Vincent Safuto’s Weblog

Notes and observations

It’s time for celebrities to do hard time

Unless you’ve seen the movie “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” you probably have no idea who Shelley Malil is.

Even if you do remember his role as Steve Carell’s coworker in the electronics store in the above 2005 film, you might have a hard time placing him. Malil was the East Asian coworker who taunts Carell’s character, Andy Stitzer, the morning after the poker game where Stitzer reveals his sexual innocence.

In another scene, Stitzer and another coworker played by Paul Rudd are talking on a catwalk (after Andy ran from the store as the taunting about his virginity got to be too much) when Malil’s character comes out to smoke a cigarette, refers to the two as “Will and Grace” and tells them to get back to work, and says he has a right to smoke at that location.

In 2008, Malil was accused in the stabbing of his then-girlfriend. He stabbed her 23 times. Two years later, he went to trial, was found guilty and learned his sentence: Life, with the possibility of parole. He could serve 10 years before being eligible for parole. See the People magazine story here.

Maybe it’s not so amazing a thing that Malil was punished so harshly. He’s not a very well-known actor, and he’s not really a celebrity. Still, he’s going to do hard time for a crime.

The thing is that people like Lindsey Lohan seem to skate every time they’re in a courtroom. Granted, while getting drunk, drugged and driving isn’t a good thing, especially if someone gets hurt or killed, it’s still not stabbing someone 23 times. But Lohan has managed to screw up every opportunity a gullible judge has given her. She’s fubarred community service, showed up late for work at the morgue and continued to violate orders to keep away from drugs and alcohol.

She may bleat, as drug addicts often do, that relapses are part of the recovery process, but the reality is that judges need to stop coddling her and give her hard time, then have the bailiff apply the cuffs and take her to prison, and this time not for a few hours but for a few months or years.

What needs to happen is that the kid gloves treatment and special handling need to end, and celebrities like Lindsey Lohan need to face the reality of what they’ve done like the rest of us.

As an interesting aside, her father, Michael Lohan, has gotten himself quite a reputation in Florida for repeated arrests. Again, thanks to the fact that he’s famous for being famous, he keeps getting sprung. In truth, he needs to do some serious hard time, too, and be taken out of circulation for a few years.

Will judges stop handing out bogus “community service” sentences to nonprofits or government agencies to celebrities? What they may not understand is that associating oneself with a nonprofit is an integral part of the art of crisis public relations and image manipulation. Sure, celebrities want to be sentenced to community service at a homeless shelter or whatever, because then they can brag about their supposed “volunteer work with the homeless” in their recovery interviews on Jay Leno.

Put celebrities away, and keep them locked up, and you’ll see if prison is a deterrent. The current system obviously isn’t working.

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November 12, 2011 - Posted by | Life lessons, Living in the modern age | , , , , , , , ,

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