Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Starpulse Examines The Celebrity Sex Tape Phenomenon

Paris HiltonThey spend their careers in front of the camera. They live their lives with the paparazzi hovering. Is it any wonder that when celebrities get intimate they sometimes forget to stop the tapes from rolling?

In the last few years, the celebrity sex tape has become a booming business. There seems to be no limit to the number of stars getting caught in the act - and instead of hiding away until the scandal dies down, many see their home movies as a ticket to greater stardom and a major payday.

Kid RockIt certainly worked for Paris Hilton. The heiress was just another New York socialite, popping up in gossip columns from time to time, until her infamous 'night vision' movie with Rick Salomon made her an international sensation. Some estimate the film has been seen over 10 million times - that's more viewers than Hilton's television series The Simple Life.

Unfortunately, the plight of Hilton's co-star Salomon is more typical. While Hilton has parlayed her sex tape infamy into tabloid superstardom and lucrative endorsement deals, Salomon is still known mostly for being the sleazy co-star in Paris Hilton's star vehicle. Sometimes a sex tape is a death knell for a burgeoning career - witness American Idol's Olivia Mojica in "Hardcore Idol" - or just another notch for someone whose career ended years ago - see Dustin Diamond and "Saved by the Smell."

Pamela AndersonSex tapes may even be contagious. Pamela Anderson didn't learn from the Tommy Lee tape. A few years later she starred in a new video with rocker Bret Michaels from the band Poison. Anderson's ex, Kid Rock, is the star of an unreleased tape with friend Scott Stapp from Creed and four groupies. Anderson recently married Rick Salomon, Paris Hilton's sex tape buddy. And Hilton's best friend, Kim Kardashian, now has a sex tape of her own with Brandy's younger brother Ray J.

The sex tape madness has gone so far some stars can even use the absence of a video to launch their careers into the stratosphere. When The Hills star Lauren Conrad was the subject of unflattering rumors that she had made a tape with ex Jason Wahler, producers made the 'who spread the story?' question a crucial plot point of the show's second season. No tape has yet turned up, but Conrad and her alleged accusers, Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag, parlayed the 'scandal' into thousands of column inches and several spreads in celebrity magazines like Us Weekly.

Kim KardashianIt may be cold comfort for anyone sick of Hollywood sleaze, but today's sex tape stars aren't pioneers. In fact, the celebrity sex tape is as old as celebrity itself. Screen siren Marilyn Monroe was allegedly the star of a film featuring "unnatural acts with an unknown male," which so troubled husband Joe Dimaggio he offered to pay $25,000 to anyone who could obtain a print. The conversation made its way into FBI files.

These days, it's gossip magazines, not the FBI, on the trail of Hollywood heat. And as long as there are celebrity wannabes who know how to press record on a camcorder, it's virtually guaranteed that the next X-rated star is just around the corner.

No comments: