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Posted at 12:30 PM ET, 06/30/2010

Why we should cut Jason Bateman some iPhone-gate slack

By Jen Chaney

Apparently no one likes a guy who cuts in line, even if he is the only responsible member of the Bluth family.

Jason Bateman, with wife Amanda at a movie premiere last year, blissfully unaware of the iPhone scandal in his future. (AP)

As we noted in Friday's morning mix, Jason Bateman was plucked from a line outside an L.A. Apple store last week so he could get quick and easy access to the new iPhone. The incident sparked plenty of iOutrage online, enough that Bateman was forced to defend himself on Twitter.

"There wasn't one boo. Not one hiss. The Apple guy brought me in away from the paparazzi. Period. I was content in line. I wish I'd stayed," he posted Sunday to his Twitter account.

Then Us Magazine cited several witnesses who said, actually, people were booing at Bateman, and that the paparazzi amounted to one photographer, max. Which, in turn, prompted Bateman to issue a Tweet-pology yesterday:

Correction- If there were boos, I didn't hear them. If some were mad, I didn't see them. I wish I had. If you're out there, I'm sorry.

Seeing a celebrity receive special treatment really irks people, especially when they've had to stand in line for hours -- perhaps many more hours than Bateman did -- to get access to what is readily being handed to him. I get that. If I had been in line, I might have been slightly perturbed, too.

But here's the thing, people: if you were Jason Bateman, you'd take the escort, too.

The American Dream may involve buying a nice house, being able to live comfortably and having the ability to take luxurious vacations with your loving and happy family. But you know what else it involves? Reaching a point in life where you no longer have to wait in line for things.

We're an impatient society filled with people whose Microsoft Outlook calendars are jammed with appointments and things to do. We don't like to wait. And if we're in a situation where we can avoid it, most of us will.

Or, as Whoopi Goldberg put it while jumping to Bateman's defense during Monday's episode of "The View": "If they hissed and booed, it's because those people were [ticked] off they weren't you, baby."

Was it a savvy move from a PR perspective? Probably not. The challenging thing about being famous is that one has to remember that, in even the most benign situations, you are being judged. Watching Bateman get to scoot up the Apple store line conveyed to those around him that he's not a man of the people. Understandably, that probably never occurred to him at the time. Now it surely will.

But I think if we all take a look at the man (or woman) in the mirror, we'll see that, in certain circumstances, there's a line cutter in all of us. So maybe we should be a bit more forgiving of Mr. Bateman.

Besides, if that iPhone allows him to keep in better contact with Mitch Hurwitz, thereby ensuring that the script for the "Arrested Development" movie actually gets written, isn't this all for the greater good?

By Jen Chaney  | June 30, 2010; 12:30 PM ET
Categories:  Celebrities  
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Hello? Jason Bateman's a celebrity who actually elected TO wait in a line with everyone else and NOT try to get preferred treatment. He should get megapoints for that alone and complete slack on whatever happened afterward. Please.

Posted by: td_in_baltimore | June 30, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Yeah he could have had his 'publicist' phone in a request for one or something and didn't. If I got called out, I'd have smiled apologetically and happily gone right in.

Perks is perks.

Posted by: LTL1 | June 30, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I am having a difficult time getting worked up over this. He had waited in line for 5 hours when he was escorted inside. He wasn't asking for special treatment, and I would have taken advantage of it too if an employee wanted to let me in early. Jason Bateman is just too normal-seeming and doesn't act entitled. Then again, I have had a crush on him since he was in Silver Spoons, so I admit I have a soft spot for him. FYI, it's already been announced that there will be no Arrested Development movie. What a bummer.

Posted by: LilyBell | June 30, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Count me on Team Bateman. Jason is a class act. Half the people on that line were probably picking up iPhones for their bosses.

Posted by: kbockl | June 30, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

tempest in a teacup...

Posted by: VaLGaL | June 30, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Let's not forget that Apple was making a PR move of its own when they grabbed a celebrity out of line to ensure he received an iPhone. Apple wants their early adopters to be seen with the product, as publicly as possible. You can't get better advertising than seeing a celeb using their iPhone to figure out the best escape route from being followed around town by the paps.

Posted by: OneSockOn | June 30, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Stop worrying about celebrities getting the next tech gadget before you do and instead worry about how many DUI, speeding, drug related charges they get themselves out of every day.

Posted by: jalmolky | June 30, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

I just found this PR firm that's demanding Jason Bateman issue a public apology:

Posted by: Teddy7 | June 30, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Let's try to put this in airplane context: He was willing to sit in coach, then was offered an upgrade to business class on a transatlantic flight with a fully reclining seat and massage features, and individual entertainment screen. So he took it.

(I felt only a little guilty because the whole family joined me. And certainly not as guilty as the time I was with the whole family, and only one upgrade was available. But it was a much shorter flight, and Mr. Lurker and I switched, and I brought the cookies and ice cream back to the little lurkers.)

Posted by: anonymouslurker | June 30, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I'm more irritated at Apple for inviting him to cut in line. Bateman was just taking the opportunity that was offered to him. It is Apple that owes the other people in line an apology.

Posted by: MarylandJ | June 30, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

What he should be saying is: "I am tweeting right now from my new iphone beyotches! Suck it yall! Peace, I'm out!" Seriously, screw anyone who gives more than 1 and a quarter craps about this.

Posted by: ozpunk | June 30, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

If only he'd gone along with his publicist's original plan: to have a voiceover featuring Ron Howard saying, "Meanwhile, in the opposite direction, GOB was about to perform a magic trick involving fire, a yacht and Franklin," while Jason ducked into the store...

Posted by: byoolin1 | June 30, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

The problem was all the other geeks waiting in line for a new phone that they'll be in line again to replace in 6 months. Get a life, losers.

Posted by: capsfan77 | June 30, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

What Onesockon said. The average swag bag in this town probably has an iphone and ipod and an ipad in it. Bateman was actually waiting in line (which is amazing) to BUY one. sheesh. Unrequested special treatment is a deserved perk--people need to check their envy at the door.

Posted by: sorcerers_cat | June 30, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if the pissed-off people just didn't recognize him as Some Important Actor Person, and if they had, they would have "understood."

Yeah, this all leaves a bad taste in my mouth. He could have sent an assistant to stand in line - that's real privilege, in my book.

Posted by: northgs | June 30, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

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