Saturday 25 May 2019

After sex tapes, arrests and bombshell confessions - what would it take to shock us now?

Paris Hilton arrives at the Tao Nightclub at the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino during the club's anniversary party early on September 30, 2006 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Paris Hilton arrives at the Tao Nightclub at the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino during the club's anniversary party early on September 30, 2006 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Kim Kardashian West arrives to attend the amfAR Gala New York at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City on February 6, 2019. (Photo by ANGELA WEISS / AFP)
Monica Lewinsky and former US president Bill Clinton. Picture: Getty
Tiger Woods at the Ryder Cup with his then fiancée, now ex-wife, model Elin Nordegren in 2004. Photo: AP

Sheena McGinley

We may be in the age of “online outrage” but — in an age of information saturation — does anything really faze us anymore?

Last Sunday morning, presumably a few people choked on their cornflakes after Mel B’s ‘bombshell’. GMTV producers decided to air a teaser clip of Piers Morgan’s Life Stories featuring the Spice Girl (due to air fully later this year), which saw Piers probe Mel B regarding the extent of her past relationship with Geri Halliwell.

Forgive me, but who didn’t know Mel B and Ginger Spice got it on while they were in the Spice Girls (you know, apart from Mel C, who was seen sitting in Morgan’s audience, claiming to be clueless)? The sexual tension was tangible.

Besides, such declarations nowadays just seem a bit, well, meh. Who cares? Consenting adults and all that?

Is it any wonder, especially in an age when individuals and their siblings become billionaires off the back of a ‘leaked’ sex tape?

Kim Kardashian, who used to model herself on Paris Hilton (to the point of becoming her wardrobe assistant/sidekick in 2006) had her own sex tape drop three years after Hilton’s was released by Rick Salomon in 2004.

Indeed, 2007 was quite the year for Kim: not only did she gain worldwide notoriety thanks to the sex tape with Ray J — herself and her family then went on to land their own E! series which has been going strong ever since.

Chances are, however, that celebrities have always been at this malarkey, we’ve just been made more aware of it thanks to the internet.

Below are just some of the ‘scandals’ from the Eighties, Nineties and Noughties that got way more coverage than possibly necessary, peppered with a few that would still have us baulking over breakfast.

Eighties

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Ah, the 1980s. A time when lip-syncing to another artist’s vocals was rife yet deemed outrageous, while music videos including Madonna’s Like a Prayer and Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s Relax were being banned, such was the irreverence and debauchery on display.

While the public was being traumatised by the above, Vanessa Williams was being quite the trailblazer, with nude pictures of her surfacing in Penthouse circa 1984. As a result, the then-Miss America was stripped of her title. Still, she saved the best for last with a lucrative TV career.

Fast-forward to 1992, when everyone was trying to smuggle a copy of Madonna’s Sex book over the Border.

Five years later, you couldn’t miss Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee’s sex tape. In the 1980s, sex tapes were things you only heard about; now, the emergence of the internet meant if you wanted the live action version, you could probably find it.

While the internet was expanding at an alarming rate, granting the masses direct access to Hugh Grant and Eddie Murphy’s mug shots (both were arrested for being found in compromising positions with prostitutes), we might as well have been back in the dark ages when it came to the treatment of women.

Nineties

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Monica Lewinsky and former US president Bill Clinton. Picture: Getty
 

In 1995, when Monica Lewinsky was a 22-year-old White House intern, she and then-President Bill Clinton engaged in alleged sexual acts — which Clinton denied. As a result, he was impeached. Apart from that, the 49-year-old was left relatively unscathed.

Lewinsky, however, was plagued by paparazzi and became the punchline to every late night talk show joke. In a recent interview with John Oliver, Lewinsky admitted she found it incredibly difficult to gain employment.

If anyone needs further convincing of how badly she was treated, look no further than how the scandal was named; Lewinsky-gate, Monica-gate, Zipper-gate. No mention of ‘Clinton’ in there anywhere.

Noughties

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Tiger Woods at the Ryder Cup with his then fiancée, now ex-wife, model Elin Nordegren in 2004. Photo: AP
 

At this point, who hasn’t got on a plane and verbally abused a flight attendant, before publicly relieving themselves?

Angus Deayton lost his Have I Got News For You gig with the Beeb because he’d been caught partying with prostitutes, while Janet Jackson got all the flack for Justin Timberlake exposing her bejewelled boob during the Super Bowl half-time show in 2004.

As for Adam Lambert, well, he essentially re-enacted one of Madonna’s stage sets during his 2009 AMA performance and, as a result, had a number of subsequent appearances cancelled.

However, when it came to a purportedly bountiful list of indiscretions, Tiger Woods reigned supreme. The married father of two reportedly had trysts with seemingly innumerable socialites, porn stars, next door neighbours and various waitresses.

Even by today’s desensitised standards, Tiger’s actions were controversial in the extreme, which means there is hope for humanity.

Doesn’t it? We’ll remain optimistic, anyway. Hope is a precious thing these days, especially when the sitting  US President has had umpteen  sexual misconduct accusations made against him.

Herald

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