What Lindsay Lohan can learn from Mel Gibson and other celebrity lawbreakers
Posted by Sarah Anne Hughes
Even though Lindsay Lohan's 90-day jail sentence hasn’t begun, speculation over her first post-jail interview is running pretty high. PopEater reports the bidding for what I'm calling the "Lohan Interview of the Century" is starting at the bargain basement price of $500,000. Other sources in the same article say she could get $1 million. And while it seems that Lohan herself doesn’t think she’s headed to the slammer, everyone else does. Let’s just hope they let her Tweet from jail.
As Lohan's jail time looms, reality presumably sets in and more rumors about alleged interview bids continue to swirl, let's look at four post-scandal celebrity interviews that could teach Lohan a few lessons.
Perhaps the closest celebutante case study Lohan can learn from is the mess surrounding Paris Hilton’s post-jail interview. The
actress singer celebrity heiress was sentenced to 45 days in jail in 2007 for violating her parole stemming from a DUI charge. After a big to-do surrounding her sentence (in jail, out of jail, back to jail), interest over the controversy was at a peak and so, reportedly, were the prices for the interview. Rumors spread about a bidding war between ABC and NBC with the New York Post reporting that a $1 million deal had been reached between NBC and Hilton. Sounds a little familiar, right?
Well, in the end she didn't go on NBC or ABC. "The View" matriarch Barbara Walters reportedly refused to do it, telling Page Six it was "beneath" her. Hilton ended up on "Larry King Live" for, get this, zero dollars. Why? She told King, who recently announced his retirement, "I consider you an icon." Touching.
Lesson: Don’t blow it. It’s completely reasonable to think Lohan could get a big pay day for talking about going to jail (see: doing nothing). But if she waits too long, the deal could become tabloid fodder that no semi-respectable news organization will want to touch,
In 2009, rapper T.I., also known by his less cool real name Clifford Harris, was sentenced to a year and a day in prison for federal weapons charges. Instead of doing a pre-jail interview, T.I. starred in his own reality show on MTV called "Road to Redemption." The show followed the rapper as he talked to at-risk kids about his own problems and how they could avoid the same path. This brilliant PR move allowed T.I. to stay in the public eye and look very sorry for his crimes while doing some of his 1,000 hours of community service. After being released from jail, T.I.'s first interview was conducted by a mysterious off-camera entity who took it pretty easy on the guy. But apparently a 30-second You Tube clip wasn't enough for T.I. He ended up on "Larry King Live."
Lesson: Get this girl a reality show! Who wouldn't watch Lindsay Lohan as she prepares to redeem herself and stage a comeback? Judging by her disastrous appearance on Bravo's "Double Exposure," it is clear that Lohan was made to be a reality star. And, I'm pretty sure mama Dina would get behind this.
When ice queen/domestic goddess Martha Stewart was sentenced to five months in prison for lying to investors before selling some stock, she gave new meaning to the phrase "Oh, how the mighty have fallen." (Actually, we here at Celebritology think Martha's biggest crime was dressing up babies up like Thanksgiving dinner on her syndicated daytime show). After the scandal broke, Stewart spoke to Barbra Walters and asserted her innocence. But even opening up to Walters wasn't enough to keep Stewart out of jail.
After she was released, she didn't stage a comeback via televised interview. She did it by actually working. But last year news surfaced that her empire's financial situation was not so hot. (Damn that Rachael Ray!). So in 2009 she talked to "Nightline" under the guise of a comeback interview.
Lesson: Watch the clock. Like Stewart, Lohan is claiming she's innocent of pretty much everything she's ever been accused of. But you can only claim innocence for so long until eventually people just stop caring. By waiting years to give the public a revealing look at her time in jail, Stewart missed her opportunity to really capitalize on the interview. And what she called a comeback looked a little more like desperation.
Although we may want to remember Oscar-winning actor Mel Gibson as the guy who starred in "Braveheart" and "The Patriot," we will now have to think of him as the guy who purportedly hurled racial slurs, sexist comments and a boat load of profanity at his ex-girlfriend. But let's not also forget Gibson's anti-Semitic tirade following a 2005 arrest for drunk driving. He was sentenced to three years probation for the DUI, which was expunged from his record in 2009. While we can only speculate about his post-unauthenticated audio tape interviews, we can look at his post-DUI interview with Diane Sawyer.
While Gibson could have gone the simple apology route, he instead chose to take the "I was drunk" defense. He told Sawyer, ""Now when you're loaded, you know, the balance of how you see things -- it comes out the wrong way. I know that it's not as black and white as that. I know that you just can't, you know, roar about things like that. That it's wrong." Yeah, it was the roaring that people had issues with. Sawyer threw some tough questions at the actor and he threw some craziness right back at her.
Lesson: Thank your lucky stars that you're not Mel Gibson. (This advice is for everyone, really.)
Sarah Anne Hughes continues her run as an occasional Celebritology contributor with another hard-hitting post. She wants to apologize to Jen for mentioning Mel Gibson again today.
Sarah Anne Hughes
| July 14, 2010; 2:20 PM ET
Categories: Celebrities, Lindsay Lohan | Tags: Celebrity, Celebrity Justice, Lindsay Lohan, Mel Gibson
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