International singing superstar Michael Bublé has been joined by his wife, Luisana Lopilato, on Instagram Live every day during the pandemic, entertaining his homes-bound fans. However, as you can see in the video above, a moment last week in which he elbowed Luisana with a hint of malice during a recent video livestream had creepy vibes, and it disturbed many viewers. The moment took only a second: as she started speaking over him, he made deliberate contact with her in a flash of anger, and she apologize to him. The celebrity news media, always eager for a scandal, publicized and criticized the incident, as the singer was flamed on social media.
I heard about the episode, and approached it assuming that it was a #MeToo over-reaction, with the singer becoming an innocent target being prepared as q sacrifice for the greater good of womankind. Then I saw the clip, as well as some of the others shown in the video above. Boy. I don’t know.
What I saw would make (and has made, in the past) me very nervous if I observed the same kinds of interactions and body language between any couple I engaged with socially. How hard should it be to display good manners and not engage in questionable conduct like that on a live TV broadcast? The fact that the singer reacted instinctively in such an ugly manner strongly suggests that this is normal conduct for him, or worse, that he was restraining himself.
Lopilato, an Argentine actress, defended her husband in an Instagram message in Spanish, and her message made me even more uncomfortable. She wrote in response to one of her husband’s critics,
“It’s incredible how some people are! While we are in the middle of a pandemic, living under a quarantine with angst, fear, loneliness, and uncertainty of all kinds! We come out every day with my husband to try to do [Instagram] lives to bring a little bit of happiness, entertainment, longing. After all the pain that we experienced with [the couple’s youngest son, who has battled cancer], I want you all to know that I have no doubts about who my husband is. I would choose him again a thousand times over! It’s not fair! This person is causing harm and taking advantage of this pandemic where people are suffering, dying and under quarantine, to gain fame and followers. They are sharing lies and that I will not allow because they are disrespecting my family, so I ask all of you who have trusted me for years to not allow this either! The world needs more than ever love, hope, values unity and solidarity. Not this kind of person.”
That’s almost entirely made up of deflections and rationalizations, isn’t it? She doesn’t address the incident at issue at all. She frames the entire statement in The King’s Pass and The Saint’s Excuse (‘Michael is wonderful and it’s for a good cause’), while adding The Revolutionary’s Excuse (“These are not ordinary times”), Rationalization #28. She then proceeds to attack the critic, while clouding the issue with #42, The Hillary Inoculation, or “If he/she doesn’t care, why should anyone else?,” #46, Zola’s Rejection, or “Don’t point fingers!,” #48, Ethics Jiu Jitsu, or “Haters Gonna Hate!,” and #63, Yoo’s Rationalization or “It isn’t what it is.”
How much she loves him is irrelevant (Is “But I love him!” another rationalization? I think it is). Abused spouses and partners often accept abuse out of love (or other reasons). It can be a deadly reaction. This all may be a big misunderstanding, but nothing Mrs Bublé said should make us feel any better about her situation.
Is this anybody’s business other than Bublé and his wife? Sure it is. Celebrity conduct affects the culture. Domestic abuse is an anciet worldwide human rights problem that in many places (like much of South America) is still considered acceptable. There is justifiable concern about Lopilato’s safety, and there are legitimate questions about her husband’s conduct and attitude. These don’t make him a less accomplished singer, but powerful celebrities promoting culturally toxic attitudes should be taught the error of their ways.
Many years ago, my wife and I attended a reception after the wedding of an actress in one of my shows. Both of us saw the same warning signs: in many of their interactions at the reception, the husband appeared to be exerting physical dominance over his new wife, including flashes of intimidation and abuse. We had a horrible sense of dread about that marriage, though I have no idea what became of the couple. The Bublé video gave me the same unsettling feeling.
I sure hope I’m wrong.
Here’s a poll. I’m curious about how many readers think this is much ado about nothing.