B. Scott V. BET and Other Celebrity Branding Controversies
“It is also by that definition that BET and Viacom willingly and wrongfully discriminated against my gender identity during the 2013 BET Awards Pre-Show,” B. Scott wrote. “Let’s be clear — I’m suing BET and Viacom for a true public apology and to be fairly remunerated for the time lost, humiliation and emotional distress this entire situation has put me through.”
In case you have never heard of her, B. Scott is a television and internet personality, known for her YouTube videos and website lovebscott.com. B. Scott, born Brandon Sessoms, is a “transgendered” individual. She is openly gay, and though she accepts either male or female pronoun, she also says that “transgendered” is a fine word to use, though she identifies as something in between.
The issue is that B. Scott is recently suing the network BET for gender discrimination after they made her change into men’s clothing and take off her makeup before a red carpet segment. According to B. Scott’s report, BET seemed relatively inflexible concerning her style of wearing female clothing, likely because she was biologically born a man.
B. Scott is suing BET for $2.5 million in emotional damages, and has already refused to accept their apology, claiming that it wasn’t enough.
This is a conversation we should just get used to having, right? We are barely tackling equality for homosexual individuals, so even thinking about fighting for the rights of trans individuals is relatively intense.
But regardless of B. Scott’s situation with BET, it seems that this kind of situation happens on a relatively regular basis. A network or corporation will hire a celebrity for a particularly specific reason and sometimes, it so happens that they bring controversy to the table, resulting in a situation that is not entirely ideal.
There are plenty of celebrities that have had issues with various companies.
Anna Nicole Smith (may she RIP) was a TrimSpa spokesperson, for instance, and though they never actually fired her before the time of her death, there was a huge push in attempting to get the company to do so. TrimSpa stood by Smith, however, though many people felt that she was an inaccurate representation of what the drug does. …or rather, many people found Smith to be ditzy, obnoxious and a bad role model, so they encouraged the company to let her go.
Kanye West, though never a representative of MTV necessarily, ensued in quite a bit of controversy with the network surrounding the Taylor Swift incident. West was infamously anti-MTV for a long time, something that I’m sure the network did not mind. The two don’t always mix well–big egos and loud mouths shouldn’t be near a network that has been going downhill for years now.
Kobe Bryant was in advertisements for multiple companies during the time of his sexual assault case in 2003. Bryant reportedly lost something like ten million dollars when McDonald’s dropped him from their ad campaign because of it…though I feel that McDonald’s decision to not let Bryant represent them was a smarter choice than BET’s attempt to suppress the identity of a human being, regardless of his or her gender.
What do you guys think about BET and B. Scott? Were they wrong to ask her to change her clothes? Is she wrong for demanding such a high price in emotional damages?