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The Mother Didn't Do It

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Bottom line: Don't blame the mother if her celebrity child makes a fool out of him or herself on national television.

john edwards, kanye west, serena williams, rep. joe wilson

Candy Spelling: During the last couple of weeks -- when a congressman shouted "You lie" during a presidential address, Serena Williams threatened a tennis linesperson, Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift at the VMAs, and former senator John Edwards' struggle over whether he's admitting he fathered a child out of wedlock is making headlines -- the national debate has been about manners, etiquette, and if we've all just become too rude for our own good.

I don't have an answer. We can't judge everyone by two politicians, a tennis champion, and a rapper.

But, I am concerned about the mother angle.

I was disappointed when Jay Leno asked Kanye West what his mother would have thought about his interrupting Swift's acceptance speech. The story of Mrs. West's tragic death following surgery didn't belong in this discussion. West's answer produced some awkward TV moments that some people interpreted as blaming grief over his mother's passing (and lack of time off) for this incident.

I respect Oracene Price, mother of both Serena and Venus Williams (and three other successful and respected daughters). She's very wise, yet no one seemed to care what she thought. The agent took precedence, signaling Serena to smile when the press was questioning her about the threats she made.

We all sympathized with Elizabeth, the mother of John Edwards' children, when the story about his extramarital affair hit. There was an outpouring of sympathy for this mother, wife, and cancer victim -- until she wrote a book. Then she was attacked unmercifully for going public about how badly her husband's behavior wounded her.

I think I would have done more than write a book if my husband cheated on me and then tried to justify it by saying I was in remission from my disease at the time.

I don't know anything about the mother of the South Carolina congressman who yelled at the president. I just hope that no one is blaming her for his rude outburst.

Adults have to take responsibility for their behavior. I'll bet you anything the mothers of these four people did not teach them that rudeness or infidelity are acceptable behavior.

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19 comments so far | Post a comment now
littlepeapie September 23, 2009, 4:44 AM

Adults do have to be responsible for their own actions and words….but Leno’s point was, that Kanye’s mother would have been disappointed at his ridiculous behavior and he was exactly right. That was the first thing I thought of…you are wrong…if it takes that to shame Kanye to stop acting like a fool, b/c this wasn’t the first time, then so be it. He does act like he had “no raising”.

PlumbLucky September 23, 2009, 5:35 AM

So we get “don’t blame the mother” from a woman with a highly publicized rift/estrangement from her daughter?

I have to agree with littlepeapie - adults have to take responsibility for their own actions, but yes, their mothers should be disappointed by their respective offsprings’ shenanigans. And at some point, if there is a pattern (ahem, Mr. Kanye West), then you DO have to wonder about the lack of home training.

Sarah Valley September 23, 2009, 9:34 AM

There has to be a point where mom gets a break - including Tori Spelling to look at herself.

sue September 23, 2009, 9:49 AM

The offspring created the blame game. Now they are adults. Move on. Take responsibility.

Alexis September 23, 2009, 9:57 AM

I wouldn’t let my 7 year old son blame me for his behavior. Why do 20 or 30 year olds get to escape responsibility and blame mom?

Eliz September 23, 2009, 10:11 AM

Elizabeth Edwards is such a class act. Ironic how her husband’s handlers moved focus from his bad behavior to chastise her for speaking out.

steviewife September 23, 2009, 10:56 AM

This wasn’t the first Kayne West outburst of rude behavior, and his mother was alive for some of the earlier ones. He always seemed to go to her for justification, but there is none.

michelle September 23, 2009, 11:24 AM

I agree with the other commenters. Plus, no one ever blames the dads. It is apparently only moms who are bad parents. What a coincidence.

gea1087 September 23, 2009, 2:38 PM

Candy Spelling certainly is more personally connected to this concept than other celebrities may b, given the fact that her daughter a their family are often in the spotlight. However, she raises a good point. All of the celebrities that she mentioned are adults and high-profile figures who should be aware of the consequences of thier actions and be able to accept resonsability for their own actions. I also agre with Michelle…why aren’t fathers ever held accountable?

littlepeapie September 23, 2009, 3:16 PM

My comment was about shame, not blame…I don’t blame Kanye’s mother, I blame him…his behavior would upset her, therefore, he should be super ashamed of it. You can be a fantastic mother and have a child make bad choices…

N September 23, 2009, 4:03 PM

so the joan crawford of our time thinks she belongs on a parenting site, nows thats scary

merri134 September 23, 2009, 4:57 PM

Well said littlepeapie. In Kanye’s case, he does seem to need some reminder of morals and curtesy…especially the morals that his late mother no doubt tried to teach him. This may have not been the most appropriate way to instill shame (a sensative topic on national television), but I’m sure on some level it was quite effective.

Stefanya September 24, 2009, 11:25 AM

You’re right, Candy. And while we’ll never know what exactly the mothers of these people taught them, we can still see that Kanye and Serena and everyone else you discussed are adults now and they need to learn to take responsibility for their own actions. Mothers are caring and loving and nurturing, and it’s just unfortunate that they are so often used as an excuse for an easy cop out.

Millie VaLilly September 24, 2009, 11:31 AM

Right on!

The issue at hand is manners and etiquette, and apparently these celebrities and congressmen have none… or at least forgot what their mothers taught them!

I’m sure their mothers taught them that infidelity and rudeness are entirely unacceptable, but really that’s just common sense! Seriously, people… famous or not, get your acts together.

Kell E September 24, 2009, 11:45 AM

N, is that really necessary? Candy Spelling has had to deal with fame, public criticism and lack of privacy for as long as I can remember. To make a comment like that and dismiss her as a person just isn’t fair, and in this case entirely unfortunate! After all, she makes a number of good, if not great points here. Whatever you can say about Candy and her publicly scrutinized relationship with her own children, we still see Tori in the press and she does nothing shameful like Kanye’s gross behavior. If anything, she seems to have a good head on her shoulders - most likely from good parenting and a good mother! When people grow up they act on their own accord, and while relationships may change the values that your parents instill in you remains the same. Candy did a great job then, and continues to do so now with everything she said above.

Stefanya September 24, 2009, 11:54 AM

I totally agree, Kell E. Candy has been through a lot, and she is probably has a better understanding of how this all works in the world of the celebrities than we ever will, just like gea1087 said too. Children always try to pass off blame for their actions on to the parents, most often to the mother, and it’s just wrong. Sad and wrong.

Jennifer September 30, 2009, 3:28 PM

Agree with N. Candy Spelling giving parental advice is like asking Roman Polanski to babysit your daughter. Pleassseee!!!!

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