Notes on an actor scandal

What is the shelf life of an Internet scandal?

What is the shelf life of an Internet scandal? With the recent release of Terminator Salvation, the question is what effect, if any, actor Christian Bale’s infamous leaked on-set freak-out will have upon the movie’s box-office muscle.

Admit it: It’s hard to watch Bale shouting in the trailer without thinking about his angry soundstage antics.

Here’s a list of fellow leading men who became online punchlines, and how they tried to get rid of the baggage.

Tom Cruise

Scandals: The megastar has had to deal with multiple moments that have captured the imagination of the Youtube set. His enthusiastic 2005 declaration of love for his wife, complete with couch-jumping and a startled Oprah Winfrey, spawned plenty of parodies, remixes and Photoshop funnies.

The Result: According to polls, Cruise’s popularity declined after the Oprah incident, and his Q score — a rating that tracks popularity — also fell.

Alec Baldwin

Web Scandal: In April of 2007, a voicemail that the actor left for his daughter was leaked to TMZ.com. Baldwin was at the time locked in a bitter custody dispute with his ex-wife, Kim Basinger, and when his daughter missed their scheduled call, he went berserk.

The Result: Initially, a family court judge who heard the tape revoked his visitation rights, but Baldwin apologized for the incident, and asked that people not judge his parenting based on the message.

Christian Bale

Web Scandal: It was reported in July 2008 that Bale freaked out in the midst of shooting a scene for Terminator Salvation, however, it took until February 2009 before the audio leaked. Bale unleashes a profanity-laced tirade on director of photography Shane Hurlbut, attacking his professionalism, for attempting to adjust some lighting during a scene. The audio clip quickly made gossip sites around the world.

The Result: Some blogs did take the actor to task, adding a blemish to a star who had been riding an impressive wave of popularity after the Batman movies.

 
 
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