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Contractual Purity

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"I'm honoured that people would think of me as a role model. On the other hand, I think it's sort of dangerous to choose a person and lift them so high — because at one point, I'm going to play a role that somebody doesn't like!"

When a young actor or other performer comes to public prominence in association with clean, wholesome family entertainment roles, the expectation of studios and audiences is that the actor's personal life will reflect the same upright morality of the character they play.

Heaven forbid, then, that said actor should be found engaging in perfectly legal, perfectly normal adult activities like drinking alcohol and/or having sex. And should they take a role in a production where they'll do things like nude scenes, using foul language or engaging in criminal behavior, then Moral Guardians will arise against the actor for betraying their expectations or somehow corrupting their young audience.

As most of the examples on this list will show you, this trope usually (although not exclusively) applies more to female celebrities than males. Actors are most often hit by this, but it can also apply to pop stars whose fanbase is largely comprised of teen and tween girls.

Some actors deliberately seek out such roles precisely to shed their image, and seemingly the majority of male ones lately go through a phase of sporting stubble for photoshoots and red-carpet events to remind us they're not boys anymore (even if they are still playing high school students).

There are two sides to what happens with this controversy. First is that Moral Guardians really have no right to get upset that it is "corrupting our youth" because an individual of a certain age is well within their legal rights to smoke, drink, swear, have sex, etc. On the flip side, being a public figure, especially one who is popular and well-known amongst young people, carries a certain degree of responsibility for the influence one may have since they will be treated as a role model. George "Superman" Reeves, for example, took great pains to not smoke or be seen with his lady friends in front of children. (He was also careful because kids wanted to see if he was as invulnerable as he was on TV.)

This will very often actually be enforced by a morality clause in the contract.

A form of Typecasting. See also Old Shame, Not Allowed to Grow Up, and Porn Creator Going Mainstream. May result in the actor/singer hating the job, but still enjoying the publicity that comes with it. Contrast So My Kids Can Watch, which is when an "adult" actor takes on family-friendly roles, usually so that their children can watch them without being exposed to violence and/or sex. For a specific supernatural version of this trope, see Virgin Power. Subtrope of Slave to PR.

Exactly what counts as "purity" varies wildly from culture to culture — see Values Dissonance. For the polar opposite of this trope see Controversy-Proof Image.

Real Life Examples (in alphabetical order when not Disney):

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    Disney Graduates 
  • Britney Spears got a lot of heat for this in her early stardom on account of her very sexual image, especially at a young age, and her fanbase being largely tween and teen girls. Her very first video, "...Baby One More Time", featured her and the backup dancers dancing in skimpy Catholic schoolgirl uniforms, and she posed for a sexually suggestive photo shoot for Rolling Stone magazine — all before she was eighteen years old. She only got racier from there, with songs like her hit single "If U Seek Amy" (say it slowly, then quickly) enraging parents who heard their tween daughters walking around the house singing "F-U-C-K me". All of this took a serious toll on her personally, leading to a notorious Creator Breakdown in 2006-07 that would go down in history as an iconic symbol of how badly the paparazzi press treated young female celebrities in the '00s.
  • Mostly averted by Britney's classic rival and fellow The Mickey Mouse Club alum Christina Aguilera, whose early material was always a little suggestive. And being a year older than Britney, she was legally an adult when her breakout hit "Genie In A Bottle" came out. This made her later, more sexually mature material easier to accept. She still took heat for it though on account of her being very popular with teen and tween girls. The Jenny Jones Show actually did an episode in 2003 about young girls who were imitating her.
  • Anne Hathaway was the target of an explosion of controversy when she appeared topless in the movie Havoc (2005). Her previous roles: both Princess Diaries movies and Ella Enchanted. Since then, she's successfully graduated into doing more adult roles with no further controversy, including playing a recovering heroin addict in Rachel Getting Married and starring in Love & Other Drugs, which features several extended nude scenes.
  • Likewise, Lindsay Lohan, who owes her career to her early Disney films even more than Hathaway does. Before Lindsay was cast in Mean Girls, it was written to be a racy R-rated affair with (to quote Tina Fey) "wall-to-wall titties". As she was considered a family-friendly actress, it was changed to PG-13 and much of the racier content was cut. Lindsay also turned down an offer to pose for Playboy as she had a Disney film coming out and tried not to dress too skimpily in public out of fear of upsetting her younger fans. And it's precisely for this reason that her party girl antics and drug abuse were such big news.
  • Miley Cyrus:
    • Disney's Hannah Montana was at the center of this almost from the start of her career. From "art shots" taken when she was just fifteen years old, to leaked phone pics of her in a wet T-shirt, to a video of her grinding on the (gay) producer of her film The Last Song when she was sixteen, to her scantily-clad performance of her song "Party in the USA" at the 2009 Teen Choice Awards (where she danced on a pole at one point), there was always a clash between her squeaky-clean Disney image and her real personality. She was forced to appear as Hannah Montana, complete with blonde wig and sparkly clothes - a far cry from her real persona.
    • Eventually, she fully abandoned this trope and embraced her growing "bad girl" image. While her 2010 album Can't Be Tamed was a start, the true turning point was in 2013 when she cut her hair short and released the album Bangerz, which was heavily influenced by synthpop and "Dirty South" hip-hop. Her videos for "We Can't Stop" and "Wrecking Ball" created mountains of controversy due to their sexuality and drug references, to the point where Todd in the Shadows all but called for an intervention for her. Meanwhile, her highly sexualized, tongue-wagging performance at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards earned both outcry and mockery, quickly going memetic due to its Fan Disservice and bizarre imagery — even getting one of her self-professed idols to ask her to stop. There's no doubt that this is exactly what she wanted, as her new image sent her from a washed-up Former Teen Idol in the makingnote  to one of the biggest pop stars in the world virtually overnight. She's lampshaded the change a little, saying that, under Disney, she was expected to act like an adult, and now, as an adult, she acts like a child. She also satirized this trope in the Black Mirror episode "Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too", where she played a teen pop singer whose public image is ruthlessly controlled by her aunt.
  • Hilary Duff, Disney's Lizzie McGuire, somehow managed to avoid this, despite several close calls. In general, She keeps a low profile in the press, doesn't publicly party, drink, or go out without underwear, and keeps mostly to family-friendly roles like A Cinderella Story and Raise Your Voice (saying she turned down a lot of darker roles that would upset her teen fanbase).
    • There were some minor controversies involving her relationship with 10-years-her-senior Joel Madden, and her roles on Gossip Girl, where her character was involved in a ménage à trois with Dan and Vanessa, and in War, Inc.., where she played a spoiled, slutty foreign pop star who gets the main character's attention by putting a live scorpion down her pants. Of course, it helped her image that, in the former case, most of the Moral Guardians' ire was aimed at the show's writers and at The CW rather than at Hilary, and in the latter, that her character was a tragic parody of young, oversexed idol singers, complete with a pimp who planned on having her "star" in a porn movie. In any case, all of these blew over very quickly and failed to tarnish her squeaky-clean image, so it's clear she's overall succeeded in averting this.
    • It also helps that she married a hockey player (generally the least scandal-prone of the major sports leagues) and had her first baby, within wedlock, with him, at the relatively young but perfectly reasonable age of 23, and continued to amicably co-parent with him after they split two years later. She lampshaded it in an interview on Chelsea Lately, when they talked about how she got pregnant.
      "Everybody thinks I'm a good girl, but I figured it out."
    • Hilary later went up against some light controversy when she posed nude (but covered) on the cover of Women's Health in 2022. However, considering that she was 34 at the time, any furor that was there fizzled out quickly, and a few media outlets even lauded the photos as quite tasteful.
  • It's rumoured that the reason Lalaine got Put on a Bus from Lizzie McGuire partly because of her drug habit. Lalaine later said that she had wanted to pursue a music career, and the drugs came later.
  • Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens of High School Musical, who dated in real life, caught a bit of flak for such terrible things as making out on the beach and letting it be known that they were *gasp* doing things of a more intimate nature. A camera catching a condom falling out of Efron's pocket as he walked the red carpet led to a short-lived outcry. Seeing as how they were pretty much a perfectly normal couple in their mid-twenties, it was all a little ridiculous. They have both politely but firmly explained this. Repeatedly. Given the fact they remained a steady couple for over three years despite being barely out of their teens, stayed together right at the height of their media frenzy rather than taking advantage of their new fame, were obviously practicing safe sex (see the alleged condom), guarded their private relationship fiercely and even post-breakup were genuinely amicable and never used the paparazzi to turn on each other, you'd think parents might see them as good example for teens (especially as they came off as more mature than a lot of Hollywood relationships), but apparently they had to be as squeaky clean as their high school counterparts.
    • Hudgens' multiple nude photo scandals, however, are a far straighter example. On top of the usual outcry about a kid-friendly actress posing naked, there were also concerns about Vanessa's age when she took the pictures — while she's an adult now, she was about 17 or 18 when the first High School Musical film came out, which is also around when some of the photos (at least the first batch of them) are believed to have been made. Of course, the fact that the photos weren't made for public consumption is pretty much lost on the Moral Guardians. In addition, the leaks of said photos probably helped Hudgens break out of her Disney type casting more easily than her High School Musical co-stars — she's since taken roles in films like Sucker Punch and Spring Breakers and the role of Mimi in a Hollywood Bowl production of RENT, all of which have her dressed in provocative outfits (and in the case of Spring Breakers, doing nude scenes), and she's done several sexy photo shoots for fitness and fashion magazines. However, she has declined offers to do nudity in films and says that the response to that is "but you've already done it" (as apparently pictures intended to be private are equivalent to a film that will be seen by the general public).
    • Efron, too, has had trouble with this. He became known as a party animal after the High School Musical series wrapped up, with multiple short-lived stints in rehab, to the point where Lea Michele (whose boyfriend and Glee co-star Cory Monteith died of a heroin/alcohol overdose) begged him to give it up. Like Hudgens, he too has embraced his "bad boy" image, playing a drunken frat boy villain in Neighbors and none other than Ted Bundy in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile. Although not so much purity, Efron was also asked by Disney to downplay some of his hobbies to the public, like playing World of Warcraft, reading Manga (especially Death Note), and generally being something of a nerd.
  • Alexa (Pena)Vega began her career with the Spy Kids films and light fare like Sleepover, but quickly switched to darker roles such as Repo! The Genetic Opera (where her character is fittingly Delicate and Sickly as well as Innocence Lost). She's also gone memetic for her Hotter and Sexier turn in Machete Kills and a cameo as a stripper in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. Ironically both of the latter two projects were by the man that directed her in Spy Kids - Robert Rodriguez. According to Alexa, she had to fight to be considered for those roles. Upon being turned down for being "just a kid", she responded that she was twenty-four and she was given the part.
  • Sara Paxton exploited this when she was cast in the remake of The Last House on the Left. Word of God is that they wanted an actress with this, to prevent people from finding the eventual rape scene sexy. Ironically beforehand Paxton had starred in a family-friendly film Aquamarine playing a mermaid without a Seashell Bra - complete with Godiva Hair and two implied nude scenes.
  • Kiely Williams might have harpooned her career with this. Starting out in the Girl Group 3LW (which got their start during the sugary sweet bubblegum pop era of the early 2000s) and then moving on to being in The Cheetah Girls, she was one of Disney's poster children for a while. Then she does a little video called "Spectacular". To sum up the song, the girl goes out, gets really drunk (it's not hard to imagine she was possibly drugged), and has anonymous sex with a random guy. She can't remember his name, but she doesn't really care "because the sex was spectacular." Kiely tried to backpedal on this by saying it was supposed to encourage women to avoid these situations, but when it's really easy to turn the song's lyrics into essentially "I enjoyed getting date-raped," it didn't work.
  • Adrienne Bailon has also been an enjoyable train wreck to watch since the Cheetah Girls group and movies ended. She hung around the Kardashians for a few years and eventually staged a fake nude photo controversy cooked up by Bailon and a gossip blogger in an attempt to boost her career. Said controversy caused the group to back out of a planned Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade performance (to be replaced with Miranda Cosgrove and Rick Astley), and the breakup of the group not long after.
  • Brenda Song of The Suite Life of Zack & Cody appeared in The Social Network, where her character has a quickie with Andrew Garfield's character in a bathroom stall in an early scene (though no nudity is seen — it is a PG-13 movie, even with all the swearing). In other scenes, she is seen drinking and setting a scarf on fire over a Facebook relationship status. However, her role in the film didn't garner any controversy, and she still appeared on Suite Life On Deck up to that show's finale in 2011. Rumors once circulated that she was pregnant with Trace Cyrus' baby. The two got engaged around the same time. Months later, she stated that she had never been pregnant and the engagement was called off. Many speculate that she miscarried. However, since she was no longer on Disney at this point, there wasn't much backlash, to begin with. She's now in a relationship with Macaulay Culkin, they have two children together.
  • Suite Life and High School Musical alum Ashley Tisdale posed nude (no frontal) for Allure. The 26-year-old Tisdale is of age (obviously), and even made it a point to say in the article that she's "...not the young girl everyone thinks I am; I'm actually a woman." Disney Channel doesn't seem to care about the shoot, though, since she still has a starring voice role as Candace on Phineas and Ferb, and has reprised her role as Sharpay in a Disney Channel spinoff movie. Alongside this she also did voice work on Family Guy and played an escort in Sons of Anarchy, and it didn't stop her from doing more work with Disney.
  • This happened back in the sixties to Hayley Mills (star of the 1960 Pollyanna film and The Parent Trap) when she was considered for the titular role in the 1962 Lolita and Disney told her to step away from the film. In fact, her first role that attempted to shake her goody-two-shoes image was The Trouble with Angels, her first post-Disney role, where she played a mischievous Catholic schoolgirl. However, the only truly daring thing she actually does in Angels is smoking, which goes to show you how concerned Hollywood felt about shaking up Mills' image. It eventually did catch up with her in 1967 when she appeared in the British countercultural movie The Family Way (the same movie scored in part by Paul McCartney as his first venture outside The Beatles). In one scene, she was filmed from the rear naked. She married the middle-aged director of the film, Roy Boulting, in 1971 (though they divorced in 1975). She also appeared topless in the film The Deadly Strangers.
  • 1960s Disney teen star Tommy Kirk's career reportedly came to an end both due to the star's drug issues, diva-like behavior on set and homosexuality. He's since gotten sober and regrets his on-set behavior.
  • Orlando Brown's repeated legal problems in recent years have been a major reason why Sequel Series Raven's Home has not even referenced Brown's character of Eddie Thomas, and barring a recast it's doubtful the character will appear in the series.
  • Dove Cameron is an interesting case, as before she was on Disney, she was on the very non-Disney show Shameless (US) playing a hyper-sexual "bad girl" (while underage, mind). However, she got cast for Liv and Maddie at 17, and later starred in Descendants and several Marvel productions (playing Spider-Gwen in Ultimate Spider-Man (2012) and Marvel Rising), which gave her Disney cred. This didn't affect her career too much, as she's had no trouble starring in racier works like Barely Lethal, Playing Against Type as Ruby Hale in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (which, while Marvel, and as such Disney, was a much more adult-aimed production with considerably darker content), and posing in bikinis on her Instagram page. However, she has gotten quite a bit of harassment from trolls on social media over this. She's bitten back about this, pointing out that she isn't owned by Disney and is free to do whatever roles she wants.
  • Bella Thorne made her debut for the Disney Channel sitcom Shake it Up and later confessed that Disney heavily policed her image to try and sell her as a "good girl", reprimanding her for going out on the beach in a bikini when she was fourteen and telling her to speak in a higher pitched falsetto voice instead of her natural huskier tones. She immediately embraced a far more sexualized public image the moment she left Disney, even directing an X-rated erotic short film that premiered on Pornhub in 2019. When hackers got hold of nude photos of her and threatened to leak them unless she complied with their extortion demands, she responded by releasing the photos herself.
  • The Jonas Brothers faced many restrictions from Disney with regard to their infamous purity rings. The lyrics to their songs were constantly being policed, and they'd often be forced to change any lines that were deemed inappropriate. This included lines about being alone in a room with another person. Additionally, the brothers were told to respond to potentially risque interview questions (about drugs, alcohol, sex, etc) by "playing dumb" and veering off on other topics.
  • Demi Lovato started on Barney & Friends and then worked on many Disney Channel projects - with TV films like Camp Rock, Princess Protection Program, and the show Sonny with a Chance. Wearing a purity ring for public scrutiny eventually led to Creator Breakdown and addictions to cocaine before Demi even turned eighteen. Disney however publicly supported them for going to rehab and featured them covering "Let It Go" for the Frozen (2013) end credits. Since then, Demi both came out as non-binary and embraced a more sexual image.
  • Shia LaBeouf got his start on Even Stevens and Holes, and recalls having to fight really hard for a part in the gritty drama A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints - as the director dismissed him for being "a Disney kid". His role in Disturbia was another one taken to distance himself from his Disney roots. His role in the Transformers Film Series franchise helped with that immensely.
  • Ginnifer Goodwin, who has worked with Disney as the voice of Judy Hopps in Zootopia and playing Snow White in Once Upon a Time (mentioned below, ironically enough) has refused to do nudity, stating it's "for my boyfriend or my doctor".
  • Annette Funicello was always the first choice to star in Beach Party, but because she was under contract to Disney, they had to approve the thirty pages of script that were available at the time. American International Pictures had to assure him there "wouldn't be anything that would offend." Walt Disney did personally ask Annette not to expose her navel on camera. She starred in several more of the 'Beach Party' movies, and wore a bikini in Bikini Beach.
  • An Older Than Television example: Adriana Caselotti, the voice of Snow White, was under contract to Disney not to appear in anything else as an actress so she wouldn't spoil the illusion of Snow White. Since Snow White, she only had bit parts as a singer in a few films, including the iconic It's a Wonderful Life.
  • Christy Carlson Romano detailed this in a vlog. Having been famous for the Disney Channel sitcom Even Stevens and voicing the title role in Kim Possible, her agent warned her that as soon as her eighteenth birthday was approaching, she would get offers for Hotter and Sexier roles (from filmmakers looking to take advantage of the buzz around 'Disney Channel star appearing nude'). She also struggled with drug addiction and alcoholism during her teens and early twenties, but heartwarmingly got sober and enjoyed a Career Resurrection as a YouTuber.
  • Two and a Half Men often played with this in later seasons, where a running meta-gag was that many of Walden, Jake, and Jenny's girlfriends were played by actresses who used to work on the Disney Channel, such as Hilary Duff, Miley Cyrus, Emily Osment, and Aly Michalka. Inevitably, their characters would be Ms. Fanservice women in revealing clothes who sleep around and act generally trashy, specifically to send up their family-friendly public images. Osment's episode even had Walden referring to her character as "Hannah Montana", in case you didn't know what show her actress was most famous for.
  • Zendaya managed to avoid this. She started her career with the Disney Channel, first on Shake it Up (co-starring the aforementioned Bella Thorne) and then on K.C. Undercover, and her breakout in film was in another family-friendly role, MJ in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Then she was cast as the lead on Euphoria, a dark HBO teen drama that was immediately controversial for its very R-rated content. Whatever shock might have come from seeing Rocky Blue or K.C. Cooper as a teenage drug addict was quickly wiped away when her performance won her two Emmys for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (making her the youngest person to ever win the award) and established her as one of the most talented actors of her generation. It helps that, while her roles may be edgy and her red-carpet looks often trend towards the risque, her public persona is clean-cut. She even pushed back in 2015 when Giuliana Rancic critiqued the dreadlocks she wore to the Academy Awards (a hairstyle that's widely stereotyped outside the Black community but has deep roots within it) and claimed that she "smells like patchouli oil or weed," stating in hindsight that the incident made her realize her potential power as a role model for young girls and people of color.
  • Ross Lynch mostly avoided this during his time starring in the Disney series Austin & Ally and movie franchise Teen Beach Movie. He talked about the music he released while with Disney being very policed, though he was still able to do things like lightly swear and make reference to being hungover in his songs. He even released an entire song about being so hungover he can't even remember what happened the night before, with two separate music videos, one depicting him and the band hungover after partying and the other made specifically to air on the Disney Channel which just showed the band playing a concert as Disney didn't think it would be appropriate to suggest that the star of one of their shows had been drinking. Immediately following the series finale of Austin & Ally, he posted a full-body nude photo of himself in the shower from behind, and went on to star in the 2017 film My Friend Dahmer as the titular serial killer and the Netflix series Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. He's also generally become a sex symbol after leaving the Disney company.

