Weird History Old Celebrity Scandals the Media Would Freak Over Today  

Devon Ashby
235.4k votes 32.7k voters 2.7M views 22 items Embed

List Rules Upvote the biggest celebrity scandals that the media would have a field day with if they happened today.

The celebrity scandal has become the window dressing of our daily lives on the Internet. Trending celebrity hashtags can spring up overnight over the slightest public mishap or regrettable fashion choice, discussed and dissected by thousands. Which historical celebrity scandals would have blown up the Internet if they happened in the present day?

Classic Hollywood had its share of celebrity gossip, too, but aside from being less ubiquitous, the media was also more forgiving - especially in an age before Reddit, Twitter, YouTube, and endless parades of celebrity Internet memes. Sticky questions about "ethics" still occasionally plague contemporary conversations about famous celebrity scandals, but with up-to-the-minute Instagram and Twitter feeds detailing every move a famous person makes, it's hard to believe how much public figures were once able to get away with.

It's easier now than ever for celebrities to trip up and tank their whole careers over a single offhand comment, or an unfortunate night of bar-hopping. Would the media today ever even dream of sweeping a presidential affair under the rug? If a famous musician today said he or she was "bigger than Jesus" would FoxNews let it slide?

Below are just a few of the nastiest, most shocking, and most bizarre celebrity scandals that would have headlined the Internet and 24-hour media cycles if such things had been around when they happened.
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The Tragic Death of Child Superstar Judith Barsi


The Tragic Death of Child Supe... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Old Celebrity Scandals the Media Would Freak Over Today
Photo:  Punky Brewster

One of the most promising young talents of the '80s was Judith Barsi, a precociously talented screen and voice actress. Barsi is best remembered as the voice of Ducky in The Land Before Time, and the voice of Ann-Marie in All Dogs Go to Heaven. Barsi was so mature and professional that she was frequently cast to play characters that were older than her - an extreme rarity for a child actor.

Behind the scenes, though, Barsi struggled with a tumultuous family life, including an abusive and alcoholic father. On July 25, 1988, Joe Barsi murdered his wife and 10-year-old daughter in their home in Canoga Park, and then shot himself. Friends reported that Joe had often made threats against Judith and her mother, but that no one had taken him seriously, making their horrific deaths all the more tragic.
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2 18,802 VOTES

Jerry Lee Lewis Marries His 13-Year-Old Cousin


Jerry Lee Lewis Marries His 13... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Old Celebrity Scandals the Media Would Freak Over Today
Photo: Bradford Timeline/flickr/CC-BY-NC 2.0
Technically, she was his first cousin once removed. There's no denying, however, that she was just 13 years old when they were married (though Lewis and his publicists insisted, at the time, that she was actually 15). Though Lewis was only 22, Myra Gale Brown was his third wife, and for obvious reasons, the marriage was kept secret until a British journalist outed them to the press. Although the scandal practically destroyed Lewis's career, he later managed a slight comeback - and he certainly didn't go to jail.
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3 16,437 VOTES

A Showgirl Dies Mysteriously After Partying with Fatty Arbuckle


A Showgirl Dies Mysteriously A... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Old Celebrity Scandals the Media Would Freak Over Today
Photo: Orange County Archives/flickr/CC-BY 2.0

The infamous Fatty Arbuckle incident was covered luridly in Kenneth Anger's Hollywood Babylon many years ago. Arbuckle was a comedic actor in silent films, known for his lovable, oafish persona. Offscreen, however, he was a bit of a party animal, and though the details of what actually happened remain unclear, his affinity for letting things get a little out of control seems to have caught up with him.

After a party at Arbuckle's house, the young actress Virginia Rappe was rushed to the hospital, where she ultimately died. Rappe had suffered from a ruptured bladder and other apparent physical trauma, and rumors quickly circulated that her death had been the result of a violent sexual assault. (Some of the more lurid rumor-mongers claimed Arbuckle had forcefully penetrated Rappe with a wine bottle.) After one of Rappe's friends accused Arbuckle directly, the case actually went to trial - Arbuckle was exonerated, but his public image was ruined, and his career never fully recovered.
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4 16,375 VOTES

President Kennedy's Affair with Marilyn Monroe


President Kennedy's Affair... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Old Celebrity Scandals the Media Would Freak Over Today
Photo:  skeeze/Pixabay/CC0 1.0
It's mind-boggling to imagine a time in our nation's history when the news media would actually help to downplay a Presidential affair. But that was exactly the response to President John F. Kennedy's rather blatant, ongoing affair with international sexpot Marilyn Monroe during the 1960s. John and Jackie Kennedy were icons of a brighter American future, and journalists apparently felt it would be disrespectful and tawdry to highlight Kennedy's infidelities. The affair was, and remains, common knowledge, but was never publicized during John's or Marilyn's life.
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