The practice of giving rich actors free stuff is one more sign of the decline of American culture. At the last couple Sundance Film Festivals, I saw the marketing tactic firsthand and blogged about it here. While companies enjoy the extra publicity of seeing their $20,000 watch on the wrist of Terrence Howard, it seems utterly inappropriate to give handouts to the wealthy. As I've suggested before, why not get some extra publicity instead by donating $3,000 guitars to underprivileged kids or free trips to Bora, Bora to Iraq war veterans?
In the New York Times, Sharon Waxman sheds light on the celebrity kiss-ass extravaganza and it isn't pretty. Gwyneth Paltrow, according to the story, expressed surprise at the Golden Globes when she received a cruise to Antarctica and Tasmania in her gift basket. (Estimated value: $22,000.)
That actors agree to this sort of thing is what's really surprising. The article says that few such trips are actually redeemed, but the story leaves little doubt that hard gifts are pocketed. If Hollywood is so socially conscious these days, I would think they'd donate their gifts to charity. Where is that story?