    Actors — Non-Disney 
  • Tim Allen toned down his stand-up after he noticed more and more families coming after he did Home Improvement and once apologized to for starting out with F-bombs in one act. Now post-Toy Story, he asks venues to make concessions for families coming to see him. Tim also has a criminal record for transporting drugs in the '70s, even serving time in prison (he got a reduced sentence for passing on information about his supplier). Once he got out it was a sign to him he needed to get far away from that life and that's where he got into Stand-Up Comedy. When Home Improvement was primed to air some news articles reported on his criminal history, especially since the show was supposed to be a family comedy, Tim and the producers responded immediately with their own side of the story. Later in the show run, they were contemplating doing an episode on drunk driving (previously doing an episode on marijuana use) but Tim had gotten a DUI during the summer break and the episode was canceled due to feeling it would be hypocritical to do so.
  • Julie Andrews got famous for playing two quintessential Magical Nanny characters in Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music. This gave her a squeaky-clean image that she came to resent. An attempt at getting out of it came in the film Darling Lili where she plays a Femme Fatale Spy - who even does a striptease on stage! But the film flopped and she didn't see much success. She did, however, use her experiences of the Troubled Production in her husband Blake Edwards's S.O.B. - where she plays an actress with a goody two-shoe image who is convinced to appear topless in a film. But as of the 2000s, she has returned to working for Disney, albeit in a more Adam Westing manner than her earlier image.
  • Tom Baker kept himself under this, not allowing himself to smoke or drink in public in order to set a good example to his young fans, as well as acting like the Doctor while out and about as much as reasonable. This did help build his mythos as being the Doctor, but doing this for as long as he did and as constantly as he did resulted in serious damage to his mental health and was part of the reason why later Doctors had much shorter tenures.
    • In public, Tom Baker held to the Doctor's standards, but in private, he was well known for drinking both before and during filming and being a right bloody terror to the production crew. This tendency only got worse in his later seasons, as he (rightly or wrongly) saw himself as the Doctor note  and refused to take direction on how to play the character from anybody, be they directors or even the series producers. His problems were something of an open secret in the British media, so much younger fans could still believe the illusion of Baker being the Doctor, while older viewers more or less knew better.
    • All in all, the bit of The BBC's adaptation of The Lives And Loves Of A She Devil was well-received, but its sex scenes featuring a naked 'Dr. Who' were considered so shocking at the time that they are what most people remember of the show - the description for it on the BBC's website mentioned 'Tom Baker's thrusting buttocks' and many contemporary comedy shows spoofed it.
  • Drew Barrymore spent much of her late teens in a series of jailbait performances such as Poison Ivy, Gun Crazy, and TV's The Amy Fisher Story. These roles pretty much played into Barrymore's public image and perception at the time, which was a sexy, trashy, and dangerous "Wild Child". Barrymore's 1995 appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman however, served as a major turning point to her transitioning to more wholesome roles. According to Barrymore's 2015 book Wildflower, her jumping on Letterman's desk and spontaneously flashing him felt like a "fun thing to do for laughs" at the time but didn't seem as funny when she watched back the tape. Shortly thereafter, she began her journey into having no sex scenes in movies, modesty clauses in her contracts, and a total lack of nudity in any public forum. 1998's The Wedding Singer was the first movie to be built on Barrymore's new "good girl" reinvention. This image was reinforced a year later in Never Been Kissed.
  • Ingrid Bergman was an early example. She first tried to get out of her goody-two-shoes image with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but it didn't work. Later on, she destroyed the image quite accidentally by leaving her husband for director Roberto Rossellini. The backlash was massive. She was even denounced on the floor of the US Senate. How many victims of this trope can say that? That being said, her good girl image was vastly overblown by people who only associated her with playing Joan of Arc or a nun in The Bells of St. Mary's; forgetting that her most iconic role was as an adulteress in Casablanca, and she'd also played a rape victim in For Whom the Bell Tolls and a disfigured criminal in A Woman's Face (1938). She refuted the narrative that she was blacklisted by Hollywood, as the reason she had the affair with Roberto Rossellini in the first place was that she had moved to Italy to do more European films. She would return to Hollywood to win an Oscar for Anastasia.
  • The press had a frenzied field day when Elizabeth Berkley, formerly well-known for playing a straight-laced, vocally feminist high schooler on Saved by the Bell, played a nude, bisexual stripper turned showgirl in, well, Showgirls. The controversy, along with the film flopping, helped to kill her career.
  • To get out of her contract on 7th Heaven, Jessica Biel invoked this trope by posing topless (not frontal) in Gear magazine. When she was just seventeen. This was enough to get her character Put on a Bus for a good while, returning only sparingly and practically evolving into The Ghost with her own entirely off-screen storylines.
  • While some of his earlier, lesser-known roles were not family-friendly — he has played a rentboy and a thief/male prostitute among others — Orlando Bloom gained his recognition from the Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean trilogies. The latter made him a teen and tweener idol, so the publicity campaign used with him portrayed him as a safe, non-sexual kind of boy next door that the parents of his 13-year-old fans could feel good about. His attempts to play to a more mature audience while maintaining the tween-friendly image were not very successful. After the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie was released and it was no longer necessary to maintain a Disney-approved image, he pretty much became what he was: a normal single man in his late twenties/early thirties who liked to have fun. To top it off, he began dating Miranda Kerr, a sexy Victoria's Secret model, and couldn't keep his hands off of her (they later got married and had a son, although they're now separated).

