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What is George Zimmerman really famous for? He didn’t invent anything. He wasn’t in a movie or a play, and he didn’t drop an album. George Zimmerman is famous for shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. But with all of the attention, opportunities and interviews that he has done, he is as recognizable as Beyonce or Justin Bieber.
Succes de scandale is French for “success from scandal.” It is a popular, cynical phrase that is used to explain why people like George Zimmerman are in the public eye. In the media today, there is no bad publicity. As long as your name is in the headlines, you’re going to be as popular as ever.
Because Martin was unarmed and the case questioned Florida’s Stand-your-ground law, the Zimmerman trial became a hot button topic. Celebrities like Jamie Foxx, Beyonce and President Obama all spoke out about Zimmerman and Martin.
In June 2013, Zimmerman was found not guilty. In a mature world, this is where the Martin family could grieve and Zimmerman could go back to his life. Instead, Zimmerman has taken every opportunity to get himself back into the news.
Zimmerman sold a painting on eBay. He has been charged with speeding several times. He was arrested for domestic abuse but the charges were dropped. Most recently, he has taken it up an entire level. He signed up for a celebrity boxing match.
Zimmerman is now considered to be famous enough to box with celebrities and he had officially hit celebrity status. And, although the match has been cancelled, Zimmerman has still found a way to get himself back into the news. He did an interview with CNN’s New Day.
He said that President Obama used him to get more votes. He said that he gets death threats and that he can’t find a job. He said that he was in debt. He tried to get sympathy and whined. But the most interesting thing that he said was that he was going stay in the news to get people to understand him even if it took “one person a day.”
Zimmerman isn’t going anywhere any time soon. But that isn’t his fault, it's ours. While he may have jumped on the train to get attention, we’ve been giving him the gas. It is the public paying attention to him that has given him the opportunity to grow into a full-grown star.
No matter how many paintings he paints, speeding tickets he gets or crazy things he says, if he becomes irrelevant then he won’t take over the news. If we keep talking about him, then we might just empower him to get a talk show or get a made-for-TV movie.
It is one thing to do an interview about your experience but quite another to be a celebrity. With all of the shenanigans that Zimmerman has been pulling, he isn’t just a regular citizen anymore. Everything he does is perfectly motivated to get attention. He is very good at it.
I would compare him to the Kardashian family, but at least they are working for something. While the girls are famous for being famous, they have television shows and fashion lines to promote. Zimmerman only promotes himself. We can’t complain about Kim Kardashian constantly being in the headlines and then allow Zimmerman to get the attention he wants.
And if Zimmerman is so worried about public perception of him, he might as well leave the limelight. I bet it will be easier to find a job when he isn’t worried about his next celebrity-boxing match or interview.