The View / YouTube

The hosts of “The View” joined the “nepo babies” debate, with co-host Whoopi Goldberg declaring, “I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t give their kid a step-up if they could.” A “nepo baby,” with “nepo” being short for “nepotism,” refers to any person, typically a celebrity, whose parent is also either a celebrity or successful person who seems to have been given their position due to their own parent’s success or connections. The debate and term first gained steam last February with a tweet about “Euphoria” actress Maude Apatow. “Wait, I just found out that the actress that plays Lexie is a nepotism baby,” the tweet said, “her mom is Leslie Mann, and her dad is a movie director, lol.” The director is Judd Apatow, who has directed popular comedies like “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up.” 

Goldberg’s fellow co-host Sunny Hostin pointed out that nepotism has always existed in various industries. “Nepotism has been going on all over the place. We had one Bush and another Bush president. We had one Cheney, and we had another Cheney,” she pointed out. “Any parent is going to try to make sure that their children have a better life than they had,” she added. The hosts also pointed out that a “nepo baby” isn’t necessarily talentless or didn’t have to work for their position. Co-host Alyssa Farah Griffin stated that they should, however, “acknowledge the privilege.” Most of the hosts did not consider themselves as having gained their current positions through nepotism. “I didn’t have a leg up. I got where I got because I got it,” said Goldberg, whose mother was a nurse and teacher and whose father was a Baptist clergyman. 

While “The View” co-hosts mostly defended “nepo babies,” others have been very critical. Actress Gwyneth Paltrow, whose parents were an actress and producer/director, acknowledged last July that the playing field is “not level.” She stated, however, that although nepotism allows people like her to get their foot in the door, they have to work twice as hard to prove themselves. Actress Jamie Lee Curtis, whose parents were also actors, defended “nepo babies” in an Instagram post. After stating she had been working since the age of 19, Curtis wrote, “The current conversation about nepo babies is just designed to try to diminish and denigrate and hurt. For the record, I have navigated 44 years with the advantages my associated and reflected fame brought me. I don’t pretend there aren’t any that try to tell me that I have no value on my own. It’s curious how we immediately make assumptions and snide remarks that someone related to someone else who is famous in their field for their art would somehow have no talent whatsoever. I have come to learn that is simply not true.” She went on to say she was proud of her lineage and encouraged others to “be kind.” 

Of course, on the other side of the debate is how some have noted certain “nepo babies” appear to be far less talented than others in their field. A December Vulture article pointed out that some of the stars with the biggest roles in 2022 didn’t seem to meet expectations. Merriem Derradji, who originated the tweet about Maude Apatow, stated, “You would see models walk super-well and then there’s Kendall Jenner walking, and you’re like, Oh my gosh. It’s really bad. She walks like a normal person.” Jenner, a member of the famous Kardashian family, makes it at the top of the list of “nepo babies” who seem to be merely famous for being famous. Dakota Johnson, whose parents are Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson, has faced similar criticism. An August Bloomberg article, entitled “Open Your Mind to the Benefits of Nepotism,” summed up the debate with the subline- “Society rightly condemns promoting unqualified progeny to unsuitable jobs, but there’s still value in passing down the family business.”

 

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