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Jerome Kinderman: Was actress Kim Novak really a victim of bullying?

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Posted: Tuesday, April 22, 2014 12:45 am

Kim Novak, 81, claims she was “dissed” during the recent Oscar festivities in Los Angeles regarding her physical appearance. She likened the remarks she evidently overheard and/or read via Twitter to bullying. She went so far as to state that the “cruel jabs about how she looked ... left her crushed at first, but then determined to speak out in protest.”

But is this truly an episode of bullying, or is it simply Hollywood doing what Hollywood does best — having fun at the expense of others? Novak even expressed her outrage with Ellen DeGeneres’s comedic remark about Liza Minelli, yet I read nothing about Minelli herself feeling bullied.

Ms. Novak admitted that in order for her to feel good about herself she voluntarily had fat injected into her face. The article by the Daily News displayed two pictures of her: one from 1954 and the other from the Oscars last month. I must admit that when put side-by-side, I would have never thought this was the same woman. But why would I? Why would anyone? After all, in 1954, Novak was 21 years-old! Heck, I’m 57 and I see little resemblance to myself from a picture taken when I was just 48 — one year prior to being diagnosed with stage IV cancer.

Life has a way of making us all look different. Time, stress, health issues and so many other factors add to the aging process. Exactly what could she have been thinking when having those fat injections? But more than that, what did she expect from Hollywood? Of all the disingenuous people on the planet, movie stars, television stars, Broadway stars, politicians and those who surround them are as superficial as Ms. Novak looked on Oscar night.

I can understand that her feelings were hurt — but she was clearly NOT bullied. She was drop-dead gorgeous in 1954 — two years prior to my birth — but now, well, not so much. Did she really think she looked anything like her former self as she took the stage alongside Matthew McConaughey to present an award? If so, she was only fooling herself — no one else in the Dolby Theatre fell for it.

Of course she could have avoided all of this had she simply declined the offer to present an award and either just sat in the audience or watched from her home in Oregon. But to compare herself to people who are truly bullied is just plain ludicrous — unless of course we’re about to redefine what bullying is. That wouldn’t surprise me at all, considering how dumbed-down America is fast becoming.

It seems like nowadays there are those who actually believe they have a right not to be offended. Someone please show me where that is written. I’m offended all the time by those who write awful things about me. But I have to take it on the chin because I put myself out here each time I write a column or a letter to the editor, or even submit a comment in response to an article in this or any other publication. I’ve never claimed I was bullied.

And because Ms. Novak decided to put herself on the stage at the Oscars, she also chose to set herself up to the harsh ridicule that comes with being an actor or actress — or a former actress separated by 60 years. She should have learned this lesson, as she stated that “as a young actress in Hollywood ... (she) was acutely sensitive to the industry’s casual snideness and harsh reviews of her lesser films.”

The only recourse she should have here is to let this one die (which it quickly will) and then just stay home next year.

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