Social media is a tricky thing to manage, especially when it comes to the apps and websites that allow users to post and upload their own photos. This is an especially slippery slope for celebrities. A picture is worth a thousand words, and those oh-so-precious words can help uplift the user’s public image or make him or her look bad. It’s a big reason why so many celebs opt to not deal with social media at all. For celebrities who post pictures onto social media, the right image can help elevate their careers, and the wrong image can help bring them down. Thank God that social media allows us to delete photos that we may have second thoughts about.
Granted, the delete button doesn’t have much relevance at the end of the day, given that once an image is uploaded to the internet, no matter how long it was up or when it got deleted, it’s there on the internet forever. However, that doesn’t stop celebrities from deciding to delete their more controversial images from their profiles the moment that they get just a little bit of flak for it. Here are a few examples of when celebrities decided to delete their most embarrassing pictures after uploading them.
15. Anne Hathaway
Around the time Alice Through the Looking Glass was set to release in theaters, Anne Hathaway posted this picture on Instagram, reminding her fans that it’s better to be her co-star, Helena Bonham Carter, than any of the Kardashians. She meant nothing against the Kardashians. She just wanted to make a joke that simultaneously showed support for her co-star. However, a harmless joke on Hathaway’s behalf quickly grew out of proportion when several Kardashian fans took to Hathaway’s Instagram to give her flak for insulting their favorite reality stars. In the wake of the controversy, Hathaway deleted this pic. Instead, she replaced it by posting a different picture on her Instagram, reading “Post removed for unintended shade thrown.”
14. James Franco
James Franco has never been a stranger to the, well, strange. He embraces all things strange a little too well, to be honest, whether he’s on set or off it. This is the same guy who’s modeled in drag, exchanged questionable messages with an underaged girl, and watched a male prostitute have sex as part of his research for one of his movies. “Strange” is practically James Franco’s middle name at this point. One of his weirdest debacles came when he posted a nearly naked, stone-faced selfie with him cupping his privates. The caption only read “JUMP ROPE.” We don’t want to know what kind of “rope” he’s referring to, and we definitely don’t want to know how he’s jumping it. We never did find out, as he deleted the pic, then deleted his Instagram, and eventually, all of his social media.
13. Kendall Jenner
There was once a time when we all considered Kendall Jenner the only normal member of the Kardashian clan. Well, “normal” is a strong word, but before she rang the year 2017 in with her frankly appalling Pepsi ad, she usually kept her nose clean and steered clear of any possible controversy in the public eye. One of the few times that she did run into some minor controversy — much more minor compared to her more recent stints in the media –was when she posted this pic of her wearing a rather self-deprecating shirt while attending Coachella in 2014. Her attempt to poke fun at herself was deleted from Instagram shortly afterward. No explanation was offered as to why. Perhaps, she had second thoughts about the shirt.
12. Kylie Jenner
Whether it be over her recent pregnancy or the Kardashian family’s feud with Blac Chyna, Kylie Jenner and the entire Kardashian clan, in general, are always in the news for some reason or another. One time, Rob Kardashian‘s sisters didn’t take it too kindly when he started dating their rival, Blac Chyna. Kylie Jenner especially took it to heart, and she decided to let the world know by posting this pic to her Instagram. See that goat creature thing? That’s Baphomet. Baphomet is a Sabbatic Goat, which is often used as a symbol of evil. So, essentially, Kylie Jenner compared her brother to a Devil-esque monster for dating Blac Chyna. Man, this family’s screwed up.
11. Justin Bieber
As a singer who usually opts to sing simple pop songs instead of complex melodies, Justin Bieber rarely (if ever) bares his soul to the world in his music. But he’s borne his butt to the world, and some people in the world prefer that. As a man who’s quite proud of his junk in the trunk and is happy to flaunt it, he simply captioned his Instagram post “Look,” and the pic almost instantly got millions of hits around the world although he was quick to delete the picture afterward. But it wasn’t because he was ashamed of his butt; it was because a close friend of his has a daughter who saw the picture. She felt embarrassed, while Bieber felt bad enough to delete the pic days later. He explained himself in a response Instagram pic, where he was fully clothed.
10. Vanessa Hudgens
If there was ever a reason to delete a picture from Instagram, it’s when the picture falls into the center of a police investigation. When Vanessa Hudgens posted this picture on Instagram after carving her name and that of her boyfriend, Austin Butler, into a rock during their trip to Arizona, she thought it was a cute signification of the pair’s love for each other. Things stopped being cute when she was notified by police that she had defaced a natural feature on U.S. Forest Service land. Hudgens was forced to pay a fine of $1,000, and the money was used by a volunteer group called “Friends of the Forest” to restore the rock by sanding and scrubbing it back to its natural form.
9. Lindsay Lohan
In 2015, Lindsay Lohan posted to her Instagram page a picture of an Arabic message, which she thought translated to “You’re beautiful” — except it didn’t mean that at all. In reality, the message roughly translates to “You’re a donkey” or “You’re an a**.” This mistake is no different from the thousands of people in the world who get tattoo phrases in languages they don’t even understand or speak — usually, it’s Chinese, for some reason –and wind up getting something like “Ugly Shame” printed on their bodies for the rest of their lives. Similarly, this Instagram post is immortalized on the internet forever despite the fact that Lindsay Lohan deleted it so many years ago.
