18 December 2009

Luna Maya, Twitter, Paparazzi, and Prostitutes





One of the good things about not having a twitter account is that there is no temptation to vent one's frustrations and anger out into the public sphere. Perhaps on a little reflection Luna Maya might have thought twice about ranting that "infotainment are lower than prostitutes, murders!!! May your soul burn in hell!!!" I guess it is fair to say that she was not mincing any words there. But does she have a point?

To work this out one needs to consider the situation that preceded this little rant. Luna Is dating a singer of one of Indonesia's bigger bands, Ariel of Peter Pan fame. Ariel was married and has a beautiful young daughter (no where near as good looking as Will of course). There has been some suggestion that Luna is a home wrecker and it is her fault that Ariel split with his former wife. However, that was not the issue that sparked the most recent venting.

Luna's twitter account, lunmay, was shut down recently after the vent went public. Luna has apologized to her 123,952 followers for shutting down the account. I probably would not have had one in the first place if I was a star of the small and silver screens. Simply, tweeting that you are watching a movie is like a red rag to a bull and is certain to bring the paparazzi stalkers out in force.

As the story goes, Luna, Ariel, and Alleia (Ariel's daughter) went to watch the premiere of Ariel's first movie, The Dreamer (Sang Pemimpi) at EX Plaza. Now, my recollections of EX are that it was an excellent place for a little bit of celebrity spotting if that was your thing. In any event, little Alleia had fallen asleep during the movie and was being carried out by Luna.

This is where it gets really interesting. In the scramble for good photos and an interview one of the infotainment throng cracked little Alleia on the head with a camera. For a parent, even the girlfriend of a parent, this can certainly arouse some pretty heated emotions. If someone clocked Will in the head with a camera, then I would be tempted to grab the camera a clock the fella right back.

The lesson here is two-fold, Luna Maya had apparently agreed to an interview in the lobby once little Alleia was in the safety of the car. So, the gathered throng of infotainment journalists would have got their interview and obligatory shots if the had been a little more patient. the second lesson is do not vent your frustrations on Twitter no matter how justified you feel about it.

The spat, if the Twitter message can be called such, has escalated with the Indonesian Journalists Association threatening to take legal action against Luna for allegedly comparing them to prostitutes. The comparison to murderers was a little harsh, but the comparison to prostitutes probably is not so harsh.

In fact, it is probably a slur against all the prostitutes out there. Let's face it, infotainment journalists and photographers sell their assets to those willing to pay for it, similar to prostitutes. But, on a more serious note, the Indonesian Association of Journalists might also want to consider that one of their members was responsible for the assault of a child. My question would be, "does the Indonesian Association of Journalists really want to pursue this one?"

Most people might have an insatiable appetite for celebrity gossip and news, but most of these people would also balk at the idea that journalists need to assault and harm children in order to get their pound of flesh.

Maybe it is time that the government considered putting into place specific laws that protect celebrities from over-zealous infotainment journalists. And, perhaps it is also time that those that drive the market, infotainment publishers started to self-regulate what is acceptable and what is not when it comes to getting that all important shot or all important interview.

Public figures are what they are, but this does not mean that they forfeit all their rights to privacy because they have appeared in a film or worked as a presenter on TV.

It is time the infotainment industry got their collective act together and showed some class.

34 comments:

anong said...

Rob I cant believe you are making a comeback with such a crumby? story. Surely the bump was an accident and surely they wanted to "connect the child" to the woman with pic and interview. The later interview was only going to be biasa. You cant begrudge them this photo-op?? Why was the kid at the pictures anyway? In whose custody is it?

Rob Baiton said...

Anong...

Crumby? How so?

If the bump was an accident so be it. All the same, accident or not, the kid did get clocked with a camera in the noggin.

Public figures are entitled to private lives. It is just a short hop, skip, and a jump before everybody's life is a photo-op.

Shared custody I am lead to believe. There is nothing wrong with taking your kid to the movies, particularly if you're in it. It is not a porn flick, at least this is what I am told.

The question is, "how far can infortainment journalists go in invading a public figure's privacy?" What is OK and what is off limits?

anong said...

Ok I wont argue the point - you are a dad and not me. But I would ask, would you take a two year Will to the flicks?

Anonymous said...

From padt globe today:

I suspect under the surface, just beneath the smiling faces and the cheerfulness of Indonesia is a great amount of violence and fear, the result, perhaps of the pent up frustrations caused by constant violations of human rights and a worrying lack of respect for a people's basic dignity. The results of unjust crippling poverty brought about by corruption and incompetence.

Also I suspect that, given various cultural outlooks, children are sometimes deprived of healthy role models and boys grow up equating manliness with being a lout. All the silly medals and the importance placed on uniforms and titles, not to mention the puffed up chests and swagger of some of the more ludicrous and embarrassing public figures, who mistakenly believe they command respect, only serve to reinforce ideas that confuse strength and courage, virility and toughness with brute force.

