Few black musicians have been as influential as Chuck Berry, whose guitar-slinging in the ’50s inspired countless rockers, and whose razor-sharp lyrics made him the Jay-Z of his day. With classics like “Johnny B. Goode” and “School Days,” Chuck didn’t invent rock ‘n’ roll, but he did give it a brain to go with its balls. For his pains, the duck walker has endured near-constant hassle from The Man.
In 1990, Chuck was able to add “pervert” after “rock legend” and “tax evader” on his résumé. He was sued by several female customers of his St. Louis restaurant, who claimed there was a video-camera setup in the ladies’ bathrooms. Berry shut them up with a $1.2 mil payout. No idea what he did with the tapes. But we can presume that, like the guitar in his “Johnny B. Goode” hit, it involved ringing something like a bell. — Charles Bottomley
After the jump, watch Chuck in his prime performing “Johnny B. Goode.”
Payback, as Jesus Christ once said, is a bitch. Nobody knows that like Pentecostal preacher Jimmy Swaggart, cousin to Jerry Lee Lewis and the onetime head of a televangelical media empire that took in $150 million a year. In the mid-1980s, more than 2 million saps tuned into the gospel according to Swaggart — who preached against devils like Ozzy Osbourne. Another object of his divine wrath was minister Marvin Gorman, whom Swaggart accused of coveting a fellow pastor’s wife. In turn, Gorman in sicced a P.I. on Swaggart, and in 1988 the holy hypocrite was caught in a Louisiana love-nest with prostitute Debra Murphree.
After apologizing in an apocalyptic on-air meltdown, Swaggart was allowed to keep his TV ministry. But three years later, the California Highway Patrol caught him in a car with a whore of Indio, CA. This time Swaggart refused to say “sorry,” and his family promptly exiled him. Amazingly, the 73-year-old with a hard-on for Armageddon and loose women continues to preach and record gospel albums. — Charles Bottomley
In late 2003, Paris Hilton‘s ascent to “it girl” meta-fame was reaching its zenith. Her primetime reality series The Simple Life was about to premiere on Fox, but it was an unexpected Internet debut that ended up getting all the attention.
Less than a week before The Simple Life’s premiere, former boyfriend Rick Salomon leaked excerpts from a four year old sex tape he’d filmed with Paris Hilton onto the web. Fox almost immediately said it had no intentions of canceling or pre-empting the premiere of The Simple Life, but things were only heating between Salomon and Hilton.
First, Salomon sued Hilton for defamation after she claimed that the tape was made when she was “out of it” and not aware of what she was doing during the taping. Later, Hilton sued Salomon over the official release of the tape and was awarded $400,000. In 2006 she told GQ that she “never received a dime.”
1 Night in Paris features graphic shots of unsafe oral and vaginal sex, and each scene is introduced by Salomon, who points out, “All of this is very legal, and consensual, over 18 years old … barely! And, uh, you know, you can’t hide cameras on people. That’s illegal.”
Despite its notoriety, the most memorable part of the tape is when Paris stops to answer her cell phone. A full one-third of the tape – nearly 20 minutes – features Salomon going down on Paris, with only moderate success.
The tape from Red Light District Video is also dedicated “in memory of 9/11/01.”
The Simple Life went on to run for three seasons on Fox and another two on E! — Tony Carbone
It wasn’t enough for ’80s pop star Paula Abdul to act a little loopy while serving as an American Idol judge. She had to go and boink a contestant (allegedly), revealing a darker, X-rated side to the family-friendly singing contest.
Two years after Corey Clark was kicked off the show for failing to reveal his legal rap sheet, the 24-year-old former contestant came forward to claim that he engaged in a “secret affair” with the 42-year-old Abdul. In an interview with the super-shady tabloid The Globe in May 2005, Corey provided voicemails from Paula as proof, accused her of seducing him in her guest room, and claimed she offered to fund his career to the tune of $2 million. According to the rag, the former Laker girl told the wannabee singer that she “wanted to look out for him and be his ‘special friend,'” but advised him, “Don’t screw me or you’ll be sorry.”
Corey continued to disobey Paula, dishing to Primetime Live about their supposed affair, conveniently coming forward right when his album and e-book were set to drop. All Paula would say is, “Not only do I never lie, I never respond to lies.” FOX defended their celebrity judge, and their internal investigation concluded that “no evidence was uncovered to resolve the conflicts in their accounts.”
While Corey faded into Idol-reject obscurity, Paula stayed on the show to make headlines again in 2007 when she appeared on a local news show giggling and slurring her words. She came forward with yet another denial, asserting, “I’ve never been drunk.”
If your job description once included cracking down on prostitution rings, it’d be rather silly to start patronizing them yourself. Either nobody told that to Eliot Spitzer, crusading attorney general-turned-New York governor, or he’s a few subpoenas short of a brief. Earlier this year, Spitzer was outed as “Client 9″ of the Emperors Club call-girl ring, having spent nearly $80,000 on prostitutes over a decade.
After a chorus of “He did what?”, Spitzer’s wife grimaced in support as her husband resigned to a quiet life of consultancy and plea bargains. The public face of Spitzer’s credit card conquests turned out to be Ashley Dupre, an aspiring singer whose prostitution paid the rent.
