Rehab Is The New Apology
By Bruce Haring Posted Dec 8th 2009 01:00PM
If you've done something you wish you hadn't – and haven't we all been there? – there's a hot new pop culture way to avoid or postpone any public groveling: go to rehab.
From ESPN's Steve Phillips (rehab for sex addiction, and anyone who saw his paramour knows it's a serious problem) to Isaiah Washington (who underwent "executive counseling" for gay slurs against fellow Grey's Anatomy case member T.R. Knight) to the "domestic violence" counseling of Chris Brown, rehab has become the new apology.
Much like the proverbial man who murders his parents and asks the court for mercy because he's an orphan, the many forms of what's generally called "rehab" has become the preferred way to avoid a public confession of sins. Hell, there are even television shows about celebrity rehab.
"It's really become the classic 'Forgive me for I have sinned' template in the crisis manual that most celebrities have been trained to go to in the past couple years," says Dallas Lawrence, a VP at Levick Strategic Communications, a Washington, DC public relations firm. "It really is a great platform to neutralize the media and give you some space, to let you not be responsible for your actions, in many cases."
The tactic has a few medical professionals shaking their heads in disgust.
"They use their alcohol or drug issue as an excuse for misbehaving," says Clare Kavin, executive director of the Waismann Method, a Los Angeles-based treatment for opiate dependency. "It's easier to put the responsibility in something you can't control."
Drugs or alcohol don't cause you to do something you normally wouldn't, Kavin says. They merely bring it out from the hidden depths of your mind.
"There are certain lines you don't cross unless you really believe it. I think drug and alcohol most of the time relaxes you to the point where you don't see consequences."
Bonnie Fuller, editor-in-chief of HollywoodLife.com and the former helm of Star magazine, says rehab is always the right move if there's genuine addiction.
So, does she believe there's such a thing as sex addiction?
"In Hollywood, there is."
Are you listening, Tiger?
Pamela Bach was arrested for driving under the influence in California over the weekend, marking the second DUI offense for the ex-wife of David Hasselhoff.
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