Shame or Fame? That is the question. We have witnessed celebrity status blossom overnight due to the release of a sex tape. As the celebrity declares an unbridled sense of shame over the release of their intimate moments caught on tape, at the same time they are instantly cashing checks over the newfound fame that accompanies it. They take that fame and their new brand name and maneuver through Hollywood’s landscape – lining up reality TV shows, acting gigs, endorsement deals, the works.
Kim Kardashian Superstar, the infamous celebrity sex tape starring Kim Kardashian and Ray J, is the best-selling sex tape of all time. With that said, I think we can agree this is the perfect example to use to start the conversation.
Myth: Kim K Superstar leaked.
Fact: Vivid Video, the distributor of the sex tape, has a protocol they have to follow to release and profit from any celebrity sex tape. The copyright partnership was put into place and USC22457 documents were signed. That’s just the law.
What does that all mean? Pretty simple – if you see a celebrity sex tape released and being sold, then you should know the celebrity agreed. The distributor cannot profit off a celebrity sex tape without consent from the person in it. The legal ramifications for filming someone without their consent can be severe, but are even worse if such film is released, distributed, and profited from.
I think we have enough proof by now to back this up. This past March we saw two of the biggest court cases on this very topic. A jury awarded Hulk Hogan $115 million against Gawker for posting a sex tape without his consent. Erin Andrews also had her day in court, winning a $55 million lawsuit against a man who filmed her nude from the room next door to her hotel room without her knowledge. In both cases, emphasis was placed on the need for “consent from the depicted.”
Also this March, Kim Kardashian posted a topless photo on Instagram, immediately skyrocketing the sales from her 2007 release Kim Kardashian Superstar. At the initial release of the sex tape, Ray J took the lifelong commission, while Kim signed on the dotted line for a flat $5 million. I’d say that was a smart move on her part, knowing she has endless earning potential, and with a flat settlement the terms could be spun any which way for the public. The PR aspect was more brilliant than anything I have yet to see, because the truth never really has to be told. No matter what perceived truth is told, the facts are the facts and the law is the law.
Let’s take California, where many celebrities live and also where most of the distributors in the adult industry conduct business. In California, there are laws that protect the celebrity and make it impossible to have a third party make a profit off the likeness of the celebrity without consent. One step further, in August of 2014, the California Senate voted to “expand the definition of illegal sex tape.” SB1255 makes it a crime to intentionally distribute images of the intimate body part or parts of another identifiable person. Stepping out of California, in the United States at large we have a constitutionally recognized right to privacy.
Coming from someone who made a life out of sex tapes, this is probably a strange conversation to have. There is one BIG difference – the TRUTH. I have lived my truth, and all that comes with it. I am open, honest, and unapologetic. I had my purpose and I made my point. So why do celebrities live in an awkward state of denial and not get real with us about their sex tapes? You didn’t actually believe the brightest marketing stars of the world we live in today would let them “get one over on them”, did you?
–May 17th, 2017