In recent times, Hollywood has been continuously receiving criticism for being one big family tree, which was triggered through the online debate about the term, “nepotism.” Yes, you read that right; apparently, everyone in Hollywood is someone’s child, and that someone can range from an Oscar-winning actor to a highly esteemed producer. It is not a brand-new concept and it’s not exclusive to one industry. However, it is particularly evident in the entertainment industry, due to their public transparency. Many well-known actors in the movie industry are third or fourth-generation artists. This has given rise to criticism, that they receive significant film offers while truly gifted aspiring actors still face obstacles.
The second season of the contentious HBO hit “Euphoria” was when the nepo baby fad first began. The cast member Maude Apatow’s relationship to director Judd Apatow and actress Leslie Mann startled some young viewers. Sam Levinson, the director of “Euphoria,” is a “nepo-baby” himself. He is the son of renowned filmmaker Barry Levinson, with whom he co-wrote the HBO movie “The Wizard of Lies” before directing “Euphoria.” The name “nepo baby” was first coined as a result of further research done by netizens, after this discovery astonished many people and sparked further inquiry.
The following is a list of notable and prominent ‘nepo’ babies in the entertainment industry:
1) LILY-ROSE DEPP
2) LILY COLLINS
3) MAYA HAWKE
4) MILEY CYRUS
5) KATE HUDSON
6) KAIA GERBER
7) DAKOTA JOHNSON
8) ZOË KRAVITZ
9) GWYNETH PALTROW
10) DREW BARRYMORE
11) JAMIE LEE CURTIS
12) WILLOW AND JADEN SMITH
When New York Magazine and Vulture revealed a “Guide to the Nepo-verse” for their December spread, the discussion surrounding the dilemma of the ‘nepo’ babies transitioned from the internet to mainstream. The article and its images was instantly polarising with the cover statement, “She has her mother’s eyes and agent,” along eight of Hollywood’s most well-known ‘nepo’ babies faces photoshopped onto baby bodies laid in bassinets.
The in-depth reporting phrased it better on how people’s perspectives about nepotism vary, with some considering it commendable and others adopting a negative impression of how family ties might boost careers. This controversial article captured the interest of celebrities, who began to share their thoughts.
According to model Lily-Rose Depp, casting directors do not care about the family’s background. She added that the phrase “nepo baby” is typically used to disparage women. “The internet cares a lot more about who your family is than the people who are casting you in things. Maybe you get your foot in the door, but you still just have your foot in the door. There’s a lot of work that comes after that,” she explained.
One of the most famous figures to weigh in on the discussion was Kate Hudson. In an interview with The Independent, Hudson acknowledged that storytelling is “in our blood” and that nothing can change that. “The nepotism thing, I mean… I don’t really care. I look at my kids and we’re a storytelling family. It’s definitely in our blood. People can call it whatever they want, but it’s not going to change it,” she remarked. According to Hudson, in the entertainment industry, perseverance pays off in the end.
Meanwhile, Zo Kravitz told GQ: “It’s completely normal for people to be in the family business’’.
The “Halloween” starlet Jamie Lee Curtis posted a family photo along with a caption, outlining her viewpoint about the issue. She wrote on Instagram, “The current conversation about ‘nepo’ babies is just designed to try to diminish and denigrate and hurt,”.
The half-sister of supermodel Kate Moss, Lottie Moss, spoke on Twitter that she is “so sick of people blaming nepotism for why they aren’t rich and famous or successful,” adding that “it’s not fair that people who come from famous families are getting a leg up because of that.But guess what? Life isn’t fair,” she concluded.
The daughter of actor Keith Allen and producer Alison Owen, Lily Allen, tweeted: “If we’re talking about actual consequences and depriving people of opportunities, the ‘nepo’ babies you all need to be concerned about are those who work for law firms, banking, and politicians. BUT I have no interest in that.”
The general public’s opinions on this debate are mixed at the moment. Some people are thrilled that their favourite celebrities have the connections to succeed in the business. It is an undeniable fact that claiming that Meryl Streep is your mother will get you places, and using that to one’s benefit to shower in the fame-rain is indeed a strategic move.
Another group of fans are enraged by this subject as they believe that it hinders talented individuals, the chance to achieve stardom. Brooklyn Beckham, the eldest child of Victoria and David Beckham, was highlighted as an example of how ‘nepo’ babies transition from one career to another regardless of success, in an article published by The Vulture. “At 23, Beckham has already cycled through aborted attempts to follow in his parents’ footsteps in the worlds of football and modelling. He next tried to become a professional photographer, releasing a coffee-table book full of out-of-focus pictures of elephants. Then he was a chef, a career he embarked upon despite possessing a level of culinary talent most commonly seen in BuzzFeed videos’’ said the writer. In contrast, self-made celebrities like Zendaya and Michael B. Jordan had to knock on numerous doors and endure countless rejections before gaining recognition. This emphasises the liberty and privilege that ‘nepo’ babies possess while moving from one industry to another.
In spite of the fact that nepotism affects practically every industry, it is especially distinguishable for those under the spotlight, since it enables hierarchical parties to preserve and expand their wealth as well as their influence from one generation to the next. More diversified casting decisions made outside of the Hollywood system are the best solution to the ‘nepo’ baby issue. Independent filmmakers have a considerably lower propensity to mingle with well-known Hollywood performers, which renders them more inclined to give new blood a chance. In contrast to inheriting their careers from their parents, this enables first-generation actors to establish themselves organically. The concern with nepotism in Hollywood is the mechanisms that support it, not the children themselves.
Written by: Ruby
Edited by: Poorani