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The Conversation: Celebrity Sex Tapes


There are two paths to Hollywood stardom. The first involves slaving away at your profession of choice, taking any role you can get, working up the food chain and hopefully standing out among an endless sea of wannabe stars. The second involves a bed, a video camera and plenty of denials. Celeb sex tapes have made many a career, but are they truly something their main character doesn’t want anyone to see, or a ploy to reset the clock on those 15 minutes? Here to discuss are Press staff writers Lindsay Christ and Brad Pareso and Senior Editor Spencer Rumsey.


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Brad

I imagine celebrity sex tapes like shuffling the chance cards in Monopoly so you draw the “Pass ‘GO,’ collect $200” one on your first try.

Lindsay

I agree. The easiest way to gain stardom these days is to “accidentally” have a sex tape released. Paris Hilton was just an heiress before One Night in Paris. Kim Kardashian was just the daughter of OJ’s lawyer before her tape with Ray J. Now, they are high-ranking celebs who go to movie premieres and have TV shows.

Spencer

I guess you could say it’ll come full circle (no pun intended) when Lindsay Lohan does her star turn as Linda Lovelace. But there’s a difference between amateurs and “adult-entertainment professionals.” The intentions of the participants in porn are clear from the beginning. The celebs’ are more crass. I think Warhol covered this territory perfectly when he called his actors and actresses “superstars” for doing what these fame-seekers do so calculatedly.

Brad

I don’t have that much of a problem with a celeb having a sex tape—you want to film yourself covered in sweat, making awkward noises and getting busy? Fine. But the whole “My sex tape is being released? Oh no! I didn’t want that at all!” is so insulting to my intelligence it’s infuriating.

Lindsay

I think if celebrities are so willing to tape themselves having sex and oops! leave it lying around labeled “sex tape” with the National Enquirer’s address when the cleaning people come, they should start inviting porn stars to do E! reality series. It’s only fair.

Spencer

The audience gets what it deserves. The voyeurs can pride themselves in “being above that” by claiming their interest isn’t prurient; rather, journalistic. But these “unauthorized” disclosures are playing them for chumps. To me, the best “sex tapes” are instances of, say, President George W. Bush happily giving a camera the finger as he waits to be interviewed. We see the real side of the guy. Not these career moves.

Lindsay

It’s a lot like rubber-necking on the highway. Everyone knows it’s going to be awful and traumatizing to look at, but no one can look away. Celebrity sex tapes are like watching two tractor trailers collide head-on.

Spencer

But at least no one gets hurt. In theory, anyway.

Brad

And the drivers get really famous. I agree with that, Spencer—seeing a celebrity unhinged is far more entertaining than seeing one with their legs in the air. That wrinkled sagging windbag on The Real Housewives of New Jersey? I’d rather watch “Two Girls One Cup,” which I still have not seen to this day.

Lindsay

First of all, Brad, what cave do you live in? Second of all, I feel like this sex tape isn’t going to be that big of a deal. I think the novelty of sex tapes is winding down. Remember the scandal when Rob Lowe had one leaked? And who can forget Pam and Tommy Lee? They made sex tapes chic. But as more and more celebrities have sex tapes, it just gets old.

Brad

I live in a cave where people don’t s**t in cups and then eat it. If sex tapes are becoming dated, what will become the new get-famous-quick scheme?

Lindsay

Birth tapes. Watching celebrities give birth. It’s the next logical step when you think about it.

Spencer

Twenty-four seven! But not for the squeamish, like me. I think I’d rather be in that cave of Brad’s, in the dark.

Brad

I will gouge my own eyes out and burn down a hospital the day a celebrity’s Wikipedia page starts with “…rose to fame when her video, Even My Placenta is Famous!, garnered 500 million views on YouTube.”

Lindsay

You are so dramatic. Maybe the sex tape losing appeal is just wishful thinking on my part. Maybe sex really does sell, and people will continue the age-old tradition of being perverts who watch other people get it on. I do believe we are slowly being desensitized to the scandalous nature, and while people may still watch it, it’s not with the same glee and anticipation the sex tapes of yesteryear were watched with. Frighteningly, I’m not sure if that’s good or bad.

Brad

It’s worse, because webcams and cell phones mean any ol’ D-lister can “leak” one. We need standards here, people.

Lindsay

You really want to have standards for celebrity sex tapes? Here’s one: You have to be a real celebrity.

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