Streisand Effect victims are the celebrities, companies, and even whole countries whose attempts to censor or hide some bad press completely backfired, only to make the situation a million times worse. All of these "victims" learned the hard way that sometimes responding to an unfortunate story isn't really the best policy - as igniting the fires of the Internet lynch mob almost always has catastrophic consequences.
Of course, the first and most well-known victim is Barbra Streisand herself. The singer's attempts to censor a photo of her Malibu, California, home are why the Streisand Effect is a thing. She was not, however, the last victim. This phenomenon, wherein Internet users grab their pitchforks and don't take too kindly to censorship, has been repeated with the companies like Samsung and Ralph Lauren, groups like Wikileaks (who actually benefited from this activism) and the Church of Scientology, and popular celebrities, such as singer Beyonce and footballer Ryan Giggs.
Few companies faced the backlash as badly as Amy's Baking Company, though. When cafe was featured on the reality show "Kitchen Nightmares," host Gordon Ramsay gave up on the owners, citing their inflexibility and unpleasant work environment. The company then went on an all-out war with those "Internet bullies" who dared to talk badly about them. The battle certainly didn't paint the company in a great light, but it was pretty comical to witness.If these examples prove anything, it's that sometimes it's better to let a bad story just burn out on its own. Wait until those 15 seconds are up and people will move on to the next best thing. Until "victims" learn this lesson though, the Streisand Effect victims will surely continue.
- Photo: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BYBy June of 2o16, Axl Rose had had enough of the mean memes making fun of his, uh, larger size. But instead of letting it go, he engaged the Internet trolls and demanded that Google remove images of the Guns N' Roses frontman looking fat. Unfortunately, his request reinvigorated the public's interest in #fataxl. Rose filed a batch of DMCA copyright notices, claiming that all photographers at his shows must sign a release giving ownership of their pics to him. The fat photos were traced back to Boris Minkevich of the Winnipeg Free Press, who said he couldn't remember if he signed a release. Oops.
- Photo: Copyright (C) 2002 Kenneth & Gabrielle Adelman, California Coastal Records Project / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
Barbra Streisand, the effect's namesake, was the first and perhaps most well-known victim of this phenomenon. Way back in 2003, the actress and singer sued a photographer and website for $50 million. This was an effort to have a photograph removed from a collection of 12,000 photos showing erosion on the California coastline, including one that included her Malibu beachfront home - not that the photo even mentioned that the entertainer or who owned said house.The lawsuit was unsuccessful, but what it did do was raise awareness of the photo and the fact that the home pictured belonged to Streisand. Additionally, the photo, which was only downloaded six times prior to the suit, went on to be seen by over 400,000 people in the next month alone. If she wanted to keep the fact that this is her home a secret, her plan backfired big time.
Every celebrity takes an unflattering photo from time to time. They hit the Internet, people laugh about them for about 12 seconds, and they get buried in favor of the next top story - or at least that's what usually happens. This was not the case in February 2013 after photos of singer Beyoncé performing at the Super Bowl hit the Interwebs.See, when Buzzfeed.com posted a selection of "the fiercest Beyoncé photos from the Super Bowl -" including a couple that looked like the singer was having a quite painful time passing gas - someone claiming to be a publicist for Mrs. Carter contacted the site to request the photos be removed. So, of course, instead of the photos going quietly into that dark night, Buzzfeed went on to post even more, titled "The 'Unflattering' Photos Beyoncé’s Publicist Doesn’t Want You To See." Needless to say, this new story stuck around for another news cycle and then some.
Amy's Baking Company
Putting the "cuss" in customer service, the lovely owners of Amy's Baking Company, a restaurant in Scottsdale, AZ, sought a new approach to dealing with those who posted negative - but genuine - reviews of their cafe online. Instead of reaching out to play nice with the reviewers, owners Amy and Samy Bouzaglo confronted the "bullies" and "haters" with some choice words of their own.
But it didn't stop there. The couple went on to appear on the television show "Kitchen Nightmares" with the hopes that Chef Gordon Ramsay would prove to the world that Amy's food was great and that all the Internet trolls were wrong. It was a nice plan but when fans watched the madness of the episode, the Internet asploded with negative backlash directed squarely at Amy and Samy.Clearly not learning from their initial mistake, Amy and Samy - or, as their social media accounts claim, an evil hacker - fired back with all-caps rants and personal attacks on their critics. What went from being an attempt to repair their image turned into a crash course on how not to deal with negativity on the Internet.