Entertainment Celebrity Image problems: what are these women doing wrong?
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Image problems: what are these women doing wrong?

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· Heigl sues over tweet

Last night, news broke that Katherine Heigl was suing an American pharmacy for using her image, without permission, to promote their brand. The sum the actress is demanding is substantial – $US6 million – but if she wins she has sworn to donate the money to a charity in memory of her brother, who died in a car accident as a teen.

The lawsuit argues that Heigl had not consented to her image and name being used in conjunction with the brand, thus ruining her “highly selective” brand endorsement profile.

Her point appears legitimate and well-reasoned and her promise to donate to charity is touching.

However, trawling social media, it’s impossible to find a single Heigl sympathiser.

A similar thing happened last month when Gwyneth Paltrow announced her separation from husband Chris Martin with a blog post titled “Conscious Uncoupling.” She was ridiculed and blamed for the split. When she made the cover of People magazine’s “Most beautiful” issue last year, the backlash was enormous and Vanity Fair threatened to publish a scathing tell-all about her life. It was quite simple: All of a sudden, Hollywood’s golden girl didn’t seem so shiny.

When Anne Hathaway won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Les Miserables, the reaction was much the same. Vitriol. Standing next to best Actress winner Jennifer Lawrence, a charming bundle of youthful drunkenness, food jokes, and unbridled authenticity, Hathaway’s old-school reserve seemed cold and fake.

Jimmy Kimmel has a much-loved, very viral segment called “Celebrities read mean tweets.” In it, beleaguered stars take to the screen to sarcastically read out some seriously harsh messages from social media users. People can be cruel.

If Gwyneth Paltrow, Anne Hathaway and Katherine Heigl were to take part in the segment, there simply wouldn’t be enough time on the show to cover the hate. Their options would read something like this:

Why? These women are successful, outspoken and fairly devoid of scandal, party-hopping or controversial views. They’re not vapid, they’re opinionated, mostly self-made and incredibly driven. Paltrow owns and runs a successful lifestyle website, Goop.

Two of them, Heigl and Paltrow, are mothers. Heigl adopted her two daughters. Hathaway experienced a very public, very embarrassing relationship breakdown when her ex-boyfriend Raffaello Follieri was revealed to be a con-man.

They’re not perfect and have had their fair share of ups and downs. They’re girls’ girls. Yet women, and men, are unable to abide them in the public sphere and, as a result, their bankability appears to be steadily decreasing.

So what is it that annoys people so much about these seemingly ‘perfect’ individuals?

Difficult, demanding, divas

Grey’s Anatomy and Knocked Up star Heigl was on the receiving end of the wrath of movie insiders in 2013 after The Hollywood Reporter wrote a scathing article saying she, and her manager mother, were impossible to work with.

“She can cost you time every single day of shooting,” a source told The Hollywood Reporter. “Wardrobe issues, not getting out of the trailer, questioning the script every single day. Even getting her deal closed at Warners was hard. She hit that point of ‘no.’ ”

Paltrow, who is often criticised in the press for being annoying, can’t seem to put a foot right outside her acting and online careers.

The Daily Beast asked the question “Why Do We Still Hate Gwyneth Paltrow?” in an article coinciding with the release of Iron Man 3, in which she starred.

“There’s a veritable encyclopedia of quotes those who are annoyed by her can cite to prove what they perceive as her unconscionable lack of self-awareness and apparently unstomachable pretentiousness. Perhaps, as Star magazine quoted when naming the Oscar winner the year’s Most Hated Celebrity, it’s when she said, “I’m really fucking good at my job. People who are interesting and good know that, and that’s all that matters,” that irks these malcontents the most,” The Daily Beast author wrote. Ouch.

As for Hathaway, in the lead-up to her Oscar win in early 2013, the mere mention of her name caused a bristle on every social media site imaginable. So “annoying” and “fake” was she, that her haters had a name – Hathahaters.

A New York Times report on the phenomenon said her dissidents didn’t dislike her for anything she had done, it was more who she was.

“It’s not really Anne Hathaway I ‘hate,’ ” said Sarah Nicole Prickett, a writer for Vice, told NYT. “It’s all the lesser, real-life Anne Hathaways I have known — princessy, theater-schooled girls who have no game and no sex appeal and eat raisins for dessert.”

So, do these actors deserve to cop this much flack? Have your say below.

With Antonia Acott

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