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Celebrity Exploitation

posted by LIM College

describe the imageAt some point in our lives, we are all entrusted with secrets, or may have uncovered them on our own. Once aware of scandalous, damaging, or maybe quirky information, what did you do with it? Some people keep their promise and reserve the secret. Others use it for leverage. Exploiting the secrets of celebrities is common, and the exploiters perceive that they can personally gain money, perhaps fame, or a good story in the media.

Cameron Diaz, who in several recent years was among the top-earning female stars in Hollywood, fought a long and costly legal battle with a photographer who made a soft-core bondage film in which she appeared, and took racy photographs of her before she was a star. Eventually, Diaz won a court judgment against him that halted circulation of the sexual material, but not before the video was widely distributed by others on the web. Diaz was also successful in suing a London tabloid newspaper for publishing an article that said she was unfaithful to Justin Timberlake when the two were a couple.  Even when stars appear to have a right to privacy on their side, or when lies are published about them, the cost of defending themselves is high.

On the other hand, many believe that the publicists of celebrities like Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan report their every move, party, and mishap. They are tormented by people seeking to exploit them but also crave the publicity they receive from these news stories. Yes, celebrity gossip is overplayed, exaggerated, ridiculous, and it is even aggravating to hear sensational stories repeatedly. But celebrities do not deserve to be objects of blackmail. 

Recently, David Letterman was caught in a lover’s triangle and was forced to admit his affairs, his misconduct, and other wrongs in an attempt to clear his name. Letterman’s lawyer wore a wire during his meeting with Robert “Joe” Halderman, the TV producer who made a two-million dollar demand to keep Letterman’s secret. Admitting one’s personal wrongs is never easy, especially publicly. But it is less expensive than a paying off one’s accuser. Letterman’s ratings conveniently increased sharply throughout the scandal as well.

-- Caroline Thompson

Scandals fodder:

A good thriller novel about secrets, Robert B. Parker’s The Professional

Topics: fashion industry, New York City