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TheStreet Open House

10 Sleazy Celebrity Endorsements

The Megaupload All-Stars
There's a famous exchange, though probably apocryphal, attributed to Winston Churchill:

"Madam, would you sleep with me for 5 million pounds?" he allegedly asked a socialite, who initially seemed to rather like the idea. Then he changed the offer to a mere five pound note. "What kind of woman do you think I am?" she snapped.

"Madam, we've already established that," was the response. "Now we are haggling about the price."

Regarding celebrities Will.i.am, P. Diddy, Lil John, Alicia Keys, Chris Brown, Kanye West, The Game, Mary J. Blige, Kim Kardashian, Macy Gray and Jamie Foxx, we may now understand that, for them, it was also about the price.

In December, in the days before government officials pulled the plug on file-sharing service Megaupload on charges it facilitated piracy, the company released a promotional video with testimonials from these and other celebrities.

In fairness, it is not known if they were paid, or how much. Amid spin control (after record labels were able to temporarily pull the video from YouTube) there were claims that not all of the featured performers authorized their inclusion. Barring editing trickery, the entertainers are certainly on camera, mentioning Megaupload by name.

One wonders why they would think it was a good idea to align themselves with Kim Schmitz, the slobbish sleazebag whose disposable identities have included the name "Kim Dotcom." More importantly, how much did it cost to have them betray their colleagues in the entertainment industry?

What did they think Megaupload was being used for? Fortune 500 companies using it to share documents among global offices? Far more likely is that traffic was split between people sharing porn and stealing media.

Even if you argue that SOPA and other anti-piracy efforts go too far, think of it from the celebrity perspective. Every song or movie shared illegally takes money out of not only their pockets, but the pockets of many others in their industry. Maybe A-listers are rich enough not to care, but couldn't they be bothered to think about their colleagues?

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