Celebrities commonly resort to desperate attention seeking measures in order to promote upcoming events, such as a movie or album release. Publicists strategically hold off on revealing personal information like divorce or separation until a client has work to promote. Unbeknownst to many, the rich and famous often work in a close business relationship with the tabloids and even the paparazzi, to feature sensationalized stories in order to help maintain their relevancy, and sell millions of dollars worth of magazines in return. This is known as media manipulation and works very well on unsuspecting fans who eat the deception right up, never stopping to consider that shortly after the story breaks, the name in question just so happens to be releasing or promoting a piece of work. A possible fluke. Except how often can” flukes” occur before they’re no longer considered a fluke, but an out right desperate call for the world’s immediate attention. Here are 10 publicity stunts that seemed convincing at first, but upon closer inspection, might have been a ploy for the purpose of generating sales.
10) Michael Jackson Marries Lisa Marie Presley
It’s widely speculated that Michael Jackson convinced Lisa Marie Presley to elope with him in Vegas to dispel longtime rumors of his sexuality. The wedding took place in 1994, right around the time Michael had reached a settlement for his first accusation of child molestation. Although the daughter of Elvis maintains that her short lasting marriage to Michael was the real deal and that they were truly in love, many people close to the couple didn’t believe the union was authentic, including Lisa Marie’s mother, Priscilla Presley. In a desperate attempt to prove their love, the couple made headlines when they shared a passionate kiss at the 1994 VMA’s. The pair continued the PDA into 1995, with the music video for “You are not alone,” where they appear topless in an intimate setting. Lisa Marie has admitted in the past that at some point, she had the hopeless intention of saving the tormented soul that was The King of Pop from himself. The marriage ended in 1996, after 2 years. Michael would repeat the same publicity stunt years later in a wedding to Debbie Rowe, the mother of his children.
9) t.A.T.u Lesbian Relationship
Shortly after becoming world famous for making out in their music video for “All the things she said,” Russian girl group t.A.T.u., revealed that the entire lesbian relationship was a sham, admitting they had boyfriends waiting for them in Moscow. The affect of the showmance however, proved to be positive for the pair when their controversial single went to number one all around the world. In a recent interview, one half of the duo, Yulia Volkova, confessed that she believes being gay is unnatural and she would condemn her son if he turned out to be homosexual. The singer is quoted as saying, “Yes, I would condemn him, because I believe that a real man must be a real man. God created man for procreation, it is the nature. The man for me is the support, the strength of… I won’t accept a gay son. ” she also clears up in the interview that “He [t.A.T.u’s manager] made us out to BE lesbians when we were just singing FOR lesbians. We wanted people to understand them and not judge them. That they are as free as anyone else.”
8) Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake 2004 SuperBowl Performance
The world went into a frenzy when Janet Jackson’s nipple was “unintentionally” exposed during her performance with Justin Timberlake, at the 2004 super bowl. The incident was appropriately deemed “nipplegate,” by the world at large. Coincidentally, or not, if you’ve been paying attention to how these sort of things go, Janet released the album Damita Jo just a month after the controversy. Ironically (or not) the last line of the song is: “bet I have you naked, by the end of this song.” Reps for the superstars apologized profusely to the public, insisting the entire thing was merely a wardrobe malfunction. To this day, it’s reported that Janet Jackson is still black-listed from any future halftime show performances. Justin Timberlake however, who actually pulled off Janet’s outfit, has never officially been banned.
7) The Illuminati
Many of the music industry’s elite have commonly been linked to the Illuminati; a secret society believed to be heavily involved in occult practices, with a supposed ‘New World Order’ agenda. As the rumor goes, once celebrities have been accepted into the Illuminati, an individual is promised success, honor, prestige, power and unimaginable wealth; all in exchange for their soul. These rumors have managed to attract tons of attention to the associated celebrities, and the stars have successfully used the gossip to their advantage by incorporating questionable symbolism in their music videos, song lyrics, performances and so on. No one can say for certain whether the Illuminati is real, but one thing is for sure. The attention has generated a multitude of millions for those involved. One rapper has gone so far as to indirectly suggest that the entire thing may very well be a marketing ploy to keep a constant flow of currency in today’s ailing music industry.
