Lilly Allen has weighed into the viral conversation about the influence of “nepo babies” in the entertainment industry – and was forced to clarify her remarks after becoming the “chief nepo baby defender”.
The online discourse in recent days has been dominated by New York magazine highlighting the success of stars with famous parents. It dubbed 2022 the Year of the Nepo Baby in its recent cover story.
Celebrities who are famous at least in part because of nepotism include Dakota Johnson, Maya Hawke, Lily-Rose Depp, Ben Platt and Zoë Kravitz, according to the American magazine’s analysis.
British musician Allen, the daughter of actor Keith Allen and producer Alison Owen, took to Twitter on Monday to offer an alternative take.
The singer suggested nepotism was a bigger problem in politics, law and finance.
She wrote: “The nepo babies y’all should be worrying about are the ones working for legal firms, the ones working for banks, and the ones working in politics, if we’re talking about real world consequences and robbing people of opportunity
“BUT that’s none of my business.”
But she appeared to acknowledge her own privilege: “And before you come at me for being a nepo baby myself, I will be the first to tell you that I literally deserve nothing.”
When a Twitter user asked why her parents have Wikipedia pages, she replied: “Because I’m a nepo baby, and both my parents are super talented.”
However, the 37-year-old hinted that being a nepo baby was not a gilded existence.
She wrote: “In childhood we crave stability and love, nurturing.
“We don’t care about money or proximity to power yet. Many of the nepo babies are starved of these basic things in childhood as their parents are probably narcissistic.”
Allen added the entertainment business is “not parent friendly”. “It can be hard to see one’s own privilege when you’re still processing childhood trauma, and a lot of these kids haven’t figured that out yet,” she continued.
Allen, whose brother Alfie is an actor, returned to the online fray on Tuesday after, in her words, she had “riled people up”.
She began a thread by describing how she once believed her success was her own making, but concedes now it is “more complicated than that”.
She wrote: “It is quite clear that there is a severe lack of representation in the industry where class and race are concerned. Everyone loses as a result.
“I do feel that nepo babies are being somewhat scapegoated here though, there is a wider, societal conversation to be had about wealth inequality, about lack of programs and funding, and I guess that was the point I was trying to make, maybe badly.
“I promise you I’m not rooting for an industry full of people that had childhoods that looked like mine. I just really think that we can’t get to a real solution without identifying the real problem, as fun as it is to laugh at the kids of famous people. Nepo babies have feelings.”
She signed off by saying she was abandoning her post as “chief nepo baby defender”.