8. Chelsea Handler
At the height of the #FreeTheNipple campaign, Chelsea Handler decided to get in on the action. Of course, given that Handler herself is a comedian, she decided to find a way to put her own little spin on it. Instead of just letting her nipples run free, she decided to parody this infamous and over-the-top macho pic of Vladimir Putin riding a horse shirtless. Instagram was quick to delete the picture, but Chelsea Handler wasn’t so quick to give up on the movement just yet. Putting up a fight of her own with Instagram, Chelsea Handler felt it necessary to upload the picture to Instagram an additional two times that day. When Instagram deleted the pic again and again, Handler finally called it a day.
7. Willow Smith
In 2014, Willow Smith was 13 years old. The topless gentleman she’s in bed with, Moises Arias — who’s remembered best as Rico from Hannah Montana — happened to be a much older 20 years old at the time. Obviously, there’s a problem with this scenario. After Willow posted photos of the two of them in bed together, a lot of people argued that this was inappropriate. Some, however, were willing to defend that these photos were merely innocent, and for all we know, they were really just innocent photos. But the age difference was too big for most people to call this anything other than inappropriate. Willow’s parents, Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith likely thought this to be inappropriate as well given how Willow, without explanation, quickly deleted the photos shortly after uploading them.
Lui is a pretty huge adult-entertainment magazine in the country of France. It’s remained on the stands ever since 1963. Given how prestigious the magazine is, Rihanna had every reason in the world to be proud when she was able to make the cover in 2014. She was so proud, in fact, that she unveiled the cover on Instagram. The cover in question featured a topless RiRi with her nipples out for the world to see. Too bad Instagram didn’t want to see it as not only did they delete the picture from their app; they also deleted Rihanna’s account for the incident. She’s back now, but at the time, audiences and celebrities alike were outraged enough to start a campaign called “#FreeTheNipple,” where they begged social media sites to allow pictures of nipples on their site. They did so by uploading pics of themselves freeing their nipples.
5. Harry Styles
Ever since his One Direction days up until the period he found newfound success as a singles star, Harry Styles has always been adored and admired unapologetically by all of his fans. No matter what he does or how he does it, he tends to have an audience willing to put up with him and willing to support and defend him no matter what. The one time when it seemed like the majority of his fans didn’t have his back, though, was in 2014, when he posted this controversial pic of himself draped in a Native American headdress. He posted this picture to both Twitter and Instagram, but as soon as a bulk of his fans started to criticize him and accuse him of cultural appropriation, he was quick to delete the pic from all of his social media accounts.
4. Mischa Barton
In the wake of the death of Alton Sterling, millions of people around the world announced their support for the Sterling family and protested against the police who killed him. This includes casual audiences, critics, and celebrities alike. One of the celebrities to speak on the matter was Mischa Barton although the way that she went about talking about it was questionable, according to some. After providing a seemingly heartfelt paragraph on the situation, she sat it alongside a picture of herself in a bikini cruising through the ocean on a boat. People accused her of being tone deaf in her message and shockingly inappropriate by marking the occasion with a luxury shot of herself. She deleted it quickly after the criticism flooded in.
3. Tina Knowles
While in an elevator with most of her family in tow, Tina Knowles (mother of Beyoncé) decided to mark the occasion with a sweet family photo for Instagram. It was done with good intent, but in the wrong setting: an elevator. Once people caught one glimpse of Jay-Z and Solange in an elevator again, everyone made jokes that the two were prepping to have a round 2 sparring match from their last elevator encounter so many years ago. After everyone decided to make a mockery of what was supposed to be a nice family photo, Tina Knowles deleted it. On the bright side, that whole elevator situation did provide the public with three classic albums coming from all three musicians who were involved in the altercation.
2. Scout Willis
Scout Willis may not be the most famous or well-known member of the Willis family –what with her father being action star Bruce Willis, her mother being Golden Globe nominee Demi Moore, and her sister Rumer playing a recurring character on Empire, FOX’s biggest show. But just for the fact that her last name happens to be “Willis,” she’s technically a celebrity. And she uses her last name and status as a celebrity to support causes she deems important. One cause she deemed important was the #FreeTheNipple campaign started in the wake of Rihanna getting kicked off of Instagram for exposing her own nipples. In protest, Scout Willis walked around topless in New York and posted a pic of it on Instagram. Instagram deleted it, but she reposted it to Twitter.
1. Miley Cyrus
Another celebrity who wanted to get in on the big #FreeTheNipple campaign that seemed to be sweeping through 2014 was Miley Cyrus. Her means of protest saw her post this black-and-white picture of herself gliding her hand across her chest while barely covering her breasts and with both nipples on display. Two nipples seemed to be one too many for Instagram, which swiftly deleted the picture from their app. That didn’t stop Miley, though. She went one step further by posting another topless photo of herself, but instead of going bare, she photoshopped two slices of pizza to her breasts with the phrase “Free the Pizza” draped across. Oddly enough, the pizza was enough for Instagram to allow the pic to stay up.
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