The 6 Most WTF Unauthorized Uses Of Celebrity Images
Celebrities are everywhere, from magazines to commercials to the inside of your eyelids because they've been seared in by all the goddamned magazines and commercials. They're so omnipresent, you'd think their likenesses belong in the public domain. They don't, but that doesn't stop their pictures from showing up on a bunch of products no sane publicist would ever give permission to. Such as ...
Nicolas Cage Was On A Serbian Biology Textbook
Nicolas Cage has done a lot of crazy shit over the years, like taking magic mushrooms with his cat, buying a serial killer's house, and method-acting as an amulet-clad voodoo god for the sake of a movie nobody liked. So when a story came out that Cage's face graced the cover of a Serbian biology textbook, you have to figure a lot of people assumed that this was another one of his nutty escapades.
The baby is the only one who seems to realize there is something seriously wrong here.
While the textbook itself is genuine, it turns that no, Cage didn't kick off a stock photo modeling career in Serbia to pay for more dinosaur skulls. Movie fans will recognize the poorly Photoshopped image as a scene from the Coen Brothers movie Raising Arizona. See, that's Holly Hunter standing next to them, awkwardly cut out and pasted on top of a picture of a flower bed, itself awkwardly cut out and pasted on a white void of nothingness, because every piece of Eastern European literature doubles as a text on existentialism.
So how in the hell did this happen? Not surprisingly, Cage didn't know a damn thing about it, but reportedly thought the picture looked "cute" -- referring to the baby and not his distinctly un-adorable mustache. Well, it seems that the book's designer didn't recognize Cage or Hunter and thought it was "a generic happy family shot" (if kidnapping a rich man's child and going on the lam can be called "generic happy"), and once the mistake was recognized, the book was pulled from circulation and replaced with a cover that hopefully didn't feature a collage of screenshots from The Wicker Man.
Radiohead's Thom Yorke Is On The Cover Of An Iranian Sex Manual
Hypothetical question: If you had to make a celebrity the unwilling poster boy for sexual inadequacies, whose wrath would you prefer to face? A frothing-at-the-mouth Mel Gibson? Russell Crowe armed with a dozen blackjacks? Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson after he was bit by a fire ant? Which celeb would least likely result in you being hospitalized with a gaping head wound? Apparently, the answer is Thom Yorke.
It would explain that hair ...
Whoever was in charge of laying out the cover of the Iranian sex manual "Marital And Sexual Problems In Men" clearly considers the Radiohead frontman to be the biggest weenie an internet image search could provide, because his picture now adorns this manual on not being great at doin' it. Either that or the graphic designer accidentally typed in "OK, computer?" in after his search and went with the first image that popped up.
Though there's further proof that this cover was designed by orangutan throwing darts at a 1997 Us Weekly: Famed author John Updike is also on there in the bottom left corner. Because who else to inspire you to fuck your wife better but a 75-year-old Pulitzer-Prize-winning novelist?
Bizarrely, this isn't even the only place Yorke's (very same) image was used illicitly. He also showed up on a Russian bus stop ad for a medication promising to "help you to forget about insomnia, fatigue, skin problems, cold, attention deficit disorder, and headaches." Not only does this tarnish the image of one of the most talented musical artists of his generation, but now we can't look at the man without thinking "Y'know, he looks like he has insomnia, fatigue, skin problems, cold, attention deficit disorder, and headaches." That's some effective marketing.
Good for them, though, for resisting the urge to paste in Bon Jovi as the "after" guy.
A 9/11 Terrorist Accidentally Appeared In A Turkish Hair Removal Ad
It's not uncommon to discover that some of our artistic heroes were actually evil bastards. Wagner was a raging anti-Semite, Norman Mailer was a proud sexist, and Tom Hanks is actually the Antichrist. But we have to separate the art from the artist, because even the darkest soul can create blinding beauty. Which was the case for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed -- a terrorist, mass murderer, and the most beautiful hair removal cream model the world has ever seen.
Hair removal cream or hangover cure. Whatever, we can't read Turkish.
When one Turkish cosmetics company needed an advertisement for their hair removal product, they searched the internet for the furriest sonuvabitch they could find. Turkish 4chan (of course) led them down the forbidden garden path, and their efforts resulted in this gem of an ad, which reads in Turkish, "The hair will not go away because you keep waiting!"
In case you don't recognize it, that mug belongs to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, terrorist and self-proclaimed mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. The photo was taken in 2003, shortly after his capture, which we can only assume happened during his nap time. But boy oh boy if that isn't exactly the kind of effortless bed hair and chest forest that makes him the perfect model for this product.
These days, his aesthetic is more "Evil Santa".
The company was quick to apologize for the unfortunate advertisement, claiming they had no idea who the notorious person whose picture they found on the internet actually was. A representative said in a statement, "We didn't know that he was a terrorist. This image is in popular use in Turkish memes on the internet. The guy is quite hairy, so we thought his body was a good fit for our ad," before ending the statement with the unique sentence "We featured him for his hair, not terrorism."
The former al-Qaeda leader was unavailable for comment on the advertisement, as he's currently residing in Gitmo. However, since he once complained that a courtroom sketch made his nose look overly large, we're guessing he'll be less than thrilled with this latest rendering. Here's hoping he finds the embarrassment excruciating.
