That sort of headline will always get people running to buy newspapers. It sells papers, makes careers and more importantly destroys lives. As the recent events surrounding Bittney Spears prove, there is only one thing the media consuming public like to see more than a celebrity on the red carpet, and that’s one flat on her back on the red carpet with her skirt around her waist and no knickers.
I was looking up leap years as the theme for a post today and came across a film called “Leap Year” staring “Fatty” Arbuckle . What happened to him demonstrates that a sex scandal will be exploited by anyone with an axe to grind, a career to further or a with their eye on a quick-buck. Even if that means setting up an innocent man in the process, destroying his career and risking sending him to prison.
Arbuckle would have been a legend, and I think to some he is despite the court case. Misinformation did not appear with the Internet and World Wide Web, it’s just that they have meant that the propagation of information, accurate or inaccurate, is now quicker. Add to this the problem of establishing the voracity of what you read on the net, the volume of information and the relative anonymity it affords an author, and you have a real minefield.
In the Arbuckle scandal he was accused (amongst other things) of “simulating sex” on the alleged victim with a piece of ice. It transpired that he was actually rubbing ice on her abdomen to try and ease the pain she was in, caused by peritonitis, the condition that actually killed her a few days after the alleged rape. A slight twist from a malicious individual and a kind, a compassionate act is turned into a sexual one and viewed as a perversion.
Even after his complete acquittal his association with the case cast a shadow over the rest of his life.
You can read a slightly different account of the events here. The Wikipedia article linked above seems more detailed overall, but this one has a few elements missing from there.