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
December 26, 2014 -- Updated 1617 GMT (0017 HKT)
Today's politicians should follow Ronald Reagan's advice and invest in science, research and development, Fareed Zakaria says.
December 26, 2014 -- Updated 1319 GMT (2119 HKT)
Artificial intelligence does not need to be malevolent to be catastrophically dangerous to humanity, writes Greg Scoblete.
December 26, 2014 -- Updated 1505 GMT (2305 HKT)
Historian Douglas Brinkley says a showing of Sony's film in Austin helped keep the city weird -- and spotlighted the heroes who stood up for free expression
December 26, 2014 -- Updated 1303 GMT (2103 HKT)
Tanya Odom that by calling only on women at his press conference, the President made clear why women and people of color should be more visible in boardrooms and conferences
December 26, 2014 -- Updated 1312 GMT (2112 HKT)
When oil spills happen, researchers are faced with the difficult choice of whether to use chemical dispersants, authors say
December 25, 2014 -- Updated 0633 GMT (1433 HKT)
Danny Cevallos says the legislature didn't have to get involved in regulating how people greet each other
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 2312 GMT (0712 HKT)
Marc Harrold suggests a way to move forward after the deaths of NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos.
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 1336 GMT (2136 HKT)
Simon Moya-Smith says Mah-hi-vist Goodblanket, who was killed by law enforcement officers, deserves justice.
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 1914 GMT (0314 HKT)
Val Lauder says that for 1,700 years, people have been debating when, and how, to celebrate Christmas
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 2027 GMT (0427 HKT)
Raphael Sperry says architects should change their ethics code to ban involvement in designing torture chambers
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0335 GMT (1135 HKT)
Paul Callan says Sony is right to call for blocking the tweeting of private emails stolen by hackers
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1257 GMT (2057 HKT)
As Christmas arrives, eyes turn naturally toward Bethlehem. But have we got our history of Christmas right? Jay Parini explores.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 0429 GMT (1229 HKT)
The late Joe Cocker somehow found himself among the rock 'n' roll aristocracy who showed up in Woodstock to help administer a collective blessing upon a generation.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 2115 GMT (0515 HKT)
History may not judge Obama kindly on Syria or even Iraq. But for a lame duck president, he seems to have quacking left to do, says Aaron Miller.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1811 GMT (0211 HKT)
Terrorism and WMD -- it's easy to understand why these consistently make the headlines. But small arms can be devastating too, says Rachel Stohl.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1808 GMT (0208 HKT)
Ever since "Bridge-gate" threatened to derail Chris Christie's chances for 2016, Jeb Bush has been hinting he might run. Julian Zelizer looks at why he could win.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 1853 GMT (0253 HKT)
New York's decision to ban hydraulic fracturing was more about politics than good environmental policy, argues Jeremy Carl.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 2019 GMT (0419 HKT)
On perhaps this year's most compelling drama, the credits have yet to roll. But we still need to learn some cyber lessons to protect America, suggest John McCain.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 2239 GMT (0639 HKT)
Conservatives know easing the trade embargo with Cuba is good for America. They should just admit it, says Fareed Zakaria.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 0112 GMT (0912 HKT)
We're a world away from Pakistan in geography, but not in sentiment, writes Donna Brazile.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1709 GMT (0109 HKT)
How about a world where we have murderers but no murders? The police still chase down criminals who commit murder, we have trials and justice is handed out...but no one dies.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 2345 GMT (0745 HKT)
The U.S. must respond to North Korea's alleged hacking of Sony, says Christian Whiton. Failing to do so will only embolden it.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 2134 GMT (0534 HKT)
President Obama has been flexing his executive muscles lately despite Democrat's losses, writes Gloria Borger
ADVERTISEMENT