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Top 10 Craziest Cases of Celebrity Blackmailing

VO: RB

Script written by Nathan Sharp

Being famous draws the crazies. From Alex Rodriguez to Kevin Hart and Cameron Diaz, celebrity blackmail is more common than you may think! WatchMojo is counting down the celebrities who were victims of extortion.

Special thanks to our user doucey for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at https://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top%2010%20Celebs%20Who%20Got%20Blackmailed

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Transcript
Script written by Nathan Sharp

Top 10 Craziest Cases of Celebs Being Blackmailed


Being famous draws the crazies. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top ten craziest cases of celebs being blackmailed.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the craziest cases of famous people being blackmailed and/or extorted, and ranking them based on the individual’s fame and the severity of the blackmail act itself.

#10: Alex Rodriguez


A-Rod is widely considered to be one of the greatest baseball players ever. However, his reputation took a massive dive in 2013 when he became embroiled in the infamous Biogenesis baseball scandal, which saw Biogenesis claiming to have provided numerous baseball players with performance-enhancing drugs. When various employees of the clinic were in desperate need of cash due to mounting legal bills, they turned to A-Rod for money in exchange for keeping his dealings with them quiet. Biogenesis employees later spilled the beans however, and Rodriguez was suspended for the entire 2014 MLB season. His reputation suffered, and he retired two years later.

#9: Yoko Ono


Yoko Ono is widely considered to be a major driving force in the break-up of The Beatles, but that’s not really something that is blackmail-worthy. However, Ono’s personal chauffeur, Koral Karsan, saw an opportunity himself and blackmailed the performance artist for $2 million in the mid-2000s. His lawyer claimed that Ono was abusive, ordered the driver to be responsive to her needs 24 hours a day, and asked him to perform various illegal acts. After he threatened to release various pictures and secret recordings he’d made, he was charged with the felony of attempted grand larceny in the third degree and sentenced to 60 days in jail.

#8: Kevin Hart


Funnyman Kevin Hart has taken the world by storm in the early 21st century, most notably for his roles in various comedies like “Ride Along,” “Get Hard,” and “Central Intelligence.” However, with the fame comes the attention, and Hart was embattled in a sex extortion case in 2017. Hart became the victim when someone demanded an eight-figure sum of money from the actor in exchange for keeping an alleged sexually explicit video private. After refusing to pay the exorbitant amount of money, Hart issued an apology over Instagram directed towards his wife and children.

#7: John Stamos


Turns out that the world isn’t as sugary sweet as “Full House” would have you believe. Two Michigan residents, Allison Coss and Scott Sippola, were arrested when they tried to extort $680,000 from the actor in 2009. They claimed that they had damning pictures of Stamos involving cocaine and nudity that were allegedly taken at a party. Rather than paying up, Stamos contacted the authorities, and the two were soon arrested. Stamos has since denied that the pictures existed, and the defense claims that the pictures were deleted once the FBI raided their house. Coss’ lawyer also alleged that Stamos had a fling with an underage Coss when they met in Orlando in 2004, but the claims were denied.

#6: Cindy Crawford


While reportedly playing cops and robbers, the nanny for Cindy Crawford's children took a joke picture of her daughter bound and gagged to a chair in 2009. A friend of the nanny, Edis Kayalar, stole the picture and wanted to return it to the family for a reward. Crawford’s husband, Rande Gerber, gave him $1,000 for his “troubles.” Two days later, Kayalar asked for more money, and claimed he had another copy, but the authorities were contacted and he was deported. He then called and demanded a $100,000 wire transfer before being arrested by German authorities and sentenced to two years in prison.

#5: Tom Cruise & Katie Holmes


Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes were married from 2006 to 2012, and their relationship provided us the famous Oprah couch hopping, one of Cruise’s most awkward moments. However, their blissful marriage hit a bump when Marc Lewis Gittleman stole their wedding photos and threatened to make them public unless he was paid $1.3 million. Court documents show that Gittleman obtained the photos when the photographer brought his damaged hard drive to Gittleman’s place of employment. After seeking help from David Hans Schmidt, an infamous celebrity sex tape peddler, both Gittleman and Schmidt enacted the extortion, but they were caught in a sting operation. Gittleman was sentenced to two years’ probation and Schmidt committed suicide.

#4: Cameron Diaz


There’s nothing like something coming back to haunt you. When Diaz was a 19-year-old aspiring actress, she posed nude for photographer John Rutter. Over ten years later, Rutter demanded $3.5 million or he would leak the nude photos to the press to coincide with the release of “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.” Rather than pay up, Diaz contacted authorities, and Rutter was arrested and charged with forgery, attempted grand theft, and perjury. He was sentenced to three years, eight months in prison.

#3: David Letterman


As Kevin Hart and David Letterman found out, sometimes you just have to beat the blackmailers to the punch, even if it means damaging your career and personal relationships. In October 2009, Letterman announced on his show that he was the victim of a recent blackmail attempt and admitted infidelity, claiming to have slept with various employees. A producer for CBS, Joe Halderman, was arrested after trying to deposit the phony $2 million check and was sentenced to six months in prison. Despite the October confession, Letterman remained with his long-time partner, Regina Lasko, who he had married the previous March.

#2: Rob Lowe


Turns out that Rob Lowe has terrible luck with his employees, because in April 2008, he filed three separate lawsuits against three separate staff members. He claims that one nanny spread “malicious lies” about him, that one chef had sexual intercourse on his bed, and that another nanny, the subject of this list, attempted to blackmail him. Lowe sued nanny Jessica Gibson, claiming that she was extorting him for $1.5 million for “a vicious laundry list of false terribles.” Gibson in turn sued the Lowe family for sexual harassment and abuse. However, both lawsuits were dismissed in 2009 at the request of both parties.

#1: John Travolta


Losing a child is one of the most difficult things a human being can experience. Losing a child and being blackmailed over it is simply unimaginable. However, that’s the predicament Travolta found himself in in 2009 when his son, Jett, died of a seizure. Tarino Lightbourne, a paramedic, and Bahamas senator Pleasant Bridgewater soon blackmailed Travolta for $25 million, claiming they had a “refusal to transport” document signed by Travolta. This would indicate that Travolta allegedly prevented his son from receiving medical help. After being caught in a sting operation, Lightbourne was charged, but the trial ended in a mistrial. Travolta then decided to drop the charges, claiming that the emotional toll was too great.
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