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The Plight of Celebrities on the Internet, as Told by Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow

Stephan Schraps/Future Image/

"What does Gwyneth Paltrow know about coding?" was the question probably running through the heads of the guests at the tech event Code Conference this week. Indeed, Paltrow, founder of the lifestyle site, was wondering the same thing before she took the stage at the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. Turns out, she doesn't know much about code, but as the speech she made shows, she knows a lot about getting made fun of online. The actress and shiller of overpriced lifestyle goods mostly spoke about her experience dealing with negative comments from the Internet's peanut gallery, extending her 5-minute slot into a 15-minute speech on nasty Internet behavior. 

“Celebrities, we’ve always gotten stones thrown at us and, you know, for good reason: We’re annoying," she said in what is probably the most self-aware statement Paltrow's made to date. "Some of us look okay, we look like we have money, our lives seem great. That may or may not be the case… Nevertheless, we get it. Or, at the very least, we expect that it’s part and parcel to what we do. Anyone in any field who has their head rise above a poppy in the field, they get their heads chopped off. It’s our human nature to feel that way, and to do it. …Everybody takes shit, it’s just the way it is.”

But the fact that a few mean comments are to be expected as a celebrity doesn't mean that's any excuse for Internet trolls to talk trash about Gwynnie and her famous friends: “The lack of empathy that is created when people can anonymously opine about the looks or actions of others…It’s where we are in our culture. Yes, it does worry me, for the development of my kids and the next generation, that people can be so cruel without experiencing the consequences of being so cruel face to face.”

Still, in her world, the teasing–it's not all about her: "When you’ve been made fun of and excoriated and dragged through the mud and lied about for 20 years in front of the world…you actually realize it’s not about you.. Somebody has to know you for something to be about you. They can think it’s about you because you look a certain way or you’ve expressed an idea, but it can’t be, it’s not possible. You cannot be more than a representation of an internal object that person is carrying…I’m just there, and people can throw up whatever is going on internally that you are triggering in them." Yes, Gwyneth, we all made fun of the $300/day diet you published in your It's All Good cookbook because we're secretly insecure about not being able to afford duck eggs or Manuka honey.

You got us, Gwynnie.

[via Re/code]