Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage from

Do you believe in celebrity wardrobe 'malfunction'?

By Dean Obeidallah, Special to CNN
updated 7:55 AM EST, Fri December 14, 2012
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
updated 4:06 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Timothy Stanley says Lewinsky is shamelessly playing the victim in her affair with Bill Clinton, humiliating Hillary Clinton again and aiding her critics
updated 9:02 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Imagine being rescued from modern slavery, only to be charged with a crime, writes John Sutter
updated 12:00 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Tidal flooding used to be a relatively rare occurrence along the East Coast. Not anymore, write Melanie Fitzpatrick and Erika Spanger-Siegfried.
updated 7:35 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Carol Costello says activists, writers, politicians have begun discussing their abortions. But will that new approach make a difference on an old battleground?
updated 9:12 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Sigrid Fry-Revere says the National Organ Transplant Act has caused more Americans to die waiting for an organ than died in both World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq
updated 2:51 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Crystal Wright says racist remarks like those made by black Republican actress Stacey Dash do nothing to get blacks to join the GOP
updated 6:07 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Mel Robbins says by telling her story, Monica Lewinsky offers a lesson in confronting humiliating mistakes while keeping her head held high
updated 9:29 AM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Cornell Belcher says the story of the "tea party wave" in 2010 was bogus; it was an election determined by ebbing Democratic turnout
updated 4:12 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Les Abend says pilots want protocols, preparation and checklists for all contingencies; at the moment, controlling a deadly disease is out of their comfort zone
updated 11:36 PM EDT, Sun October 19, 2014
David Weinberger says an online controversy that snowballed from a misogynist attack by gamers into a culture war is a preview of the way news is handled in a world of hashtag-fueled scandal
updated 8:23 AM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Julian Zelizer says Paul Krugman makes some good points in his defense of President Obama but is premature in calling him one of the most successful presidents.
updated 10:21 PM EDT, Sun October 19, 2014
Conservatives can't bash and slash government and then suddenly act surprised if government isn't there when we need it, writes Sally Kohn
updated 8:05 AM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
ISIS is looking to take over a good chunk of the Middle East -- if not the entire Muslim world, write Peter Bergen and Emily Schneider.
updated 9:00 AM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
The world's response to Ebola is its own sort of tragedy, writes John Sutter
updated 4:33 PM EDT, Fri October 17, 2014
Hidden away in Russian orphanages are thousands of children with disabilities who aren't orphans, whose harmful treatment has long been hidden from public view, writes Andrea Mazzarino
updated 1:22 PM EDT, Sat October 18, 2014
When you hear "trick or treat" this year, think "nudge," writes John Bare
updated 12:42 AM EDT, Sat October 18, 2014
The more than 200 kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls have become pawns in a larger drama, writes Richard Joseph.
updated 9:45 AM EDT, Fri October 17, 2014
Peggy Drexler said Amal Alamuddin was accused of buying into the patriarchy when she changed her name to Clooney. But that was her choice.
updated 4:43 PM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
Ford Vox says the CDC's Thomas Frieden is a good man with a stellar resume who has shown he lacks the unique talents and vision needed to confront the Ebola crisis
updated 4:58 AM EDT, Sat October 18, 2014
How can such a numerically small force as ISIS take control of vast swathes of Syria and Iraq?
updated 9:42 AM EDT, Fri October 17, 2014
How big a threat do foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq pose to the West? It's a question that has been much on the mind of policymakers and commentators.
updated 8:21 AM EDT, Fri October 17, 2014
More than a quarter-million American women served honorably in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Now they are home, we have an obligation to help them transition back to civilian life.
updated 4:27 PM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
Paul Begala says Rick Scott's deeply weird refusal to begin a debate because rival Charlie Crist had a fan under his podium spells disaster for the Florida governor--delighting Crist
updated 12:07 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
The longer we wait to engage on Ebola, the more limited our options will become, says Marco Rubio.
updated 7:53 AM EDT, Wed October 15, 2014
Democratic candidates who run from President Obama in red states where he is unpopular are making a big mistake, says Donna Brazile
updated 12:29 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
At some 7 billion people, the world can sometimes seem like a crowded place. But if the latest estimates are to be believed, then in less than a century it is going to feel even more so -- about 50% more crowded, says Evan Fraser
updated 12:53 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Paul Callan says the Ebola situation is pointing up the need for better leadership
updated 6:45 PM EDT, Wed October 15, 2014
Nurses are the unsung heroes of the Ebola outbreak. Yet, there are troubling signs we're failing them, says John Sutter
updated 1:00 PM EDT, Wed October 15, 2014
Dean Obeidallah says it's a mistake to give up a business name you've invested energy in, just because of a new terrorist group
updated 7:01 PM EDT, Wed October 15, 2014
Fear of Ebola is contagious, writes Mel Robbins; but it's time to put the disease in perspective
updated 1:44 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
Oliver Kershaw says that if Big Tobacco is given monopoly of e-cigarette products, public health will suffer.
updated 9:35 AM EDT, Sat October 18, 2014
Stop thinking your job will make you happy.
updated 10:08 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
Ruben Navarrette says it's time to deal with another scandal involving the Secret Service — one that leads directly into the White House.
updated 7:25 AM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
Americans who choose to fight for militant groups or support them are young and likely to be active in jihadist social media, says Peter Bergen
updated 9:03 AM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
Stephanie Coontz says 11 years ago only one state allowed same sex marriage. Soon, some 60% of Americans will live where gays can marry. How did attitudes change so quickly?
updated 4:04 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
Legalizing assisted suicide seems acceptable when focusing on individuals. But such laws would put many at risk of immense harm, writes Marilyn Golden.
updated 9:07 AM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
Julian Zelizer says the issues are huge, but both parties are wrestling with problems that alienate voters
updated 6:50 PM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
Mel Robbins says the town's school chief was right to cancel the season, but that's just the beginning of what needs to be done
updated 11:43 AM EDT, Sat October 11, 2014
He didn't discover that the world was round, David Perry writes. So what did he do?
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT