These '90s Celeb Scandals Wouldn't Be Scandalous Now

Though I tend to look back on the '90s with the kind of rose-tinted glasses only a kid who grew up in the decade would wear, let's not forget that the pop culture of the time wasn't solely made up of Rugrats episodes and Tamagotchis — I mean, there were Beanie Babies to be had, for crying out loud! In all seriousness though, as anyone who has ever watched an episode of VH1's I Love The '90s would know, the decade also had its fair share of celeb scandals (the O.J. Simpson murder trial, Milli Vanilli's lip sync exposé, and Tonya Harding hiring a hitman to break the leg of her skating competition Nancy Kerrigan all come to mind). And then there were the '90s celeb scandals that would not be considered scandals today.

In 2016, we're living in a different world. It's been 26 years since 1990, and in that time, society — as well as the media — has evolved. And while there are always going to be moments that are considered universally scandalous or truly and genuinely awful, there are those that were once perceived as shocking in which the thinking of the time makes the "scandal" outdated in today's world. See six of those celeb-centric moments below.

1. Monica Lewinsky Wouldn't Be Slut-Shamed For Her Affair With Bill Clinton


There's no doubt that the President of the United States having an affair with an intern would still make headlines today. But what wouldn't happen — as it did so often in 1998 that even 9-year-old me was aware of it — would be slut-shaming Monica Lewinsky. In fact, it was reading her eye-opening essay in Vanity Fair that made me realize the extent of her incredibly public, inescapable humiliation. If this were to happen today, you can bet there would be no references in the media to Lewinsky as the "Blow Job Queen."

2. Pamela Anderson & Tommy Lee's Sex Tape

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Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee's sex tape was the talk of Hollywood in the mid-'90s. Sure, it would still make headlines now, but with celeb sex tapes left and right (they literally launched the careers of both Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian) it wouldn't be nearly as scandalous as it was.

3. George Michael Arrested For "Lewd Behavior"


In 1998, George Michael was outed as gay after he was arrested for "lewd behavior" in a bathroom of a Beverly Hills park. Not only is there not be nearly as much of a stigma for being gay in today's world (and therefore the singer may not have had to solicit sex in a park), it would not be as big issue for Michael to come out on his own terms.

4. PeeWee Herman Exposing Himself In An Adult Movie Theater

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Don't get me wrong — this 1991 incident was creepy, weird, and illegal. (The kids' show host was fined $135 for whipping out his penis.) But not only would this never happen in this day and age — if PeeWee Herman wanted to watch some "adult movies," he could just use the Internet in the privacy of his own home — it was an "adult movie theater," and his, uh, behavior isn't exactly surprising. I can guarantee that today there would be thinkpieces on if he actually did anything (morally) wrong at all.

5. That Richard Gere Gerbil Rumor Would Be Debunked — And Fast

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According to VH1, Gere was allegedly admitted to a hospital in the early '90s for, um, placing a gerbil up his butt. Had this (false) rumor circulated in 2016 — it's since been debunked by Snopes — it wouldn't have even been considered a "scandal," it would've been debunked so quickly.

6. Sinead O' Connor Ripping Up A Picture Of The Pope

This was just about as controversial as it got in 1992: O' Connor tore up a picture of the Pope on Saturday Night Live after suddenly changing the lyrics to the Bob Marley cover she was singing to reflect the allegations of sex abuse in the Catholic church. There's no doubt that this moment would make headlines in 2016, but it would probably be met with more support than outrage — particularly after the current pope, Pope Francis, himself admitted that members of the church covered up multiple counts of sex abuse by priests.

At the end of the day, there's no doubt that almost every item on this list would still make headlines in today's world (and in today's media). But would they be considered the groundbreaking, shocking stories they were at the time? Hardly. And I would consider that a positive thing, one certainly reflective of our progressive society and what we deem as scandalous (or not) today. Shout out to 2016!