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Entertainment celebrities don’t owe you anything.

I mean, they owe what we all owe when we have a job. They should show up to work and do their jobs to the best of their ability. They owe you a good movie/concert/game/book/whatever. Or at least, the best one they can provide that day. (Remember that all these things are opt-in and if you don’t like what they produce, you can stop buying it.) IF they commit to doing the thing. If you’ve got tickets to a show, the celebrity owes you showing up and doing the show, or giving you your money back, but that’s IT. That’s all they owe you. Not one thing more.

They don’t owe you an autograph.

They don’t owe you a picture.

They don’t owe you a reply when you come up and say hi. (After all, you’re a stranger.)

It’s nice when they do those things. And I’d hope that celebrities are polite most of the time, because everybody should be polite. And it’s great when celebrities realize how much it means to a fan to have a moment with them, or a photo, or an autograph. But “no” can be polite. “Thank you, but will you excuse me? I’m having dinner with my family now” is polite. It’s more polite than you deserve, frankly, if you’ve interrupted a stranger at dinner.

And they don’t owe you more work. Would I be bummed if Wil Wheaton walked away from Tabletop or Darren Criss stopped singing tomorrow? Sure. I’d be disappointed. Because I like those things. I’m disappointed that Chris Colfer hasn’t sung anything since Glee ended. But they have the right to make those choices. They don’t owe me more of what I like, just because I want it.

Look, if you waited in the winter cold outside the Hamilton stage door for an hour, and Lin-Manuel didn’t come out because he kept getting sick this winter, I feel for you. You were disappointed, and that’s real. Feel your feelings. But Lin-Manuel chose to disappoint people hoping for a little extra (a meeting, an autograph, a selfie) so that he could keep his commitment to the people who purchased tickets to the next show. That means his priorities were in order, and while you get to feel disappointed that your hope didn’t pan out, you don’t get to resent him for it. And if he never writes another play, we can be sad, but again, that’s his choice to make.

Please teach this to your children. Teach them that it’s rude to take photos of someone without their permission. (Performing at certain public events constitutes permission. Appearing at a restaurant because you want to eat food does not.) Teach them that while it’s fine, most of the time, to ask for what you want, you need to be able to graciously accept “no” for an answer. And to really appreciate the “yes.” Because celebrities are human beings. They have dreams, stresses, families, choices to make, and priorities of their own.

That said, the occasional teasing of Geoge RR Martin is encouraged. Particularly when he consents and participates.

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