If you take the number of celebrity endorsement deals and multiply it by the amount of time stars have a microphone strapped to them, that should equal dozens of PR disasters "caught on camera." Either most celebrities truly are loyal to the products they promote (unlikely) or they all live in fear of scandalous comments being caught on a hot mic, because this doesn't happen all that frequently. However, Charles Barkley managed to cause a bit of snafu when he shared his thoughts on life while wearing a headset and commenting on a nationally televised basketball game.
While ostensibly in a commercial break during Thursday's game between the Miami Heat and the Atlanta Hawks, Barkley was caught telling fellow announcer Kevin Harlan that he's "feeling much better" after losing 38 pounds as a Weight Watchers spokesman, adding:
I ain't giving away no money Kev. I'm not giving away no free money. I thought this was the greatest scam going — getting paid to watch sports. This Weight Watchers thing is a bigger scam.
The video wound up on YouTube and caused a bit of controversy, since no weight loss company wants to be mentioned in the same breath as the word "scam." However, Weight Watchers wisely ended the scandal by embracing Barkley's comments, which do suggest that he's being honest when he praises the program. Weight Watchers said:
We love Charles for the same reason everyone loves Charles, he's unfiltered. We are thrilled that he is having great success and inspiring millions of men to join him. We agree that being a spokesman for Weight Watchers is a pretty great gig.
Barkley (or rather, his rep) also stood by his remarks:
I meant what I said, the fact that I'm dropping pounds, getting healthier and getting paid at the same time, is my definition of a great scam. The only problem is I'm going to have to use some of the money to buy a new wardrobe.
It's actually a shame that we don't get to hear more celebrities' assessments of their endorsement deals. We'd be particularly interested to hear what Jennifer Hudson said when she learned she'd be singing with her larger self.