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Who are you calling a diva? It’s just another way of damning women

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26.01.2019

It would seem that not only are high-profile lawsuits between celebrities and assistants becoming more common, increasingly they feature female stars. In 2013, Lady Gaga labelled her former personal assistant Jennifer O’Neill a “hood rat who is suing me for money she didn’t earn” in a case eventually settled out of court. Mariah Carey is suing Lianna Azarian for $3m, alleging that Azarian filmed her in order to blackmail her. Azarian is countersuing, alleging that Carey’s former manager, among other things, urinated on her while the singer watched (nice!). And so it goes on.

Aside from lawsuits, the general rule seems to be that, somewhere along the line, the celebrity boss gets denounced for being a diva. It’s as though, when things go wrong, the power imbalance between employer and employee is redeployed as a powerful PR weapon.

It helps that the public has been “groomed” to accept the idea of celebrities as divas, mainly because so many of the spoiled twerps are. Who hasn’t heard of Carey insisting on kittens to pet backstage, or declaring that she doesn’t “do stairs”? The recent Netflix documentary on the Fyre festival debacle is a salutary lesson in what happens when ordinary, everyday Instagrammers “go diva”.

However, “diva” isn’t always a women-only deal, even though, apart from some gay men, it’s generally famous females who get saddled with the demanding, high-maintenance “diva” label, which is then easily believed and hard to shake off. By contrast, it seems to take many years and incidents (sometimes real ugliness) before men get branded divas. Johnny Depp was firing the remains of the writer........

© The Guardian