Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department or School

Communication, Media and Theatre Arts

First Advisor

Dr. Bruce Carroll

Second Advisor

Dr. Doris Fields

Third Advisor

Dr. Edward Sidlow


This paper is an exploration of celebrity justice. Many different definitions of the term celebrity exist, as do many different views on what exactly constitutes celebrity status and the role those of this status plays in society. Additionally, the advantages and disadvantages of publicity regarding celebrities are disputed. Having celebrity status can both be beneficial and detrimental to the welfare of the celebrity. Studies show that when involved in a trial, publicity can actually harm the celebrity because of the bias the media can create in the mind of the public. This pretrial publicity leads to more convictions for celebrity defendants. Also, celebrities tend to receive harsher punishments from judges who want to uphold the image of the judicial system and avoid appearing to give celebrities preferential treatment. This paper analyzes the reasons behind the perception of preferential treatment for celebrities and the outcomes of court cases involving these celebrities.


Additional Honors Advisor: Dr. Dennis Patrick