Paris Jackson, like a lot of celebrities, reads some pretty ridiculous stuff about herself.
Oftentimes the 18-year-old will set the record straight on social media, taking to Twitter, Snapchat or Instagram to dispel the rumors. Paris has a range of reactions to the varying untruths—she finds some of the press' speculation to be outlandishly comical while other reports strike a nerve. Much like her late father Michael Jackson, she has a complicated relationship with the media and its treatment of public figures.
Yesterday, for example, Paris made light of the latest round of tabloid speculation into her love life. "so many marriage and pregnancy rumors just in the past 3 years. literally???" she tweeted. "what's next, me running for president? my boyfriend [Michael Snoddy] and i become super villains and try to take over the world come on now."
The teenager even quipped cheekily, "yo yo guys i'm the new green goblin wuddup"
But she doesn't always find the rumors as funny. Earlier today, Paris seemed somewhat annoyed and brushed off the latest erroneous report regarding her relationship with her rocker beau. "i think if i were engaged i would be the first to know," she tweeted glibly, "how am i just now finding out about this?"
Sarcasm can be a helpful tool, clearly, but it doesn't always do the trick. Paris, who is admittedly sensitive to the cruel, unfounded criticism directed at her online, comes across as genuinely hurt (and understandably so) when the tabloids take aim at her family. In response, she's targeted specific publications by name on Twitter, letting them know straight from the source that what they've published isn't true.
It's a losing battle, though, because any engagement with a troll (media or otherwise) only fuels the fire. Paris wants the last word on matters that involve her—and she should have it—but the current social media atmosphere doesn't allow for it.
That probably has something to do with why last month, Paris contemplated quitting social media again entirely. In a heartfelt Instagram post, she wrote how "very sad" she finds all the negatively online, whether it's "the ridicule and slander" in the comments section or "the awful things written in the tabloids."
And she's right. But we shouldn't tell Paris to get a thicker skin or to just ignore hurtful falsehoods making their way around the web. Her reactions are a reminder that no one—not public figures or celebrities' kids or anyone else—is immune to hateful words. It shouldn't take a social media blackout to escape the nastiness, either. There's a basic, civil fix for all of this: Be kind, or be quiet, and the Internet will be a better place for us all.