What Ariana Grande’s Donut Scandal Shows Us About Modern Celebrity

TIME

Since she came onto the music scene with her first album, 2013’s Yours Truly, Ariana Grande has been among the most carefully packaged stars in the industry. Grande’s outfits and styling are at times provocative but never truly racy; her music is so all-over-the-map as to avoid betraying anything so risky as a personality. That’s why her presence in the news this week, after getting caught on tape licking unpurchased food at a donut shop and saying, “I hate America,” is so surprising. This unsavory side to Grande’s personality is so unfortunate because Grande hasn’t shown us too much else about herself.

Past eras didn’t have as many opportunities for stars to embarrass themselves as Grande has; security-camera footage shared around the world on a no-holds-barred website is an invention of the past decade or so. As stars have grown more vulnerable to embarrassment, though, the access to whatever…

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