    His "offenses" were no different from what one would expect from anyone else in his position and were pretty tame, but certain Moral Guardians within the fandom were outraged by his behavior, blowing every incident out of proportion and declaring him ruined because they felt he somehow let them down by not continuing to maintain an unrealistically pure image. Since then, he has moved on to roles more proportionate to his age, aimed at a more mature audience, and has been receiving a decent amount of acclaim for them, so the loss of his contractual purity hasn't hurt him much.
  • Lisa Bonet was tossed off The Cosby Show for her role in Angel Heart that included a sex scene, and loudly denounced by Bill Cosby. Years later, after Cosby himself was accused and sued by dozens of women for past sexual assaults and rapes, this moral grandstanding became the height of hypocrisy in hindsight.
  • Child actor Brian Bonsall, best known for his role in Family Ties as sweet little Andy Keaton, was known for playing young innocent boys who were a bit mischievous. In his feature film debut Mikey, he broke his usual typecast by portraying a 9-year-old serial killer who was abused by his original parents. In real life, he became a failed rockstar, a drug addict, and eventually a fugitive of justice.
  • Pretty much subverted by Steve Burns of Blue's Clues fame — he has explicitly stated that he has no desire to kill the image of Blue's Clues' Steve by doing anything unseemly. He's even said that he has refused requests to have sex in the Blue's Clues 'Thinking Chair' that he was given because it would feel like a bunch of parents was watching him do it.note  He has more recently pursued a career as an indie rock singer/songwriter and has been photographed drinking, but this was long after he left the show. This came about partially because of a role he took on Homicide: Life on the Street during his tenure on Blue's Clues. It was because a child saw him in that role that Burns made his public statement that he would not take on roles that might upset fans too young to understand that he wasn't Steve on Blue's Clues. Also subverted by his successor Donovan Patton, who played Joe. Shortly after the spin-off Blue's Room was cancelled, Patton appeared as a gay-bashing thug on One Life to Live to zero controversy.
  • There was some controversy when Keisha Castle-Hughes, who played Mary in The Nativity Story, got pregnant while unmarried and 16 years old. However, many Christian groups did praise her for going through with the pregnancy and raising the child.
  • The single most famous example is Marilyn Chambers. As a young model, her picture graced boxes of Ivory Snow detergent across the United States. When she became one of porn's most famous stars, Ivory Snow got a very quick repackaging. Also, contrary to popular legend, Marilyn Chambers was not the baby, but the young mother holding the baby.
  • This trope was a big reason why Bill Cosby's sex scandal became as big an issue as it did. Ever since The Cosby Show in the '80s, he'd had a reputation as "America's Dad" and a role model for young people, especially young black men, and was known for his criticism of violence and sexuality in the media (particularly Hip-Hop). The allegations that he had date raped many women throughout his career, combined with his reaction to them, destroyed that image and all but turned him into the American equivalent of Jimmy Savile. Several articles published in the wake of the allegations (especially once it became clear that many of them were true) bemoaned how African Americans had lost one of their best role models in a storm of scandal, and how "if you can't trust Bill Cosby anymore, who can you trust?"
  • One year after Home Alone 2: Lost in New York came out, Macaulay Culkin was seen starring in the R-rated film The Good Son where he plays a 10-year-old psychopath. Among the things Culkin's character does are killing a dog with a homemade nailgun, causing a highway crash by dropping a dummy off a bridge, attempting to kill his mother, and as it's later found out, murdering his younger brother by drowning him in the bathtub. This generated a large amount of controversy, especially from more conservative fans. And yet, he still was caught in the trope when, a full decade later, he played Michael Alig, the controversial founder of Club Kids, in Party Monster.
  • Dakota Fanning ran into this a few times. Her character getting raped in Hounddog caused controversy until the critics came out of the theater stating they were laughing at that part, and the overall effect was pretty minimal. She tried to have better luck playing Joan Jett's former bandmate Cherie Currie in The Runaways, but the movie didn't have a chance to cause much controversy on account of getting screwed by the studio. At another point, she had several projects lined up (Mississippi Wild, Now is Good, Very Good Girls) where the character she plays ended up losing her virginity.
  • Surprisingly, Elle Fanning averted this trope with her acting career, not following in her older sister’s footsteps. When the highly controversial The Neon Demon was released, pretty much any discourse about her career (which mostly consisted of relatively family-friendly roles up to that point) was given a backseat to the film’s shocking content itself. That film’s darkly satirical treatment of this trope might have helped.
  • This happened to Sherri Finkbine, the hostess of Phoenix's localized Romper Room. She had been taking thalidomide while pregnant and sought an abortion when she was convinced that her baby would be deformednote . The incident caused her to become linked with the pro-choice movement (this was all the way back in 1962). The incident also inspired a 1992 telefilm.
  • The controversy over the Glee photoshoot for GQ magazine. According to the Parents' Television Council, two 24-year-old women and a 28-year-old man posing for PG-13-rated photos "borders on pedophilia" just because they play teenagers on a TV show that was never intended to be watched by children. Even worse was when the same group of people flipped out, using the same reasoning, when Lea Michele wore a low-cut top on the cover of Cosmo.
  • For a long time, Adrian Hall, who played Jeremy Potts in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, would omit the movie on his resume and ask his manager to not mention it because he was afraid it would damage his credibility as an adult actor, i.e. that casting directors would only see him as a "child actor". But as he got successful in his adult acting career, he would put the movie on his resume and speak about it more often.
  • Nicholas Hammond (aka Friedrich von Trapp) remarked in the special features of the The Sound of Music DVD that he had tried to avoid doing anything that would get him in the papers in a bad light because he "didn't want to ruin the image" and the rest of his castmates agreed with him. Slightly subverted in that A) they didn't seem to mind all that much and B) Nicholas is the only one involved with film these days (in Australia).
    • Heather Menzies (aka Louisa von Trapp) appeared naked in Playboy's August 1973 issue and did nude scenes in a couple of B-Movies.
  • Alyson Hannigan, sweet little Willow Rosenberg from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, managed to avoid this when she took on the role of kinky, foul-mouthed Michelle in American Pie. Perhaps the fact that Willow herself was allowed to grow up (and come out of the closet) may have had something to do with that. Michelle is also a subversion of this trope Played for Laughs. Throughout the movie, Jim and the audience are meant to think of Michelle as naive and irritating. Her infamous "band camp" story was meant to be a surprise, but got ruined by the trailers, and now it's what people associate most with the character.
  • The cast of the Harry Potter films have faced this at one point or another.
    • Daniel Radcliffe invoked a wave of moral outrage when he appeared on London's West End as Alan Strang in a production of Equus. It's an incredible (albeit disturbing) role that any actor would be insane to turn down the chance to play. The Moral Guardians, however, only saw Naked!Harry Potter — which is probably what the production company was banking on, anyway.
      • Radcliffe has managed to avert this in other ways: around the release of the final Potter movie, tabloids started reporting that he liked his liquor a tad too much. However, at this point, Daniel's in his 20s and he openly admitted he had a drinking problem and got help for it, so this story produced sympathy and "attaboy"s rather than parents screaming about "Harry" being a bad influence for their sweet little darlings.
      • Radcliffe seems to have become one of the defining subversions of this trope. Among those still following his career, he's now known as an Indie character actor at least as much as he's known for being Harry. There was virtually no controversy over his role in Swiss Army Man, and he played an outright sociopathic villain in Now You See Me 2. Then Radcliffe played "Weird Al" Yankovic in Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, earning high praise for his seriously comedic performance.
    • Similarly, there was some uproar about Clémence Poésy (Fleur Delacour) appearing topless in a French movie, even though it was before she was even cast in the film. (This also led to some counter-uproar along the lines of "you're complaining about a French actress appearing topless in a French film? Isn't that SOP for French films?")
    • Emma Watson caused shockwaves in the fandom for a scene in Ballet Shoes where her character shares a bath with her adoptive sister, and especially for the final movie where apparitions of Harry and Hermione make out naked. After completing the franchise, she went for more mature roles to shake the purity off; The Perks of Being a Wallflower has her playing a character who was molested as a child and performs a raunchy routine from The Rocky Horror Picture Show; The Bling Ring she plays a Shameless Fanservice Girl who drinks, smokes and robs celebrities' houses; Noah likewise has her character's fertility as a plot point. None of these stopped Disney from casting her as Belle in Beauty and the Beast (2017).
    • Jamie Waylett (Vincent Crabbe) got this in 2009 after being arrested for possession of marijuana, being written out of the last two films (when his character was slated to be killed off later — they wound up replacing Crabbe's death with that of Goyle for the movie to compensate), even though Crabbe isn't a particularly "wholesome" character to start with. Waylett later attracted further controversy after being charged with violence during the London riots in August 2011.
    • On the other side, it seems pretty much no one cares that Rupert Grint acted in Cherrybomb (2009), playing a character who does drugs and steals cars. Then again, he's a bad guy who's supposed to do bad things.
    • Evanna Lynch, who played Luna Lovegood, admitted to being conflicted when publishing her autobiography The Opposite of Butterfly Hunting, about what to detail so as not to traumatize any fans' image of Luna. She's also talked about her responsibility whenever she meets people, as she doesn't want to "ruin Harry Potter" for anyone. She also had to insist that the autobiography was not for young fans, given that it details her struggles with an eating disorder. But she hasn't let it stop her from pursuing darker roles, such as a suicidal teen in My Name Is Emily (although the film itself isn't that explicit).
    • Harry Melling, who plays Dudley Dursley in the films, has lost a huge amount of weight over the years (to the point of having to wear a fat suit for the final movie) and is barely recognizable from his younger self. He's publicly stated he is happy about this so he can avoid Contractual Purity in his adult career as an actor.
  • Melissa Joan Hart:
    • When Clarissa Explains It All finished its run, Melissa was now an adult but her mother didn't want her to pursue Darker and Edgier roles - though this was apparently a business move to capitalize on her kid fan base. Thus her next project was the family sitcom Sabrina the Teenage Witch. She has said that once that was over, she found it hard to get cast because people only saw her as a teenager, even though she was in her late 20s when the show finishednote . Thus people were startled at her playing a mother in Melissa & Joey.
    • During Sabrina's third season, the folks at Archie Comics were sent into a frenzy when she appeared in a racy photo shoot for Maxim - and they are infamously protective of their wholesome brand. According to Word of God, they were annoyed that the shoot advertised Sabrina rather than Melissa, making it look like she was doing it as the character.
    • This trope is also the reason Melissa kept her partying hidden from the public eye - claiming she spent a year doing drugs and rolling with a bad crowd (the Maxim photo shoot happened while she was on drugs).
    "It's not that I wasn't a bad girl. I just didn't get caught."
    • Melissa mentioned in an interview once that when she had her first child (at the perfectly reasonable age of 29 and having been married for three years), she got complaints from people saying she was too young to have a child. Apparently, they didn't realize she wasn't as young as the characters she played.
  • Possibly the most controversial example of all was Anissa Jones of Family Affair. She was contractually obligated to make promotional appearances with her breasts bound, her hair in childish pigtails, and clutching the Mrs. Beasley doll even as she grew into her teens. This is often cited as a major factor in her eventual death by drug overdose in 1976.
  • David Joyner, the original suit actor for Barney the Dinosaur and the suit actor for the titular character of Hip Hop Harry, now works as a tantric sex-based therapist while not acting.
  • Deborah Kerr was usually typecast as the English Rose (except in the UK drama Black Narcissus) until her appearance as depressed adulteress Karen in From Here to Eternity. It's still considered one of her best roles of all time, even though she took the role only to shake up her image.
  • Completely averted when nudes of Jennifer Lawrence leaked online in 2014. The vast majority of public response wasn't directed at her, but at the people who shared the photos. It turns out that hacking into a person's online account, stealing their private pics, and posting them online are far more heinous crimes than a grown woman taking sexy pics intended for her partner's eyes only.
    • She since appeared nude in mother! (2017) and Red Sparrow. She never did nude scenes up until that point in her work (partly because of the leak) but decided to take a chance on both because of how empowered she felt by the female leads owning their sexuality. Despite the polarizing reactions to both films themselves, Lawrence’s performances were highly acclaimed, with some calling her role in mother! a career-best.
  • Katy Manning got some flak for posing naked with a Dalek in a men's magazine sometime after she left Doctor Who. Some fans even bring it up while criticizing Jo as being a helpless victim for male characters to kidnap and slaver over, even though the character in the show is generally strong and plucky and not especially sexualized (although by no means a completely unproblematic blow for feminism).
  • Alyssa Milano began her career as a child actress on the family sitcom Who's the Boss?, and was a Teen Idol in Japan. As she grew up, she of course wanted to demonstrate that she wasn't a little girl anymore, and specifically went for Hotter and Sexier roles in Embrace of the Vampire (1995) and Poison Ivy II, as well as playing serial killer Amy Fisher in a television movie. She then became more known for being Ms. Fanservice than a child star, but true Career Resurrection came in playing Phoebe Halliwell in Charmed (1998). These days she's actually best known for her political activism in the MeToo Movement, and admits that her more sexual roles were what she felt she had to do to continue working.
    "I always say that if I had the option of doing Poison Ivy II and Beetlejuice, obviously I would have chosen Beetlejuice, but those weren't the things that were offered to me."
  • Taylor Momsen began her career as a child actor, famously as Cindy Lou in How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and she nearly played Hannah Montana too. Although she got a role on the CW series Gossip Girl, her character was the Token Wholesome. But she soon started going for a much racier public image, which ended up being reflected in Gossip Girl's third season. When she formed her band The Pretty Reckless she caused a minor scandal by appearing nude in their video for "Make Me Wanna Die" - when she was only sixteen. She has since quit acting altogether and focused on her music, stating she "doesn't fucking care" about being a good role model.
  • Mostly averted by Frankie Muniz, who stuck to family-friendly roles during his time on Malcolm in the Middle and even went so far as to publicly state his avoidance of drugs and alcohol. Since the show ended, any adult roles have been bit parts and he has turned his attention to other pursuits such as playing drums in bands, running an olive oil business, and most notably, race car drivingnote , but he had a close call in 2012 when it was alleged that he pulled out a gun during a fight with his then-girlfriend. No charges were pressed and both parties admit to this being a rumor that spiralled out of control, so this didn't leave a mark of any kind on his career.
  • Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen were child and teen stars thanks to Full House, Two of a Kind and So Little Time (as well as all their Direct to Video projects). In their teen years, actor Spencer Pratt sold a photo of Mary-Kate drunk to the media, and Mary Kate was also linked to Heath Ledger's death - nearly being subpoenaed to testify as to how he got his drugs. Their second only theatrical movie New York Minute was a Box Office Bomb and got attacked for being "creepy and lecherous" (Ashley is "nude" under a towel twice in it).
  • This trope dates back to the silent days, at least. Mary Pickford ("America's Sweetheart"), one of the biggest stars of the early cinema, was known for her ingenue roles and her long, flowing ringlets. After she cut off her curls and played an adult role — at the age of 37 — in Coquette, she lost her popularity (despite winning an Academy Award), and retired from films shortly thereafter.
  • Defied by Bette Davis - who Warner Brothers were grooming to become "the next Jean Harlow" in the early 1930s. She hated their attempts to present her as a glamorous Girl Next Door (the low point for her was a film called Fashions of 1934, in which she was forced to wear a platinum blonde wig and false eyelashes). She was keen to play a role as an unsympathetic abuser who ends up as a Streetwalker in Of Human Bondage - which many of Hollywood's leading ladies had turned down. The studio tried to persuade her not to do it, terrified it would ruin her image. The film was a critical darling, and Bette got her first Oscar nomination for it.
  • Actress Melanie Martinez (No, not the singer) had a stint as the host of The Good Night Show, a block on the preschool network Sprout. However, in 2006, she was fired after the network found out that she starred in two VERY inappropriate short films in 2000 spoofing Scare 'Em Straight public service announcements, contrasting the wholesome, family-friendly image she developed. She was briefly replaced by Leo (Noel "Bear" MacNeal), and then Nina (Michele Lepe) for the rest of the block's history.
  • Billie Piper:
    • She got some flak for posing in Arena just before her debut as Rose Tyler in Doctor Who. She later had to specifically warn her young fans from that show that it would not be a good idea for them to watch Secret Diary of a Call Girl. She didn't get much heat from the tabloids for switching to the more risqué role, however.
