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.
You can bump ‘n grind while simulating orgasm on MTV, and you can cram prime-time TV with cleavage galore, but you can’t bust out the right half of an R&B diva’s very substantial rack during the world’s most-watched sporting event. Justin Timberlake probably had no idea what kind of maelstrom he’d set off when, during the halftime show of the 2004 Superbowl, he ripped open Janet Jackson‘s bustier and her luscious boob popped out, replete with a sunburst nipple shield, The stunt – famously deemed a “wardrobe malfunction” – sparked over half a million complaints to the FCC, and framed Jackson a pop pariah.
The so-called Nipplegate scandal happened at a time when Jackson could have benefited from a little notoriety. But the dreary Damita Jo, released a few weeks later, kinda stiffed, and Jackson never pulled out of her career slump – a bummer. But perhaps the real bummer is that even the slightest whiff of sex has been banished from Superbowl acts ever since.
Once upon a time, the biggest pop star in the world was accused of molesting a frequent visitor of his Neverland Ranch and settled out of court before a criminal suit could be brought against him. He ignited global fury and another court case 10 years later by claiming in a documentary that he shared his bed with young boys (his accuser also suggested that MJ shared more than that and plied him with alcohol or “Jesus Juice”). He was eventually proven innocent by a jury but to pop fans who no longer want to be associated with him, he’s as good as guilty eternally. Where his career is concerned, this is THE END. Seriously.
If only Monica Lewinsky hadn’t blown Bill Clinton! We know that Mr. I-Did-Not-Have Sexual-Relations-With-That-Woman wouldn’t have been impeached in 1998 for lying under oath. But there is so much we don’t know … Would a zippered Clinton have gone on to prove MVP in Al Gore‘s presidential campaign and subsequent victory in the 2000 election? Would we be in Iraq? Would we have attacked a real enemy instead — global warming, say? Would we have affordable oil, a viable economy, friends who speak other languages?
Forget the sordid details: the blue dress adorned with presidential seed, the intern’s claim that the commander-in chief deployed a cigar-tube in her free-fly zone, the fact that she was only 21 when the “inappropriate intimate contact” began. Instead, join us in wondering: When Monica blew the president, did she blow everything? Maybe. (OK, probably.) That’s why we’ve ranked a few measly blow jobs between consenting adults as the second greatest celebrity scandal of all time.