While they’re worshiped like Demi Gods, celebrities still succumb to the weakness of the very human flesh they inhabit, committing criminal acts like any ordinary person who’s had a lapse in judgement. Often times, celebrities come to believe themselves to be above the law, possessing enough wealth to sweep any pesky run-in with the law under the rug and away from the public eye. Over the years we’ve seen some truly shocking accusations against celebrities come to the light, but with what we do find out, it makes you shudder to think what clandestine things never see the light of day. Celebrities have a god-complex that makes them believe they can get away with anything, and with that attitude, there’s likely plenty that they have gotten away with that we’ll never know about. One thing’s for sure, hush money isn’t just a quick way to diffuse a scandal before the media can blow it out of proportion. It’s also the fastest way to look guilty. Here are 14 celebrities who quietly paid off their accusers.
14. Bill Cosby – Sexual Assault (undisclosed amount)
In 2006, Bill Cosby settled one sexual assault allegation out of the dozens that had been made over the previous 3 decades. The comedian was accused of drugging and sexually assaulting a young woman in 2004 at his Pennsylvania mansion, in a manner strikingly similar to most of the other allegations against him. The victim was given pills which Bill’s lawyers claim were merely benadryl after she complained of stress and sleeping problems. The woman who considered the disgraced actor a friend and a mentor, waited a year before finally contacting police, but was discouraged against filing a criminal suit, and instead filed a civil lawsuit against Bill, where upon she received an undisclosed sum of money. Over the past 40 years, a shocking amount of women have come forward with eerily similar stories of sexual assault involving the television icon, but it wasn’t until comedian Hannibal Buress criticized Bill in his stand up act this past summer that the stories began to get more media attention than they ever had before.
13. David Boreanaz – Sexual Harassment (undisclosed amount)
Kristina Hagan, an extra on the television series Bones accused David Boreanaz of sexually assaulting her during her time on set. According to Kristin, David came on to her by sending her sexually inappropriate text messages promising he could “make things happen for her” and many other advances. Kristina’s lawyer Gloria Allred, famous for her frequent involvement in celebrity civil suits, sued both the FOX network on which Bones airs, as well as David. Kristina eventually received an undisclosed settlement from the actor.
12. Sean Kingston – Sexual Assault (undisclosed amount)
In 2010, singer Sean Kingston and his former bodyguards were accused of sexually assaulting a 22 year old woman. According to TMZ, Sean claims the only reason he chose to offer the victim a cash settlement is because he didn’t have time to go to trial, as he was in the middle of promoting his new album, and about to embark on a new tour. TMZ also reports that the R&B crooner paid the alleged victim only a fraction of what she asked for in order to make the lawsuit disappear as soon as possible. After the announcement of the settlement, Sean immediately lost out on performance opportunities, including a scheduled gig at The University of Western Ontario, which decided to cancel Sean Kingston’s September 7th appearance for orientation week saying, “The school has zero tolerance for sexual assault, having Mr. Kingston perform could cloud the values surrounding O-Week.”
11. Britney Spears – Sexual Harassment (undisclosed amount)
Back in 2010, one-time bodyguard to Britney Spears, Fernando Flores, claimed that his former employer was a sex crazed maniac, who came onto him on numerous occasions, and would flash him unsolicited. Fernando states in court documents that the singer would intentionally drop her cigarette lighter within his view, so she could bend over. The bodyguard also claimed that Britney was abusive to her two sons. The court document also describe an instance where Britney called Fernando into her bedroom once while she was completely nude, which resulted in an awkward silence, during which the bodyguard asked Britney if she needed anything. After some hesitation, she asked him to get her two bottles of 7 Up. While the pop star vehemently denies all of the allegations, she eventually agreed to give Fernando an out of court cash settlement to have the case disappear, as quickly as possible. While the amount is undisclosed, sources claim it was a very modest sum that barely covered his legal fees.
10. Marilyn Manson – Sexual Assault (undisclosed amount)
In 2001, during one of rocker Marilyn Manson’s intense live performances, the musician was filled with a sudden burst of passion and decided to wrap his legs around one of the stage security guards’ neck, ferociously gyrating against his head, all while wearing nothing on the lower half of his body but a thong. The guard sued Marilyn Manson, citing sexual assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Subsequently, the rocker was charged with criminal sexual misconduct. After 3 years, the security guard, Joshua Keasler, decided to drop the charges in exchange for an undisclosed cash settlement.
9. Kobe Bryant – Sexual Assault (undisclosed amount)
In 2003, a 19 year old ski resort employee accused LA Lakers shooting guard, Kobe Bryant of sexually assaulting her in his Colorado hotel room. The married basketball star confirmed that he and the teenager did have a sexual encounter, but denies that any assault was involved. When the victim refused to testify in court, the lawsuit was dropped, leading her to file a civil suit against the basketball player which was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount of money, as well as a public apology made by Kobe to the young woman.
8. Kanye West – Battery $250,000
Kanye West agreed to pay an 18 year old male $250,000, after facing criminal battery charges when he beat the young man to a bloody pulp for screaming offensive racial slurs toward his now wife, Kim Kardashian. The incident took place inside of the waiting room of a Beverly Hills chiropractor, after the teenager allegedly tried helping Kim get into the building while chased by paparazzi. He shouted, “F*** these fa**ot-a** n****rs”. Kim asked that he refrain from using the racial epitaph, where upon he redirected his aggression towards the reality star, screaming “F*** you b****. Just trying to help you.” The young man initially sought to pursue a criminal suit against the rapper, but both parties decided to come to a cash settlement agreement of $250,000. In return, all charges against Kanye were dropped, and he was sentenced to 2 years probation and anger management classes, instead of facing time behind bars.
7. R. Kelly – Sexual Assault $250,000
R&B sensation R. Kelly has faced numerous accusations and lawsuits of sexual assault since the 90’s, most of which disturbingly involve teenage girls. In 1998, R.Kelly was sued for $10 million by a 20 year old woman named Tiffany Hawkins, who alleged that R. Kelly had sexual relations with her when she was 15 and he 24. R. Kelly settled the lawsuit for $250,000. In 2002, music journalist Jim DeRogatis exposed R.Kelly to the world as a sexual predator when he released 2 videotapes he had received, depicting the singer in graphic sexual acts with underage girls. In 2008, the singer narrowly escaped 15 years in prison after he was acquitted of all charges in the trial. As recently as 2010, a 36-year-old housekeeper accused R. Kelly of sexual harassment. The singer decided to settle the case out of court for $100,000 to avoid reviving a media frenzy and litigation. Another unsettling fact, in 1994, 27 year old R.Kelly married the late Aaliyah Haughton when she was only 15 years old. The marriage was later annulled since the underage girl didn’t have permission from her parents.
6. Roman Polanski – $604,000
Acclaimed director Roman Polanski was accused of giving drugs and alcohol to a 13 year old girl during a Vogue modeling shoot, in 1977. He was subsequently charged with sexual assault and child molestation. Just before his sentencing, he fled America to Europe, where he remained for 15 years. The victim later sued Roman in 1988, when she was 25 years old alleging sexual assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and seduction. According to court documents, the disgraced director agreed to settle the case out of court to the tune of $500,000. The final court document which was released in 1996, shows that the outstanding balance of the settlement is still $500,000 and has accumulated interests of $104,000.
5. Ben Roethlisberger – Sexual Assault (Mid 6 figures)
In 2009, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was accused of sexual assault by a Lake Tahoe hotel employee named Andrea McNulty. The young woman initially sought $440,000 in her civil suit against the athlete, but ended up receiving an undisclosed amount from him. A source close to Ben reportedly claims that Andrea received “less than a game check” in the settlement, which could be as high as mid six figures. According to profootballtalk.nbcsports.com, the website claims that based on Ben’s 2012 salary of $11.6 million, a game check amounts to $685,352.94. In addition, the quarterback lost $1.894 million thanks to his four-game suspension in 2010, following the allegations of the sexual assault.
4. Mario Batali – $5.2 million
Celebrity chef Mario Batali, known for his hit cooking shows The Chew, Mario Eats Italy, and Iron Chef America, agreed to settle a class action lawsuit against him for $5.25 million. The suit that was filed in 2010, by a total of 1100 employees, claims that Mario defrauded his staff out of 5% of their wine and alcoholic beverage sales, took an unlawful “tip credit” from the tip pool to boost profits, and failed to provide “spread-of-hours” pay -which is extra pay when a double shift extends over a certain number of hours. All while paying them less than minimum wage. Those benefiting from the settlement include 1100 staff members who worked at Mario’s eight New York restaurant locations, such as Bar Jamon, Babbo, Del Posto and Casa Mono, from July 22, 2004 to February 14, 2012.
3. Mike Tyson – Domestic Abuse $10 million
After accusing famed heavyweight champion and husband at the time of domestic violence and sexual assault, Robin Givens divorced Mike Tyson in 1989, and received a $10 million settlement after 11 months of marriage. In her memoir, Robin shares shocking stories of abuse at the hands of her ex-husband, and goes so far as to claim she considered some of their sexual encounters to be assault. In an interview with Barbara Walters, Robin, seated right next to her ex-husband, is asked if Mike hits her and responds by saying “he gets out of control, he shakes, he pushes, he swings.” Many years later, in an interview with Graham Bensinger, Mike recounts an incident where he caught his soon to be ex-wife fornicating with a pre-famous Brad Pitt. At the time of the entire ordeal, Robin widely received negative press and was once described in an article as “the most hated woman in America.”
2. Eddie Murphy – $10.5 million Paternity Test
In 2007, Mel B of the Spice Girls accused ex-boyfriend Eddie Murphy, of fathering a daughter with her who he denied for the first 22 months of her life. Eddie in turn, accused Mel B of infidelity until the paternity tests he demanded be taken confirmed, he was in fact the father to little Angel Iris. According to thedailymail.co.uk, after 15 months of battling it out in court, Eddie and Mel B finally reached a settlement awarding the former Spice Girl $50,000 per month, until the child turns 18; for a rough total of over $10 million. The comedian reportedly refused to see the little girl until she was nearly two years old.
1. Michael Jackson – Child Molestation $15-$25 million
In 1993, the King of Pop was accused for the first time of molesting a 13 year old boy named Jordie Chandler. The parents of the teenage boy came to find out about the shocking allegations while Jordie was sedated during a routine dental check-up performed by his dentist father, where upon the boy suddenly and unconsciously began professing extremely inappropriate behavior that occurred between he and the pop star. In a Michael Jackson Biography written by J. Randy Taraborelli, Michael bizarrely refers to the little boy as his soul mate, in an emotional reaction to the accusations. The Chandler family reportedly received anywhere from $15-$25 million in the settlement with Michael Jackson. The agreement did not prevent the family from pursuing a criminal suit against Michael, but did in fact, restrict them from speaking to the media about the situation. Interestingly, Jordie Chandler’s father Evan, who played a heavy hand in accusing Michael Jackson of pedophilia, committed suicide just 5 months after Michael Jackson’s death in 2009.