Celebs haunted by multimedia gaffes

Updated: 2007-05-06 09:58

Actor David Hasselhoff, center, poses his daughters Taylor Ann, right, and Hayley Amber in Los Angeles, in this June 14, 2006, file photo. A videotape made by David Hasselhoff's daughters shows the recovering alcoholic falling off the wagon, Hasselhoff acknowledged Thursday, May 3, 2007, but the actor added that he is doing much better since it was made. (AP Photo/Lucas Jackson, file)

NEW YORK - It's hard out there for a celebrity. Just ask Alec Baldwin and David Hasselhoff, two more examples of famous guys caught doing really, really embarrassing things.

Both actors ! divorced dads of a certain age ! were publicly humiliated by leaked tapes of them behaving badly. Celebrities, whose reputations can be destroyed in an instant on YouTube, seem to be pawns in the multimedia revolution that chews up this behavior ! seen in regular people, too ! and gleefully spits it out to the masses.

Hear that, Hasselhoff? Here's some advice: Trust no one.

The ex-"Baywatch" star, 54, was in full-on damage control mode Thursday when a videotape ! a public relations nightmare, really ! made by his daughters three months ago found its way to several syndicated entertainment shows. It depicted the recovering alcoholic in an awful state: drunk, shirtless and slurring, lying on the floor of a room and awkwardly snacking on a hamburger while one of his daughters lectures him.

"I thank God for the love and concern from my daughters," he said in his statement. "The tape was never meant to become public, but got into the hands of individuals who are not worthy of mentioning, who maliciously released the tape for their own self purpose. I hope that someone else will learn from the tape, as I have."

It's hard to say which is more cringe-inducing ! the Hoff train wreck or the recent revelation that Baldwin, a respected and talented actor, is Hollywood's least likely candidate for father of the year.

Baldwin, 49, railed at his 11-year-old daughter on a leaked voicemail, slamming her as a "rude, thoughtless little pig" for missing his call. A tape of the message was obtained by celebrity Web site TMZ.com and broadcast worldwide.

The "30 Rock" scene-stealer suddenly found himself front-page news over the message and his bitter custody dispute with ex-wife Kim Basinger, who denied leaking the tape. He did not attend a hearing Friday as part of his ongoing court battle, but has issued an apology on his Web site and desperately tried to explain himself on "The View" to Barbara Walters and Rosie O'Donnell.

Again, damage control ! a requirement these days for celebrity foot-in-mouth disorder (recent offenders: Don Imus and fallen "Seinfeld" star Michael Richards). All these unintended-for-primetime bloopers and subsequent mea culpas drive Village Voice critic Robert Wilonsky up the wall.

"Are people completely unaware of the fact that there are TMZ.coms out there and Perez Hiltons and myriad other sources that delight in the profound idiocies of famous people ! hell, un-famous people?" asked Wilonsky.

"At the end of the day, I think, the upshot of all this is," Wilonsky said, "is maybe we become better people in general because we realize that our e-mail rants, our phone blowups, our video screwups will one day come back to haunt us ! and by one day, I mean TODAY."

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