Friday, January 09, 2004

Paris Hilton - Do Sex Tapes Give Stars' Careers a Boost? 

ABCNEWS.com : Do Sex Tapes Give Stars' Careers a Boost?
This holiday movie season, one hot new release enjoyed the lion's share of media attention — thanks to the memorable performance of its leading lady. But the film isn't going to win any Oscars, and while many have already seen it, this movie that won't be coming to a theater near you. Why? It's the Paris Hilton sex tape.

Shot 2½ years ago in green-tinged night-vision with a home video camera, the tape captures a 20-year-old Paris Hilton in a XXX-rated tryst with her then-boyfriend, a 32-year-old businessman named Rick Solomon.

Comedians had a field day with it, of course — but just why does this sort of stuff fascinate us?

"It's sort of the realization of your ultimate celebrity fantasy to see this person whose public image is all about teasing you with their sexuality and their sexual availability, actually having sex," says syndicated sex columnist Dan Savage.

The uproar led a mortified Paris to cancel interviews and public appearances timed to the debut of her rich-chicks-in-the-sticks reality series, The Simple Life.

But Kevin Blatt doesn't think it hurt Hilton's career a bit. "I got to be honest with you. I think this tape helped her career by leaps and bounds," he says. Blatt is a publicist for Marvad Corp., the porn company that bought the Paris Hilton sex tape to sell on its Web site Sexbrat.com.

"This is a videotape that had it been legal, in every sense of the word, and had we been able to show this videotape, could have made in excess of $100 to $150 million," Blatt says.

But it didn't happen. Marvad had purchased the tape from an ex-roommate of Solomon's for a $50,000 advance. But the company pulled the tape from its Web site when the Hilton family threatened to sue — and says Blatt, when the tape's supplier couldn't back up his claim that he owned the rights.

"We're the ones that are the victim here," he says. "We did outlay some capital, and ultimately we never were able to sell the tape or show the tape."

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