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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."

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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.

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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.

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

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