Last Thursday, Jason Bateman stood in line outside an Apple Store with 2,000 other people in order to get his hands on the new iPhone 4. However, Apple Store employees, most likely recognizing him from his iconic role as the overprivileged tight end Jarvis Edison in Necessary Roughness, plucked Bateman out of line and invited him inside the store to get his phone ahead of everyone else.
A paparazzi photographer was there at the time, so photos of Bateman being pulled out of line quickly surfaced. (Bateman later claimed that the Apple Store employees invited him inside the store to get him away from the paparazzi photographer.) Not surprisingly, gossip blogs ran the photo and talked about the “incident” on Thursday. What is surprising though is that, for some reason, people are still talking about this (incredibly insignificant) event a week later.
This is mostly thanks to Us Weekly, which is clearly struggling to find compelling content in these slow summer months. The magazine tracked down several people who were in the line that day and allowed them to vent their frustrations. Here’s a sample of their top notch reporting, which no doubt will be in line for the Pulitzer next year:
“Everyone literally started booing and hissing!” a source tells UsMagazine.com.
Adds another witness, “The crowd freaked and booed, and [Bateman] put his head down.”
Why are these sources anonymous? Are these people really afraid to go on the record? Do they think the star of Teen Wolf Too is going to track them down and kick their asses? It’s Jason Bateman, not Sean Penn. Cowboy up and give the report your fucking names, you pansies.
Luckily, there was a brave soul willing to go on record. Angela Mayhew, who had been in line since 3:30 a.m. according to Us Weekly, told the magazine: “It was so much drama! It was the most surreal experience. People were so pissed because that line was ridiculous.”
On his Twitter account, Bateman at first denied that anyone was booing when he was let into the store (adding “I was content in line. I wish I’d stayed”), but later, after being confronted with Us Weekly’s crack reporting, Bateman posted: “Correction – If there were boos, I didn’t hear them. If some were mad, I didn’t see them. I wish I had. If you’re out there, I’m sorry.”
It’s nice of Bateman to apologize, but honestly I don’t think he did anything wrong. It’s easy for Us Weekly to paint Bateman as a spoiled Hollywood elitist using his celebrity status to jump to the head of the line, but that’s not really fair.
For one thing, in Us Weekly’s own article, Mayhew says that Bateman got in line at 4:45 a.m. and it wasn’t until around 10 that employees pulled him out of it. So Bateman was there for five hours and 15 minutes patiently waiting before anyone came and got him. In the paparazzi photos, Bateman is sitting on the sidewalk looking slightly confused as the Apple employee pulls him out of the line. He wasn’t shouting or making a scene. He didn’t demand to be let in first. At no point did he yell: “Do you know who I am? I played Carl Himple on Simon, damn it, and I demand you take me to the front of this line!”
Still, it’s not surprising that people in line were upset. When you’ve been there since 3:30 in the morning, you are going to be pissed off that someone gets to jump in front of you. That’s completely understandable. Even the biggest Valerie’s Family fan in the world is going to get upset when ol’ David Hogan himself cuts in line.
But I blame the Apple Store. You are located in L.A., Apple Store. Undoubtedly, you are used to dealing with celebrities. If you are going to have a policy where you give celebrities special treatment, at least have an employee subtly tell Bateman to head around back and sneak him in through the employee entrance or something. What is this, amateur hour?
I don’t blame Bateman for doing it though. Is he honestly supposed to turn down the employee’s offer to get his phone before everyone else? Do we really expect him to be so noble that he would continue to wait in line after being offered a way out? Who would actually do that? I guarantee that, in his shoes, you would have all followed that Apple Store employee too. If you don’t think you would have, you are kidding yourself.
Bateman’s biggest problem here is that he seems like a nice guy. The fact that he was even in the line in the first place is astounding to me. The only reason you didn’t hear about a ton of other celebrities getting plucked out of the same line ahead of everyone else was because they all sent their managers or personal assistants out to buy the phone for them. Or they called Steve Jobs and asked him to bring one over. Bateman is only catching grief because he tried to be a regular guy instead of a pampered celebrity. He’s catching flack because he forgot that he was better than everyone else until an Apple Store employee came along and reminded him.
Being a celebrity these days is tough. With so many paparazzi photographers and gossip blogs looking to tear you down, it’s just not as fun as it used to be. As a society, we have this insatiable need to destroy these celebrities anytime they do something we deem unacceptable. But you know what makes being a celebrity awesome? (Besides the piles and piles of cash.) The perks.
Jason Bateman should get the iPhone before everyone else. He deserves it. The man who starred in Extract shouldn’t have to stand in line with the unwashed masses. The Angela Mayhews of the world should move out of his way so that he can get his iPhone first. He needs that phone to call up all of his bigtime Hollywood friends to invite them over to his house for an awesome party that we could only dream of attending.
I say enjoy your phone, Jason Bateman. And don’t ever stand in line for anything ever again. You are better than everyone else … and I’m okay with that.
Joel Murphy is the creator of HoboTrashcan, which is probably why he has his own column. He loves pugs, hates Jimmy Fallon and has an irrational fear of robots. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.