Blogging her poops. Deflating Scarlet Johansson. And now, apparently, taking blog bribes that are federal crimes for the rest of us. These are but a few of Gwyneth Paltrow's transgressions, and the FTC will continue to let them happen.
Paltrow, the FTC has hinted in an interview with Daily Finance's Jeff Bercovici, is not bound by the same blogging rules as ordinary everyday people. While we, typical Americans, must now disclose any "material connections" we have with the people and companies we blog about, celebrities are held to a different standard.
You see, famous people are already presumed to be amoral schwag whores, unlike typical bloggers (?!?!). So celebs don't have to explicitly disclose when they're being amoral schwag whores. Paltrow has become something of a test case: Bercovici caught her on her Goop.com touting a hotel that probably — her reps won't say — comped her free lodging.
Federal Trade Commission associate director Rich Cleland wouldn't comment on her specific case, but indicated that in situations like hers the FTC would probably consider "consumers' expectations" about her compensation:
The average consumer, Cleland said, might well be aware that celebrities of Paltrow's stature often receive free clothing, trips and other swag. "It is one of the issues where celebrity endorsements are a little different than person-on-the-street endorsements," he said. "Would consumers understand that celebrities are always getting free stuff? It's a factual question."
So celebs are exempt from disclosure rules because they are assumed to be untrustworthy, while newspapers and magazines are assumed to be exempt from the disclosure rules because they are assumed to be trustworthy. Non-celebrity bloggers, meanwhile, are a big unknown mysterious force, and thus subject to special federal regulations. At least until we elect Perez Hilton global blogger spokesman for life, making the state of our ethics crystal clear to everyone, and disclosures a thing of the past.