Should Criminals Become Celebrities?

Posted on October 24, 2011

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By Claire Porter

In light of the recent release of convicted murderer Amanda Knox should
an individual with a conviction be able to sell their story for money?

It is a debate that has been on going since the 70s, is it right for criminals to sell
their story for financial profit? This topic touches on subjects such as ethics
and freedom of speech which has yet again been brought to the front line of media
attention. With the controversial release of Amanda Knox an American tried and
convicted of murdering British student Meredith Kercher, it is yet again a subject
up for debate.

It was just last week Knox, 24, was released from prison in Italy when
the verdict was reached four years ago that she was guilty of the murder of Meredith
Kercher was overturned. The case has been a prominent news story since
November 2007 when Meredith was found dead in her apartment. So it is not
surprising the media attention Knox has received since being acquitted of her
crimes, however the question is where should this media attention stop?
Within hours of Knox’s release there was rumours of book deals and speculation
on who would get that first exclusive interview. Offers came in starting at
$750,000 from publishers hoping to clench a book deal with Knox. However
the real question is should Amanda Knox be allowed to accept money for her
story? Especially when the case is still open, it is morally correct? If so how will
she spend this money: lawyer fees, personal pleasure or there has even been
rumours that she will donate money to the family of victim Meredith Kercher.

If Knox were to accept a financial settlement for the publication of her story
should she be limited to what she does with the money? The Knox family
have already made claims that any money will be used to cover legal costs
and rebuilding the young woman’s life. This however has been criticized with
speculations why the wealthy Knox family who paid $6000 tuition fees per year
for Amanda to attend a preparatory school would need financial help. What
really must be considered here is the impact it will have on victim Meredith’s
family. With the investigation into the British students death still on going it is
surely extremely insensitive to sell a story on whole experience.

Amanda Knox was acquitted of all charges

This type of case is not a new one. For years the media have covered stories on
criminals signing book deals, selling that first exclusive story and even signing
the rights over to be made into a film. Cases such as: Mark David Chapman, the
man found guilty of murdering Beatles star John Lennon. Chapman was offered
up to $100,000 for his story but this was prevented under the Son of Sam law
that stops criminals receiving a financial incentive for their story. Another
famous case is that of Amy Fisher, a young American woman charged with

aggravated assault of her lover’s wife. This particular case gained much publicity
and the Fisher family was given up to $80,000 for the story, however it was later
found that the money was used to post bail rather than for personal enjoyment.

This case is an opportunity for laws to be reviewed and ethics to be considered.
Surely it is not morally correct for a criminal to profit for their crimes. It seems
like the media are congratulating the criminal for what they have done and is
sending out a negative statement to the public: commit a large-scale crime and
you’ll get money for it.

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Posted in: Opinion Pieces