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Has the cult of celebrity worship gone too far?

Last week’s news highlighted a few Michael Jackson fans around the world committing suicide after being devastated by the pop singer’s death.

A UK media outlet Sky News quoted the president of MJJCommunity, one of the world’s largest Michael Jackson fan sites based in the UK, saying a total of (at least) 12 suicides occurred, one involving a Briton. EOnline.com mentions a Michael Jackson impersonator in Russia who attempted suicide (but was not successful) and The Barcelona Reporter claims a young girl in Tunisia was the first fan to commit suicide.

The news that saddened fans are willing to die for/because of a celebrity they have never met is disturbing, but also a strangely warped Messianic gesture.  Though I’m not equating Michael to Jesus, it is curious to note that just as Jesus’ followers are willing to die for him, Jackson’s followers are also willing to die because of him.

When the number of suicides was originally reported as seven, Jesse Jackson also gave a brief message encouraging Michael Jackson fans to “celebrate Michael’s life by creating futures not funerals.”  He goes on to say, “To make Michael happy…don’t accept the struggle, don’t give up and surrender…That’s the right thing to do.  Just live together…and not die apart.  Through all of this, keep hope alive.”

Watch Jesse Jackson’s full message below.

 

What do you think about the Michael Jackson fan suicides? Do you think it’s a disturbing trend of over-worshipping celebrities? Also, does fame trump faith when it comes to celebrity deaths?

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