At the heart of being a 'man' is the ability to love and know himself, rather than the ability to turn himself into a 'superhero'.

the writer said...

I know how these packs of wolves who called themselves journalists operated. They wouldn't stop at any cost.

The camera incident happened to me several times and I had to freaking yell at them telling them to get lost while they were just basically mouthing "so what" to me. They have no ethics whatsoever and they should never call themselves journalists in the first place. It's just a disgrace to the profession.

I normally wouldn't go pick on the so-called Indonesian artists side but this time, I support anything that dare to challenge the prostitutes...I mean infotaintment journalists...

anong said...

...............I had to freaking yell at them telling them to get lost while they were just basically mouthing "so what" to me.

Yeah, real smart move. I'm sure you felt appeased. You who should know better....

Lemi4 aka. fERDI:) said...

Real Class of you, Anong. Real Class. I bet you are so proud of yourself.

the writer said...

.....and you are the one who knows better anong? I doubt it. Judging from what you wrote and your anonymous character.

Are you perhaps one of those unworthy people who call themselves infotaintment journalists? I Bet you are.

anong said...

I'm not annoymous I am anongymous Mme Writer. I wonder what you achieved by yelling?? I find it hard to believe that you believe that your approach acually achieves anything, but then again Im not that sort of person.

Rob Baiton said...

Anong...

Yes, I believe I will be taking a two-year-old Will to the flicks.

I am not infotainment fodder so I imagine that it will not be a problem for us that he will be getting clocked on the noggin with a camera or two.

Rob Baiton said...

Anonymous...

This might make a whole lot more sense if you had either posted this under your real name or even if you had adopted a pseudonym.

But, whatever, what you have posted here is true of most countries and societies, is it not? This is simply something not unique to Indonesia. There are those that question whether the role models in Australia are always healthy, particularly when those role models get themselves in trouble.

You are entitled to your opinion.

Rob Baiton said...

EK...

Yes and no. But, I would agree, that infotainment journalists and paparazzi are renowned for going all out to get the story and the shots.

They are part of the profession, and perhaps herein lies the answer. Perhaps it is time the profession took a little more responsibility in terms of setting acceptable limits. There is a code of ethics. Maybe it is time that breaches of the code and other associated guidelines are enforced and individuals punished.

I am not a big fan of Luna Maya either, however, she has a point with respect to the camera incident.

More importantly, I think this incident gives rise to some serious questions about how journalists conduct themselves in public spaces. The reality is that Luna Maya is a public figure and she was in a public space. The question for me is does she have a entitlement / right to be left alone in the sense of not having her personal / private space violated?

Rob Baiton said...

Anong...

Why, you looking for a response / fight?

Rob Baiton said...

Lemi...

:D

Rob Baiton said...

EK...

The beauty (or the ugliness) of the Internet is that people can be anonymous and write whatever they want. I could shut off the anonymous feature and this would make everyone adopt a pseudonym at least. But, I do not see the point. If people want to say nasty and unwarranted things then they will go to the effort to do so.

I do not know Anong personally as far as I know. Afterall, he is anonymous. But, I do not think he is an infotainment journalist.

Rob Baiton said...

Anong...

Anongymous? Really, that is pretty lame, even from you.

Perhaps, the writer achieved nothing form yelling. Perhaps, she gained their attention and there was a momentary pause. I do not know, I was not there.

However, I think Luna Maya has a right to expect that she or members of her entourage will not be assaulted by a surging media throng calling themselves infotainment journalists. I think that her anger and outrage culminating in the twitter exchange highlights a number of key issues.

Celebrities can feel frustration at the invasion of the personal and private space, and at not being able to just be themselves in a public place.

The other key issue for me is that the PWI is going the criminal defamation route and lodging a criminal complaint to police. Most civil society groups and organizations have been lobbying hard to repeal criminal defamation provisions. It is argued that these provisions are a severe restriction of free speech. At the forefront of these groups have been journalists who see the provisions as restricting their free speech. It is somewhat sad, but ironic, that journalists are now using those very provisions to stifle Luna Maya's free speech.

I think that if the PWI take this to court that they will undermine the whole repeal criminal defamation movement.

anong said...

I am with you on the defamation point you raise.

as for ...

Celebrities can feel frustration at the invasion of the personal and private space, and at not being able to just be themselves in a public place....

I "feel" that the encounter and the tweet were more faux pas on the star than the journalists (but i was not there) - she lost it - they were doing what they always do (perhaps a tad more carelessly than usual) and what everyone knows they do. Some artistes handle it better than others. There are two issues - why did LUna not do too well in this case (only she knows this/and i dont care), but more importantly, why do audiences (in all? cultures) thrive on the information provided by these "services" - what is this hunger about? are such journalists so prevalent in Oz for example (eg those at The New Idea?) and if not then why not? Is it a sickness or a normal appetite??

as for using strong words, fingers or even violence against them I would hardly think this serves any purpose at all.

