What are some of your favorite Old Hollywood scandals?
Oh gosh, don’t even get me started! There are some really sad ones around, but most of these will be about sex. There’s a really good post somewhere with a ton of really juicy tidbits, I wish I could find it but I don’t remeber what I tagged it as. Most of these are from that! Anyway, here are a couple, I’m putting them under a cut because they’re kinda crude. I don’t know how true these are and I don’t know if they’re all “scandals” because most of them weren’t known to the public at the time, but here are some things that I have picked up over the years:
Thank you for this! I could go on and on and on if you like especially about the gays!
Dorian Leigh, with artwork, wearing a taffeta gown by Jean Patou, 1955. Photo by Henry Clarke.
In his photobiography book, published in 1951, Cecil Beaton writes that Dorian Leigh could convey “the sweetness of an 18th-century pastel, the allure of a Sargent portrait, or the poignancy of some unfortunate woman who sat for Modigliani.”
The USDA has determined that zoos which remove cubs under four weeks old from their mothers and allow them to be manhandled by the paying public are in violation of the Animal Welfare Act. Zoos must ensure cubs are kept with their mothers, sheltered properly and handled with care by staff only.
A coalition of animal welfare groups has pointed to evidence that 75 so-called roadside zoos have removed hundreds of cubs from their mothers to allow them to be handled by the public. This process interrupts the nutrition cubs receive from their mothers and alters their behavior. The Humane Society said evidence it has gathered from two zoos – Natural Bridge Zoo in Virginia and Tiger Safari in Oklahoma – shows that cubs are regularly punched and smacked to prevent them from playfully scratching or biting people. One cub was used for 30 photo sessions and five 30-minute private play sessions in one day. With visitors charged $50 for a photo and $300 for a play session, the Humane Society said one cub could bring in $65,000 for a zoo over the course of a single summer. “We have seen substandard zoos mass breeding tigers for this kind of activity and then immediately severing the maternal bond with their mothers so they are compliant with human contact,” said Anna Frostic, attorney at the Humane Society. “They are regularly deprived of a regular, nutritious feeding schedule. “This activity is inherently inhumane. It’s not possible to convince a mother tiger that you will take her babies for a day and then given them back. That’s not how it works.” The zoos that allow people to grapple with big cats are covered by the Animal Welfare Act but are not members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, a peak body that requires members to keep cubs with their mothers. Frostic said the USDA’s move will put these zoos “on notice” that they will be prosecuted if they flout regulations. The improper use of exotic cats has wider implications than their immediate welfare. Once cubs have grown up and are deemed surplus to requirements, they are often handed off to accredited zoos who have to find the resources to tend for them. The practice can also help fuel the market for poaching tigers and selling their parts. “The fate of captive tigers in the US has serious implications for the conservation of tigers in the wild,” said Leigh Henry, senior policy advisor for wildlife conservation at World Wildlife Fund. “Strengthened regulation of US captive tigers will help ensure that captive-bred tiger parts don’t enter the black market and stimulate the demand that drives the poaching of wild tigers.”
You know what I think? I think that we’re all in our private traps, clamped in them, and none of us can ever get out. We scratch and we claw, but only at the air, only at each other, and for all of it, we never budge an inch.
Could you maybe expand a little on this Laurens family sex scandal? I've actually never heard about it and would be curious to learn more! Thank you!
There’s a brief mention of it in the Massey bio on p.36 or here, or here’s "The Scandalous History of Sir Egerton Leigh” which is probably the best source for the drama- unfortunately, you need an account to read the pamphlet.
Basically, it revolves around Egerton Leigh, Henry Laurens’s nephew-in-law and John’s cousin by marriage. Egerton was married to Martha Bremar (the daughter of Henry’s sister, Martha, & Francis Bremar), and he was a prominent jurist in Charlestown, presiding over the court of the vice-admirality.
Egerton and Henry had some bad blood before the scandal.
In the 1760′s, Henry had gotten into a pamphlet war with Egerton when two of his ships were seized for customs violations and the issue went to the court of the vice-admiralty. Egerton was able to get one of his uncle’s ships back and help Henry sue for damages. The jury awarded Henry a settlement that the customs officer couldn’t afford, so the officer took another one of Henry’s ships, the Ann, and offered to return it without reporting his violations if he dropped his claim on the settlement. The issue went back to Egerton’s court who couldn’t help Henry again and prevented him from suing a second time. So, being who he is, Henry started attacking the case in a pamphlet, Extracts from the Proceedings of the High Court of Vice Admiralty. He got John to translate some Latin passages for the pamphlet, and in Egerton’s response, The Man Unmasked, he personally mocked Henry for implicating his son in his muckraking (which, that’s fair) and quitting the slave trade only after he’d gotten wealthy from it (which is also very fair). But, Unmasked also implied that Henry had grown to consider the slave trade sinful- and was therefore condemning his fellow Carolinians as sinful for continuing the practice- which would have some serious ramifications socially (and to his business). So, Henry responded with Appendix to the Extracts, in which he tried to enumerate all the economic reasons he’d quit trading slaves- because it’s better to be an evil racist slaver than to condemn the practice and lose some customers and friends- in a piece of it, he took back the quotes John had helped him with and compared John’s translations to Egerton’s- basically threw down the ‘my son’s smarter than you’ gauntlet.
Fast-forward to 1772, John’s enrolled at Middle Temple to study law, things are settling down, and Henry receives this letter from his brother, James, describing the horrific fate of their niece, Mary, after making a search for her on some rumors of an illegitimate birth. Martha Bremar the Sr. had died earlier that year, leaving her young daughter, Mary, in the custody of her elder sister Martha and her husband- yep, you remember him- Egerton Leigh. I can’t find an age for Mary, but considering the fact that she was unmarried in a wealthy family, she was probably younger than 15. In his letter, James says he had heard rumors of Mary’s pregnancy and gone searching for her. His search finally brings him to a Captain White, who informs him that Mary’s already on a ship bound for London. He took her as a passenger for Egerton Leigh and she’s headed to her cousin Parsons, but he informs James that she’s very ill-provided for and with no assistance but a slave girl who’s accompanying her. White says “he expected she would perish…& yet…Leigh told him not to be apprehensive of that”, he paid him to take her. White says had accepted her onto his ship but wishes he hadn’t because yes- she had given birth the night before to a boy. Mary’s child would die at sea. Her name would be raked through the mud, and Egerton would go without legal charges for- what I consider- attempted murder.
So, in summary, Henry’s nephew- John’s cousin, Egerton Leigh, impregnated his young sister-in-law, Mary, and upon learning of her pregnancy, paid a guy to take her away on a ship for England where
her baby died without medical care- and where she nearly died in the birth. Henry was furious, of course-Leigh was his nephew-in-law and he
raped Henry’s underage niece and basically murdered her child…so… Henry did threaten legal
action, but he never followed through with it.
He used ‘their’ scandal as a moralizing horror story with John.
Also- apparently John Adams had heard the story- as juicy gossip- and was disgusted, because he talks about it in his diary of 1774, “entertained us with the Scandalous History of Sir Egerton Leigh”.
God made both tears and laughter, and both for kind purposes; for as laughter enables mirth and surprise to breathe freely, so tears enable sorrow to vent itself patiently. Tears hinder sorrow from becoming despair and madness; and laughter is one of the very privileges of reason, being confined to the human species.