Hustler and Penthouse have offered the bosomy 22-year-old considerably more than Spitz’s measly $5000-a-night to pose nude. But the former Girls Gone Wild dancer has allegedly turned down these offers in favor of the real pot at the end of the rainbow — her own reality show. — Charles Bottomley
After the jump, see Ashley Dupre taking a dip at the Jersey shore.
R. Kelly likes ‘em young. The dude married his late protégé, Aaliyah, in 1994, when the singer had barely put away her My Little Pony dolls; he also penned a little ditty for her called “Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number.” However, the Pied Piper of R&B was shocked to discover someone who looked very much like him pissing on a girl who looked very much like a 14-year-old girl in a sex video that surfaced in 2002.
The tape went viral online after it was anonymously mailed to the Chicago Sun-Times and street vendors did a steady business selling bootleg DVDs of the felonious tryst. Kelly was eventually indicted for 21 counts of sex with a minor, but after much legal haggling, the charges were reduced to 14 kiddie-porn-related offenses. The platinum-selling artist went from believing to he could fly to confessing that “Bin Laden is the only one who knows exactly what I’m going through.”
Despite a seemingly slam-dunk case against him, Kelly, in 2008, was acquitted of all charges. — Charles Bottomley
In 1983, New York beauty queen Vanessa Williams became the first African-American Miss America. A year later, Penthouse magazine published a pictorial made up of pre-fame photos. There was just a whiff of Sapphic love about the sexy snaps, but believe us when we say that in 1984 that was enough.
Beauty-contest-loving Americans were outraged. Until then, Miss America had long been a celebration of Yankee wholesomeness. And no matter what anybody thought of the swimsuit competition, it had nothing to do with smut.
Williams did the decent thing and resigned, although we wish she would have also done the decent thing and not released “Save the Best for Last,” or made Eraser with Arnold Schwarzenegger, or married former LA Laker Rick Fox.
Suitably enough, beauty contests are now better known for their scandals than their winners. In 2006, Miss USA Tara Conner nearly lost her crown when she got drunk and traded spit with Miss Teen USA. But compared to the original fallen idol, they’re just amateurs. — Charles Bottomley
Sixteen-year-old Amy Fisher had been having an affair with Joey Buttafuoco since May 1991, but the married auto worker refused to leave his wife for his underage mistress. In May 1992, an enraged Fisher went to the Buttafuoco’s Massapequa, Long Island home, and shot his wife Mary Jo in the face with an Titan .25 semi-automatic, leaving her deafened in one ear and her face partially paralyzed.
Although Fisher, whom the New York tabs dubbed “The Long Island Lolita”, spawned not one but two TV movies (Drew Barrymore perfected Fisher’s vacant stare in the underrated The Amy Fisher Story), her story lacked a happy ending. After accepting a plea deal, Fisher served seven years at the Albion Correctional Facility, but her public humiliation didn’t end there. In 2007, Fisher’s then-husband Louis Bellera released a sex tape showing the now thirtysomething Fisher looking decidedly less Lolita-like.
Buttafuoco, for his part, served six months for statutory rape, got dumped by Mary Jo, and continues to surface as a one-word punchline on The Howard Stern Show. It’s enough to make a guy want to pummel someone, and in 2002, Buttafuoco got his chance when he thrashed female pro wrestler Chyna on Fox’s Celebrity Boxing. — Charles Bottomley
Take a 13-year-old American girl, a randy (albeit brilliant) movie director decades her senior, and a nude private photo shoot in Hollywood’s hottest hottub (Jack Nicholson unknowingly donated his to the cause), and you’ve got the ingredients for a monster scandal — even without the champagne and Quaaludes.
After churning out some of Hollywood’s most memorable movies (Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown), Polish director Roman Polanski was charged with rape, sodomy, child molestation and giving drugs to a minor. The ensuing trial dragged on throughout 1977, and public opinion around the world was split as to his guilt, with the European media blaming victim Samantha Gailey (now Geimer) and American media gunning for pervy perp Polanski.
The 44-year-old director Polanski ultimately pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, and was sentenced to 90 days in state prison for psychiatric evaluation. But as the 2008 documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired revealed, the director found out the judge was plotting a much harsher punishment and he skedaddled to France, where he remains a fugitive.
In a brand new twist, Wanted and Desired uncovered possible prosecutorial misconduct that could overturn the 30-year-old case. Too bad for Polanski that the film wasn’t made earlier — he might have been able to pick up his 2002 Best Director Oscar for The Pianist in person.
“The heart wants what it wants,” says Woody Allen, which is probably the only reason a middle-aged man could ever give for hooking up with his babymama’s adopted daughter. Mia Farrow thought everything was fine between her and her director boyfriend in 1992 when she accidentally stumbled upon a series of nude photographs of the 22-year-old Soon-Yi Previn, which Allen had accidentally left on his mantle. D’oh!
Despite Allen’s claims that there was nothing remotely incestuous about the relationship (He barely knew Soon-Yi was alive until her mom asked him to take her to a basketball game!), the media quickly leaped on the story, which broke during the filming of Husbands & Wives the same year. In the film, Allen is tempted to cheat on Farrow with a young college student. Perhaps the credits should have read, “Inspired by a true story.”
Since the public furor and a contentious child custody case ended, Allen has continued to knock out a movie a year without interruption, and has now been with Soon-Yi (who he married in 1997) for longer than he was originally with Farrow. Allen has credited their marital success to a “paternal feeling” on his part. Yeah, that’s not creepy at all.