10 Old School Celebrity Scandals That Would’ve Broken the Internet

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Nowadays celebrity scandals are fairly common and anytime a celebrity sneezes wrong you hear about it all over the news. Whether it’s an affair, someone yelling at an employee at a coffee shop, or whatever other fairly basic scandal, the media will report it as if it is the most amazing breaking news that has ever happened in the history of mankind.

The internet will obsess about all involved, and personally harass them on Twitter for their own amusement. However, back in the day there were many scandals that would make today’s look tame, and we can only imagine how insane the internet would have gone if these things had happened now.

10. Jimmy Page Dated A 14-Year-Old Who Lost Her Virginity To David Bowie Even Earlier

Jimmy Page, of Led Zeppelin fame, is an easily recognizable name and one most people don’t associate with any kind of scandal. However, Page actually had a bit of a problem when it came to statutory rape. Back in the 1970s, despite laws designed to prevent this sort of thing, “baby groupies” – underage girls who followed around rock stars –were a common sight and abuse was fairly rampant. Page, during the height of his fame, struck up a relationship with a 14-year-old groupie named Lori Mattix.

To make matters worse, the relationship wasn’t just sexual, but very, very creepy. In order to avoid worries about the law, he made a deal with her mother so she wouldn’t call anyone about what was going on, and kept her hidden in hotel rooms most of the time, well out of the way of others. However, this may not have been the first time that young Lori had her innocence taken advantage of by older men. According to an interview she gave decades later, before she even met Page, she and another underage friend had sex with David Bowie, who went to lengths to proposition them. She claims that Bowie was very gentle because he knew it was her first time, but that doesn’t make it okay.

9. Judy Garland Was Horrifically Abused During The Filming Of Wizard Of Oz

The Wizard of Oz is a family film that’s also known for having some legitimately creepy elements (we’re looking at you, flying monkeys), but for Judy Garland, who played Dorothy, it was a nightmare in real life. She was only 16-years-old at the time of filming, but the studio was giving her drugs in order to get the performance they wanted, and some believed she was already addicted to drugs like amphetamines and barbiturates before filming had ended. She was also forced to wear very tight corsets, and the studio bosses even sent spies to make sure that Garland didn’t eat anything besides chicken soup and black coffee, and that she had her 80 cigarettes a day in order to stay thin.

However, this was just the beginning. To make matters worse, she also found herself a target of harassment by the munchkins. According to the memoirs of Garland’s late husband, the little people would reach under her dress and sexually harass her, thinking they could get away with it because they were so small. And while the rumor that one of them hung himself on set is not true, they were indeed known for having orgies in their hotel rooms, and causing such a ruckus that the police were called in on a regular basis to deal with them. Sadly, much of this was the fault of the studio itself, which had pulled a bunch of little people from all over the world together in one place, who had never seen so many like themselves at once before, and then proceeded to underpay them so much that many resorted to panhandling and prostitution to survive during filming.  

8. The Kent State Shootings Would Be The Subject Of Endless Analysis Today

The Kent State Shootings, for those who aren’t aware of the event, happened on May 4, 1970 during the height of the Vietnam War protests. In recent months, people had been both burning down and trying to burn down ROTC buildings on campuses, and the police and the military were on edge. The ROTC building at Kent State had been burned down recently and no one had been caught – more protests were set for days later, with national guard swarming all over the place.

This set the stage for an event that has left many people scarred to this day. During the protests, the National Guard started trying to corral the protesters and push them back in another direction. For some reason, which is still hard to piece together, some of the guardsmen decided that they should fire their weapons. In all, 67 shots were fired in a very short time, and when the students had finished dispersing and the smoke had cleared, four people were dead and another nine were wounded. Even without the internet, analysis of the event was heated with many students taking photographs, comparing angles and trying to make sense of the entire situation. In the age of the internet and full video recording, it is likely the analysis and debate would have basically been never-ending.

7. JFK’s Affair With Marilyn Monroe As Well As His General Unfaithfulness To His Wife

John F. Kennedy is one of the most beloved presidents in history, partly due to the fact that he was able to do such a good job during the Cuban Missile Crisis, but also partly because he was killed before his time. In a way, the assassination of JFK allowed for a rather inaccurate hagiography to be drawn up about his life and his existence over the years, which doesn’t really show the kind of man he truly was. Most people think of Kennedy as a man who talked about giving service to your country, being politically courageous and doing what is right and moral. However, in his personal life, Kennedy had pretty much zero respect for the sanctity of his and his wife’s marriage.

He constantly cheated on his wife and when she would confront him about it, understandably very hurt, he would simply claim that his health problems required him to regularly sleep with lots of woman – he just couldn’t help it. The fact that he tried to throw off personal responsibility for his dalliances by blaming a disease shows just what kind of person JFK truly was. He was also known to have had an affair with Marilyn Monroe, and then tried really hard to cover it up later. After she died, he tried so hard to cover up his involvement with her that many believe to this day that he was somehow responsible for her death. If it had happened today, people would never stop speculating about whether or not JFK was not just a serial cheater, but also a murderer.

6. Jerry Lee Lewis, A Famous Rock And Roll Star, Married His 13-Year-Old Cousin

Jerry Lee Lewis was a famous rock and roll star in the 1950s; for those who aren’t familiar with him, “Great Balls Of Fire” was one of his first hit songs. He was doing really well for himself and had quite a promising career ahead of him – he probably could have been huge. However, he went and made a decision that was really, really poor in every way you can imagine. While he was still married to another woman, he made a triumphant announcement during a concert tour of England that he was going to marry his 13-year-old cousin, Myra Gale Brown.

And the newspapers went absolutely nuts. His concert tour in England fell apart as his popularity quickly and sharply dropped. No one wanted to be associated with a man who marries a 13-year-old relative, and his career never really recovered to what it could have been. This is likely because he showed no remorse at all, but went fully on ahead with his plan and showed no regrets – at least, not until 10 years later when she was no longer the prettiest young thing in the world to him anymore, and he decided to divorce her as well. In today’s age, he likely would have been arrested based on statutory laws for his crimes, and the internet would have a field day mocking him for marrying his own underage cousin.

5. Charlie Chaplin Stole J.D. Salinger’s Underage Girlfriend

Charlie Chaplin is the silent film star best known for using the Hitler Mustache well before Hitler went and ruined it. Most people simply know him as an important comedian and influencer in the early days of Hollywood and silent film, but while he enjoys a fairly nice reputation today, he wasn’t a particularly nice guy. Chaplin was a nasty tyrant to his wife and children, had a reputation of being extremely difficult, and when he was 54-years-old, he was courting an underage girl.

This girl was named Oona O’Neill, daughter of then-famous playwright Eugene O’Neill, and she was also being courted by J.D. Salinger, of The Catcher in the Rye fame. When she turned 18, she made her decision and decided to go with Chaplin instead of Salinger. Her father was incensed because Chaplin was 54 at the time, and cut her out of his life entirely – something she never forgave him for. Considering how the internet acted when Woody Allen married his adopted, barely legal daughter, we probably have a good idea of how people would feel about this particular scandal.

4. John Lennon Beat Both Of His Wives While Pretending To Be A Messianic Figure Of World Peace

John Lennon is one of the most famous and beloved members of the Beatles, but the truth is that in life he was an incredibly mentally troubled person who was horrible to all of the most vulnerable people around him, who relied on him the most. In his first marriage to Cynthia Powell, he was physically and emotionally abusive both to her and to their son Julian, who he would smack for all kinds of things. According to their housekeeper, he would smack the kid for bad table manners, even though the child’s manners were better than most – the housekeeper felt he just had a problem with violence in general.

He also is believed to have been physically abusive with Yoko Ono, and admitted at one point in his life that he hit pretty much any woman, and that it was always the most violent people who went for the love and peace stuff – ostensibly because of guilt. He also cheated on both his first wife, having an affair with Yoko, and then had an 18-month affair during his relationship with her as well. No matter how beloved an entertainer he may have been, it is hard to imagine him getting through that kind of scandal in the days of the internet.

3. Steve Jobs Cheated Steve Wozniak Out Of Money In The Early Days, For Reasons Of Sheer Petty Greed

Steve Jobs was not known for being the nicest guy in the world. He had a reputation of being incredibly demanding and hard to work with, and taking all of the credit for anything good for himself. He was very arrogant, believing that his mostly fruit diet could save him from cancer instead of medical treatments, and wanted to destroy all of his competition as brutally as possible, while claiming a faux Buddhist persona.

