The Economics Of Celebrities Hiring Celebrities

July 12, 2013 in Daily Bulletin

Jennifer Lopez recently got into trouble for singing Happy Birthday to the leader of Turkmenistan. Katy Waldman looked at the economics of the celebrity-authoritarian ruler relationship:

  • By performing at private events celebrities can make a lot of money (up to $16 million) from the ultra-wealthy for very little effort, making it a lucrative proposition.
  • Performing for dictators is a particularly attractive since they often pay in cash – which is difficult for the tax authorities to track.
  • There are three tiers of celebrities that do this, depending on their level of star-power.
  • Those who just about famous such as Enrique Iglesias’ father can perform for corrupt dictators without attracting too much negative media press.
  • Then there are the celebrity A-Listers such as Johnny Depp and and Tom Hanks who are too rich to really need side-gigs.
  • In the middle though there are celebrities such as Christina Aguilera, Robin Williams, and Destiny’s Child among others who are famous enough that when they perform for the wrong individuals they can court controversy.
  • Yet this controversy rarely sticks. Mariah Carey, Nelly Furtado, 50 Cent, and Beyoncé have performed for questionable individuals, but they remain popular.

Find out who Robin Williams, Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Tom Jones, Celine Dion, and others have performed for, as well as why celebrities do it over here.

Source: Slate