Amanda Bynes Becomes Scary Face of LA Teen Unemployment

Image: Amanda Bynes Becomes Scary Face of LA Teen Unemployment

Friday, 14 Jun 2013 12:05 PM

By Megan Anderle

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For once, Amanda Bynes' outlandish behavior isn't why she's making headlines. An embarrassing photo of the troubled former child star in court, with a disheveled wig on her head, is now plastered across a billboard with the question, “Is Amanda Bynes wigging out about teen unemployment?”

The Employment Policies Institute (EPI), non-profit research organization that studies public policy issues surrounding employment growth, is responsible for the billboard.

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Under her photo, the billboard says, “The real scandal this summer isn’t the tabloid exploits of a former child star, but that 24 percent of teens who want a job can’t find one. Raising the minimum wage will only make things worse," with a plug for Minimumwage.com.

This isn't the first time the fiscally-conservative Washington D.C. think tank piggybacked off a mega celebrity to get their point across.

EPI used a photo of Justin Beiber frowning in May with a similar message: “Why Is Justin Bieber So Sad?”

“Could it be because 24 percent of teens who want a job can’t find one? Teen unemployment makes us all sad,” the billboard went on to say. “Unfortunately, raising the minimum wage will only make things worse.”

The Beiber billboard came down quickly, and Bynes has since replaced it.

“We had to take it down,” EPI research director Michael Saltsman told celebrity blog The Fame Fatale. “[Bieber's attorneys] sent us a cease-and-desist.”

Saltsman said EPI had the rights to use the Beiber image through a paid a photo service.

"It was a judgment call on our part. We were not attributing anything to Justin, we weren’t saying or implying any particular endorsement by him. But the billboard had been up for three weeks, and the conversation we’d wanted to start had occurred, and we’d accomplished what we’d set out to do,” Saltsman said.

Despite knowing Bynes could take legal action against the group as well, the amount of publicity they can get for their cause given the media's intense coverage of the former "Amanda Show" star's concerning behavior outweighs the potential legal implications.

“We felt that people were talking about Amanda, she’s in the news right now," he said.

Bynes' recent behavior has been odd, and arguably alarming. The former child star has made headlines for locking herself in dressing rooms for hours, shaving her head, and posting a series of strange messages and photos of herself on Twitter. Former neighbors at the New York City apartment where she has since been evicted called the cops on her for allegedly smoking marijuana in the building's lobby. She was also accused of throwing a bong out of her apartment window when cops arrived.

Several people claim she is having a mental breakdown and have tried to intervene, but she vehemently maintains she is healthy and does not use drugs.

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