The words Hollywood and scandal have become almost synonymous. Hardly a day goes by without fresh news of some poor celebrity's sex tape, trek to rehab or flagrant act of adultery. But what if these jaw dropping moments aren't really scandals at all?
Writing in New York magazine, editor and novelist Colin Harrison proposes a new set of guidelines that separate scandals into two categories: the truly salacious and the merely pseudo-scandalous. Now, we're looking back at some of the celebrity world's biggest headlines to determine whether they really do merit the badge "scandal."
According to Harrison's calculations, stories may be deemed scandalous if they involve at least two of the following four elements: power, money, sex, and violence. But it doesn't stop at the rule of two. The incident or situation must also cause at least one of the incriminated parties to fall from grace.
"A scandal involves unseemly conduct that results in the destruction of a reputation," Harrison writes. "Someone's position in society changes for the worse. The fall must appear irreversible. Suffering is necessary. As is humiliation."
Take a look at these impostors, versus real scandals, below:
Jesse James, Sandra Bullock Cheating "Scandal":
In 2010, reports surfaced that Jesse James had cheated on America's Sweetheart Sandra Bullock with numerous women. James's wandering eye eventually led him to tattooed hottie Michelle "Bombshell" McGee, making the motorcycle aficionado the world's most-hated ex-boyfriend. But a humiliating heartbreak does not a scandal make. James's infidelity merely registered on the sex scale. No money, power or violence here; James hit the road with his tail between his legs -- he wouldn't dare ask his famous ex for a penny. NOT A SCANDAL
Arnold Schwarzenegger Mistress "Scandal":
Arnold Schwarzenegger shocked the entire state of California (at least!) when news broke that he had fathered a child with his family's housekeeper, Mildred Baena. What's worse? Arnold's wife, Maria Shriver, was friendly with Arnold's mistress and her child. A tried-and-true scandal this was, wringing wet with money, power and sex. TEXTBOOK SCANDAL
Courtney Stodden, Doug Hutchison Marriage "Scandal":
Doug Hutchison, 51, made headlines in 2011 when he married his, then 16-year-old, "teen bride" Courtney Stodden. Since then, Stodden has made a name for herself, posing in barely there bikinis. But the couple's gross gimmick reeks of sex and not much else. NOT A SCANDAL
Charlie Sheen's Meltdown "Scandal":
A maniacal sword-wielding warlock who uses the media to attack his ex-wife while shacking up in a goddess-stocked sex mansion? Enough said. Charlie Sheen's 2011 meltdown was a surefire scandal, hitting all four of the criteria with gusto: violence, sex, power and money. TEXTBOOK SCANDAL
Lindsay Lohan's Legal "Scandal":
From DUIs to jewelry theft and probation violation ... when it comes to Lindsay Lohan, unfortunately, we don't expect much else. But Lohan's five rehab stints are a certain indicator that a "fall from grace" isn't a far fall for Lohan. The "Parent Trap" star's scandals aren't a clear ringer for money, sex, power or violence. NOT A SCANDAL
Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries's marriage "scandal":
Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries sure are efficient, hitting three of the four scandal bases within their 72-day union. Humphries is demanding quite a pretty penny from his soon-to-be ex-wife, (money), Kim's the reigning queen of reality TV (power), and when the buxom beauty's involved, bedroom references are never too far behind (sex). Hitting 75 percent of the criteria, like it or not, Kim and Kris make the scandal list. TEXTBOOK SCANDAL