Lohan’s actions beg a focus on celebrity involvement in such issues – particularly when they are as superficial as hers seem to have been. Do such high-profile actions bring publicity to important causes, or denigrate work done by dedicated organizations and activists?
Online PR News – 17-December-2009 – – Austin, TX, December 17, 2009 – Lindsay Lohan has been all over the news in the past week, while traveling to India to film a BBC documentary on child trafficking, and her subsequent twitter activity about rescuing child laborers.
"Over *40 children saved* so far…Within one day's work…This is what life is about…Doing THIS is a life worth living!!!" Lohan tweeted, drawing heat from activists and the media. The raid which freed the 40 children in question took place before Lohan was even in India, and was the culmination of two months of planning by the child labor non-profit Bachpan Bachao Andolan. The actress visited a rehabilitation center where the children were taken hours after their rescue.
Lohan was in India for only three days, during which time she exuberantly posted how “we can be changing the world one child at a time... hope everyone can see that." Shortly after returning to the U.S., she was seen leaving the nightclub Boulevard 3 in ripped clothing and apparently intoxicated, which leaves one to wonder just how much the experience of “saving children” affected her.
Lohan’s actions beg a focus on celebrity involvement in such issues – particularly when they are as superficial as hers seem to have been. Do such high-profile actions bring publicity to important causes, or denigrate work done by dedicated organizations and activists? As Marina Hyde writes in The Guardian: “The focus of our inquiries now must be to establish whether anything says ‘we give a toss about human trafficking’ quite like sending the star of Herbie: Fully Loaded to look into it.”
Author Shelley Seale, who recently published a book about abused and orphaned children in India called The Weight of Silence: Invisible Children of India, has seen first-hand the work done by those who have dedicated their lives to such children – including the NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan. The organization shared with Seale an inspiring story of former child laborer-turned-activist Om Prakash, who went on to make his own home village child labor free, winning the International Peace Prize for Children.
Bachpan Bachao Andolan was angered by Lohan’s comments and actions, accusing her of trivializing the operations. "We'll be complaining to the BBC and talking to our lawyers," said spokesperson Bhuwan. "Would Lohan know where these workshops are?"
Seale, who spent three years researching and writing the book, including extensive travel throughout India, has seen the tireless work of many such amazing people and is troubled by celebrities like Lohan, who appear to use such advocacy for their own publicity. “They spend very little time and have virtually no understanding of the issues, when it’s so short-term as this. It really trivializes the work being done and the very real, serious human rights challenge of trafficking and slavery. The best I can hope for is that it sheds some light on the issues and people behind the scenes who have dedicated their live to such work.”