    • Also before Doctor Who, Piper was also criticized in the press for being photographed partying around the time of her marriage to radio presenter Chris Evans. At the time, she was known not for Rose Tyler, but being a former teen pop star once touted as the British answer to Britney Spears. In fairness, though, this was primarily due to the fact that she was a teenager and Chris Evans was in his mid-thirties, and when they got married, they'd only been dating for six months. Since Piper was in a period of limbo where her pop career had pretty much died (and her acting one was yet to take off) when she started dating Evans, and since he was an extremely wealthy radio and television presenter (worth an estimated £30million), it was as much about the unseemliness of the apparent "golddigger/dirty old man" dynamic as much as Piper being a role model for teenagers. Much was made in the press, for example, of Chris buying her a pricey sports car for her birthday when she hadn't even passed her driving test yet. By the time of their divorce six years later, Piper was in her mid-twenties and the 16-year age gap between them seemed less important. Whatever the case, she seems to get a lot more of the flak from the relationship than he does. Although it's most likely partly down to good old misogyny (she must be a gold-digging whore, he's a man who couldn't be expected to resist a young hottie), it seems like her contractual purity plays a part too.
  • Numerous Power Rangers have surprised the fandom with their career moves following the show:
    • Jason David Frank (Tommy Oliver from four different seasonal arcs) later became an MMA fighter. This isn't too shocking to the fandom, who knew that "JDF" was probably the most skilled martial artist in the show's history, but a lot of eyebrows were raised about the massive number of tattoos he'd picked up along the way (no wonder he was always wearing sweaters in Dino Thunder). Perhaps softening the blow was the fact that he was also a devout Christian, running a Christian MMA clothing line called "Jesus Didn't Tap".
      • Frank also appeared on MTV's sex drama Undressed after leaving the franchise (but before returning for Dino Thunder). Nobody really noticed though that says more about the show than it does about Jason. Hilariously enough, the majority of his scenes were with actress Alyson Kiperman, who also became a Power Ranger (Yellow in Power Rangers Wild Force). Ranger fans have been laughing their asses off since.
    • Cerina Vincent (Maya from Lost Galaxy) reappeared after Power Rangers in a Naked People Are Funny role in Not Another Teen Movie. She's also shown up, clothes-optional, in some B-grade horror films for the college set. Allegedly, she became concerned about being typecast for nudity and even haggled with a director over how many inches of her derriere would be revealed in a movie (which the director verified with a ruler).
    • Ricardo Medina Jr. (Cole from Wild Force) eventually showed up on the reality competition Kept for VH-1. It was, in a nutshell, a show with a lot of muscular guys being male models and being photographed in their underwear or even in their birthday suits with a Scenery Censor. Ricardo was considered to be quite a Jerkass by both the other contestants and some viewers and was ultimately eliminated from the show for simply being too vain to have around. He has since become an exotic dancer in an all-male revue.
      • Apparently the Nostalgia Filter is stronger than this trope, as he's returned to Power Rangers as the Worthy Opponent Rival in Samurai. This may be helped by the fact that it's been almost ten years since Wild Force, Medina (now going by "Rick") looks very different now, and his acting skills having improved considerably.
      • Also worth pointing out, he was still with the revue while being on Power Rangers, though the group is one in the vein of Chippendales, being classier and not getting down to actual nudity on-stage.
      • His career eventually got put on hold when, in 2017, he pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the 2015 killing of his roommate and was sentenced to six years in prison.
  • Paul Reubens, the man who played Pee-Wee Herman, was quite infamously hit with this. Pee-wee's Playhouse was originally an Affectionate Parody of '50s kiddie-show hosts created for a Groundlings comedy sketch, filled with double entendres and subliminal adult humor. However, the character was mistaken for an actual kids' entertainer as he became successful, causing Reubens' act to get more family-friendly and his personal life to be taken over by the character. Thus, his arrest for masturbating in an adult theater, and his subsequent arrest for having pornography in his house (not child pornography, as rumored), came as a shock to those who weren't familiar with his older material. This caused comedian Wanda Sykes to remark, "Just where is Pee Wee allowed to masturbate?"
  • Molly Ringwald appeared nude in the film Malicious, going against her "sweet teenage girl" image. However, the film wasn't really memorable, and she hadn't been a teenager for over a decade at that point, so the ripples were minor. Before that, David Lynch offered her the role in Blue Velvet which eventually went to Laura Dern but her parents refused to let her do it, worried that it would ruin her "sweet teenage girl" image.
  • In 1988, sixteen-year-old Winona Ryder, known at the time for family-friendly roles in films like Lucas and Beetlejuice, was begged by her agent not to star in Heathers, an R-rated Black Comedy about teen suicide, fearing that her career would be over. The same week Winona received the script, a schoolmate of hers died of suicide, which inspired her to do the film in spite of potential career damage. While the film's theatrical release got screwed (its distributor was in the throes of bankruptcy at the time and could barely spend any money on advertising), it became a hit on home video and basic cable, and Winona had plenty of success in the '90s.
  • Though not beginning as a child, Bob Saget had this happen to him over a sixteen-year stretch divided between Full House and America's Funniest Home Videos. He attributed his profanity-overflowing, exceptionally dirty, and rather mean-spirited stand-up routine in part to this, claiming, "That show gave me Tourette's." In actuality, he was an exceptionally dirty comic even before Full House. At Saget's Comedy Central roast, Jeff Garlin (in the character of one of the producers of Full House) mentioned an incredibly tasteless joke that Bob told that warmed the producer up to him. People who knew Saget in college also claimed he did dirty humor even back then. So while he may have attributed it to his family shows, Saget's dirty persona may have deeper roots than he let on. Unlike many cases here, however, Saget actually enjoyed the stigma that followed him, just for the shock that appeared on the faces of audience members who didn't know better.
  • John Stamos was best known for his role on Full House as Uncle Jesse, but grew tired of being in family-friendly TV shows and movies. So he decided to shed this image by auditioning for the raunchiest part he could: the Made-for-TV Movie Fatal Vows: The Alexandra O'Hara Story in which he portrays Nick Pagan, a seemingly nice man who is actually a serial killer and later tries to burn his five-year-old son to death in the bathtub.
    • After his tenure on ER, however, most of his family-friendly stigma is gone. Since then, he's been in a few commercials and has done a few episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. One particular episode he stars in has him as a pig who exploits a multitude of women for sex in order to have copious amounts of children, and he sweet-talks them out of whatever job they may have.
  • German-Austrian actress Rosemarie Magdalena Albach, aka Romy Schneider, had her career and her private life damaged by playing Rebellious Empress "Sissi" in three blockbuster movies.
  • This has happened to Sesame Street Muppeteers in the past.
    • Carroll Spinney (Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch) describes a bad encounter in his autobiography. One day, some moron drove onto his lawn, rolled down the window and yelled, "Hey! You the Bird? Do the voice!" Spinney says he wished he could yell "Get the hell off my property!" in Oscar's voice, but instead just silently went inside in case any of his young fans were watching.
    • Kevin Clash was the Muppeteer of Elmo, Baby Sinclair and numerous others. In 2012, he took a sabbatical from Sesame Street after a young man claimed that the two of them had a sexual relationship when he was 16. Clash did not deny the relationship but claimed it happened after the young man had turned 18. The accuser later withdrew the allegations, but a series of other accusers came forward in its wake. Needless to say, the "sabbatical" has turned into a full-on departure, with Ryan Dillon taking over Muppeteering duties for Elmo since.
  • A big furor was kicked up when Britney Spears' sister Jamie-Lynn got pregnant at age 16. She was the star of Nickelodeon's hit Kid Com Zoey 101. It is widely believed that the scandal was responsible for the show not getting a fifth season.
  • Kristen Stewart became a victim of this after photos of her smoking pot outside her house were published. She began as a child actor and then got her big break as Bella Swan in Twilight. Knowing how Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson feel about their roles as Bella and Edward, it's entirely possible that the reason she didn't take that joint inside is that she was hoping on this trope coming into play. She and Pattinson have admitted that they don't go along with contractual purity because neither would see being dropped from the Twilight series as such a bad thing. She was also probably smart enough to know that she and Pattinson were the faces of the franchise, and could do just about anything except murder or kiddie porn and still be asked back for the next one. Kristen faced similar accusations when rumours came out of an affair between her and the married director of Snow White & the Huntsman. Both were dropped from the franchise after the first film, although Kristen herself claims she was still offered scripts and just turned them down. Since then, Kristen has come out as bisexual, embraced a butch lad-ette image, and done mostly independent and foreign films (often with nude scenes), putting her days as the "good girl" Bella firmly behind her. She even got an Oscar nomination for her role in the Princess Diana biopic Spencer.
  • Kamen Rider Blade was hit with the news that Tsubaki Takayuki, who played The Hero, had previously appeared in a gay porn film. This was considered quite a black mark and put a question mark over whether he would appear in future nostalgia cash-ins, though he did reappear for Kamen Rider Decade and Kamen Rider Ex-Aid's Gorider special, where he was given a central role in the plot. This can seem odd to outsiders, but Japan has its own Moral Guardians with different but strict standards.
  • A similar incident brewed when it emerged that Hikaru Yamamoto, who plays Akiko in Kamen Rider Double, had supposedly posed for scantily-clad pictures. This occurred before the show was broadcast, and the incident died down quickly since it could not be proved that the pictures were of her.
  • Shirley Temple proves this is Older Than Television.
    • She caused an uproar in the press when was seen drinking, which would've been shocking if not for the fact that she was in her mid-20s at the time. Then again, some states still had alcohol prohibition laws on the books, so this is also a case of Values Dissonance.
    • At age 17, she escaped what she considered a difficult family by marrying a war hero. That was hardly shocking in 1945. Also not shocking was the fact that the "war hero" tore through her money, beat her black and blue, and used her contacts to land acting jobs, all the while trash-talking her to directors so they wouldn't hire her and she'd have to depend financially on him. Shocking was when she decided she'd had enough and divorced the lout. She was denounced in every pulpit and every fan magazine in America as a filthy homewrecker.
    • Temple was also a chain smoker into her adulthood, which may have accounted for her death in 2014. She did however hide her smoking habit from the public as that wouldn't set a good example for her fans who might get alienated by the idea of a (former) child actress smoking. Not that there wasn't a scene where she smoked, though.
  • Gabriel Thomson, who plays the uptight and geeky Michael in My Family, caused a minor outcry in the UK press when he was arrested for drug possession. He is best known for his role as Sasha in Enemy at the Gates at age 8 and then joining the cast of My Family at 13.
  • Elijah Wood, having played Frodo Baggins, was quick to avoid typecasting by playing a horrible mute cannibal who mounts women's heads on his wall and a listless pothead that tries to manipulate a girl's forgotten feelings because he's that desperate for a date. Oh, and one of the two "Hollywood Phonies" who taze Andy Samberg in the butt in a Lonely Island music video. Of course, he's done films since he was a kid (he played North, for crying out loud), so it's not like typecasting was ever a problem for him.
  • Madeline Zima, best known as the little girl in The Hand That Rocks the Cradle and as youngest child Grace on The Nanny, later was making out with Hayden Panettiere and punching David Duchovny in the face while fucking him.
  • H.B. Warner and Dorothy Cumming, who played Jesus and the Virgin Mary in the 1927 silent film The King Of Kings, were forced by director Cecil B. DeMille to sign agreements stating that they wouldn't take any unsavory film roles during a five-year period, in order to protect their "holy" screen images. In addition, DeMille also forbade them from attending ball games, playing cards, going to night clubs, swimming, and riding in convertibles during filming. During filming, DeMille allegedly paid an anonymous woman to leave the country, as she was trying to blackmail Warner over some unknown scandal.
  • Israeli Children Channel presenters are, according to their contract, not allowed to drink in public. This became a bit of a problem (just a bit, as it seems no one really cared) once when one of them, Dana Frieder, did this a while back.
  • Neal McDonough has a policy that he will not film love scenes of any kind due to his strong Catholic beliefs - he will not kiss any woman who is not his wife. He was even fired from Scoundrels because of it.
  • Christina Ricci began life as a child actress of Mermaids, Addams Family Values and Casper fame. As she entered her teen years, she grew sick of doing children's films and starred in three very dark projects to break that image: The Ice Storm (where she has a threesome), Buffalo '66 (which has her providing Male Gazey Fanservice) and The Opposite of Sex (where she's an outright Fille Fatale who pulls off The Baby Trap and steals the ashes of her brother's boyfriend). It worked and helped her transition to serious roles.
  • Devon Sawa (who starred alongside Christina Ricci in Now and Then and Casper in the 90s) became a teen heartthrob and said it was hard to transition out of those roles - so he opted to take 'weird' roles just to shake it off. Among those included Idle Hands, Final Destination and the Eminem video for "Stan" (where he plays the titular Loony Fan ).
  • According to the documentary Becoming Bond, one of the reasons George Lazenby turned down starring in further Bond films was that he would have had to sign what he called a "slave contract" that would essentially dictate his image and behaviour offset during the production of the next seven proposed films.
  • Similarly, Sean Connery lobbied for a role in Alfred Hitchcock's Marnie - playing an obsessive borderline stalker who rapes the titular Marnie on their wedding night - to break out of his James Bond good guy typecasting.
  • Julia Roberts ended up as America's wholesome good girl in the '90s (ironically after her Star-Making Role was a prostitute in Pretty Woman). In the film Flatliners, her character was originally supposed to have had an affair with a college professor and blackmailed him. But people were worried that it would harm Julia's wholesome image, so that plot point was dropped. She did attempt to do a less squeaky-clean role in Mary Reilly - which has repressed Victorian sexuality as a major theme (though is still quite tame when it comes to nudity) — but it wasn't a great success. She did manage to play against type to critical acclaim in Closer and as she became too old to be The Ingenue, this is less of a problem nowadays (she also played a Vain Sorceress in Mirror Mirror (2012)).
  • Ariana Grande got her start in Kid Coms, and hated that her first single Put Your Hearts Up because of Executive Meddling aiming it at the tween fans who would have watched her in Victorious - whereas she wanted her music to be aimed at a more mature audience. She's gradually taken her music and image in a Hotter and Sexier direction - as well as starring in the R-rated horror comedy series Scream Queens (2015) - yet maintains a fan base of tweens and teenagers.
  • This is a talking point in Showbiz Kids, a documentary about childhood stardom. Evan Rachel Wood and Milla Jovovich talk about how difficult it is to explore your sexuality as a child star because of the public image you have to maintain. Cameron Boyce, who rose to fame under Disney's watchful eye, even hesitates to cuss at first.
  • It's mostly forgotten now, but Kate Beckinsale got her start playing English Roses in period dramas. Taking Action Girl roles in Underworld (2003) and Van Helsing was specifically to get out of that image. Years later, she said it worked a little too well and led to people thinking of her as a generic action star - and she caused lots of surprise in 2016 when she headlined an adaptation of Jane Austen's Lady Susan called Love & Friendship.
  • Neve Campbell in the late '90s was typecast as a Girl Next Door thanks to Party of Five and, while she was also known for the Scream franchise, it was as its resident Final Girl. When the script for Wild Things came along, she did it specifically to get away from that wholesome image, despite her agents' apprehension. However, despite the nudity, she used a body double. She would later appear nude in another sexual role (When Will I Be Loved?) but it was long after her Teen Idol hype had died down and its arthouse nature meant not many people remember it.
  • Dorothy Malone got famous in the 1940s and '50s for the on-screen person of (to quote the lady herself) "the all-American girl watching the all-American boy do all sorts of things". She opted to shed her good girl image in the middle of the '50s by dyeing her hair platinum blonde and playing a nymphomaniac in Written on the Wind. It actually got her a Best Supporting Actress win at the Oscars and led to more substantial parts.
  • This happened twice with actors on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood:
    • This was a reason that Rogers didn't let Betty Aberlin star in Night of the Living Dead, a film by his protégé George A. Romero, who had actually directed a segment for the show. Note that his personal protectiveness did not extend to the film itself; when Romero screened it to his mentor, the sweet, harmless Pennsylvania minister was delighted with his protégé's gory, nihilistic horror film and told Romero it was great fun.
    • Rogers also discouraged François Clemmons from going out to gay bars or being open about his sexuality, although he was personally very affirming of gay people. Clemmons (who's now publicly out) has said in interviews that he doesn't bear any ill will for this or think it diminishes Mr. Rogers' message of acceptance at all; societal attitudes toward homosexuality were very different in The '60s, and being openly gay could have been a serious risk to Clemmons' career or even personal safety. Moreover, it unquestionably would've made the show a target during its more fragile early years (when Fred had to fight for PBS funding to start with!) and might well have put Fred in a position of being forced by pressure to fire Clemmons.

