Posts By Anthony Miccio


#9: The Pamela Anderson And Tommy Lee Sex Tape

Just as it’s hard to imagine what life was like before the Internet, it’s hard to imagine what the Internet was like before it was full of celebrity sex tapes. In 1997, IEG Entertainment offered the world downloadable copies of Baywatch bombshell Pamela Anderson and Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee celebrating their whirlwind 1995 marriage in a series of enthusiastic, onscreen sexual encounters.

As a nation marveled at the larger-than-life pairs that God and plastic surgeons had given the larger-than-life pair, a sleazy precedent was created: from that day forward, no celebrity’s PC or cell phone would be safe from hump-hungry hackers. And for all their outrage and legal action against those who profited from their purloined sexploits, no one benefited more from the tape’s release than Pam and Tom, whose name recognition skyrocketed in the months to come. Eventually, enterprising entertainers like Dustin Diamond and Chyna would actually provide their own erotic home videos to producers, in hopes of similarly profiting from a complete loss of dignity.

Celebrity-sex-tape culture has become so prevalent that Anderson went on to marry both Rick Salomon and Kid Rock, who appeared in pornographic romps of their own, with Paris Hilton and Creed’s Scott Stapp, respectively. Sounds like Pam has a type.


#6: Charles Manson Murders

The hippie dream received a rude awakening in 1969 when Charles Manson, a failed musician, used psychedelics and “free love” (orgies, rape, that kind of thing) to transform a group of troubled, vulnerable young adults into a violent, psychotic “family.” His efforts eventually led to a series of grotesque murders in August 1969 (slogans like “DEATH TO PIGS” and “RISE” were written on the walls in blood) that horrified residents of the hills outside LA and stumped police for months.

Manson, in and out of jail for assault and robbery since the age of nine, prophesized that an apocalyptic battle between the races would end with Manson ruling the black populace as the new Jesus Christ alongside his fellow angels, The Beatles (who had not been informed of these plans). Anxious to get things started, he ordered members of his cult to massacre rich white Californians, hoping police would blame African-Americans for the crimes. Sharon Tate, the pregnant wife of director Roman Polanski, and celebrity hair stylist Jay Sebring (the inspiration for Warren Beatty’s Shampoo) were among those stabbed and shot by Manson’s clan. Thanks to a series of bureaucratic blunders (the gun was found and given to the police months before it was connected the murders), the LAPD did not arrest Manson and his followers until December.

The court case (highlighted by frequent disruptions, shaved heads and self-inflicted forehead scars) was prosecuted by Vincent Bugliosi, whose account, Helter Skelter, was an instant best seller and the basis of two TV movies. Imprisoned for life and still awaiting the apocalypse, Manson remains a ’60s anti-hero for young transgressives. Not that he’s happy about it: “Being crazy meant something [in the ’60s], he said. “Nowadays, everybody’s crazy.”


#4: O.J. Simpson Murder Trial

The circus never ends when O.J. Simpson is around. After a much-televised “trial of the century” full of racist cops, bloody gloves and a leech called Kato Kaelin, the football star/actor/Hertz spokesperson was found “not guilty” of the murder of estranged wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman, infuriating well over half of the country. Despite the verdict, O.J. Simpson was found financially culpable for the murders in a civil suit, owing the victims’ survivors more than $30 million.

While Simpson claimed he would tirelessly search for the real killer, he seemed to spend most of his time playing golf and trying to find ways to make money without having to give it to the Goldman family. Take the tastefully-titled book, If I Did It. This highly publicized tome was to provide a first-person account of how Simpson would have murdered his wife that fateful night…had he actually done it. The Goldmans, still waiting for those tens of millions, filed suit and eventually claimed ownership of his “fictional” account. Simpson is now awaiting trial in Las Vegas for allegedly holding up a sports memorabilia collector in 2007. Unsurprisingly, Clark County is having a hard time finding an impartial jury.


#1: The Murders Of Notorious B.I.G. And Tupac

Sex, murder, conspiracy, police corruption, bi-coastal gang warfare, Diddy – this scandal has it all. The rivalry between the east and west coast rap scenes may have begun with minor east coast rapper Tim Dog‘s amusing 1991 hit “Fuck Compton,” but thanks to big money and short fuses, the battle soon grew as epic and violent as the gangster movies rappers referenced, climaxing with the unsolved shooting deaths of Tupac “2Pac” Shakur and Christopher “Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace in 1996 and 1997. Their murders turned the rap superstars into tragic icons, and a battle of words into The Greatest Celebrity Scandal Of All Time.

Shakur was already a successful recording artist (Dan Quayle had even blamed his music for the death of a cop) when he met and befriended Wallace before the release of the aspiring NY rapper’s debut album, Ready To Die. Their mutual admiration soon turned sour after Shakur accused Wallace and his producer, Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, of instigating a 1994 robbery and assault that left him with five bullet wounds. Wallace and Combs swore they were coincidentally recording in the studio where Shakur was attacked outside, but for whatever reason, Shakur refused to believe the pair was not involved.

While Shakur recuperated and went to prison for sex crimes, Wallace’s career thrived as Combs’ label Bad Boy drew attention away from the LA gangsta rap scene, led by Dr. Dre and Death Row Records co-founder Suge Knight. Nine months into Shakur’s sentence, Knight, a former football player previously accused of threatening NWA’s Eazy-E with a baseball bat and holding Vanilla Ice out of a window, signed the embattled rapper to Death Row in exchange for paying his $1.2 million bail while he awaited appeal. Soon after, Knight mocked Combs from the stage of the 1995 Source Awards, with the NY audience responding by booing several Death Row artists, inspiring Snoop Dogg to yell “the east coast ain’t got no love for Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg?”

