We Can't Stop Watching This 'Strange, Juicy' Paltrow Trial

Somehow, there's something utterly fascinating about the legal proceedings on Goop founder's ski crash
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 30, 2023 9:55 AM CDT
We Can't Stop Watching This 'Strange, Juicy' Paltrow Trial
Gwyneth Paltrow testifies during her trial on Friday in Park City, Utah.   (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, Pool, File)

Gwyneth Paltrow's ski crash trial has been in progress for more than a week, and inexplicably, America can't stop watching it. On one side of the case is 76-year-old Terry Sanderson, who's suing the 50-year-old actor and Goop founder, claiming she skied into him in February 2016 on the slopes of Park City, Utah. On the other side is Paltrow, who says it was Sanderson who actually skied into her. The facts and legalities aside, people are having some strong reactions to the case—some of it predictable, some of it perhaps a little surprising. Here's a look at what a few of the gawkers are saying:

  • Sucked in by celebrity: Writing for USA Today, David Oliver calls the trial "strange, juicy, and exactly what the internet wanted." Key to why he thinks we're so taken with the proceedings: the irresistible allure of celebrity. "Why wouldn't we be fascinated?" Robert Thompson, founding director of Syracuse University's Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture, tells Oliver. "There're so many elements to this story that make it positively [theatrical]."

  • Celebrity squared: Over at Vox, Alex Abad-Santos concurs, but adds that Paltrow is on a star level all her own. "Gwyneth Paltrow is so famous, privileged, and removed from everyday life that she isn't even like any other celebrity is, counterintuitively, a refreshing and entertaining glimpse into how rich people move through this world," Abad-Santos writes. He pulls out one remark in particular that Paltrow made when asked by an attorney how the 2016 collision affected her. "Well, I lost half a day of skiing," she replied.
  • Court couture: Abad-Santos also notes that Paltrow has been "[dressing] the part of a glamorous ski assassin," and others have also latched on to her fashion choices during the trial. The New York Times has an entire analysis dedicated to the topic, while the Wall Street Journal notes that the aviator-style eyeglasses she's been wearing "have already taken off with Gen X."
  • Points for Paltrow? Despite the over-the-top rich person-ing, some are surprisingly finding themselves on Team Gwyneth. Heather Schwedel writes for Slate that Paltrow's court appearance "is honestly the most likable she's ever been," adding: "I should be in jail for how much I'm enjoying the ... trial." Schwedel notes that Sanderson's claims "somehow make vagina candle–slinging Paltrow look like the logical one," and that Paltrow even comes off as "almost relatable."
  • And even more points: Despite his predisposition "to dislike Gwyneth Paltrow," Drew Magary similarly finds he's leaning toward her side, not "annoying" Sanderson's. Writing for SFGate, he calls the trial "a sham," though he notes he was particularly drawn in by an "animated re-creation" of the crash that Paltrow's legal team put together. "Makes the Zapruder film look like amateur hour," he writes.
  • A 'guilt-free' pleasure: Izzy Ampil is another fan of the trial, to the point that she hopes it "never ends," she writes for BuzzFeed. Ampil calls the proceedings "blissfully ridiculous," and a "perfect storm for pop culture lovers." "However entitled [Paltrow] seems to be, she's delivering a goofy, guilt-free spectacle," Ampil writes. "It's a master class in performing celebrity."
  • Closure on the horizon: Despite Ampil's desires, all good things must come to an end. The AP notes the trial is expected to see its closing arguments on Thursday, after which the case will head to the eight-member jury.
(More Gwyneth Paltrow stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.