5 Comedians Who Claimed To Be Blackmailed (Including Some Who Actually Were)
It comes with the territory of being rich and famous. If you’re not careful, some idiot will try to get your cash by threatening to spill your secrets. Here are five times that comedians claimed to be victims of blackmail schemes -- and more often than not, the comics don’t come out looking great.
This one started when Rock appeared on Howard Stern with a story about a woman who allegedly tried to get the comic to pay up over a false pregnancy claim. The FBI was involved, according to Rock, investigating a large conspiracy that conned several stars into paying child support for kids that weren’t theirs.
“These are psycho girls,” claimed Rock. “They know what they are doing."
But the “psycho girl” turned out to be a Hungarian model who sued Rock for a number of equally ugly offenses, sexual and otherwise, in what The Hollywood Reporter called “the filthiest lawsuit ever filed.” Rock hired a private investigator, Anthony Pellicano, to investigate the model, who claims Pellicano illegaly broke into her home and took pictures of her daughter. Pellicano eventually went to jail over similar accusations.
The model’s lawsuit never made it to trial, but Rock eventually paid an undisclosed sum to make the whole thing go away.
A man was arrested in 2000 for blackmailing Anderson after leading the cops on an 80-mile-per-hour chase down a crowded Santa Monica Boulevard while tossing loaded guns out the window. Just another night in Hollywood!
The FBI says that the man had been blackmailing Anderson, then the host of Family Feud, since 1997, asking the comic for cash “so your secrets don’t get out and blow your career.”
The secrets? Anderson allegedly approached the man a few years earlier at a casino, eventually asking him to go home with him and disrobe. The man refused. He then reached out to Anderson’s manager, demanding $200,000 to keep quiet about Anderson's proposition. The comic's team actually agreed to pay up, but the blackmailer kept asking for more money. That’s when Anderson went to the FBI, who put a stop to the scheme.
A CBS news producer accused of trying to blackmail the late-night comic pleaded guilty to lesser charges, getting six months in jail and five years probation for his trouble.
The former 48 Hours producer released a statement admitting that he’d asked for $2 million to keep his knowledge of Letterman’s extramarital affairs a secret. He sent Letterman an envelope that supposedly contained a screenplay treatment, but it was actually “a thinly veiled threat to ruin Mr. Letterman if he did not pay me a lot of money.”
Letterman confessed the affairs to America on his Late Night show before thanking the district attorney’s office for resolving the matter “professionally, skillfully and appropriately.”
Of all the comics on this list, Cummings did the least to bring on trouble. But it found her anyway.
Her problems started when the comic posted a picture to her Instagram story that revealed more than she’d intended -- OK, it was a nipple -- and she quickly deleted it.
But not quickly enough. A few dirtbags were quick enough to screenshot the picture before it disappeared, then threatened to post it to the world unless Cummings coughed up some cash.
Rather than succumb to the blackmail attempts, Cummings released the picture herself on Twitter. “If anyone is gonna make money or likes off my nipple, it’s gonna be me,” the comic tweeted. “So here it all is, you foolish dorks.”
It sure looked like Kevin Hart was the latest comic to be the victim of a blackmailing scheme. In May 2018, major news outlets reported that one of Hart’s closest friends threatened to release a video he secretly recorded of Hart having sex with a woman (who, incidentally, was not Mrs. Hart) in Las Vegas.
The friend allegedly wanted cash in exchange for the sex tape before the authorities charged him with extortion.
But late last year, the friend was cleared of all charges. Not only that, the woman in the tape alleges that Hart and his pal set the whole thing up for personal gain (though what Hart is winning from all this scandal is hard to figure). She then sued Hart for $60 million, a lawsuit that was thrown out over improperly served papers.
Sadly, someone did send Hart's pregnant wife an edited copy of the video. Hart calls the whole ordeal the “lowest moment” of his life.
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Top image: Netflix