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Djokovic, Prince Andrew and Britney: Why we love to watch celebrities in the court room

Tired of hearing and reading about Novak Djokovic’s court troubles?

Or are you enjoying every minute of the saga that has unfolded over the past week?

It’s not just the tennis star’s case that has caught the public eye – lately we’ve also seen stories about Britney Spears and the trial of Prince Andrew dominating the headlines.

Either you love them or you hate them

According to Lauren Rosewarne, Senior Lecturer at Melbourne University’s School of Social and Political Sciences, our obsession with celebrity culture is nothing new.

She says people turned their attention to famous people and their problems long before social media even existed.

“I think there’s a sense of universe realignment and some semblance of fairness when these people get their compensation,” explains Dr. Rosewarne.

“And part of that is because I think there’s a perception that some celebrities have too much wealth and too much fame and that’s why they need to be brought down.”

Katharina Wolf is an Associate Professor in Curtin University’s School of Management and Marketing and agrees with Dr. Rosewarne acknowledges that it’s human nature to enjoy seeing a divisive figure in trouble.

“People get tremendous joy when they see someone trip and fall, especially if they’re very high up and fairly well known,” says Dr. Wolf.

“We’re enjoying it a little bit. And I find that very human.”

People protest in support of pop star Britney Spears on the day of a hearing in Los Angeles last year. (Reuters: Mario Anzuoni)

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A byproduct of the pandemic

Finding distraction from the anxiety and stress caused by the global pandemic has also fueled our obsession with celebrities, says Dr. Wolf.

“A lot of people look for things to distract them, and celebrities are a pretty good distraction,” she explains.

“In this case, we’re looking at someone who has an extremely prolific profile, is well known, and is a divisive figure.

“Especially in this context where you have someone who always pushes through, as opposed to a tennis tournament in the most lockdown city in the world.

“It’s kind of a community vs. Goliath battle where that discontent comes into play.”

Prince Andrew speaks to the press during an interview in Windsor, England in April 2021.Prince Andrew was stripped of his honorary military titles while defending a civilian sexual assault case in the United States.`: Steve Parsons/Pool/File Photo)

entertainment and envy

We’ve long had an obsession with court celebrities (think OJ Simpson, and more recently Britney Spears), and social media now gives us an easier way to stay up to date on these cases.

Prince Andrew and his lawsuits have picked up again, and Dr. Rosewarne says he falls into the category of people who dislike the affluent and entitled sector of society.

“I think this type of case has a lot to do with the upward envy of rich and famous people, but also the fact that celebrities can sometimes be their own worst enemies,” she says.

“Prince Andrew giving this ` interview and saying he’s not sweating adds an intriguing element to this story in the sense that it’s both ridiculous and takes us on a journey where it feels like we’re almost watching a TV show.

“We feel like we’ve been on a journey with these recognizable people.”

Djokovic fans raise their fists and sing in solidarity with the tennis player in front of the Park Hotel, January 10, 2022.Fans of Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic have shown their support for his legal battle over his visa to enter the country and attend the Australian Open.Reuters: Sandra Sanders)

What is the impact of these public court cases on reputation?

dr Wolf says interest in Djokovics could have repercussions.

“The public has basically been told to trust the process, but we can’t tell you what happened or why it has a waiver.

“I think a lot of travelers will actually ask themselves, ‘If I landed at the Australian border, can I get in there? Is that a risk, do I really want to go there or would I rather go somewhere else?’”

As for the top tennis player?

“I think he was fine at first,” says Dr. Wolf.

“Because it certainly got him a lot of exposure and he has a huge number of supporters behind him.

“But now that some of the other details are coming out, the fact that he wasn’t really isolating [after contracting COVID-19], which will most likely come back and haunt him.”

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