Online Celebrity Bashing: Wrecking Ball or Good for You? Adolescent Girls' Attitudes Toward the Media and Public Bashing of Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez

Gaelle Ouvrein*, Sara Pabian, Juan Manuel Machimbarrena, Charlotte J. S. De Backer, Heidi Vandebosch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Journalists and readers of celebrity news regularly bash celebrities online, a behavior that is easily accepted among adolescents. This study investigates whether these attitudes of acceptance differ according to the perpetrator of the bashing (media versus public) and the likeability of the involved celebrity (liked versus disliked). Using a vignette study, we examine adolescent girls' attitudes toward media (journalists') and public (readers') bashing of a generally disliked celebrity (Miley Cyrus) and a generally liked celebrity (Selena Gomez). All participants read an identical negative news story (media bashing) and two related negative reader comments (public bashing). Participants were randomly assigned to read this information about either Miley Cyrus or Selena Gomez. Results of a mixed-design ANOVA showed that the girls had less negative attitudes toward media bashing compared with public bashing. Moreover, they more easily accepted the bashing of a disliked celebrity than the bashing of a liked celebrity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-271
Number of pages11
JournalCommunication research reports
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Celebrities
  • Celebrity Bashing
  • Miley Cyrus
  • Online Aggression
  • Selena Gomez

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