Hollywood stars are divided over the latest buzzword: ‘Nepo baby’.
Short for nepotism or the practice of favoring friends and family for jobs, the phrase has gained popularity among social media users as they have used the term with both fascination and disgust after learning that up-and-coming stars might have a helping hand had when entering show business.
The discourse was rekindled in December in Vulture’s cover story, “The Year of the Nepo Baby”.
Famous offspring such as Kate Hudson, Jamie Lee Curtis and Dan Levy responded to the controversial label, with some celebrities criticizing allegations of favoritism and others acknowledging their unique upbringing.
Tom Hanks adds to the comments about “family businesses” in Hollywood
Tom Hanks got involved in the “fake baby” debate while promoting his latest movie, “A Man Called Otto,” which also stars his son Truman. ET reached out to Hanks about comments he made about his “family business” being Hollywood acting.
“I think my kids are all Renaissance artists, you know? (They’re) good at whatever they want to be,” he told the outlet. “But the question here is, can you make it hang? You have to have a passion, you have to have a drive. And yes, our family has existed in the corporate city that is Los Angeles.”
Hanks and actress wife Rita Wilson have four adult children: Elizabeth, Colin, Truman, and Chet, all of whom are acting.
Hailey Bieber Embraces ‘Nepo Baby’ Fashion, Gets Support From Gwyneth Paltrow: ‘Maybe I Need Some’
Hailey Bieber, known as part of the Baldwin family of actors (she’s the daughter of Stephen Baldwin and the niece of Alec Baldwin), confirmed the discussion and stepped out wearing a cropped T-shirt that read “Nepo Baby.”
The 26-year-old model – wife of pop star Justin Bieber – previously spoke last summer with Gwyneth Paltrow, daughter of producer Bruce Paltrow and actress Blythe Danner, about the subject in her YouTube series ‘Who’s In My Bathroom?’ In the conversation, Paltrow said those whose parents work in the industry have to work harder to prove they deserve their success.
“People are ready to tear you down and say, ‘You don’t belong there’ or ‘You’re only here because of your dad or your mom,'” she told Bieber. “No one in the world, especially no one you don’t know, should negatively influence your path or the decision you make.”
When InStyle shared the picture of Bieber’s T-shirt on Instagram, Paltrow commented, “I might need some.”
Kaia Gerber on nepotism: ‘No artist will sacrifice their vision for someone’s child’
In an interview with Elle, model and actress Kaia Gerber, whose parents are models Cindy Crawford and Rande Gerber, said she “will not deny the privilege” her family has bestowed on her and downplayed the role of nepotism in acting.
“Acting is so different. No artist will sacrifice their vision for someone’s child. That’s just not how art is made,” she said. “Plus, nobody wants to work with someone who’s annoying, and not easy to work with, and not nice. Yes, favoritism is common, but I think if it was really what people make of it, we’d even see more of .
Kate Hudson weighs in: ‘If you work hard… it doesn’t matter’
When it comes to the favoritism baby debate, Hudson says she “doesn’t care.”
“I don’t care where you’re from or what your relationship to the company is,” Hudson, who was raised by her mother Goldie Hawn and longtime partner Kurt Russell, said in an interview with TSTIME in December. “If you work hard and you kill it, it doesn’t matter.”
Jamie Lee Curtis says label designed to ‘reduce’ and ‘hurt’
Curtis, the daughter of Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, took to Instagram in December to defend herself against false assumptions that all favoritism babies are automatically untalented or undeserving of their fame.
“The current conversation about fake babies is only to try to diminish and denigrate and hurt,” the “Halloween Ends” star wrote at the time.
“I’ve navigated 44 years with the benefits my associated and reflected fame brought me, I don’t pretend there aren’t any that try to tell me I have no worth in my own right. It’s curious how we immediately make assumptions and hateful comments that someone who is related to someone else who is famous in his field for his art would somehow be devoid of any talent.
‘OG Nepo Baby’: Jamie Lee Curtis says label designed to ‘reduce’ and ‘hurt’
Dan Levy “never really turned to” Eugene Levy for acting help
Dan Levy shot to fame when he co-starred with his father, Eugene Levy (“American Pie”) in the Emmy Award winning series “Schitt’s Creek”. In his acting career, he said he “never really turned to my dad for anything” for fear of label favoritism.
“Entertainment seems to be the one arena where kids pursuing their parent’s work, which is inherently a natural thing to do, are met with a lot of skepticism. And so all my life, leading up to (“Schitt’s Creek), I always tried to do everything on my own, I think to prove, mainly to myself, that I could do it,” Levy told Page Six in 2018. .
Lily-Rose Depp criticizes nepotism: ‘Doesn’t get it’
In November, Depp talked about her experiences as the daughter of Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis.
“People are going to have preconceptions about you or how you got there, and I can definitely say that nothing will get you the part except you’re right for the part,” Depp, who stars in HBO Max’s “The Idol,” ” said.
“You might get your foot in the door, but you still just got your foot in the door. There’s a lot of work after that.”
Zoë Kravitz: ‘It is perfectly normal for people to be in the family business’
Discussing the subject in November, Kravitz, the daughter of Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet, said it’s “completely normal for people to be in the family business.”
“It’s literally where surnames came from. You were a blacksmith if your family was the Black family,” the “Batman” star, 34, told GQ.
Jack Quaid didn’t want people to think, ‘I’m just riding my parents’ coats’
Jack Quaid, best known for his role in “The Boys,” previously spoke of moving away from his parents, actors Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaid, and even considered changing his last name.
“I think at the beginning I thought, ‘Oh, do people like me? Do they think I’m just riding my parent’s jacket?’ and all these things,” Quaid, 30, said in a June interview with Thrillist. “I’ve made an effort to focus less on that and just really try to embrace this.”
‘Nepo babies’ in Hollywood: What do famous families say about equity in the industry?
Contributors: Elise Brisco, Erin Jensen
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Tom Hanks, Kaia Gerber, Hailey Bieber, more on favoritism baby debate