Ethics Dunce: Brooke Shields

Brooke-Shields-barbara-walters

This post pains me. I am a long-time admirer of Brooke Shields. She navigated the perilous waters of child stardom as well as anyone, survived an overbearing (and often unethical) stage mother, and managed to turn her childhood and teen super-modeling career into long and variegated show business success that included several Broadway shows and a successful TV sitcom, all while appearing to maintain at least the appearance of sanity and good sense. However, during a recent interview with Dax Shepard on his “Armchair Expert” podcast, Shields decided to attack legendary broadcast journalist Barbara Walters for an interview she did of the then-15-year-old in 1981.

The podcast was following the trail of an October interview the current version of Shields, the one that is 56, did for Vogue. In that one, Shields expressed anger at the famous Calvin Klein ad that immediately preceded her intense cross-examination by Walters, the naughty TV spot that had the leggy teen clad in skin-tight jeans saying provocatively, “You want to know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing.”

In Vogue Shields said of the ad, “I was very naive. I didn’t think it had to do with underwear. I didn’t think it was sexual in nature. I’d say that about my sister, nobody could come between me and my sister… they didn’t explain [the double-entendre] to me.” As for the interview discussing the ad with Walters, Shields described her questions probing Shields’ sexuality as “practically criminal.”

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