November 30, 2004
Inside the Top Scandals of 2004!
With the end of the year approaching, "The Insider" takes a look back tonight at the celebrities who made news in 2004. These are the events -- the biggest scandals -- that had everyone gathering around the water cooler!
As we count down the top five, PAULA FROELICH from the New York Post and CLAIRE ATKINSON, TV reporter with Advertising Age, offer up their perspectives on the impact of each of these headline-making stories.
Pop princess BRITNEY SPEARS landed on our list as soon as she said "I Do." After all, when you're one of the most popular performers in the world, every move you make gets attention. So when the "My Prerogative" singer exchanged vows with KEVIN FEDERLINE during a surprise ceremony in September, it naturally got noticed.
"She's been working really hard for years and years and years, and it seems to me she just wanted to be a regular girl, live the life everybody else leads and get married," says Atkinson about the 22-year-old's nuptials.
"Marriage seems to have settled her down a bit," adds Froelich. "She finally found someone, so let's hope it lasts."
The fourth biggest scandal revolves around the film 'The Passion of the Christ,' MEL GIBSON's very personal project about the last 12 hours of Jesus' life. Months before it was released, 'Passion' was the target of much criticism, many viewing it as anti-Semitic. Because of the controversy, it was thought to be a huge risk for Gibson, not only financially, since he put up all the money to make the movie, but a threat to his career as well.
However, the gamble paid off. When it was released, audiences embraced it, and Gibson became not only one of the wealthiest filmmakers in Hollywood, but one of the most powerful.
"I think the genius of the year award goes to Mel Gibson," says Froelich. "Here's a man who said, I want to build this movie, I want to do it on my own, with my own money and I don't care what anyone says. He had everyone after him...and then he put it out there and people loved it."
At number three on "The Insider"'s countdown is MARY-KATE OLSEN, who has literally grown up in front of our eyes. So when the young actress/entrepreneur announced that she was suffering from an eating disorder, it simply could not be ignored.
"I think the public genuinely wants to see Mary-Kate helping herself. I think the public is really behind her," says Atkinson.
With the support of her family and twin sister, ASHLEY, Mary-Kate voluntarily checked into a program in mid-June for anorexia and got the treatment she needed.
"She came out and said I have an eating disorder," says Froehlich. "But I don't think it's going to do a darn thing to her popularity because it really is a disease and a lot of people in America suffer from it, and I think it makes her even more identifiable than she was before."
MARTHA STEWART's conviction and five-month prison sentence for lying to investigators about the sale of ImClone stock makes the cut as the year's second biggest scandal. The domestic diva is currently serving her sentence in Alderson, WV.
"Martha Stewart was another huge scandal of the year and a lot of people were shocked that she ended up in jail," says Froelich. "Because Martha was made an example of and a lot of people thought the feds went after her, she's got a lot of sympathizers."
And the No. 1 scandal of 2004? None other than the infamous "wardrobe malfunction" at the Super Bowl -- not just because of the incident itself, but how it changed the entire landscape of television.
"Janet Jackson and 'nipple-gate' is the biggest scandal of the year because, let's be honest, everyone's mouth just went oh!" says Froelich. "No one could believe what they were seeing."
"It was also a huge scandal because of the repercussions," Froelich points out. "Everything is now on a five-second delay. You have to watch exactly what you say and what you wear. I think everyone is looking, watching and just kind of judging as to what is appropriate, what isn't appropriate, and we're all walking this really fine line."
For more on the top scandals of 2004, tune in to "The Insider" tonight!