Inversions There are some notable aversions and inversions, where the actor or actress's first role (or at least breakout role) is in a decidedly adult production, only for them to move onto more family-friendly fare. Compare Self-Censored Release, Rated G for Gangsta.

  • Jean Harlow initially became famous as a Shameless Fanservice Girl in The Pre-Code Era - with a public reputation as a 'floozy'. When the Hays Code cracked down on immoral content in movies, her image was tweaked to become more of a Dumb Blonde. The studio tried to enforce this with images of her doing charity work to seem like a more wholesome All-American type.
  • Tallulah Bankhead ran afoul of this in 1930s Hollywood. She was known for her Hard-Drinking Party Girl persona when she got famous for her stage work in the UK, and caused a minor scandal during her brief film career; in a magazine interview, she declared "I WANT A MAN! I told you, I haven't had an affair in six months". Backlash from the censorship office, the studio, and even her own family led to her issuing a retraction (though no one believed it). While she was promoted as a sultry vamp like Greta Garbo or Marlene Dietrich, it was noted that they were able to get away with much more because they were European and Tallulah was American. Disliking the politics of Hollywood and the filmmaking process, she returned to the stage to enjoy more success. She did however appear in a few films in the 1940s, most notably Alfred Hitchcock's Lifeboat.
  • The exact opposite of this trope happened when Linda Blair, who played Regan in The Exorcist, tried to break into romantic comedies. After scaring the living daylights out of America, people had a hard time taking her seriously in lighter roles. She did manage a recurring role in the S Club 7 TV series as the band's quirky landlady - although it was twenty years after her horror days.
  • Jennifer Connelly's first leading role was in Dario Argento's Phenomena making her roles in movies such as Requiem for a Dream not that drastic a change.
  • Kirsten Dunst is another notable aversion who made her breakout role as a child vampire in the distinctly family-unfriendly Interview with the Vampire at the age of 12. She broke out of the "cute fluffy blonde" image as Lux in The Virgin Suicides (she was 16 during filming) after doing some children's movies and the odd teen flick. In her twenties, she admitted to occasionally smoking weed and drinking too much. This doesn't seem to have caused much outrage except among a few fringe loonies who can't distinguish Dunst from Mary Jane Watson.
  • The trope was played in reverse with Bradley James and Katie McGrath. Both starred in the family-friendly Merlin, but their first television roles involved the former having sex in a toilet cubicle and the latter being taken from behind by Henry VIII.
  • Heather Matarazzo, like Connelly, also started acting at thirteen, her breakout role being in the ultra-dark cult classic Welcome to the Dollhouse. This made her death by vampire in Hostel Part II not quite as shocking.
  • Chloë Grace Moretz's breakthrough role was playing Hit-Girl in the film adaptation of Kick-Ass. Most people's introduction to the then-twelve-year-old actress came through a preview clip in which she says "okay, you cunts, let's see what you can do now" before violently slaughtering a horde of mooks, a clip that provoked outrage from Moral Guardians and the press. As such, she had no problem transitioning into adult roles once she grew up, moving between dark dramas about conversion therapy and animated family comedies without any whiplash. It helps that, in real life, Moretz is extremely straight-laced. At the time, she couldn't even bring herself to say the title of Kick-Ass out loud, instead calling it just "the film" during interviews and "Kick-Butt" in private, and as an adult, she's become known for her outspoken feminist views.
  • Natalie Portman has been playing family-unfriendly roles for most of her career such as an assassin's young apprentice in The Professional and as a stripper in Closer respectively. But because of her stint in the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy as the doomed love interest of Darth Vader, her general avoidance of partying, and her Harvard degree, she is seen as a good role model for young girls. She then parodied this in the Saturday Night Live sketch "Natalie's Rap", in which she reveals through rap that she drinks, does drugs, has promiscuous sex, enjoys killing and beating people (and dogs) for fun, and has a general disdain for her younger fans.
  • This trope was double subverted by Meg Ryan, who played a number of sexy and borderline-dark characters early in her career, like Donna Caldwell in The Presidio. However, in The '90s, she became known almost solely for her cute and perky roles in romantic comedies — to the point where there was considerable audience backlash whenever she tried to return to her dramatic roots in films like City of Angels and In the Cut.
  • Another inversion is Kathleen Turner, who gained early prominence with steamy roles in films like Body Heat, but then shifted almost entirely into lighter, fluffier fare like Peggy Sue Got Married and Romancing the Stone.
  • Brazilian model Xuxa (show-name; her real name is Maria da Graça Meneghel) started her career with naked pictorials and softcore porn movies. Then she became that country's biggest children's TV hostess. Unlike most of the people on this list, she's never seemed to make any bones about her pornographic past, even making statements to the effect that "sex symbols and children go hand in hand." That said, she did sue Google and various other sites to block search results for one film in particular, Amor Estranho Amor, namely because it has a scene where she seduces a 12-year-old boy while dressed as a teddy bear (said outfit having about the same amount of cloth as one, even). The Google suit has failed.
  • Drew Barrymore zig-zagged through this. She began her career as a child star in films such as E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Firestarter but soon became infamous for rampant drug problems before she was even a teenager. She still worked in the industry, however, and the film Poison Ivy was essentially her playing on the public's perception of her. After getting sober in the '90s, she carved out a career as a respected adult actress - in films that were far more squeaky clean like Never Been Kissed, Ever After, The Wedding Singer, etc.
  • A zigzagged case can be found for Former Child Star Mara Wilson. She first gained fame as the younger daughter character in Mrs. Doubtfire, but played (mostly) family-friendly roles in films such as A Simple Wish, Matilda (as the title character) and 'Thomas and the Magic Railroad, her final movie. She retired from acting at the age of 13 in 2000, graduated from college while studying drama, and is as of 2023 a blogger, playwright, novelist, memoirist, voice actor (most notably in Welcome to Night Vale, BoJack Horseman, and Big Hero 6: The Series), and volunteer social worker in New York City. Despite being in her late twenties, and having not been in any kind of acting role outside of online web project and college stage acting, she often receives (online and in person) negative comments from many fans that their childhoods were ruined regarding how her figure filled out in the years since she left Hollywood, and commentary about her often profane language, liberal outspokenness and more adult humor on her website, Twitter account and writings. She has also expressed some horror that journalists reviewing the Broadway musical version of Matilda recommended fans of the musical see a performance of her play, Sheeple, emphasizing that the play is not for kids. In her 2016 autobiography she revealed that her parents had a rule that she could only do family-friendly films while she was still a childnote The Safety of Objects'', a role she lobbied for purely because the character smoked.. She also describes a very straight example from when she and a group of other child actors were part of a charity camping trip - and they got punished for playing Spin The Bottle in their tent. It apparently made the organization look bad to be seen doing such a thing.
  • The actresses of Takarazuka Revue are expected to adhere to the Music School's note  "pure, proper, beautiful" motto. Besides the standards of this trope (think Disney but stricter), they can't openly be in a relationship or marry while in the troupe. While much of Zuka's bread and butter is homoerotic subtext and LGBTQIA+ characters note , and young girls having crushes on seito (Zuka actresses, lit. "students") are considered normal, the founder believes that the fans should grow out of said crushes and the actresses should go on to be "good wives and wise mothers" after their graduation from the Revue.
  • Jessica Biel later inverted the trope after playing it straight (see above). In order to break out of Ms. Fanservice or Action Girl typecasting, she drove to an audition for The Illusionist (2006) in full 19th-century costume and won the part of an Austrian Proper Lady. She was later able to appear in the period piece Easy Virtue.
  • Blake Lively previously was cast as sexy blondes in Accepted, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and of course Gossip Girl. She finally won over critics with a more wholesome turn in The Age of Adaline.
  • Paris Hilton got fame for a sex tape scandal, risque roles such as House of Wax (2005) (where she does a sexy strip tease), and her two music videos providing lots of Fanservice. In The New '10s she re-emerged with a slightly more conservative image with entrepreneurial pursuits in fashion, a career as a DJ, and her work lobbying against the "troubled teen" industry. She admits that her earlier persona was a form of Alter-Ego Acting to get fame, and sought to reinvent herself in her 30s.

  • Robert Crumb, one of America's edgiest, most perverted cartoonists, said that drawing cute things became a "curse" that he could never completely shake, not in terms of his audience but as something that has pervaded his own personal artistic style. Considering the spectacular depth and intensity of Crumb's perversity, this revelation was shocking in and of itself and pretty much confirms the truth of this trope.

In general, sports stars are often forced to act as "role models" to an even greater degree than most celebrities are.

  • Charles Barkley famously used this stigma to great effect in a Nike commercial that began with him saying, "I am not a role model." The Moral Guardians that protested the commercial apparently skipped the second half of the ad, where Barkley expands on this: "Parents should be role models. I get paid to play basketball, not to raise your kids."
  • In a book about Joe Namath, the author relates how he and Joe were in an elevator and Joe was drinking from a beer bottle. When the elevator arrived at their floor, Joe saw some kids and had to stash the bottle under his shirt.
  • Olympic swimming hero Michael Phelps had a photo of him partaking of a bong was plastered all over the Internet. He was banned from national competition for three months and Kellogg's dropped him from their sponsorship list. He did dodge the big Olympic-sized bullet as the rules are only about "performance-enhancing" drugs during competition.
  • This seemed about to happen (or at least some people seemed to be trying to make it an issue) following the Women's hockey final at the 2010 Winter Olympics when, after the game, the Canadian team were photographed doing such "unladylike" things in celebration after the arena had emptied such as smoking big stogies, enjoying beer and champagne, and goofing off driving the Zamboni around the rink while whooping it up. Members of the International Olympic Committee (who don't really like women's hockey being an event, to begin with) tut-tutted in disapproval and made noises about considering whether Canada should keep the gold medal. Most of the public and the Canadian reps pointed out that had the male hockey players been seen celebrating after what was for some the biggest game of their lives no one would have said anything. The image of IOC president Jacques Rogge being tarred, feathered, and hung from a totem pole in Stanley Park probably had nothing to do with the matter being dropped.
  • Tiger Woods had his career wrecked virtually overnight (although it didn't last that long) when various parties revealed that he had a long and colorful secret love life after years of being presented as a role model for all ages.note 
  • Baseball Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett's long-established "good guy" image was forever ruined when in September 2002, he was arrested for allegedly groping a woman in a restroom in the Redstone American Grill in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. To make matters worse, a 2003 Sports Illustrated article from Frank Deford documented Puckett's alleged indiscretions (such as cheating on his wife and being all-around abusive to her).
  • In an interesting aversion, baseball great Stan "The Man" Musial cultivated contractual purity when he started playing for the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1940s and never broke it for the rest of his life. He stated that he did see himself as a role model and strove to be one. He was 92 years old at the time of death and St. Louisans still absolutely adore him — so much that they campaigned for him to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom and he did receive it in January 2011. While this was wonderful for Stan, it's impossible for any other Cardinal (or any player) to live up to. Of course, it was probably easier to live life as a role model before the invasive modern celebrity culture had developed.
    • Albert Pujols was also the victim of this trope when he signed with the Los Angeles Angels for a 10-year $250 million contract. Fans had essentially determined that Albert was Stan's successor (and in a lot of ways he is/was: both are/were family men, philanthropists, etc.), and since Stan never left St. Louis, Albert is obviously the worst traitor in the history of traitors ever for doing so. Some Cardinals fans burned their Pujols jerseys and others (mostly older fans) turned the whole thing into a morality play and immediately started going on about Stan and the good ol' days. A few people took the time to understand why the whole thing actually happened, though.
    • As for Pujols' predecessor at first base for the Cardinals, Mark McGwire, he along with a great many baseball players (including Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds) forever lost their "role model" status when their links to steroids were uncovered. McGwire himself was actually upfront about one steroid he had done, androstenedione, which despite being banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, was at the time available over-the-counter and not banned by MLB.
  • American track star Suzy Favor Hamilton, back when she was Suzy Favor, was one of the most decorated athletes in NCAA history at the University of Wisconsin, and eventually ran in three Olympic marathons. She had built a career as a motivational speaker, and the Big Ten Conference named its annual award for its top female athlete after her. Then it was discovered that she worked as a call girl, which torpedoed her career, and led the Big Ten to strip her name from the award (pun not intended).
  • This was the reason why Neversoft decided to focus solely on the player character in Tony Hawk's Underground instead of the pro skaters in previous games as some of the criminal acts made by the player character would not bode well with Tony and his contemporaries' public images; this was rendered moot point when Tony's video game persona would be portrayed as participating in Bam Margera's Jackass antics at least to a degree.

  • The Beatles had something of a (relatively) clean-cut, madcap, teen-friendly "mop-top" image, and were a youthful breath of fresh air in America following the JFK assassination. They were advised to stay away from politics and kept much of the rougher aspects of their personalities and humor (and burgeoning marijuana use) under wraps. Then came John Lennon's "more popular than Jesus" misquote, and later Paul's admission in the British press of trying LSD. Though it took a toll on their "Beatlemania" image, the changing times, their refusal to tour, and their psychedelic, facial hair-wearing period would soon follow with Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. They would be Growing the Beard in more ways than one. By the late '60s, the group would develop a more serious image for the rest of their careers.
    • It went the other way in their own country. From the moment they emerged into the public consciousness, the Beatles were seen in the media as corrupting the morals of British youth. With their (comparatively) long hair and snarky image, they were quite unlike the clean-cut would-be home-made Elvis clones that came before, like Cliff Richard, Tommy Steele, Marty Wilde, or Billy Fury, whom one could comfortably take home to tea with one's mother despite those rebellious stage names. By the time the Beatles had hit America, however, The Rolling Stones (and, heaven forbid, The Pretty Things) had emerged and one's mother could then accept the Beatles as cuddly.
  • Bone Thugs-n-Harmony after Tha Crossroads, much to the chagrin of fans that prefer their darker, harder stuff.
  • Charlotte Church began her career at age 12 as a classical singer with a squeaky-clean image that played on her background from a Catholic family in Wales. As a teenager, she was photographed smoking, drinking, and going to clubs; and stated repeatedly that she wanted to shed her "choir girl" image, to criticism from fans and the press. She also made offensive comments about Pope Benedict XVI, frequently swore in interviews, and engaged in a public feud with the pop group Scooch. She did eventually release a moderately successful pop/rock album and is now better known as a TV presenter and the ex-girlfriend of rugby player Gavin Henson. Church addressed the problems of this trope herself in her statement to the Leveson Inquiry regarding phone hacking by journalists.
    • The thing about this (and a large part of her contribution to the Leveson Inquiry) is that while half the press condemned her for doing anything not sweet and innocent, the other half had a countdown to her 16th birthday.
  • The band Evanescence was originally considered a Christian Rock band, and their albums sold in Christian book and music stores. Early on, they began stressing in interviews they did not want to be considered a Christian band, and their label asked Christian music stores to stop selling their CDs. It was probably a wise strategy since it's unlikely an artist strongly affiliated with the contemporary Christian music scene could have sold 15 million albums worldwide.
  • In general, Christian Rock bands that tour with secular bands that include anything remotely resembling strong language in their lyrics (not just profanity, but lyrics that are "too dark"), drink alcohol (even offstage) or endorse "liberal" (read: not unambiguously right-wing) viewpoints will be accused of betraying the scene/faith by Moral Guardians.
    • A perfect example of this is the soul-metal band King's X, which, despite always denying that they were a Christian Rock band, picked up a large Christian fanbase in the '90s due to their religious beliefs and their vaguely spiritual lyrics. Then frontman Doug Pinnick came out as being gay, and suddenly their fanbase condemned them as "traitors" to the Christian rock scene.
    • The alternative band Adam Again garnered controversy in the Christian music world in the late 1980s, not because of the content of their lyrics, but because singer Riki Michele danced onstage during their concerts. Her dancing wasn't even suggestive and was comparable to the kind of stage movements that secular alt-rockers like Natalie Merchant and Michael Stipe were doing at the same time, but dancing at all was still considered controversial in some particularly conservative Christian circles.
  • Believe it or not, Elton John got hit with this in 1976 when he identified himself as bisexual in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine and basically sabotaged his status as a Teen Idol at the height of his fame. Everything turned out okay, though.
  • This happened to MC Hammer when he tried to get a tougher image. The irony: earlier in Hammer's career (before the mainstream success), he was a hardcore rapper. He later crossed over with a more dance-oriented sound, which was given note in the Ice Cube diss track "True To The Game".
  • Rapper Nelly arguably damaged his mainstream career by making the "Tip Drill" video. Before it came out, Nelly was being groomed to be like the next Will Smith (but with more street cred), as a rapper who had mass appeal and wasn't like the other hardcore gritty rappers in the mainstream. So now there's this huge backlash and Nelly's career seemed defined by that raunchy vid. Some argued that it sapped his career's momentum.
  • Jo O'Meara, formerly of the squeaky-clean pop group S Club 7, got this in 2007 when she appeared on Celebrity Big Brother and was accused of racism towards fellow contestant Shilpa Shetty. Also happened to her bandmates Bradley McIntosh, Jon Lee, and Paul Cattermole while they were still in the band after they were cautioned for drug possession. Notably averted by Rachel Stevens, who has successfully moved onto her own pop career with a sexier image; and Hannah Spearritt, now better known for TV's Primeval.
  • Jessica Simpson started out as a Christian pop singer with a clean and innocent public persona — she even taped down her breasts for performances because her promoters felt that invoking Buxom Beauty Standard would hurt her 'good girl' image. When she became a mainstream pop star, her record company convinced her to adopt a sexier image. Simpson then started wearing more revealing clothes in public, posed for magazines such as Maxim, and played Daisy Duke in The Dukes of Hazzard film. The change in image from "squeaky-clean gospel singer" to "mainstream sex symbol" did not sit well with some of her fans, and she was accused by many of being a bad role model.
  • Taylor Swift has openly stated she believes in this trope and that she has a responsibility to her younger fans. Here's a clip from her interview with with 60 Minutes where she discusses it.
    Swift: It'd be really easy to say, "I'm 21 now. I do what I want. You raise your kid." But that's not the truth of it. The truth of it is that every singer out there with songs on the radio is raising the next generation, so make your words count.
    • In more recent times, though, Swift has garnered quite a bit of controversy for allegedly "dating too much," though this has died down as Slut-Shaming became less socially acceptable, and as she's settled into a long-term relationship with footballer Travis Kelce. Taylor herself lampshaded that she became "a national lightning rod for slut-shaming" for the crime of... going on a lot of dates in her twenties. The reputation gets even more ridiculous when you remember that a repeated claim of many of her ex-boyfriends is that she doesn't put out. (Harry Styles went as far as to call her "an asexual prude.") Others (such as Conan O'Brien) have joked that the reason for her constant cycle of breakups is so she could have an endless stream of material to write sad songs about. Some fans, known as "Gaylors", even believe she's a closeted lesbian and that all of her boyfriends are beards. Outside of that, Swift managed to dodge the cleanliness bullet by sexing up her image so slowly that no one noticed it until it was done.
  • Linkin Park received some flak from Moral Guardians when they began using profanity on their album Minutes to Midnight. Their first two albums, Hybrid Theory and Meteora, were notably G-rated in comparison to the band's Nu Metal peers.
  • Subverted with Justin Bieber, whose 2013-14 period of weird tabloid antics had gotten him flak from the Moral Guardians and late-night comedians alike. To wit: getting caught leaving a brothel in Rio de Janeiro; being filmed sleeping by a Brazilian prostitute he hired; constantly missing, canceling, or showing up hours late for shows and meet-and-greets with his young fans; getting caught spraying graffiti (graffiti showing his support of convicted felon and girlfriend-beater Chris Brown) in Colombia; abandoning his pet monkey in Germany; desecrating the Argentinian flag onstage (an offense punishable by imprisonment in Argentina); getting into a fight with a British paparazzo; smoking marijuana; reckless driving; public urination (while inexplicably shouting "FUCK BILL CLINTON"); writing that he hoped Anne Frank would have been a fan of his after visiting the Anne Frank House, and showing up in baggy overalls and a baseball cap to meet the Prime Minister of Canada. Between all this and the fact that Bieber was coming of age and a new teen phenomenon from across the pond had already toppled him from his throne, it sounds like his career would be Deader than Dead at that point. But he eventually shook this image off and experienced a Career Resurrection.
  • There was a brief scandal wherein Moral Guardians decryed One Direction after newspaper released evidence of two of the members smoking marijuana.
  • This applies to most Korean and Japanese pop idol groups and idol singers, mostly in regard to girls but can also apply to guys. The entire point of the "idol" (アイドル, aidoru) phenomenon is to present an image of innocence, purity, and availability, so as to play to their fans' fantasies. Ironically this means idols are meant to be naive and pure but at the same time are sexualized for these very traits. It also means a great outcry usually follows whenever an idol gets caught doing anything that breaks that ideal, from smoking to even just dating. The discovery that an idol has a boyfriend can end their career. This is also why anyone who does a sexy or rebellious concept often gets much flack from both fans and the public. Some idols get to grow out of it without much criticism, others are expected to remain pure their whole careers (even when they are in their 20s or near 30s).
    • A particular infamous example is female Korean soloist IU, the "Nation's Little Sister", who received massive backlash after uploading (accidentally or not) and deleting a selfie of herself in pajamas along with a topless Eunhyuk (of Super Junior) at her house, implying not only they dated but that they had sex. She luckily managed to avert it later with her next album, which was quite successful and won back most of the public's respect.
    • In 2013, AKB48 member Minami Minegishi was caught leaving the house of a member of Japanese boy band EXILE. AKB fansnote  were pissed, so much so that she shaved her head (a symbol of remorse in Japan) and made a tearful apology video begging not to be kicked out of the group. She was instead demoted to the Kenkyusei (trainee) unit. The whole thing was fairly controversial, sparking no shortage of moral debates. These days, she's pretty much back to star status.
  • Australian singer/actor Jason Donovan suffered from this trope. He first was a clean-cut actor/singer who was loved by a lot of teenage girls across the world (mostly in the UK) and "Jasonmania" began to rise. He was squeaky clean throughout his career until 1992 when he realised that he was going too far with his innocence when he actually wanted to be "cool", and he ended up getting into a drug addiction and decided to become a mature singer by making and releasing his fourth album with Polydor called "All Around the World". To make a long story short, fans who were used to his clean image didn't like his new image. It didn't help that he sued a magazine months later for accusing him of lying about his sexuality and being a hypocrite (he was actually right, the accusations were actually untrue), thus making a majority of his fans undeservingly turn their backs on him. Thankfully, the encounter between him and his wife and the birth of his first daughter let him have a chance to clean himself up again and lead a normal and decent life.
  • Kylie Minogue used to be a clean-cut singer/actress, but then matured and gained a sexual image, much to the dismay of some of her older fans.
  • Billie Eilish gained fame in The New '10s for her modest image, known for baggy clothes and a Tomboyish appearance. Naturally Moral Guardians held her up as a 'better' role model for young girls in comparison to pop stars with more sexual images (never mind that her songs can be quite dark and not necessarily appropriate for children). In 2021, she caused a sensation by appearing on the cover of Vogue, wearing a corset and with a Girliness Upgrade. British tabloid The Daily Mail ran a headline about her "selling out" but were swiftly refuted as Billie outlined that she was regaining autonomy of her own body.
    "Suddenly, you're a hypocrite if you want to show your skin, and you're easy, and you're a slut."
  • Because Amy Grant is a Christian artist, she got in trouble with conservative Christian audiences for dressing in low-cut clothing and singing secular love songs, as well as defending her outfit choices by saying "Christians can be sexy." This caused a major uproar in much of the Christian music community, though since crossing over, she has continued to balance Christian and secular material.
  • In his 2015 autobiography, Ed Sheeran states that if he was caught smoking, it would not be a big deal because of his mature public image, yet if One Direction was caught smoking, it would be world news because of the scrutiny they faced as a boy band. Though Sheeran's music isn't all that kid-friendly anyway because of references to sex, smoking, and drinking, some of his tamer songs, especially "Thinking Out Loud" and "Perfect" played on Radio Disney and he promised to stop swearing on his albums after finding out that he had young children who were fans. He no longer swears on stage because of the wide audience he draws, not even in between-song banter.
  • While laughable to think of now, Eminem had a small following in Detroit for his earthy but upbeat raps about going through the hardships of life with your family, friends, and Christianity to keep you going. After realising it was a creative dead end, having a Creator Breakdown, and channelling it into a new Horrorcore image and songs about doing smack and raping women, this small following mostly abandoned him, resulting in a lot of weird and silly diss tracks from Christian rappers in Detroit accusing him of being claimed by Satan. He was, however, able to attract a much, much larger following of people who had thought the old material was overly earnest and wack. As in, "biggest selling recording artist of the 21st Century" larger.
  • Canadian singer Skye Sweetnam first emerged in the 2000s as a Teen Pop singer performing the kind of Pop Punk made for the Disney Channel and teen dramas. After hitting adulthood and outgrowing teen pop, she set out to record a more mature third album, only for her and her writing partner Matt Drake to realize that her lyrics had gotten a lot darker than they expected. As a result, she pivoted hard into a much more hard-edged sound and Hotter and Sexier image, becoming the frontwoman of the metal band Sumo Cyco with the stage name "Sever". She only rarely acknowledges her old solo career and even recorded a video in which Sever kidnaps Skye.

    Professional Wrestlers 
  • The face of WWE John Cena has stated in the past that this is pretty much the sole reason that it would be difficult for him to become a villain. He enjoys the charity work that he does, and it would be difficult for him and the WWE to give it up without a replacement handy. This trope was also the reason there was such a scandal over him getting divorced from his wife. Because Super Cena isn't supposed to have marriage problems like a normal guy. Notably his former girlfriend and fiancée Nikki Bella had to sign an NDA when entering their relationship, and thus the chapter in her autobiography detailing it is left incredibly vague.
  • Cameron frets over this on an episode of the reality show Total Divas. She considered getting a boob job, being unhappy with her current size. She ultimately decided against the surgery because she was afraid it would send a bad message to younger fans.
  • Molly Holly speaks against this trope in her shoot interview. As she was a Christian in real life, many dirtsheets 'reported' that she left WWE because they wanted her to "play the T&A card" - and apparently disliked the Fanservice heavy Diva Search contests. Molly said she wasn't bothered by T&A, describing it as "a part of show business". Fans also seem to forget that she still participated in plenty of bikini shoots during her time in the company. She did, however, tell WWE when they hired her that she wouldn't do risque storylines - so she was portrayed as a Token Wholesome amongst the other sexualised Divas.
  • Lita similarly may have had this trope in mind. She said one of the reasons she refused to pose for Playboy was because she had so many young girls as fans. Indeed many of the next generation WWE Divas cite Lita as their idol when they were younger and she reportedly would receive so many presents from fans at events that she wouldn't be able to take all them with her — so she may have had a point. Of course, she still had no problem with going out on TV with her thong showing and removing her top during matches so it's likely she wasn't that concerned with purity per se. When she turned heel on TV and became Hotter and Sexier (including a live sex celebration on Raw) the majority of fans hated her guts in real life so it wouldn't have mattered what she did. The live sex celebration, however, was something she was forced into and didn't want to do.
  • Terri Runnels also turned down an offer to pose for Playboy because she didn't want to harm her daughter's reputation. Years later, she had this conversation with her daughter, who assured her she would have loved and respected her anyway.
  • In late 2010 WWE signed 7 ft wrestler Isis The Amazon and advertised her for NXT Season 3. When it was found that she had erotic fetish photos online, she was removed from the competition and later released.note  Ironically her replacement Kaitlyn also had erotic photos online and never faced any backlash from it.
  • WWE seems to flip-flop on the issue of racy photos. Some Divas such as Mickie James and Candice Michelle did softcore porn in the past but it never affected their standing on TV. Mickie especially was pushed as a Token Wholesome during the PG Era (though her character did begin as a Psycho Lesbian). Likewise, Gail Kim was rehired during the PG Era, despite having done topless photos for a Korean cell phone company. Eva Marie also worries about it on an episode of Total Divas when racy pictures are found from her past. Some nude selfies of both Paige and Dana Brooke have been discovered online, but neither woman has suffered any known consequences for them. Lana did some nude scenes and photoshoots from her modeling and acting days, but no one at WWE seems to have cared.
  • Serena Deeb was abruptly released from WWE while in the middle of a red-hot storyline. The reason was that the company was annoyed at her being seen drinking and getting rowdy in public - when she was supposed to be playing a Straight Edge character on TV.
  • In their 2012 shoot interview the Bella Twins talked about how scared they were of breaking PG when they first debuted (they were called up right as the PG switch happened). As Nikki put it, "we were like the G-girls" and said they didn't want to alienate their kid fanbase. Nikki accidentally broke PG when she did some sexy gestures coming out with Miz and Morrison (forgetting their entrance was in slow motion) - and was reprimanded by Stephanie. The twins eventually avoided this and became Hotter and Sexier after their Face–Heel Turn. Nikki Bella also got breast implants, though it was after they had left WWE. Brie Bella did have to apologise in 2013 after suffering a Wardrobe Malfunction on Raw.
  • WWE Diva Ashley Massaro caused a bit of a scandal in mid-2008 when she was linked with a high-quality escort service. Although she was released that year, she still appeared on TV twice after the story broke - and claimed that she had asked for her release to care for her sick daughter. Also, the One-Steve Limit may have come into play - as reports surfaced that it could have been a second Ashley Massaro, a Las Vegas-based bikini model.
  • WWE's policy actually doesn't mind a Diva having done racy pictures in the past - as long as said Diva discloses them to the company. However, the company frowns upon women using Amazon Wish Listsnote  and grooming of male fans. It's said to be up there with public drunken behaviour and drug use.
  • It was widely speculated before being flat-out stated by Triple H himself that the main reason why Chyna was long kept out of the Hall of Fame, and wasn't asked to do one-off appearances, was because of her porn career, rather than her frosty relationship with the McMahons (especially with Stephanie, Hunter's wife).note  In fact, many HOF inductees don't have the best relationship with them (i.e. Bruno Sammartino), but Chyna was such a train wreck that not even Vince, who is always willing to put aside a grudge for the sake of entertainment, would let her anywhere near the WWE in any capacity. After she passed away, WWE seemed open to letting her into the Hall of Fame, and she would ultimately be inducted in 2019 as part of DX.
  • Kelly Kelly may have invoked this in order to get released by the company. She wanted to take a hiatus from wrestling, but the company would not release her. She took part in a rather racy photoshoot for a calendar and put some of the photos up on her website. The office ordered her to take them down (as WWE is PG) but she refused - and they finally released her.
  • Trish Stratus did some rather risque photos in her fitness modeling days but toned down her shoots as her wrestling career took off. Likewise, her outfits became a little more modest and she repeatedly refused to pose for Playboy. She's said this is because she wanted to be remembered for her wrestling rather than being Best Known for the Fanservice. She's also said that she can be sexy with her clothes on.
  • WWE implemented a policy around 2006-2007 stating that no talent under the age of 21 was allowed to be called up to the main roster. This was primarily in response to the antics of both Kelly Kelly and Kenny Dykstra (19 and 20, respectively), both of whom were avid partiers at the time. While this was before the transition to PG, it nonetheless did no favors for the company's image or their characters on TV. Thus, the policy was to ensure that the talent on the road had the general maturity to rein it in and keep these things in mind. About a decade later, WWE amended the policy, stating that no talent under the age of 21 was allowed to be signed. No official reasoning was given for the change, but it's speculated that this was in response to several older call-ups who were signed young and displayed immature behavior on the road (such as Paige and Bo Dallas). Any talent that was already signed that technically broke the rule was grandfathered.
  • Seth Rollins was caught in a scandal in early 2015 in which nude photos of both himself and NXT developmental Diva Zahra Schreiber, who was having an affair with Rollins at the time, were leaked online by Rollins' then fiancée, Leighla Schultz. Neither Rollins nor Schreiber were punished for the incident (Rollins even became WWE World Heavyweight Champion shortly after) because it was ultimately a personal matter and they weren't responsible for the photos leaking, though Schreiber was fired a few months later after fans discovered Nazi related images on her Instagram account. She had previously gotten backstage heat for tweeting about texting while driving.
  • Hulk Hogan was considered The All-American Face of the WWF since the mid-1980s, telling children to train hard, eat their vitamins, say their prayers, and believe in themselves. In the early 1990s, Hogan was revealed to have taken steroids for at least fifteen years and was said to have been a Prima Donna who buried other talents that he felt were a threat to his top spot. Then two decades later, he was caught using the N-word multiple times during a sex tape with another man's wife. Even though he got his revenge on the website that released the tape by suing them into bankruptcy, it was a Pyrrhic Victory; his WWE Legends contract was terminated and Hogan himself was unpersoned in the process. Though he would eventually be re-personed three years later (appearently at the behest of the Saudi royal family, who wanted Golden Age Era talent for the Crown Jewel shows).
  • Roman Reigns was all but anointed to succeed to John Cena as the face of the company, much to the despair of the fans. And then he violated the Wellness Policy and got suspended. Obviously, the face of the company cannot have that kind of black mark on his record. He ate three cleans in the space of a month and suffered numerous humiliations — Rollins took numerous shots at him during his suspension while building to the Shield Triple Threat on RAW, his cousins the Usos lifted Dean Ambrose, one of the men who pinned him clean, on their shoulders during Dean's celebration for his win, and Stephanie McMahon verbally eviscerated him live in front of the entire RAW roster for losing the title to SmackDown. It's fairly obvious the company is beginning to de-push him in favor of others, and that Reigns' chances of officially succeeding Cena have gone down immensely. Since then, Reigns has had better luck, especially after turning heel and adopting the "Tribal Chief" persona.
  • Averted with Asuka. While she has never gone as far to pose nude, she was a well-known Ms. Fanservice in her pre-WWE days, being a Gravure model, releasing a few DVDs and more than a few pictures, portraying a Psycho Lesbian, kissing her fellow female wrestlers, allowing male wrestlers to grope her and even once added a stipulation to a match against Lin Bairon that the loser would have to remove her top and bare their breasts to the audiencenote . None of this has stopped her from becoming arguably the most dominant female wrestler in WWE history.
  • One of the rumored reasons for Angela Fong getting surprisingly released in 2010 (after being groomed as a future star in FCW) was that WWE didn't like her role in Ratko: The Dictator’s Son, even though it was shot before they signed her.
  • Once WWE went PG in 2008, Maria Kanellis was told she wasn't allowed to do the Bronco Buster in the ring (as the move was deemed too suggestive). Maria outlined the hypocrisy in a shoot interview; comparing it to Kim Kardashian still getting to host the Kids' Choice Awards when she had a sex tape online.

    Voice Actors 
  • Lest you think this is purely an American trope, try following any Teen Idol in Japan (even those grown into their twenties!) and you'll see this in spades. If a girl kisses, goes on a date, or heaven forbid, admits to having sex, she is torn apart by rabid fans who are apparently so lonely and hopeless that they can only imagine younger girls as a pristine virginal fantasy and the companies also enforce rules forbidding romantic relationships whatsoever. Anything that shatters that illusion brings on their vicious ire. Yeah, you think America's Moral Guardians are bad, they're still way behind hardcore Japanese Otaku.
    • An even more extreme example is that when voice actresses were once gravure or porn actresses. The best they could receive is to have no or little future roles. At worst, it would be an outright ban from the voice acting industry, like former voice actress Eriko Ishihara (who played Atsuko in Diamond Daydreams); she was banned from the voice acting industry in 2004 when news broke that she also was an AV idol while doing voice acting.
    • Emi Nitta was attacked on the Internet, many netizens accused her of starring in AV which caused many 'fans' to burn merchandise of her and her character Honoka. While the allegations were proven to be untrue, it was said that this scandal took a hit on her career.
    • Heck, Japanese fans do this to fictional characters too. Probably the most infamous example is Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens, where one chapter of the manga hinted that Nagi had a boyfriend once (not that she had sex, just that she was romantic with a guy). Cue angry fans decrying the series and the author, saying "I don't want a second-hand wife", and the author subsequently ending the series for health reasons, which most people believe is the stress she suffered from dealing with said fans. Making it even more bizarre is the fact that Nagi is hundreds of years old, and her fans are still outraged that she might have dated a guy at some point during her centuries-long existence.
    • A rare exception to the rule is when Les Yay and Ho Yay are involved. A seiyuu or idol can almost admit they are LGBTQIA+ and no one bats an eye at them. Hitomi Nabatame and Shizuka Itō may be this, though both eventually got married outside the industry.
  • Aya Hirano is a magnet for this expectation, yet she's made it clear that she has no intention of living up to it. She was dismissed from her agency when it came out that she'd been sleeping with three of her four bandmates, but she immediately got a new agency and kept her iconic roles. She's taken a fair amount of heat for it from certain fans, but her career is strong enough that she can afford not to care.
  • Tara Strong sometimes tells the story at cons of how she turned down a role in a horror film because it would have required her to be topless for a scene, and she doesn't want her young fans (or perverts) looking up nude photos of her online. Although she doesn't object overmuch to jokes about being a "hot mom" (even by her own kids) and has listened and approved of a song saying she has a "nice badonkadonk", as well as touting vintage dresses from an LA clothier called, appropriately enough, "Stop Staring!" She also says she loved doing voices on Drawn Together because it was different from the family-friendly stuff she was doing at the time.
  • Holly Gauthier-Frankel, best known as the voice of Fern Walters of Arthur and the titular character of Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat, was a burlesque performer between 2004 and 2016. Frankel has stated that becoming a burlesque performer actually saved her from depression and an eating disorder.
  • When SpongeBob SquarePants voice actor Rodger Bumpass—the voice of Squidward—was arrested on suspected DUI charges, it was later revealed that the show's cast was under a "morals clause" where they had to set an example of themselves by not doing anything immoral likely so as not to alienate and scar their young fan base; fortunately for Bumpass, the DUI incident wasn't considered grounds for termination from the show.
  • Averted for the actors who worked for 4Kids Entertainment, which was the poster child for the stigma surrounding bowdlerised anime dubs. Andrew Rannells has had a handful of adult-oriented live-action roles since his tenure with the company, Jason Griffith did a condom commercial, and most of the others (especially Dan Green) have done Hentai (animated pornography) at some point. Also, most of the actors that work for the company have dubbed earlier titles for older audiences, either for Media Blasters (Veronica Taylor doing Samurai Deeper Kyo comes to mind) or for Central Park Media.

