20th Century Fox Film via Everett Collection
I believe it was René Descartes who wisely tweeted #HatersGonnaHate. The second you land in the public eye people will hate your sense of style, the geometry of your face, or even the sound of your voice. But what about when this hatred is justly deserved? Katherine Heigl has managed to alienate Hollywood insiders, fans, and audiences. She has attacked people who have helped shape her success like Judd Apatow and Shonda Rhimes. She’s even going after pharmacy chain, Duane Reade. Is anyone safe?
Heigl was a child model and best known for her role on the television series Roswell. Her movie credits at the time included horror movies Valentine, Bride of Chucky, and the body-switching family movie Wish Upon a Star. Then she lucked into a movie role in Knocked Up. She shined in the stoner comedy and the film was hugely successful. However, she later came out and said that the film was a little sexist. Now… that’s not a punishable offense. Apatow’s films are not renowned for their feminist ideals. However, she did break the Hollywood golden rule by burning a bridge. She also didn’t do much in the way of helping feminism with her roles playing roles similar to her annoying shrew role in Knocked Up in other romantic comedies.
Most of her success is due to Grey’s Anatomy. She was floating around the C-List until she was tapped to play charming Dr. Izzie Stevens. She even won an Emmy in 2007 for a major storyline for her character. However, to prove she has no loyalty at all she turned down a second Emmy nomination in 2008 stating:
“I did not feel that I was given the material this season to warrant an Emmy nomination and in an effort to maintain the integrity of the academy organization, I withdrew my name from contention. In addition, I did not want to potentially take away an opportunity from an actress who was given such materials.”
The only way to read that statement is as a huge slap in the face to the writers and show runner responsible for her success. It’s easy to point fingers and condescend when you’re successful. However, neither she or T.R. Knight found much success after being asked to get written off the show. She even said she wanted to return. However, Rhimes put it best when she told Oprah, “On some level it stung, and on some level I was not surprised. When people show you who they are, believe them.” Looks like Heigl may need Olivia Pope’s help to get out of this mess. It’s also worth mentioning that she told Oprah this after mentioning part of Scandal’s success is their “no a*****e policy.” Do with that what you will.
In an alternate universe, this honest, folksy Heigl could be the key to breaking down the tyranny of the Hollywood machine. However, she proves with her behavior that she’s probably just a jerk. She was poised to become like Sandra Bullock, a woman whose worst movies are still utterly delightful. But the main difference is that Bullock is likable. Bullock has handled a high profile divorce from good-press-black-hole Jesse James with diplomacy and grace. She handled her pre-Oscar campaigning with humor and personality. She is the folksy good-old girl that Heigl wishes she could be.
You cannot be outspoken and and make diva-ish demands while playing America's sweetheart roles. Hollywood Reporter has published multiple accounts of bad behavior by Heigl and her momager Nancy Heigl. If that’s not enough, she’s just smug. For example, when she was a presenter at the Emmys, where she won the now infamous award, she took a second to go off script to passive aggressively mock the announcer. If we can learn anything from the wickedly talented, one and only, Adele Dazeem, when it comes to the petty stuff like that, “Let it go!”
As if it isn’t enough she’s alienated herself from Hollywood, Heigl has decided to get litigious over a tweet. Now, Walgreens’ New York division Duane Reade, was pretty shameless in posting a paparazzi photo of Heigl coming out of the store with her purchases. But it’s not a 6 million dollar offense. Patronizing a store or using a product in public is sort of public domain. Tons of celebrities inadvertently endorse Starbucks, Red Bull, or brands of cigarettes. Policing social media does not seem like her place given her questionable integrity. Her time would be better spent sending 6 million tweets of thanks to the people who saw One For the Money.
It looks like Heigl is set to return to television. Maybe she has learned from all her bad behavior and can convince the whole world that she isn’t hypocritical, smug, passive aggressive, or a diva. Hopefully nothing but good things come to her. The one thing we have learned from Heigl is the negativity you put out in the world does come back to you.