If celebrity endorsers come in for stick, will they put themselves forward in future?

Here’s a question. Does the inevitable takedown of a third party endorsement during an election campaign still make the original endorsement worthwhile?

Just look what’s happened this week.

Monday saw Labour’s first election broadcast, fronted by actor Martin Freeman. The Office star subsequently found himself weighed and measured for sending his children to a school “which charges up to £12,669 a year” while rehashing a story about his partner’s bankruptcy, despite Freeman being worth “more than £10million.”

Next came the Tories’ endorsement from 100 business leaders yesterday. Many were accused of being heartless capitalist storm troopers, warding off any threat to their wealth from Labour’s mansion tax or proposed 50p top rate.

Then, last night, Labour put out its own list of endorsers, hours after it ran with its pledge to outlaw zero hours contracts. Cue this morning’s inevitable revelation that some of them have feet of clay, with the designer, Wayne Hemmingway, ‘exposed’ for making use of unpaid interns.

Freeman presumably sees no contradiction between his personal fortune and backing a redistributive Labour party – and probably regards media coverage to the contrary as a noxious invasion of his privacy.

Doubtless, business leaders seeing their motives traduced and financial affairs spread across the newspapers agree.

While Hemingway may now be pondering how innocently offering work experience to undergraduate design students suddenly makes him a Dickensian overseer.

Is it fair that they all come in for stick, merely for engaging with the democratic process? Perhaps not, but this is to ignore the obvious.

The speed with which we can now smoke out double standards – real or inflated – and relay that information around cyberspace sees even the purest intention dragged down into the sewers of British politics.

Do the endorsements of film stars, or business executives, still smell fragrant to voters after a bucket load of stagnant water has been thrown over them? In fact, is there any evidence they ever make much difference at all? No, probably not.

And what of the endorsers themselves? Large companies are now acutely aware of the damage to their corporate reputations by executives wandering outside the confines of their day job and striking public positions.

In fact, how many of the Tories’ 100 business backers would sign a similar letter in future, knowing they have put themselves and the businesses they represent in the crosshairs for little practical benefit?

All of which exposes the essential problem: we don’t like, trust or respect our politicians. In such a noxious culture, the temptation for them to burnish their gravitas or likeability with a sprinkling of fairy dust becomes overpowering.

But if some of the politicians’ grime rubs off on the celebs in return, will they be willing to put themselves forward in future?

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4 Responses to “If celebrity endorsers come in for stick, will they put themselves forward in future?”

  1. John P Reid says:

    Do celebrity endorsers do it, because they really believe in the views the party they claim to support, or do they do it to appear more credible with their market,

    Ben Elton for all his support of labour left the uK, so did the Beatles,after feeling labour was taxing them too t
    Much, even artists like the Pet shop boys, who had songs attacking Thatcherisms greed,we’re just sending themselves up,just pretending to be politically correct,while making lots of money

    I actually feel some of the comedians who back stand up for labour are doing it to get attention too themselves, if they actually looked at Labours policies, what the views they express ,in their acts would be far removed from what Labour and its average voter, stands for.

  2. Dave Roberts. says:

    Silly article and it’s not even the silly season.

  3. james says:

    The problem with Freeman is that he’s a millionaire tax avoiding private healthcare and school user trying to lord it over the rest of us by using `values` as a substitute for honest policy. Left values are voted for when society believes they can afford them. Until that time Freeman comes across as a common all garden labour luvvie who understands less about the common man or woman than George Osborne.

  4. BenM says:


    Usual rightwing paranoid Drivel.

    Freeman is of course, self made, whereas Osborne has had a silver spoon rammed up his backside all his cosseted life.

    So Freeman is more in touch with ordinary people than Osborne will ever be.

    Still amazes me that the Right thinks it can get away with attacking rich people for supporting Labour (and so by extension ordinary people) with shrill charges of hypocrisy.

    I put it down to the inner sense of personal shame most rightwingers must feel towards their lust for self interest.

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