However, most people still don’t think of him as an evil or particularly mean person. Geniuses tend to be quirky, and Steve Jobs basically was Apple – the company simply hasn’t been the same without him at the helm. Unfortunately, if people had known early on who the man was, he may never have enjoyed the beloved reputation he had with so many for so long. Most people know of Steve Wozniak, the tech genius who is known  for being better at inventing, but not nearly as good at business as Jobs. In the early days, the two worked together for some time before parting ways due to their own differences. While they parted amicably at the time, Wozniak had no idea how he had truly been cheated.

Very early on, Jobs set up a deal with Atari to make a game for them, with a bonus for using the smallest amount of chips possible. Jobs approached Wozniak about splitting the fee, and Wozniak, being an incredibly nice guy, jumped at the opportunity despite the fact he would be doing the majority of the work. Even though he did most of the work and the project exceeded expectations, Jobs secretly kept the majority of the money and the bonus that Wozniak worked so hard for all for himself. Wozniak only knew that he had received much less than half of the payment years later, and cried when he learned of his former friend’s dishonesty over what was such a relatively small amount of money. Steve Jobs may have managed to build up a reputation as a beloved tech icon, but if he had done that to Wozniak in the age of memes, he would have been an instant pariah all over the internet.

2. Fatty Arbuckle Was Tried For Raping And Murdering A Woman At His Own Celebration Party

Fatty Arbuckle, for those who aren’t aware of him, was absolutely huge in the early days of the silent film era. He was the man responsible for discovering Charlie Chaplin, and mentoring him to the greatness that he achieved as a comic. Arbuckle was on top of the world, and it was when he was at the very top that he took his longest fall. He was having a party in a hotel room with actors, actresses, and others in the industry, and spent a few minutes in a bedroom with a young actress named Virginia Rappe, who was quickly heard to be screaming. When everyone rushed in, the woman claimed Arbuckle had “done this to her.” She was very drunk, so people assumed she was having a drunken fit, as her clothes were still on. A few days later, she was taken to the hospital for her pain, and died of a ruptured bladder.

The media went absolutely nuts, accusing him of raping and accidentally killing the woman. Hollywood was encouraged to disown him, and he was blacklisted, despite no charges being yet proven. He could not find work, and had mounting legal bills and debts. People would spit on him outside court, and heckle him in the streets. However, he always maintained his innocence, stating that her clothes had been on, he had carried her to the bed, went to the bathroom, and came back to find her in pain. He was tried three times, with two hung juries, and eventually found innocent of all charges except for the charge of drinking bootleg alcohol.

Some still wonder how she died, and many believe Arbuckle was responsible, but the case itself was very spotty. Rappe’s friend, who had been the one to accuse him, refused to take the stand and had a history of extorting money. Rappe also had a preexisting condition involving inflammation with her bladder, so it is possible the entire thing was a huge misunderstanding or accident, and no rape or murder occurred. We can only imagine what actually happened, but if Twitter had been around, Arbuckle would have probably had to burn down all of his social media accounts and go live in the mountains for awhile until things blew over.

1. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Known For Logic And Reason, Was Ridiculed For Believing In The Paranormal

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini are actually two people who seem like fairly unlikely friends. Both were passionate about extremely logical, but also very clever and intricate practices that require deep thought, analysis and planning. Houdini would even put his life on the line for his tricks, and Sir Conan Doyle would spend an incredible amount of time working on a single Sherlock Holmes story in order to set up the clues and put it all together. What is surprising, though, is that their friendship started based on something extremely illogical – spiritualism. Houdini and Doyle were both interested in séances. Doyle’s wife was a medium, and Houdini was trying to contact his dead mother, so they set up séance.

The entire thing did not go well. Doyle’s wife Jean claimed to have contacted Houdini’s mother, and said that she wished him Merry Christmas, but Houdini’s mother was Jewish and did not speak English, so he soon denounced all mediums as frauds, something that greatly angered Doyle and went a long way towards ruining their friendship. One of the other major triggers was the abilities of Houdini himself. The man who created Sherlock Holmes was so astounded by Houdini’s tricks that he insisted his friend had the power of “dematerialism” and when his friend insisted that he was not doing anything supernatural, it made Doyle increasingly angry and frustrated.

In the end, the two parted ways because a man who was famous for writing about the most logical man in the world could not reconcile a friend who did not believe in fairies. It is almost unimaginable how much Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would have ruined his own reputation if this had occurred in the days of viral memes – no one would have taken the Sherlock Holmes series seriously ever again, and his reputation would have been entirely ruined.


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