One of golfer Tiger Woods' alleged mistresses, adult film actress Devon James, is shopping around a purported sex-tape, according to published reports. Tiger's brand is strong enough to bear the brunt of an adultery scandal but it's hard to know what would happen if actual footage of his indiscretions emerged.
Sex-tape fame is tough to handicap.
Sex-tapes make famous people infamous and ordinary people pariahs, as far as I can tell. Men tend not to benefit much from these tapes (I'm thinking Rob Lowe and Gene Simmons here, not necessarily Tommy Lee) where women mostly find a way to recover their dignity and cash in. Mostly, I said. Montana Fishburne, daughter of esteemed actor Lawrence Fishburne, thought a celebrity sex-tape was the way to fame, fortune, and a career in modeling or something and she's booked at least one magazine cover out of it so far — nice, work, if you can get it. In recent years the celebrity sex-tape fame has become short, lucrative path to fame and fortune for some. But that hasn't always been the case.
A Brief History of Celebrity Sex-Tape Hits and Misses
Jayne Kennedy - Actress, model and Black Bombshell of the 70s, Kennedy is blindsided by her husband Leon, who releases the very first celebrity sex tape of their private moments after a bitter divorce. Devastated, her career arguably becomes the first sex-tape casualty — probably not a black history moment you are likely to find on any calendar.
Tanya Harding — not long after Kneegate, Harding and her then-husband Jeff Gillooly have their sexcapades sold retail by Penthouse Home Video. Maybe the quietest, most boring sex tape in history.
Bob Crane — After Hollywood paints an unflattering portrait of the TV actor in Auto Focus, Crane's son Scotty releases his father's collection of homemade porn in protest or to set the record straight, depending on who you believe. Neither do Colonel Hogan's legacy any favors.
Karrine Steffans - as "Honey," Steffans performs in several scenes with adult film icon (and author) Mr. Marcus. Not a "sex tape" in the strictest sense, these sequences resurface after she becomes a literary sensation, stoking interest in her current release "The Vixen Manual." Given her area of expertise, the tape merely confirms her qualifications.
Paris Hilton — Ex-boyfriend Rick Salomon releases a compilation on intimate moments before the celebutante would make her primetime TV debut on The Simple Life. She sues, settles, gets rich(er) endorsing perfume, hamburgers.
Dustin Diamond — Strapped for cash, the Saved by The Bell star is as shocked as we are when tape of him cavorting with two ladies "leaks" onto a pay-per-view internet site. Circumspect, Dork Diggler embraces (read "monetizes") the shame for small returns. Turns out not many people want to watch Screech get in on.
O.J. Simpson — Video of 2 women and a man bearing a striking resemblance to The Juice hits the Internets. On a break from hunting for "the real killers," O.J. threatens to sue. As Simpson sits in the cooler, no word on either mission.
The Flavor of Love Girls - At least three contestants from the reality show Flavor of Love — Hoopz, Toastee and Buckeey —- somehow find graphic video of their sex-lives splashed all over the internet. To date, none have seriously monetized this infamy.
Verne Troyer - Footage of Mini Me and his live-in girlfriend during a delicate moment makes it onto TMZ.com. The girlfriend allegedly tries to broker a deal for wider release. Mortified, Troyer sues everyone involved. I gotta say, though, this may have been a boon for the potential Shortest Pornstar In the World. But everyone deserves a little dignity.
Robert "R" Kelly — Tape of the R&B crooner making it rain in the most inappropriate way imaginable hits the streets, and he is subsequently tried for violating an allegedly underage girl. After protracted legal wrangling, the state of Illinois fails to make its case. Despite possibly documenting a crime, the video gets wide distribution in the porn underground. Kelly's career as a songwriter flourishes, but overall his appeal diminishes.
Kim Kardashian - The celebrity stylist has birthday sex with her then boyfriend (and brother of a former client) Ray J.... on tape. Once she gains notoriety as BFF to Paris Hilton, Ray J parlays the video into a cash sale. Kardashian sues, settles and goes on to become a reality show star, sex symbol and multi-million-dollar brand unto herself.
Jimi Izrael is a freelance journalist for TheRoot.com, an author and a regular contributor to "Tell Me More."