Us Weekly sent out a press release this morning because they have an exclusive. I saw the words “exclusive” and “Jennifer Aniston” pop up in my inbox and was interested immediately. Turns out it’s a make-a-story, and one that’s worth a discussion but not the discussion that the magazine was probably hoping for. Certainly not a discussion that Jennifer Aniston would be hoping for. 


According to Us Weekly, this is how Jennifer Aniston’s been spending her time in quarantine: 

“Jen has been writing a ton and focusing on writing film scripts while in quarantine,” the insider shares. “She’s a homebody, so this time has been nice for her and she’s been very creative.”

The actress, 51, has “dabbled in personal writing in the past but now the timing’s right for her to do it her own way,” a second source noted.”

It’s been a long time since the days of Us Weekly being a reliable outlet for gossip. And make-a-stories were happening well before COVID-19. This one seems benign enough. Jennifer Aniston is very popular. People always want to know what she’s up to. And getting creative during lockdown is totally a “Jen! She’s just like us!” moment. That said, whoever’s giving up these quotes, or making up these quotes, got kinda carried away, non? The reason why I’m not sure this information is actually coming from Jen’s camp is because of these sentence “this time has been nice for her”. 

Last week, during The Hollywood Reporter TV Drama Roundtable, Jen talked about how during the pandemic, “having the [space] to be alone and not be distracted has been almost divine timing in terms of the order of how everything has unfolded. I think that's a blessing of this pandemic because there wasn't any chance for people to get distracted going back to work or going out to dinners or whatever. We were all pulled together, and it feels extremely unifying and oddly beautiful. And I've never read more in my life.”


When Cody wrote about it he pointed to the fact that while it wasn’t the best thing to say, Jen has donated $1 million to racial justice charities in support of Black Lives Matter so it’s not like she’s one of those oblivious assholes who’s all like, oh it’s been so wonderful having this down time, while people are protesting for their lives and frontline workers are dealing with a global health crisis. 

Which is why I don’t think this would be an approved PR quote offered up to Us Weekly about how “this time has been nice for her”. Especially not right now, as coronavirus caseloads are rising in most American states and hospitals are reaching capacity, and people are still not taking it seriously, leaking to Us Weekly that “this has been nice for her” doesn’t serve her at all. And the whole point of a PR leak is to serve the celebrity. That said, it’s not big enough of a deal for her to spend the energy on outright denying it either. 

So what’s the takeaway here? Media and tabloid studies. This story gives us some insight about how and why stories are generated, the casualness of it that borders on careless. What I’m trying to say is that it’s lazy work. And lazy gossip. Lazy gossip is not good gossip.