The Original Facebook Logo Was Al Pacino (Maybe)
A lot of famous companies have human mascots. KFC has Colonel Sanders, McDonald's has Ronald, and Newman's Own has the ghost of Paul Newman forever trapped in his own bottles of salad dressing. But what you might not know is that Facebook once had a kind of sort of human mascot. No, not Mark Zuckerburg, but a glowering face that would silently judge all of your social media actions.
"I am the creep who creeps on your creeping."
And if that digital creep looks familiar, it might be because that's screen legend Al Pacino. The decision to paste the image of an Academy-Award-winning actor on the logo doesn't seem to be based on some kind of trend. It's not like MySpace had a picture of Jeremy Irons casting a wry glance at your font color. According to the book The Facebook Effect, Mark Zuckerberg's friend who designed the logo, Andrew McCollum, found the picture online and decided to use it.
"Drop the 'the.' Just 'Facebook.' Also, what in the hell is Al Pacino doing there?"
But while the book and several news outlets have reported that Pacino was the Facebook guy, some internet sleuths have come forward with compelling evidence that the picture was in fact of rock star Peter Wolf.
You know, lead vocalist for the J. Geils Band from 1967 to 1983. No? Go listen to Drake, philistine.
It's somehow very appropriate that the company obsessed with tagging and identifying people's faces may not even know who the fuck was on their original logo.
Random Celebrities Are Showing Up On Dating Sites
Until we can own/operate a sex robot from afar, internet dating is still the best way to get romantic with people while avoiding as much direct sunlight as possible. But amongst the many disadvantages of internet dating (like the risk of viruses that can't be cured by Norton) it turns out that a lot of sites are populated by fake profiles, turning them into the digital equivalent of a singles bar populated by mannequins. Most of the time, these fraudulent potential dates utilize images of lesser-known actors, or steal pictures of everyday people off of social media. But from time to time, some dum-dums will use photos of ridiculously famous actors. This what you might call a "high risk, high reward" play, counting on the fact that online daters will either a) realize it's not a real profile and close their browser immediately or b) high-five themselves for landing a date with Rob Lowe's handsome doppelganger.
"It is literally too good to be true."
Or Lindsay Lohan's identical twin. Actually, it wouldn't be the weirdest thing Lohan has done -- pretending to be a gal named Jessica who's hard up for a date in St. Louis.
Her highest-profile role in five years.
And, hell, maybe time-travelling '90s Al Pacino is lonely and looking for love in this crazy world.
"Just when I thought I was out of the dating scene ... they pull me back in."
Even Hollywood legends like Brad Pitt and Michael Caine are popping up as profile pics, presumably catering to those daters deluded enough to think Pitt is having a tough time getting back into the dating pool. And to the delight of Scotsmen everywhere, it seems Michelle Pfeiffer is looking for a nice guy from Glasgow.
"Wild as a tiger?" Well, she did play Catwoman.
It's shitty enough to exploit people who are trying to forge new relationships and carve out a small piece of happiness in this crazy world, let alone insult them by suggesting they won't recognize Catwoman or Michael Corleone. So if you see Hilary Duff on Tinder, resist the urge to test your luck.
A Bible Museum Gets Celebrity Wax Figures On The Cheap
It's not until you own a smallish religious wax museum that you fully realize how many people are in the Bible. So when the Bible Walk museum in Mansfield, Ohio scored some secondhand wax figures on the cheap, they didn't ask too many questions. And they really hope you don't either.
Bible Walk is Ohio's only wax museum -- religious or otherwise -- and some 40k people meander through each year taking in the 300 figures in 78 scenes straight out of the Bible. This was all fine and good until people started to notice that one dude at the table looks really familiar. Is that ... is that Steve McQueen?
Looking as confused as the visitors.
As it happens, their bargain wax figures are celebrity likenesses originally created for big-name museums like Madame Tussaud's. Imagine if Edward Hopper had painted Da Vinci's The Last Supper -- there, we've saved you $27.
So which celebrity figures inhabit Bible Walk? According to the museum's director, observant museum-goers can spot Elvis playing Samson, Elizabeth Taylor standing in as Pharaoh's wife, and George Harrison portraying Saint Stephen. For some unfathomable reason, Bible Walk left the remaining three Beatles -- which they do own -- in storage. But there are many, many more. Visitors report sightings of Clark Gable, Margot Kidder, John Travolta, and others. You kinda wander through the facility and scrutinize every face till you recognize one, like a Sunday School version of Where's Waldo.
Somehow not Travolta's worse facial hair.
The museum doesn't seem to mind that the entire cast of its Middle Eastern melodrama is whiter than a bleach commercial, but they do inadvertently carry a strong anti-classism message, putting both Britain's Prince Charles and Prince Philip in smelly old sackcloths. Sorry chaps, only one can be King.
"And that's Elvis. He plays God."
One of our most popular episodes from 2016 was when we invited Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark from 'My Favorite Murder' to talk about some of the best true-crime stories out there. So successful, in fact, that we're resurrecting it (get it?) for a part two! Metal Fang, the Strangling Executioner, and the murderer living in the attic just weren't enough. So Jack O'Brien, Dan O'Brien, and the Cracked staff welcome Karen and Georgia back for another creepy hour of serial killers and urban legends that are bound to make you terrified to go outside or talk to a stranger or do anything.
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