Nick Cannon would like Amanda Bynes to know that he has her back. Not only does he remember her as someone he considers family, based on their shared experience of starring in the Nickelodeon show All That in 1998-1999, but he describes her as "one of the most pleasant human beings I have had the pleasure of meeting." In a post on his website titled, "An open letter to my sister, Amanda Bynes," Cannon says he can personally identify with the destruction caused by Bynes' "access to excess" celebrity lifestyle, and that no one has the right to judge.
It's a sweet gesture ... but I'm kind of hung up on two things. One: shouldn't he have made this a private letter to his sister, Amanda Bynes? And two: I think the fact that Bynes is currently under involuntary psychiatric hold after months of increasingly freaky behavior means she's got bigger problems than being a former child star.
Cannon's letter is quite long, but the overall theme is that he empathizes with her problems and he wishes she had a better support system to navigate the tricky road of the entertainment industry. He also offers his personal support and encourages the public to stop making jokes about her, because he sees her situation as "as no laughing matter."
I agree that Bynes has gone far beyond the point where her antics seem strange but harmless, and I regret my own participation in turning her into a public spectacle. But I'm not sure I agree with Cannon's viewpoint that her current situation was brought on by fame. He writes,
When a person is told all of their life that they are awesome, the best, the greatest and they are catered to every moment of the day. Imagine being the breadwinner in your household before you can even drive. Imagine you parents, teachers, and employers NEVER telling you NO. Anything you ask for or want, the world gives you, at some point you are bound to self-destruct. I call this “access to excess". I’ve seen it happen to many of my friends and colleagues young and old. It goes back to that old saying; “Too much of anything is bad for anyone". Whether it’s fame, money, sex, drugs, attention. It’s all a dangerous addiction. When there is no balance in your life a person will always become victim to their reality or lack thereof.
Okay, I know what he's saying here -- after all, how many child stars have gone on to a tragically troubled adulthood? -- but it seems like Amanda Bynes is suffering from a serious mental disease. Sure, her public meltdown was likely exacerbated by the things he mentions, but reports of her strange behavior (including a 3 a.m. Twitter announcement back in 2010 that she was retiring from acting) have been floating around for years.
Cannon says that what the media calls "crazy" is actually Bynes' lack of a support system:
The question is, when this destruction occurs, who is there to help put back the pieces. What do you do when you have no solid support system? When you feel like your friends are talking behind your back. When you feel like your co-workers are jealous and out to competitively sabotage you. When you feel your family has turned your back on you. When you feel like you parents have a conditional appreciation for you and only really love your money. You find yourself alone in that dark hole. Then you have to rely on your own devices once again in this vulnerable state. You become paranoid, frantic, manic, irrational because you can bounce your thoughts or ideas off of anyone anymore.
Again, I don't totally disagree -- I can imagine that Bynes' transition from Nickelodeon darling to young Hollywood celeb may have affected her in a number of negative ways. It's just that it seems like he's discounting the very real possibility that Bynes' behavior has been caused by a chronic mental condition.
Recent reports have surfaced that Bynes has been suffering from schizophrenia, a disorder than can result in hallucinations, delusions, and disordered thinking and behavior. According to TMZ, she's currently taking a combination of medications to treat this condition -- and the good news is that she's been responding dramatically over the last three days.
Nick Cannon's letter surely came from the right place, but when he publicly states that he understands what she's going through ... well, I doubt he does. And honestly, it comes off as a little insulting -- to Bynes, and maybe particularly to her friends and family -- to insinuate she could have avoided all of this if she'd just had the right people by her side.
What do you think of Nick Cannon's letter to Amanda Bynes? Do you think he's misunderstanding her situation?
Image via NickCannon.com