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The Lesson To Learn From How Aaron Carter & Selena Gomez Were Treated After Being Honest About Their Struggles

Photo: Tinseltown / Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock
Selena Gomez, Aaron Carter

"I don’t understand how I dedicated 22 years of my life to my fans and now they turn on me," Aaron Carter told Entertainment Tonight in a 2017 interview.

The clip has been making its way across social media in the aftermath of his sudden death serving as a painful reminder of how catastrophic the public treatment of troubled stars can be.

Carter's November 5 death in his Los Angeles home occurred in a week when another embattled star was being picked apart for her high-profile battle with mental health.

Selena Gomez's "My Mind & Me" aired on Apple TV, documenting her journey with her lupus diagnosis, bipolar disorder and a range of other personal experiences over the course of six years.

A child star like Carter, Gomez has suffered a lot. Yet, in their efforts to be transparent with fans, Carter and Gomez have faced a harsh audience.

Aaron Carter and Selena Gomez serve as a reminder to be kinder to struggling celebrities.

Over the years, Carter dealt with severe substance abuse issues. He rarely shied away from the reality of his addiction.

When speaking with ET, he candidly asked why a star everybody once loved is now someone to be made fun of — even though he continued to provide transparency to his fans. 

RELATED: Aaron Carter Fans Are Suspicious Of His Ex-Fiancée After Video She Posted After His Death

“I go on my Twitter and I see people saying, ‘you look like you have AIDS, you should go die.’ I don’t understand how I dedicated 22 years of my life to my fans and now they turn on me,” Carter said, breaking down.

Carter became the subject of memes and jokes all while battling very real issues that countless others can relate to.

Reactions to Selena Gomez's candid exploration of her own mental illness have also lacked empathy.

In her documentary, the singer tackles many of the same issues Carter probed in his interview — the pressures of fame and the virtues of compassion.

"I feel like a product," Gomez says at one point, breaking down over the exhausting nature of life in the public eye.

She advocates for the importance of therapy and documents the aftermath of a mental health crisis that landed her in a psychiatric facility while seeking understanding from her audience.

Yet, following the documentary's premiere, fans had a different takeaway.

Fans have been analyzing Gomez's drama with her friends, fans have been weighing in on whether Gomez or her pals are in the wrong and the entire message behind the documentary seems to have been overlooked.

RELATED: Why Selena Gomez’s Mom Refuses To Watch Her Documentary Despite Fixing Their Estranged Relationship

   

   

Gomez has been accused of "complaining" and being "ungrateful." 

What these criticisms miss is that, when a person is struggling to cope with their mental health, we need to show them more empathy than ever before — even if they are difficult to be around.

We have treated other stars in the same way and lived to regret it.

From Demi Lovato disclosing that the trauma in her career pushed them to drug addiction and an eventual overdose to the lessons we learned from Britney Spears as she fought to end her conservatorship after being declared unfit to control her own life following her public mental health crisis — we should know better than to repeat these mistakes.

Yet, with Carter as the latest victim, we have not learned to practice what we preach.

It’s easy to recognize only after they’re gone when a star was crying out for help and nobody was there to listen. 

But there needs to be more action while they’re still here. 

We must start showing these stars more empathy and compassion as they share their struggles. 

These stars are humans first. 

They’re not here to just entertain. 

RELATED: 'The Goal Was To Make Me Feel Crazy & I'm Not' — How Mental Health Is Weaponized Against Women Like Britney

Victoria Soliz is a writer with YourTango who covers news and entertainment content. Her work explores pop culture trends, film and TV, and celebrity news

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