her career long-term.            Fortunately, Americans have proven time and time again that they’re willing to forgive and (mostly) forget, especially if you hold yourself accountable for your conduct.

Where Reese doesn’t get a mulligan is in the fact that she’s a celebrity, and spends enough time in the public eye to know that everyone has a camera, and everything will end up in the news. In the day of handlers, publicists and chauffeurs, I fail to comprehend how celebrities still find themselves in handcuffs or on tabloid covers on a daily basis.

Maybe it’s sour grapes, or maybe it’s my inability to afford anyone leeway when they have the world in their wallets, but I have little sympathy for superstars in legal hot water. When you have dedicated employees on your payroll whose main functionality is making sure you’re on the news for the right reasons, there is no excuse for stumbling around Peachtree Street, smelling like appletinis and yelling at police officers. Reese has absolutely learned a valuable lesson in this situation, about the perils of using your celebrity to try and trump legality, and how quick you can be condemned in the court of public opinion.

-Carter Breazeale

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