Gwyneth Paltrow is the latest celebrity to unleash budget skin-care products they would probably never buy themselves. Earlier this week, she started a press tour to promote her new, affordable skin care line called good.goop.clean. (not to be confused with the more high-end Goop Skincare.)
It’s arguably a pretty big deal that Goop, once synonymous with rich, white women and exclusivity, is being made available to us poors at Target and on Amazon. However, it was Paltrow’s defense of nepotism that immediately caught the internet’s attention—and backlash.
Just last year, the Shakespeare in Love star made the dim-witted statement (while talking to fellow NB, Hailey Bieber) that nepo babies have to work “twice as hard” as average people with no industry connections. And now, she seems to think that making it as an actor is comparable to getting a medical degree.
In an interview with Bustle, Gwyneth was asked what it was like for her 19-year-old daughter with Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Apple, to navigate college with a Hollywood family. Paltrow had this to say:
“Now there’s this whole nepo baby culture and judgment that exists around kids of famous people. She’s really just a student, and she’s been very… She just wants to be a kid and be at school and learn. But there’s nothing wrong with doing or wanting to do what your parents do.”
She continued, “Nobody rips on a kid who’s like ‘I want to be a doctor like my dad and granddad.’ The truth is, if you grow up in a house with a lot of artists and people making art and music, that’s what you know, the same way that if you grow up in a house with law, the discussions around the table are about the nuances of whatever particular law the parents practice. I think it’s kind of an ugly moniker. I just hope that my children always feel free to pursue exactly what they want to do, irrespective of what anybody’s going to think or say.”
Any remark about Hollywood nepotism that fails to address the reality of privilege is sure to get some engagement on social media. And, like clockwork, a series of annoyed reactions rolled in on X. Not only was her tone-deaf response to the nepo baby question worthy of critique, but it also probably didn’t feel right to many people that Paltrow was defending rich people’s right to work while the world is imploding.
I found Paltrow’s pro-nepo baby argument as silly and inoffensive as all the other ones that go viral, including her own. But it reminded me a lot of Lily-Rose Depp’s comments on the subject last year. She also dimly compared a famous actor getting their kid an audition to the child of a doctor going through four whole years of medical school. (I’m starting to think the nepo girlies have been workshopping these piss-poor rebuttals together.) Still, it goes without saying that booking a role in a Hollywood or Broadway production is a lot more arbitrary than getting a certification that requires a specific set of knowledge and skills—and, therefore, hours and hours of work.
Regarding Paltrow’s remarks, though, I don’t think nepo babies are suffering persecution online simply for doing what their parents do. It’s the fact that they have easy access to jobs—which some of them aren’t even qualified for—while everyone else is struggling to get a foot in the door that keeps grinding people’s gears.
I also don’t believe that nepo babies, unless they’re behaving egregiously, are on the receiving end of constant hate—at least, no more than the average public person who’s naturally subject to online cruelty. That said, celebrities are way too confident in what they think the nepo baby “conversation” online even entails. For some people, it’s just fascinating to discover that their favorite actor or singer is related to another famous person, and that’s the end of it. Other people presumably are more critical of the privilege these up-and-coming artists have. But when has acknowledging the truth ever stopped a rich person from pursuing what they want? But journalists, for some reason, are scared of following up with these facts!
Overall, Paltrow is too rich to care about any of this, especially for a celebrity whose whole personality is acting like she lives in her own, privileged bubble with no idea as to what us common folk are up to. She’s also the rare nepo baby whose career no one seems to have any objections to (at least in 2023), because she’s indisputably talented. Just enjoy your nepotism in silence!