Five Examples of the Streisand Effect
Humiliation and turmoil is only hilarious if it happens to others, right? And when it happens to people you dislike or are jealous of the schadenfreude is so delicious you could eat it if it weren’t a German word and therefor probably poisonous. Barbara Streisand really is the perfect celebrity to lend her name to the phenomenon when she nasally brayed to a judge that a picture of her giant mansion paid for by shitty songs should be removed from a public collection. Streisand embodies crap synergy- wherein the sum of the outcome is so much more tragic than the act itself. But it’s happened to others:
Before August of 2006 Daniela Cicarelli was just your average insanely hot Brazilian bikini model, just trying to bang her equally hot millionaire private banker boyfriend on a Spanish beach in private. Cicarelli and boyfriend Tato Malzoni, no doubt in a fit of retardation-inducing passion, forgot that the year was 2006 and not 1986, when not every professional photographer this side of Princess Di’s grave had access to more video cameras than the fevered dreams of BLANK. Paparazzi filmed Cicarelli’s oiled Brazilian body going at it, and being complete dicks like paparazzi are, they totally released it and it was eventually uploaded onto Brazilian Youtube. Daniela Cicarelli was understandably dismayed and went ahead and sued Youtube. The results were that every low rent gossip publication seized on it, and now everyone knew Daniela Cicarelli as that woman too stupid to understand the concept of public places. If she had just ignored it, the whole thing would have likely blown over like a discarded sarong and the incident would have been a footnote of her career.
Scientology has a shaky relationship with the internet. An entity who’s entire existence is to hold and deliver information for free goes against everything Scientology is destroying thetans for. There have been many examples of clashes. Activist Tori Christman left after her home got internet access, alt.religion.scientology is as old as Xenu, and then of course there’s Anonymous and whatnot. But one example of Scientology bringing more attention to something they wanted to bury was the infamous Tom Cruise laughing maniacally about car accidents and stadiums video. When every video hosting site in existence ran the video, Scientology went nuts and let’s just say they were in desperate need of auditing when all was said and done. Their hilarious attempts to put all the toothpaste back in the tube resulted in the creation of Project Chanology which is an on-going attempt to make David Miscavidge just end it now.
Amanda Bonnen was pissed off. More specifically, she was pissed off at her landlord, Horizon Group Management, who she was suing for not de-molding the apartment she rented. Bonnen was part of a class action lawsuit for such property shenanigans and tweeted her anger for all the world (20 followers, to be precise) to see: “Who said sleeping in a moldy apartment was bad for you? Horizon realty thinks it’s okay.” Oh snap! Take that, property owners who won’t clean toxic mold! While preparing for the lawsuit, Horizon found the tweet and counter-sued for defamation. Finding it hilarious, Bonnen’s lawyers released the information and then the entire world found out Horizon Realty were the Snidely Whiplashes of apartment management. If they had just chilled, or better yet simply cleaned up the mold, only 20 people would have read the post and no one would be the wiser.
It’s hard out there for a photoshopper. You get one thing wrong, and bored assholes with too much time on their hands go nuts. That’s what happened to Ralph Lauren. They were innocently photoshopping their models- a pupil dilation here a hip reduction there- when the truly entertaining blog PhotoshopDisasters ran a terrible photo of a kind of gross model. She wasn’t gross in real life, pretty hot actually, but Ralph Lauren trimmed away so much of her the photo careened head first into the uncanny valley. Ralph Lauren was not amused by the criticism and issued legal jargon to BoingBoing, who had rerun the photo to prove how insane their photoshopper apparently was. ABC and Huffington post caught wind and reprinted the photo over and over again, leaving Ralph Lauren to ring their hands and wish to God they’d kept their mouths shut. Ralph Lauren eventually apologized for altering the photo so heavily, but not before firing the model for being too fat. Stay classy, Ralph Lauren!
Ah, yes. Aside from Barbara Streisand this is probably the most famous Streisand effect story. AACS encryption keys have been leaked for as long as they’ve existed. And as long as murdering in order to silence your technicians is illegal the MPAA is going to have disgruntled saviors all too happy to share their information. But when Digg posted the infamous 09 F9 number, the MPAA completely lost its shit and let loose on everyone they could find online. The backlash was huge. Almost everyone with a computer re-posted the number from message boards to Facebook and Myspace, even going so far printing t-shirts and tattooing themselves. The MPAA reacted like a school marm- publicly praising the pussy sites who complied with their demands and admonishing the cool kids who smoked at recess.