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Posted by on Nov 22, 2022 in Blog, Essays, Rants and Raves | 0 comments

Should Celebrities Bear Responsibility for the Products They Endorse?




We’ve all seen countless commercials for cryptocurrency running non-stop. They were everywhere.

So much money—real money, not fake funny money—was plunged into marketing (once again proving the Ponzi “greater fool” theory) that this relatively new industry populated with shadowy figures could afford to hire the most famous people in the world to hawk their products and services.

And so, they did.

Matt Damon, presumably never having taken an economics class in his life, lectured us about fortune favoring the brave.


Lebron James, in one of the most baffling television commercials ever made, traveled back in time and had a muddled conversation with his younger self. That commercial might have worked if we could understand the fuck the kid with marbles in his mouth was actually saying.


Tom Brady, Shaq O’Neal, Steph Curry, Naomi Osaka….they all boarded the crypto bullet train, with tracks leading off a cliff. Which now makes me wonder — who the hell takes investment advice from Shaq? Didn’t he once say the world is flat? Don’t even get me started on what Naomi Osaka brings to any conversation as an investment adviser, other than being really rich because she can slam a tennis ball.

Now that shit’s on the fan and there’s blood on the tracks, what I don’t understand is why ANY of these celebrities are appealing to advertisers in the future? Shouldn’t their credibility be ruined? At least for some time? Like a penalty box? Matt Damon and Tom Brady shilled for FTX, which has now been exposed as one of the biggest debacles in global financial history, destroyed by gross incompetence and internal corruption. If Damon and Brady cashed those seven-figure endorsement checks, shouldn’t they be also responsible for *vetting* who they work for? Yeah, reportedly they were paid in crypto, or whatever. I don’t care. It doesn’t matter. Fact is–they ATTACHED THEIR NAMES and PLACED THEIR FACES on multi-million dollar ad buys that ran all over the world. Seeing those famous people “believing in” the product UNDOUBTEDLY influenced a greater number of investors to throw their money into the crypto market. And while every investor is responsible for their own decisions, it also seems the “influencers” who were giddy cheerleaders for what amounted to a ticking time bomb should pay some price. Again, I ask — shouldn’t their credibility be ruined?

In poker about ten years ago, we had some major scandals. Many readers will remember them. Some readers I know were even a part of it. I never understood how famous poker players who became identified with certain online poker companies that went on to commit mass fraud could ever be respected again within the community of players who were ripped off. At least some public statement and/or accountability should have been in order, don’t you think? One well-known player in particular never apologized for essentially duping the public to deposit and play at his rigged site and is still revered within the game. He even attracted more endorsement opportunities! Shouldn’t that person be toxic to advertisers? Is the public’s memory really that short and are people simply indifferent to getting robbed?

I’m baffled.

But hey, I don’t get celebrity endorsements, anyway. Nothing Shaq or Naomi say is going to motivate me to invest my money in a company just because they’re paid to promote it. Yes, I *can* accept athletes endorsing things like basketball shoes or golf clubs, that’s because those great athletes actually USE those products, so there’s an obvious link producing tangible results. So sure — I’d love to wear the same basketball shoes as Joel Embiid or play with the set of golf clubs used by Rory McIlroy. I get that.

But taking crypto advice from a movie star or a basketball player? Aside from the fact that people deserve to lose their money in such schemes, what we really have is a far worse societal problem on personal responsibility and trust.

My take is this: It’s time to hold celebrities accountable for the products and services they endorse.

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Addendum:  Just to be clear, I’m not talking so much about legal liability here (that’s not my area of knowledge, anyway). When I speak of “responsibility,” I mean in the public eye. Shouldn’t these celebrities be blemished by exercising terrible judgment, and why would any consumer want to TRUST that celebrity again (barring, some period of remorse, accountability, making a public apology, etc.)?


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