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Celebrities Against Violence

Dr. Truman R. Keys


Nothing gets the word out faster than a celebrity talking about it. Here is a scholarly look at what makes celebrities such powerful spokespeople.”
UNITED STATES, April 5, 2022 / -- Violence is more than an issue in America; it is a pandemic. Its negative impacts and corrosive character are harming us whether we are a victim, a bystander or professional tasked with public health and safety. Violence affects us regardless of class or social standing.

For decades, celebrities and well-known public figures have taken to the media to share their own experiences with violence. Now a new book, CELEBRITIES AGAINST VIOLENCE: CASE STUDIES IN SPEAKING OUT (McFarland & Company Inc. Publishers) by Truman R. Keys, spotlights the celebrities and their loved ones who have survived self-harm, bullying, intimate partner violence, sexual assault, family abuse, home invasion, gun violence, or police brutality.

Violence prevention experts increasingly recognize the influence of celebrities and work with them to spread awareness. This collection of case studies aims to support this growing influence by documenting the effects of violence prevention through celebrity advocacy.

This book focuses on the lives of celebrities, their experiences with violence and stories about their experiences in mass media, and the implications for the public healthcare system when their narratives address violence and its prevention.

“The book is more than a textbook,” Keys says. “The tales are relatable to everyone. Its scope extends beyond the ivory tower to victims, survivors, bystanders and professionals in fields from public affairs to public health to law enforcement, who desperately want to know how to stop the violence pandemic.”

Among the celebrities whose case studies are profiled in the book are Rihanna (intimate partner violence chapter), Jennifer Hudson (gun violence chapter), Selena Gomez (cyberbullying chapter), Sandra Bullock (home invasion chapter), Anthony Edwards (child sexual abuse chapter), Michael Bennett (police brutality chapter) and Ice Cube (community violence chapter).

Another celebrity, actress Angelina Jolie, is quoted as saying, “When there is silence from a Congress too busy to renew the Violence Against Women Act for a decade, it reinforces that sense of worthlessness. You think, ‘I guess my abuser is right. I guess I’m not worth very much.’”

The author says he examines a number of themes “so that readers can glean a holistic understanding of the role of celebrities in public health.” Those themes include: (1) a celebrity narrative, with discussion of famous people who advocate against violence and the effects of the narrative on media coverage of violence prevention, (2) a review of the positive and negative effects of celebrity narratives on the public, (3) the implications or lack thereof for American or international healthcare systems, (4) the role of mass media and social media in framing celebrity narratives, and (5) the intersection of race, class, gender, ethnicity, or sexuality in portrayals of violence and violence prevention.

“I believe everyone has personally experienced violence or knows someone who experienced violence and lived to tell their story,” says Keys. “I believe violence transcends the differences we have with one another, it is universal, and we can relate to being a victim, a survivor, a bystander, a perpetrator, or sometimes more than one of these identities in our lifetime.”

In a recent review of Keys' work, writes, “Nothing gets the word out faster than a celebrity talking about it. All the better to combat the national health issue of violence of all kinds, from domestic to suicide. Here is a scholarly look at what makes celebrities such powerful spokespeople.”

CELEBRITIES AGAINST VIOLENCE: CASE STUDIES IN SPEAKING OUT is available on Amazon and other popular retail outlets where books are sold.

Truman R. Keys is a professor in the Department of Communication and Media Arts at the midtown Danbury campus of Western Connecticut State University. He has presented and published research in intercultural communication and public health, with various multi-year projects addressing the implications of identity on self-disclosure.

Truman R. Keys, PhD
Truman R. Keys, Author