Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage from

Do you believe in celebrity wardrobe 'malfunction'?

By Dean Obeidallah, Special to CNN
December 14, 2012 -- Updated 1255 GMT (2055 HKT)
Anne Hathaway had an incident at the New York premiere of her new film,
Anne Hathaway had an incident at the New York premiere of her new film, "Les Misérables."
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Anne Hathaway had a "wardrobe malfunction" at a premiere of "Les Misérables"
  • Dean Obeidallah: Are we being played for idiots that these incidents are accidents?
  • He says as long as stars feel the pressure to remain famous, they'll court attention
  • Obeidallah: But there are some who don't resort to these tricks to stay relevant

Editor's note: Dean Obeidallah, a former attorney, is a political comedian and frequent commentator on various TV networks including CNN. He is the editor of the politics blog "The Dean's Report" and co-director of the upcoming documentary "The Muslims Are Coming!" Follow him on Twitter: @deanofcomedy.

(CNN) -- It's happened again. Another actress apparently forgot she wasn't wearing any underwear when exiting her limo in front of throngs of paparazzi. The result: "wardrobe malfunction." Followed, of course, by a ton of free publicity for the actress and her new film.

We're talking about Anne Hathaway. At Monday night's New York premiere of "Les Misérables," the 30-year-old star got out of her vehicle in a way that flashed to the paparazzi "the Full Hathaway." And next thing you know, she's making the headlines.

C'mon, let's be honest: Are these "malfunctions" really accidents or just calculated ploys by celebrities to garner attention? Are we being played for idiots, or do celebrities suddenly fall out of their clothes more often than the rest of us?

Dean Obeidallah
Dean Obeidallah

In the case of Hathaway, it seems that the incident was probably a mistake. She told the press that she was "devastated" by the mishap. Certainly, she has no history of these types of antics. And she is well-respected in Hollywood. In fact, on Thursday, she received a Golden Globe nomination for her performance in "Les Misérables."

Become a fan of CNNOpinion
Stay up to date on the latest opinion, analysis and conversations through social media. Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion and follow us @CNNOpinion on Twitter. We welcome your ideas and comments.



Although you would think that since Hathaway was exiting her car sans underwear, she would do so more carefully than a cowboy climbing off a horse.

Especially since she was being dropped off on the red carpet where the paparazzi were lined up like piranhas awaiting a piece of meat. They live for stuff like this.

There's no doubt that being a celebrity is challenging. Celebrities have to constantly stay in the limelight. If they're out of sight, they're out of work.

Anne Hathaway's 'Les Mis' singing secret
Les Mis actors talk role transformations

This is true for even those who have been very successful. Just this week, Jessica Biel -- a popular actress who recently married Justin Timberlake -- complained about losing out on several movie roles she desperately wanted, including the part in "Les Misérables" that went to Hathaway.

The answer for some celebs is simple: Do whatever it takes to stay in the public eye. "Any press is good press" is the adage they live by. You don't have to look far for examples of this philosophy. Lindsay Lohan, Kim Kardashian, Charlie Sheen, Snooki, Paris Hilton, along with their wardrobe malfunctions, drunken tirades, "accidentally" leaked sex tapes, etc.

Then there are celebs like Lady Gaga and Rihanna who wear outfits that appear to be intentionally designed wardrobe malfunctions, from see-through blouses to bathing suit tops slightly bigger than a 50-cent piece. They do this all in front of paparazzi all too happy to accommodate their desire for attention.

The queen of manipulating the press is Madonna. There are no "malfunctions" with Madonna; it's all by design. This summer, during her concert in Istanbul, she flashed the audience her right breast. A month later during her Paris show, she flashed the audience her left breast. Madonna's strategy is truly impressive: Her breasts yielded two different stories, one for each breast.

Believe it not, there are celebrities that have not resorted to these tricks to stay relevant. They are able to remain famous and work continually without such extracurricular activities.

We have yet to hear about Meryl Streep flashing her breasts on the Letterman show. Or George Clooney inadvertently having a part of his anatomy fall out of his pants. We haven't even seen pictures of people like Ben Affleck or Matt Damon with their zippers accidentally undone.

As long as celebrities feel the pressure to remain famous, there will be wardrobe "malfunctions." But calling them accidents in many cases is just laughable. They are simply more creative press releases.

It could always be worse. One day you could pick up the newspaper and discover Donald Trump has had a wardrobe malfunction revealing to us all: "The Full Donald." The thought of that makes me appreciate Madonna's breasts -- both her left and her right one -- that much more.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion

Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Dean Obeidallah.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1642 GMT (0042 HKT)
Rick McGahey says Rep. Paul Ryan is signaling his presidential ambitions by appealing to hard core Republican values
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1539 GMT (2339 HKT)
Paul Saffo says current Google Glasses are doomed to become eBay collectibles, but they are only the leading edge of a surge in wearable tech that will change our lives
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1849 GMT (0249 HKT)
Kathleen Blee says the KKK and white power or neo-Nazi groups give haters the purpose and urgency to use violence.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1156 GMT (1956 HKT)
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and Rep. Henry Waxman say read deep, and you'll see the federal Keystone pipeline report spells out the pipeline is bad news
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1153 GMT (1953 HKT)
Frida Ghitis says President Obama needs to stop making empty threats against Russia and consider other options
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 2129 GMT (0529 HKT)
Peter Bergen and David Sterman say the Kansas Jewish Center killings are part of a string of lethal violence in the U.S. that outstrips al Qaeda-influenced attacks. Why don't we pay more attention?
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1641 GMT (0041 HKT)
Danny Cevallos says families of the passengers on Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 need legal counsel
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1523 GMT (2323 HKT)
David Frum says Russia is on a rampage of mischief while Western leaders and Western alliances charged with keeping the peace hem and haw
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1156 GMT (1956 HKT)
Most adults make the mistakes of hitting the snooze button and of checking emails first thing in the morning, writes Mel Robbins
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1754 GMT (0154 HKT)
David Wheeler says as middle-class careers continue to disappear, we need a monthly cash payment to everyone
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1155 GMT (1955 HKT)
Democrats need to show more political spine when it comes to the issue of taxes.
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
Donna Brazile recalls the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act as four presidents honored the heroes of the movement and Lyndon Johnson, who signed the law
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1317 GMT (2117 HKT)
Elmer Smith remembers Chuck Stone, the legendary journalist from Philadelphia who was known as a thorn in the side of police and an advocate for the little guy
April 13, 2014 -- Updated 1856 GMT (0256 HKT)
Al Franken says Comcast, the nation's largest cable provider, wants to acquire Time Warner Cable, the nation's second-largest cable provider. Should we be concerned?
April 11, 2014 -- Updated 1522 GMT (2322 HKT)
Philip Cook and Kristin Goss says the Pennsylvania stabbing attack, which caused grave injury -- but not death, carries a lesson on guns for policymakers
April 11, 2014 -- Updated 1906 GMT (0306 HKT)
Wikipedia lists 105 football movies, but all too many of them are forgettable, writes Mike Downey
April 11, 2014 -- Updated 1432 GMT (2232 HKT)
John Sutter and hundreds of iReporters set out to run marathons after the bombings -- and learned a lot about the culture of running
April 11, 2014 -- Updated 1649 GMT (0049 HKT)
Timothy Stanley says it was cowardly to withdraw the offer of an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali. The university should have done its homework on her narrow views and not made the offer
April 11, 2014 -- Updated 1416 GMT (2216 HKT)
Al Awlaki
Almost three years after his death in a 2011 CIA drone strike in Yemen, Anwar al-Awlaki continues to inspire violent jihadist extremists in the U.S, writes Peter Bergen
April 12, 2014 -- Updated 0121 GMT (0921 HKT)
David Bianculli says Colbert is a smart, funny interviewer, but ditching his blowhard persona to take over the mainstream late-night role may cost him fans
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 1731 GMT (0131 HKT)
Rep. Paul Ryan says the Republican budget places its trust in the people, not in Washington
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 2128 GMT (0528 HKT)
Aaron David Miller says Obama isn't to blame for Kerry's lack of progress in resolving Mideast talks
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1522 GMT (2322 HKT)
David Weinberger says beyond focusing on the horrors of the attack a year ago, it's worth remembering the lessons it taught about strength, the dangers of idle speculation and Boston's solidarity
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 1632 GMT (0032 HKT)
Katherine Newman says the motive for the school stabbing attack in Pennsylvania is not yet known, but research on such rampages turns up similarities in suspects and circumstances
April 11, 2014 -- Updated 1103 GMT (1903 HKT)
Simon Tisdall: Has John Kerry's recent track record left Russia's wily leader ever more convinced of U.S. weakness?
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 1640 GMT (0040 HKT)
Mel Robbins says Nate Scimio deserves credit for acting bravely in a frightening attack and shouldn't be criticized for posting a selfie afterward
April 9, 2014 -- Updated 1839 GMT (0239 HKT)
Wendy Townsend says the Rattlesnake Roundup -- where thousands of pounds of snakes are killed and tormented -- is barbaric
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 1345 GMT (2145 HKT)
Dr. Mary Mulcahy says doctors who tell their patients the truth risk getting bad ratings from them
April 9, 2014 -- Updated 1328 GMT (2128 HKT)
Peggy Drexler says the married Rep. McAllister, caught on video making out with a staffer, won't get a pass from voters who elected him as a Christian conservative with family values
April 9, 2014 -- Updated 1143 GMT (1943 HKT)
David Frum says the president has failed to react strongly to crises in Iran, Syria, Ukraine and Venezuela, encouraging others to act out
April 9, 2014 -- Updated 2057 GMT (0457 HKT)
Eric Liu says Paul Ryan gets it very wrong: The U.S.'s problem is not a culture of poverty, it is a culture of wealth that is destroying the American value linking work and reward
April 9, 2014 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
Frida Ghitis writes: "We are still seeing the world mostly through men's eyes. We are still hearing it explained to us mostly by men."
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 1408 GMT (2208 HKT)
Chester Wisniewski says the Heartbleed bug shows how we're all tangled together, relying on each other for Internet security
April 9, 2014 -- Updated 1926 GMT (0326 HKT)
Danny Cevallos says an Ohio school that suspended a little kid for pointing his finger at another kid and pretending to shoot shows the growth in "zero tolerance" policies at school run amok
ADVERTISEMENT