Tensions continued to escalate. Knight was accused of making a friend of Combs’ drink urine from a cup when he wouldn’t give the address of the east coast mogul’s mother. Knight also blamed Combs’ for the shooting of a Death Row employee during a fight in Atlanta. Shakur publicly claimed to have slept with Wallace’s wife, and the label’s entourages had an armed standoff following the MTV Music Awards in March 1996. Combs repeatedly attempted to make peace with Knight, even inviting Louis Farrakhan’s son to mediate. Knight declined, claiming he would deal with the drama “his way.”

Before Knight could clarify, Shakur was mortally wounded in Las Vegas on September 7, following the public beating of gang member Orlando Anderson by Death Row employees after a boxing match. Despite multiple suspects, including Anderson and Knight himself (he owed back royalties to Shakur, who allegedly considered leaving Death Row), charges were never filed either due to a lack of evidence or police indifference. Shakur’s mother Afeni sued Knight for the unpaid royalties soon after, inspiring the label’s other artists to leave, claiming similar financial issues (as well as fears of violence).

Bad Boy, which had made a point never to respond to Death Row’s insults on record, released a public statement mourning the loss of Shakur. But when Wallace was shot and killed following a Soul Train Awards after-party in LA on March 9, 1997 (15 days before the release of his second album, Life After Death), many assumed it was a retaliatory gesture. No criminal charges have been filed, but recent civil suits from Wallace’s family argue that crooked police officers on Knight’s payroll were responsible for orchestrating his death, and that the LAPD, suffering from widespread corruption in their anti-gang units, refused to investigate the possibility.

More than a decade later, all the major figures are still in the news. After countless lawsuits, arrests and failed restarts Suge Knight was finally forced to sell Death Row and declare bankruptcy. In March, LA Times writer Chuck Phillips claimed to have proof that Combs (best known as Diddy today) was involved in the 1994 assault on Shakur, but retracted the story when his source was revealed to be a con artist. Notorious, a biopic based on Wallace’s life, is scheduled for a 2009 release, and Tupac’s eighth posthumous album is planned for release by the end of the year. With both murders re-opened and the Wallace family’s civil suit still in motion, it would seem this scandal is far from over.


Weiland Stumbles Into Drum Kit At Stone Temple Pilots Concert

Stone Temple Pilots‘ summer reunion tour has not been without controversy, and judging by Weiland‘s antics in Phoenix last week, things aren’t getting any smoother. At 1:23 in this video, Weiland gets a little too into the chorus of their 1994 hit “The Big Empty,” stumbling backwards under the weight of his mic stand and bumping into the drum kit. His bandmates try to keep the song going, but the former Velvet Revolver frontman is too busy mangling lyrics and yelling “masturbation kill” to help much. Is it road burnout (they’ve been performing since May) or something more serious? Only seventeen more shows to go, guys! [Blabbermouth]


Simon Rex Makes “I Kissed A Girl” Even Skeevier

You may know Simon Rex from his days as a MTV VJ or as the star of Scary Movie 3, but soon he’ll be better known as rapper Dirt Nasty, thanks to his auto-tuned answer track to Katy Perry’s “I Kissed A Girl.” Dirt Nasty’s “She Kissed My Girl” is guaranteed to big. “PopoZao” big. Why? Because Perry’s girl-on-girl objectification was missing one thing: a D-list former porn star for the ladies to double team.

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Corrections Officer Turned Coke Rapper Rick Ross Says He’s No Fake

Rapper Rick Ross — drug kingpin turned chart-topping rapper or former corrections officer? Though Ross initially claimed 1995 photos of him graduating from the Department Of Corrections were doctored (“fake pictures are created by the fake, meant to entertain the fake”), the Smoking Gun released documents proving that the professed gangsta, who took his named from LA drug trafficker Freeway Rick Ross, was once prison guard William Roberts. Faced with this evidence, Ross has given Don Diva magazine an interview that kinda sorta maybe acknowledges what side of the law he started on, while loudly reaffirming his criminal code.

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Gretchen Wilson Rips Off The Black Crowes?

It’s surprising that ’70s rock revivalists The Black Crowes would be suing anyone for copyright infringement (Rod Stewart might get ideas), but the verse of Gretchen Wilson’s “Work Hard, Play Harder” — prominently featured in ads for Holly Hunter’s Saving Grace — sure sounds a lot like the verse from the band’s 1990 hit “Jealous Again”. The band —  they’re still around! — has filed suit, but their manager hopes they will be able to reach an agreement without going to a judge (either way, ch-ching!). We just hope this drama won’t delay the release of Wilson’s awesomely titled I Got Your Country Right Here, due in October.


Look Who’s Legal!: Soulja Boy

Soulja Boy, the enterprising young snap star who tought the world to “Crank That” became a Soulja Man last Monday. Remember when you used to “Superman that ho” and then accuse her of statutory rape, Soulja? Well the shoe’s on the other foot now. Happy birthday to YOUUUUUUUUU!


Citizen Scandal: Cop Loses Badge For Pushing Bicyclist

The police officer taped pushing a Critical Mass demonstrator off his bike in downtown NY last Friday (it happens at 0:24) has been stripped of his badge and given desk duty while the incident is investigated. The bicyclist is still charged with attempted assault, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, but one assumes the charges will be dropped. No one wants to give bicycle demonstrators their own Rodney King, right?