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 traction among social media users as they’ve used the term with both fascination and repulsion after learning up-and-coming stars might’ve had a helping hand in entering show business.
The discourse was sparked once again in Vulture’s cover story, “The Year of the Nepo Baby,” earlier this month.
Famous offspring like Kate Hudson, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Dan Levy responded to the controversial label, with some celebrities criticizing claims of favoritism and others acknowledging their unique upbringing.
Allison Williams acknowledges nepotism baby ‘privilege’
Williams, the daughter of former NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, acknowledged her identity as a “nepotism baby,” saying it “doesn’t feel like a loss to admit it.”
“There’s no conversation about my career without talking about the ways in which I have been fortunate,” the actress, 34, who starred in 2017’s “Get Out” and the upcoming horror film “M3GAN” said in a Wired interview published Thursday.
“I was concerned with making sure people understood I was a hard worker as if somehow that would absolve me of the privilege.”
Kate Hudson weighs in: ‘If you work hard… it doesn’t matter’
When it comes to the nepotism baby debate, Hudson says she “doesn’t care.”
“I don’t care where you come from, or what your relationship to the business is,” Hudson, who was raised by her mother Goldie Hawn and her longtime partner Kurt Russell, said in an interview with The Independent published Saturday. “If you work hard and you kill it, it doesn’t matter.”
O’Shea Jackson Jr. ‘grateful’ for father Ice Cube’s support
Joining the nepo baby discourse, Jackson Jr. took to social media to detail his work ethic and persistence, noting that his father, rapper Ice Cube, “couldn’t hold my hand through my career.”
“I had to get my (expletive) up and make it work,” Jackson Jr., who played his dad in 2015’s “Straight Outta Compton,” tweeted this month. “From the roles I chose. The work ethic I put into them. My professionalism on sets and promo tours. Even leaving HIS agency and goin (sic) to find a team of my own. Once the door was opened it was up to me to walk through it and thrive.”
But he also credited the love and support from his father for where he is today.
“The work (Ice Cube) put in to get us to a place of opportunity. And for me to ignore that or not accept and use as a guide would be foolish and disrespectful. I am grateful and I use his teachings daily.”
Jamie Lee Curtis says label is designed to ‘diminish’ and ‘hurt’
Curtis, the daughter of Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, took to Instagram last week to defend herself from false assumptions that all nepotism babies are automatically untalented or undeserving of their fame.
“The current conversation about nepo babies is just designed to try to diminish and denigrate and hurt,” the “Halloween Ends” star wrote at the time.
“I have navigated 44 years with the advantages my associated and reflected fame brought me, I don’t pretend there aren’t any, that try to tell me that I have no value on my own. It’s curious how we immediately make assumptions and snide remarks that someone related to someone else who is famous in their field for their art, would somehow have no talent whatsoever.”
Fighting back against the stigma, she also described having “suited up and shown up for all different kinds of work with thousands of thousands of people and every day I’ve tried to bring integrity and professionalism and love and community and art to my work.”
Dan Levy ‘never really turned’ to Eugene Levy for acting help
Dan Levy rose to fame when starring alongside 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” out of fear of the label of nepotism.
“Entertainment seems to be the only arena where children who pursue the work of their parents, which is an inherently natural thing to do, is met with a lot of skepticism. And so for my whole life, leading up to (“Schitt’s Creek), I’ve always tried to do everything on my own, I guess to prove, mainly to myself, that I could do it,” Levy told Page Six in 2018.
Lily-Rose Depp talks nepotism criticism: ‘Doesn’t make any sense’
In November, Depp opened up about her experiences as the daughter of Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis.
“People are going to have preconceived ideas about you or how you got there, and I can definitely say that nothing is going to get you the part except for being right for the part,” Depp, who is starring in HBO Max’s “The Idol,” said at the time.
“Maybe you get your foot in the door, but you still just have your foot in the door. There’s a lot of work that comes after that.”
Depp also criticized the concept of the label, saying it’s “weird” to “reduce somebody to the idea that they’re only there because it’s a generational thing. It just doesn’t make any sense.”
Zoë Kravitz: ‘It’s completely normal for people to be in the family business’
When discussing the topic in November, Kravitz, who is 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 last names came from. You were a blacksmith if your family was, like, the Black family,” the “Batman” star, 34, told GQ at the time.
Jack Quaid didn’t want people thinking ‘I’m just riding my parents’ coattails’
Jack Quaid, best known for his role in “The Boys, previously talked about wanting to distance himself from his parents, actors Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaid, even considering changing his last name.
“I think in the beginning, I was like, ‘Oh, do people like me? Do they think that I’m just riding my parents’ coattails?’ and all this stuff,” Quaid, 30, said in a June interview with Thrillist. “I’ve been making an effort to focus on that less and just really trying to embrace this.”
‘Devastated’: Bono’s daughter Eve Hewson jokes about not being featured on nepotism baby list
Though she was not included in Vulture’s list of nepotism babies, actress Eve Hewson, daughter of Bono, decided to weigh in on the debate with humor.
“Actually pretty devastated i’m not featured in the nepo baby article like haven’t they seen my hit show Bad Sisters??? The NERVE,” she tweeted this month.
‘Nepo babies’ in Hollywood: What do famous families say about industry equity?
Contributing: Elise Brisco
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Kate Hudson, Jamie Lee Curtis, more stars on nepotism baby debate