Can you stand yet another article about the Kristen Stewart/Robert Pattinson cheating scandal? I know, I know -- the story is rapidly reaching Fifty Shades of Grey-level saturation for me too, but this time I want to talk about the business behind those damning photos of Kristen Stewart and Rupert Sanders. Because they are, as you might imagine, VERY big business indeed.
FameFlyNet, the paparazzi agency that took the infamous photos, reportedly chose to sell the images directly to Us Weekly instead of shopping them around -- and in fact, they may have been on assignment from the magazine, thanks to a tip that Stewart was having an affair with Sanders.
As we all know by now, the images FameFlyNet captured were a tabloid's dream come true. As in, worth up to $300,000 ... and possibly more.
Initial reports seemed to imply FameFlyNet got the images by accident, based on the agency owner's comment after the fact:
Oh, my God, she’s not just cheating on Rob — this guy is married and has kids. It was pretty scandalous, and it had so many different angles to it.
It may be, however, that Us Weekly had actually hired FameFlyNet to follow Stewart in the hopes she'd be caught with her hand in the cookie jar. (Whereas "her hand" = "her tongue," and "cookie jar" = "Sanders' mouth.") If that's the case, FameFlyNet may be raking in some of the ongoing photo sales, which are presumably adding up at a rapid clip.
According to the owner of another paparazzi agency,
If it’s an assignment, there’s not really a mega-money negotiation in advance (with the magazine). There’s an understanding that the photo agency or the photographer will have the back end sales of the pictures worldwide, and that’s where they’ll make their money, in exchange for the information (the magazine gives them about the stars’ location).
So this all brings up some interesting ethical questions, doesn't it? I think we can all agree that tabloid photos are a pretty sleazy business, and paparazzi following stars' every move is not only creepy and intrusive, it's downright dangerous sometimes.
But does it change things if Us Weekly was actually on assignment, specifically attempting to catch Stewart cheating? Does that make it better ... or worse? And how complicit are we all in our breathless reaction to this story?
I guess my personal feeling is that if you're a hugely popular public figure, you have to realize that this sort of scrutiny comes with the business. Celebrities aren't just the characters they portray onscreen, they're an entire package. Their brand and appeal are tied to the things they do in their personal life. Whether or not it was unethical for a photographer to be following Stewart -- or for Stewart to be cheating in the first place -- the bottom line is she probably should have assumed someone was watching.
As for Us Weekly, I doubt they're questioning their motives in the least.
There was no question when we saw those pictures that this was going to be one of the biggest stories of the year — if not the biggest. And I’m not sure the ‘Twilight’ fans would have believed the news without the undeniable photographic evidence.
What do you think about the way these photos were captured? Do you think the public deserved to know about their affair?
Image via Us Weekly