In some way the anon post from the Globe encapsulates and explains some of Luna's regrettable reaction (and her supporters'), and I for one consider it/them predictable, but puerile

Anonymous said...

perhaps the Writer should watch (with Will?) Dora the Explorer....

Jakartass said...

Since when is calling someone a 'prostitute' defamation?

In English, there is a verb 'to prostitute' (oneself) which basically means to sell oneself for low or unworthy purposes.

And that is what I consider the whole infotainment industry to be doing - pandering to the lowest instincts of folk with no higher aspirations than to create celebrities in order to place them on pedestals and find excuses to push them off.

I hadn't heard of Luna before this episode, but I can only applaud her venting. However, perhaps she should have take a more considered approach such as sending an email like Prita did .....

........ oh.

Rob Baiton said...

Anong...

I was no there either, in fact I am not even in Indonesia (truth be told, this seemed like a good issue as it enabled me to post a few Luna Maya pictures, and my visitor stats show that there are plenty of people craving that :D)

Seriously though, was it an over-reaction or did she lose it? Perhaps it was a little more excessive than required. However, here's the thing, I think love her, hate her, or complete indifference of her there are plenty of regular (non-stars / non-public profile people) who would agree that infotainment journalists and paparazzi are excessive in their methods as well. I would also reckon that there are plenty who would suggest that they are a lot worse on the scale beyond murderers and whores.

I disagree on the strong words, fingers part...strong words and fingers can make a point, sometimes. I am not into violence in any form (except perhaps UFC) as it is simple not a sustainable dispute resolution mechanism.

I would agree that "we" are partly to blame for this culture of celebrity. If we did not crave the juiciest gossip, then there would not be a market for it. However, the point of the post was how far are we willing to support the collection of this gossip if it involves harm or as alleged in the Princess Di case, a motor vehicle chase that ends in death?

As always you are entitled to your opinion about the JG piece.

Rob Baiton said...

Anonymous...

Perhaps she should! And, I might add, I would not have any problem with her doing so. Even though she posts under a pseudonym, I have had the good fortune to make her acquaintance elsewhere. Whereas, in contrast, you still have yet to humour me with a pseudonym of your own.

I have always wondered why in this day and age people still feel compelled to post anoymously. Are you living under a dictatorship where your words on my blog are likely to get you into trouble?

Rob Baiton said...

J...

Thanks for dropping by and commenting on this one.

Also, thanks for the language lesson (it is what you do though, innit it? :D)

On the celebrity front, it reminds me of the Miyabi 'scandal'. There were plenty of Indonesians who had never heard of her before but who are now "experts" on her body of work.

anong said...

Rob I think some comentators use the Anon button because it it there, among other things it allows a quip with no strings attached. In some ways it might be easier for the blogger to respond, then say if it was posted by the Pope...

on the language front, I just learned the meaning of "queef", thanks to the Pitchfork. I wonder how Jacka unpacks Luna's "murders" accusation??

Rob Baiton said...

Anong...

You think I would be intimidated by the Pope?

Metro Mad is always good for a new word or two. So, now you know what a queef is, how do you feel?

I am sure if J is up to the challenge he can unpack it all for you.

Jakartass said...

Her "body of work"?

Or the "work of her body"?

Rob Baiton said...

J...

I always thought some one's resume / list of achievements would be a body of work...It just so happens that in Miyabi's case she also uses her body to create her body of work.

H. Nizam said...

Rob,

Very eye catching photos. WOW!.
No wonder so many people came and gave their comments (LOL).

Luna now got support from the Indonesian Journalists Alliance (AJI) and others, because PWI Jaya's police report was based on the ITE Law which has been considered by journalists as too harsh. Others have blamed the Infotainment for their often very aggressive actions against the celebrities.

Rob Baiton said...

Harry...

Eye catching? Nah, I never try and entice people in with eye catching photos, they come here for the quality writing, don't they? ;)

Infotainment journalist (including paparazzi) have a job to do. The community is partly to blame for their over-zealousness, as we demand the gossip that the infotainment journos seek out.

However, I do wonder whether there is a fair balance to be struck between public and private, and whether a person with a public profile can ever truly enjoy personal or private moments in a public space?

Thanks for commenting.

oigal said...

Well if one of these morons did hit her kid with the Camera then they got off light with the very mild abuse she dished out. She just went up several notches in my opinion. If some lout clipped one of mine in an effort to get me he.she would get more than a tweet to worry about.

Rob Baiton said...

Stump...

I agree. There are certainly those out there in the celeb world who would have responded in a much more forthright manner, Sean Penn springs to mind :D

Rob Baiton said...

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