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Whereas most people sympathize with others' pain, empathetic response can be muted towards celebrities. We may also experience more schadenfreude, or joy in others’ misery, for celebrities than with people we know personally. This project explores multiple factors, including celebrity obsessive disorder (COD), theories of schadenfreude, and gender bias. Schadenfreude tells us about how we fantasize about others and live through their lives, however, we take pleasure in their downfall because of their lifestyle. It reflects on us because then we also see how this person is living this fantasy life and we delight in their misfortune because of envy and the fact that we don’t have the pleasure of living this life. This project also considers research suggesting that closely following celebrities or people of high status tends to increase our moral disengagements and decrease our empathy. There is an underlying popular belief that because they are famous, “they signed up for it” or “they knew what they were getting into”. The media plays a large role in spreading false information, which then spreads quickly on apps such as X (formerly known as Twitter). Such information, combined with the obsessions and pathological disorder of celebrity worship, can lead to immense hate and worrisome results. A particular case study that will be mentioned in my video essay is Amber Heard and Johnny Depp. Through this story, we see the immense hate that Amber developed due to the fandom and support for Depp. People ridiculed Amber Heard immensely on social media, which caused her to go completely silent. It was later discovered that both parties were in the wrong, yet the media and hardcore fans of Johnny Depp tore into that woman with no mercy.



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Why Do We Delight in Celebrity Misfortune?