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 3:18 PM EDT, Thu April 24, 2014
Frida Ghitis says as violence claims three U.S. doctors, the temptation is to despair, but aid to Afghanistan has made it a much better place
updated 2:33 PM EDT, Thu April 24, 2014
Ruben Navarrette says in California, Asian-Americans are against the use of racial criteria in public colleges.
updated 2:44 PM EDT, Thu April 24, 2014
Heidi Schlumpf says if the Pope did tell an Argentinian woman married to a divorced man that she could take Communion, it may signify a softening of church rules on the divorced and sacraments
updated 12:29 PM EDT, Thu April 24, 2014
Norcross, Georgia, Chief of Police Warren Summers says the new law that allows guns in bars, churches and schools will have unintended dangerous consequences.
updated 1:42 PM EDT, Thu April 24, 2014
Mel Robbins says social media is often ruled by haters, and people can be brutally honest.
updated 12:44 PM EDT, Thu April 24, 2014
Mike Downey says the golf purists can take a hike; the game needs radical changes to win back fans and players.
updated 12:41 PM EDT, Wed April 23, 2014
Robert Hickey says most new housing development is high-end, catering to high-earners.
updated 9:17 AM EDT, Wed April 23, 2014
Alexander Motyl says as Russian President Putin snarled at Ukraine, his foreign minister was signing a conciliatory accord with the West. Whatever the game, the accord is a major stand down by Russia
updated 8:29 AM EDT, Wed April 23, 2014
Les Abend says at every turn, the stowaway teen defied the odds of discovery and survival. What pilot would have thought to look for a person in the wheel well?
updated 7:04 AM EDT, Thu April 24, 2014
Q & A with artist Rachel Sussman on her new book of photographs, "The Oldest Living Things in the World."
updated 3:58 PM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
Martin Blaser says the overuse of antibiotics threatens to deplete our bodies of "good" microbes, leaving us vulnerable to an unstoppable plague--an "antibiotic winter"
updated 1:37 PM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
John Sutter asks: Is it possible to eat meat in modern-day America and consider yourself an environmentalist without being a hypocrite?
updated 11:38 AM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
Sally Kohn notes that Meb Keflezighi rightly was called an American after he won the Boston Marathon, but his status in the U.S. once was questioned
updated 8:56 AM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
Denis Hayes and Scott Denman say on this Earth Day, the dawn of the Solar Age is already upon us and the Atomic Age of nuclear power is in decline
updated 4:36 PM EDT, Mon April 21, 2014
Retired Coast Guard officer James Loy says a ship captain bears huge responsibility.
updated 1:08 PM EDT, Mon April 21, 2014
Peter Bergen says the latest strikes are part of an aggressive U.S. effort to target militants, including a bomb maker
updated 9:45 AM EDT, Mon April 21, 2014
Cynthia Lummis and Peter Welch say 16 agencies carry out national intelligence, and their budgets are top secret. We need to know how they are spending our money.
updated 8:35 AM EDT, Mon April 21, 2014
Julian Zelizer says President Obama knows more than anyone that he has much at stake in the midterm elections.
updated 8:55 AM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
Eric Sanderson says if you really want to strike a blow for the environment--and your health--this Earth Day, work to get cars out of cities and create transportation alternatives
updated 10:08 AM EDT, Mon April 21, 2014
Bruce Barcott looks at the dramatic differences in marijuana laws in Colorado and Louisiana
updated 4:47 PM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Jim Bell says NASA's latest discovery supports the notion that habitable worlds are probably common in the galaxy.
updated 2:17 PM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Jay Parini says even the Gospels skip the actual Resurrection and are sketchy on the appearances that followed.
updated 1:52 PM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Graham Allison says if an unchecked and emboldened Russia foments conflict in a nation like Latvia, a NATO member, the West would have to defend it.
updated 9:11 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
John Sutter: Bad news, guys -- the pangolin we adopted is missing.
updated 2:25 PM EDT, Mon April 21, 2014
Ben Wildavsky says we need a better way to determine whether colleges are turning out graduates with superior education and abilities.
updated 6:26 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Charles Maclin, program manager working on the search and recovery of Malaysia Flight 370, explains how it works.
updated 8:50 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Jill Koyama says Michael Bloomberg is right to tackle gun violence, but we need to go beyond piecemeal state legislation.
updated 2:45 PM EDT, Thu April 17, 2014
Michael Bloomberg and Shannon Watts say Americans are ready for sensible gun laws, but politicians are cowed by the NRA. Everytown for Gun Safety will prove the NRA is not that powerful.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT