July 28, 2011 at 12:21 PM ET
Taking a page from the Betty White playbook, Scarlett Johansson is turning down an invitation to attend the Nov. 10 Marine Corps Ball. Sgt. Dustin L. Williams invited the actress via a (somewhat creative, well produced) YouTube video; Johansson unfortunately did not accept and in a statement to Zap2It, declined the offer.
"I feel incredibly honored to have been invited to the Marine Corps Ball by Sgt. Dustin L. Williams. Not only does Sgt. Williams deserve recognition for his bravery, selflessness and dedication to the United States and its people, but he also displays a cheeky talent for film making ... unfortunately due to prior commitments I will not be able to attend the Ball with you this year but I am sending you a case of Moet & Chandon with gratitude ..."
The champagne was a nice touch, and the celeb invites for the ball(s) were, perhaps, getting out of hand. But here's the thing: every celebrity and their brother goes to enormous lengths to attend the White House Correspondents dinner, which has evolved into a dinner that's little more than bad food in a hotel ballroom, attended by lots of A-listers who have little or nothing to do with politics. In other words, it's an evening where yes, it's cool to be in the same room as the president, but beyond that, there's almost no point in being there.
The Marine Corps Ball is different, and kudos to Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis for understanding on some level that their presence can mean a hell of a lot to the men and women who deserve to be appreciated a lot more than they already are. Sure, it's good PR for the celebs, but at a minimum, it's PR that means something. And I choose to believe they're doing it because they actually care.