When Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are underway, they rarely go unrecognized. They are accustomed to that by now and, after all, make a good living as a result of this fame. Being seen goes with the job of being an actor. Yet, it’s questionable, whether it is also part of the job that true events are hyped up, scandalized and interpreted with a good dose of imagination. One story published by the London tabloid The Sun on September 27, 2011, serves as a good example: It reported “Angelina Jolie kids’ piercing drama.”
Drama? Really? What happened? While Brad Pitt was filming World War Z in England, the Jolie-Pitt family was living in Richmond in the the south west of London. Angelina Jolie took care of the kids, visited singer Gwen Stefani and her kids and engaged in other activities as well. For example, she took her daughters Zahara (6) and Shiloh (5) to Sirisha’s Health and Beauty, an upscale beauty salon, where Zahara was allowed to pick some studs and have her ears pierced.
The tabloid claims to have a “witness in the salon” who indicated that the ear piercing had been painful for Zahara and that she had cried. It was said that, consequently, her sister Shiloh decided against the ear piercings. Besides, the “witness” also claims to have heard that Brad Pitt thought the girls were too young to have their ears pierced. The Sun also purports to know how Brad Pitt felt, when he came home from work only to find his daughter with new studs: “not pleased.” Furthermore, the paper reported that Angelina Jolie paid the beauty salon “a tenner” to “get the job done” (ten British pounds, about € 11) for the ear piercings.
Soon this tale of pain and tears made its way through countless media outlets from around the world. Photos of Angelina with four out of the six children could be seen everywhere, in which cute little Zahara is wearing her small, sparkling 18 karat gold studs. In many cases the content of the original story was simply adapted, sometimes questioning if or at what age it should be appropriate for mothers to have their children’s ears pierced. When surveys were taken in this regard, the opinions were as varied as the customs and cultures of those asked. (You’ll find our answer to this question at Questions & Answers, What’s the best age for kids to have their ears pierced?)
We were able to verify a few facts through reliable sources with first-hand knowledge of what transpired at Sirisha’s Health and Beauty:
- Yes, Angelina Jolie was at this beauty salon with her daughters Zahara and Shiloh on September 17, 2011.
- Yes, Zahara chose her own 18 karat gold piercing studs and had her ears pierced.
- All other angles of the story are, according to Sirisha’s, mere fabrications.
- The price for the piercings at Sirisha’s is £ 15 (about € 17). Add to that the price of the top-quality gold studs, roughly 30 £ (or € 34).
This version of the story was reported by only the fewest of media outlets such as the Richmond Twickenham Times, a local publication. And it’s surprisingly rare to find a publication such as The Telegraph that not only defends Angelina Jolie, but points out that there are too many who are far too eager to paint her as a bad mother. This sells fewer newspapers. Scandals are what counts. Besides, the paparazzi circus has already moved on.
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