6) Kim Kardashian Weds Kris Humphries
It may have been due to a slow season of Keeping up With The Kardashians at the time, or competitive sibling rivalry, thanks to younger sister Khloe’s sudden marriage to Lamar Odom, and older sister Kourtney’s new baby, but whatever the reason, Kim thought it was a good idea to marry boyfriend of six months Kris Humphries in an extravagant, widely televised, acclaimed “wedding of the century,” right behind the royal wedding of 2012. An event believed to be set up for the sole purpose of increasing ratings and generating tons of cash. Kim Kardashian reportedly made $17.9 million for her marriage to Kris, which lasted a total of 72 days. Apparently everyone was in on the conspiracy except for Kris Humphries, who later sued Kim and delayed divorce proceedings for as long as possible, accusing his ex-wife of fraud and infidelity, with her now husband Kanye West. Many underestimate Kim Kardashian, who is very clearly, one of the savviest business women in the industry, and is also believed to work closely with the very tabloids she frequently bashes to keep her brand in constant promotion, in order to maintain her popularity.
5) Robert Pattinson Kristen Stewart Relationship and Break Up
Fans may be disappointed to learn that plenty of their favorite celebrity couples aren’t actually dating in real life, but need the public to believe they are for whatever business related reason. In the case of Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, it was to promote the Twilight franchise. The plan worked swimmingly, thanks in large part to the mirage of a real life romance between the leading stars, which helped to make twilight one of the highest grossing, most anticipated, and successful film franchises of all time, and catapulted both K-stew and R-patz into mega-stardom. “Ironically” enough, just before the last installment of the Twilight saga was released, dramatic news of Kristen allegedly cheating on Robert made headlines, and after a brief “reunion” the showmance was finally laid to rest by the time the last Twilight movie was released.
People didn’t stop talking for weeks about Miley Cyrus’s 2013 VMA twerk fest with Robin Thicke. Which was their exact intention, as the two had album releases within weeks of the controversial performance. Though most of the attention was negative, and a married Robin was highly criticized for dancing so frivolously with the young lady; it goes without saying that no press is bad press, as the former Disney star’s album Bangerz went straight to number one all around the world. It also helped that Miley’s wild antics landed her on CNN’s homepage the morning following the VMA’s. Miley has since kept up the shocking behavior, catching Katy Perry by surprise with a kiss during one of her concerts earlier this year. A move that also undoubtedly helped to promote her tour and boost ticket sales.
3) Solange and The Carters Elevator Fight
Likely one of the most shocking news stories of the year, was the reveal of the elevator altercation between superstar couple Beyonce, Jay Z and Beyonce’s younger, lesser known sister Solange. At the time, reports claimed that the employee of the hotel who sold the tape to TMZ for $100,000 was quickly terminated, but many believe that the entire incident was strategically orchestrated by The Carters, who allegedly had full knowledge of the surveillance camera in the elevator. Father of the two sisters, Matthew Knowles reportedly claims that the elevator video release caused Solange’s record sales to spike up by 200%, and the trio was heavily featured in the media for weeks following the incident. Just a month afterwards, the husband and wife announced a summer tour which sold out almost immediately. Pure coincidence, surely.
2) Beyonce and Jay Z Divorce Rumors
While the A-list couple embarked on the most anticipated tour of this summer, sudden rumors of an impending divorce began circulating mainstream media. Tabloids ran wild with stories of Jay Z’s alleged infidelity, and fuel was added to the fire when Beyonce performed a revised version of her single, “Resentment” in which the singer craftily snuck in lyrics that insinuated there might be trouble in paradise. Former manager and father of Beyonce, Matthew Knowles is quoted as telling the Roula and Ryan Houston radio show [in reference to the divorce rumours] “It’s called a Jedi mind trick. The Jedi mind trick fools you a lot of times. I know, because we’ve done this. From experience, there’s a tour going on.” Since the tours close, the couple have frequently been photographed as a happy family, enjoying their new found combined net worth of $1 billion as a direct result of the sold out tour, with no obvious signs of separation any time soon.
1) Jennifer Lawrence Nudes Leak
Just weeks before the release and official promotion of not one, but two major motion pictures starring Jennifer Lawrence (Mocking Jay and Serena), nude photos of the actress went viral in cyber space. The twitterverse went crazy, as private pictures of the young starlet, in an obviously intimate setting, were exposed to the world. Reports of Jennifer’s camp being outraged and planning to take severe legal action against the anonymous perpetrators made headlines. In her defence, Jennifer was the first of many other female celebrities to have their nudes exposed, but the timing conveniently coincides with two projects set for release, just a matter of weeks after the hacking occurred.