  • Walt Disney actually kept himself under this, being quite a chain smoker, to the point where he eventually succumbed to lung cancer, but he made a point of making sure never to be seen smoking in public, as he wanted to project a wholesome personal image.
  • Random House has been trying to enforce this for children's authors.
  • Needless to say, most ministers of religion are subject to some very restrictive morality contracts. With Catholic priests and nuns being held to a vow of celibacy; some congregations such as Eastern Catholic churches do allow married clergymen—and are still in full Communion with the Pope. Ministers and Priests of other Christian denominations generally are held to standards of chastity (i.e. no sex before marriage and only having sex with your spouse). However, the more liberal denominations don't judge their clergy's sex life at all.
  • Several presenters on UK children's magazine show Blue Peter have been fired for misbehaviour of different sorts, often exacerbated by the tabloids amplifying the scandal for sales. This ranges from Richard Bacon, who was sacked after being caught taking cocaine, to Janet Ellis, who was allegedly sacked for an unwed pregnancy. Other notorious cases include Peter Duncan, fired for having appeared in a soft porn film and not letting the BBC know, and Lesley Judd, who quit when it was about to be made public that her lover had left his wife for her. It was even stricter when the show started in the late fifties: the first presenter Christopher Trace was fired simply because he was getting divorced. This was satirised by The Armstrong and Miller Show.
  • This even happens with buildings. Several years ago, one blogger posted pictures he'd taken of the house from A Christmas Story and complained about how the owners had made several exterior renovations to the house. The house was auctioned off on eBay in 2004, and the new owners restored the house to the way it looked in the movie and turned it into a museum. In the last few years, the company formed to look after the house allows guests to stay the night, and the interior has been meticulously designed to be a perfect match to its appearance in the film.
  • This is subject to Values Dissonance. Take Argentina, where they have former nude models or actresses hosting children's shows, like Laura Franco (AKA Panam), and they don't mind. It helps attract more viewers, like the fathers that watch the show with their children for the Parent Service.
  • Self-parodied by Ron Howard on both Saturday Night Live and The Simpsons. He poked fun at his squeaky-clean image by drinking a beer during his opening SNL monologue and asking Homer to buy him vodka in a Simpsons episode.
  • Lauren Conrad of Laguna Beach and The Hills. Throughout the "Orange County" franchise, Lauren is characterized as a squeaky-clean aspiring designer who's caught in an innocent and chaste Love Triangle between Jason Wahler (the "bad boy" on the show) and Stephen Colletti (who is the "saint" of the series). In actuality, though, Lauren caught a serious amount of flack from viewers and the media during the third season of The Hills when it was alleged that she made a sex tape with Jason. This happened despite the fact that she was in her mid-20s at that point and had grown out of her teenage years. The negative press that spiraled out of this revelation (and the interest of the paparazzi) may have been part of the reason why she eventually left the show.
  • Jim Henson received flak at one point for dating, when he was separated from his wife but not divorced. Where he really was frustrated was when he got flak for doing Muppet productions that were not necessarily family-friendly, as, Sesame Street aside, he had created the characters to produce adult shows. The first episode of The Muppet Show is actually titled "Sex and Violence" (though it doesn't really have much of either.)
  • It's not at all unusual to hear about professionals like teachers and newscasters getting fired after posting a sex ad on Craigslist. This becomes Fridge Logic and hypocrisy when you realize that the original accuser would have been browsing the sex ads on Craigslist in order to see it in the first place, barring the occasional case of a Craiglist browser specifically pointing out the ad to Moral Guardians for shits and giggles, not caring that they're ruining someone's career in the process.
  • Often a problem seen on the resumes of female seiyuu, expect to see a lot of fake names for female seiyuu in H-Game works and some like Yuu Asakawa erased her records of working in hentai when she married. Male seiyuus, however, are unabashedly allowed to admit they do Hentai, let it be regular hentai or Boys' Love. But God forbid a popular male seiyuu get married and have children, as poor Mamoru Miyano found out.
  • Back in the '20s and '30s, the Ford Motor Company enforced this for factory workers. Ford had an army of private detectives to spy on employees and ensure that they were living morally clean, upstanding, good Christian lives, free of such sins as adultery, alcoholism, and atheism, under the belief that moral workers were more productive workers. (This is the same reason why big business generally rallied in support of alcohol prohibition at the time.) Failure to follow the Ford morality clause could get workers fired. This issue was one of the (many) problems that ultimately derailed Fordlândia, Ford's attempt to build a rubber plantation in the Amazon in order to reduce the company's dependence on rubber from British Malaya. The conservative American lifestyle that the company tried to enforce — no women, no alcohol, no tobacco, no football, and American food in the cafeterias — was so alien to the Brazilian workforce that a settlement called the "Island of Innocence", filled with bars, nightclubs, and brothels, developed just five miles up the river to serve the increasingly-frustrated workers (who rioted in 1930).
  • In 1983, Vanessa L. Williams was crowned as Miss America. 10 months after winning the crown, several nude photos of her (which had been taken before she became Miss America) were sold to Penthouse magazine, which then published them. The resulting scandal was huge and Williams herself became the target of death threats and hate mail. Eventually, she was convinced to resign as Miss America and title instead went to the runner-up. This was finally averted in 2015 when the Miss America organization apologized to Williams for caving in to outside pressure and making her resign her title. The scandal did not stop Williams from following a successful career as a singer and actress and she is one of the few Miss Americas to remain in the public eye after her victory.
  • Zig-zagged on RuPaul's Drag Race. While it doesn't matter if a contestant acted in porn before appearing on the show, contestants are forbidden from doing so afterwards for as long as they're under the Drag Race contract (usually a period of five years since their last appearance on the show). Canada Season 1 contestant Ilona Varley spoke candidly about becoming homeless during the COVID pandemic when she couldn't perform onstage yet wasn't allowed to run an OnlyFans page for income.
  • A non-adult version with Soichiro Hoshi and Tōru Furuya: when Tōru was chosen to voice Ribbons Almark in Mobile Suit Gundam 00, he decided to go by an alias. Soichiro Hoshi also had an alias when he voiced a Monster of the Week in Samurai Sentai Shinkenger.
  • Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina is one of several Christian colleges known for having overly complex rules for its students and teachers, based on its interpretation of the Bible. Students are forbidden from listening to rock music, forbidden from having unmarried sex, forbidden from watching virtually any form of non-Christian entertainment (except for PG movies with a chaperone), and female students are required to have chaperones when leaving campus. Students have actually been expelled for criticizing the university, which has also received criticism from Christians and non-Christians alike. Similarly, Brigham Young University requires students and faculty to conform to a Mormon-influenced "Honor Code", including no drinking alcohol or caffeinated beveragesnote , no beards for men, and a vow of chastity (including a rule specifically forbidding "homosexual behavior").
  • A really disgusting example occurred in Scotland in 2009, when the Sunday Express newspaper printed a front-page attack piece on some survivors of the Dunblane school massacre, which had happened thirteen years before, for allegedly insulting the memory of their dead schoolmates by talking about drinking, fighting, and sex on social networking sites. It was suspected that the story was inspired purely by the fact that they had reached 18 and were no longer protected by Press Complaints Commission rules about intrusion into their private lives.
  • 2015 Miss Great Britain winner Zara Holland had her title revoked by the committee after she had sex with another contestant on the reality show Love Island. Pageant organizers stated "we cannot promote Zara as a positive role model moving forward… We wholly understand that everyone makes mistakes, but Zara, as an ambassador for Miss Great Britain, simply did not uphold the responsibility expected of the title."
  • Military officers in most countries. Get caught doing scandalous things while still holding a commission and you can get Court-martialed for "Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and a Gentleman" - and can even earn you prison time. A CUBO conviction is also considered grounds for moral turpitude which can lead to a complete revocation of all retirement benefits, so even retired officers must watch out note 
  • Women applying for police-officer positions in Indonesia, as well as teaching positions in Brazil, have been subjected to humiliating "virginity tests." (Not that those tests would have proven anything anyway.) Men applying for such positions were subjected to no such testing or inquiry about their sexual history/lack thereof. Needless to say, this has drawn much outrage, both in those countries and internationally.
  • For many jobs in general, you're always told that you're the face of the company that you work for, even when you're not at work. Getting into trouble with the law, doing unsavory acts, developing a substance abuse problem, or even going behind the company's back to bad mouth them on social media is a quick way of getting fired.
  • James Gunn, before he made the Guardians of the Galaxy films, was a notoriously R-rated Horror Comedy filmmaker who cut his teeth working for Troma before moving on to films like Slither and Super, as well as writing the script for Dawn of the Dead (2004). This has followed him in two ways.
    • First, in the midst of his edgy indie days, he also wrote both Scooby-Doo movies, which are widely considered a Creator's Oddball compared to his overall body of work at the time.
    • Second, in the late '00s his Twitter account was filled with the sort of offensive Black Comedy one might expect from him given his background (jokes about AIDS and pedophilia, for example). He cleaned up his act and apologized for his older tweets once he was hired by Disney to work on the Guardians films, but in 2018, these tweets were dug up once more in a campaign to get him fired. Disney obliged, removing him from any future Disney projects such as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. The backlash against Disney was swift, largely because many people saw the campaign to get Gunn fired as a hit job driven by people with questionable political motives.Specifically... It wasn't until several months later that Disney and Gunn began patching things up. In the end, the campaign backfired. Not only did Disney rehire Gunn (a decision that was actually made months before they officially announced it), but in the meantime, Gunn was also hired to write and direct the 2021 film The Suicide Squad, largely on the strength of his fanbase pushing for other studios to hire him. Everything seems to have worked out for him in the long run thanks to his handling of the controversy in a mature and professional fashion (swiftly apologizing and accepting full responsibility for the consequences of his past tweets, and not criticizing either his former employers or the trolls who attacked him), his critics' only accomplishment being to make him look like the victim of a malicious slander campaign and actually double the number of big-budget superhero movies he was working on.
  • Girls in Tanzania are subjected to routine pregnancy testing in school. If any of the girls are found to be pregnant, they are automatically expelled, on the grounds that a pregnant teenager is a "bad example" for the other students. This has drawn ire both in Tanzania and abroad because kicking a student out of school jeopardizes their future by keeping them in poverty, and because it can be seen as a violation of privacy or a policing of girls' sex lives (boys who father children out of wedlock are not kicked out of school for it). Nor does it make any exception for girls who become pregnant as a result of rape or incest, or early and forced marriage; they are all kicked out of school and blamed for becoming pregnant.
  • In July of 2007, Sajani Shakaya lost her title as Kumari of Bhaktapur, when she visited the US to attend the movie release of Living Goddess (a documentary about the Kumari), because the elders claimed that her trip had "tainted her purity." (How and why was never explained.) She was, however, reinstated a few weeks later, because she was willing to undergo a purification ceremony to cleanse her of any sins she might have committed while traveling.
  • There was a minor kerfuffle on Twitter when Sasha Obama, the younger daughter of former US president Barack Obama, was photographed at a party wearing makeup and a skimpy 19 years old. What made this shocking for so many was that Sasha was seven when her father took office and wasn't in the spotlight as much as older sister Malia, so most Americans still pictured her as a little girl, then suddenly they were faced with a photo of her as a grown woman. While this doesn't justify the less savory comments made against her, the shock is understandable.
  • This led to the downfall of the talk show host Ellen DeGeneres. Her persona was built on an "aw-shucks" Middle American niceness, so when reports came out in 2020 that she was a Bad Boss behind the scenes, her fanbase revolted and the ratings for her show crashed. DeGeneres herself admitted as much in a televised apology.
    DeGeneres: "Being known as the 'be kind' lady is a tricky position to be in. So let me give you some advice out there. If anybody is thinking of changing their title or giving yourself a nickname, do not go with the 'be kind' lady. Don’t do it."
  • Liana K said in one of her videos that she knows she would never be able to run for congress because she has skimpy cosplay pictures online.
  • Stevin John, who plays Blippi, made a rather infamous and not-safe-for-work video parodying the Harlem Shake prior to his fame as the character. The video became such an old shame for Stevin that he sends cease and desist letters to those who repost it online, worrying that it will taint the wholesome image he has as Blippi.
  • Shortly before Vanna White joined Wheel of Fortune, she posed for lingerie photos to make rent money. After the nighttime version of Wheel became a hit, the photos were sold to Hugh Hefner and published in Playboy, despite Hefner promising White not to do so. White attempted to sue Hefner and Playboy, but she dropped both cases. She considers the photoshoot as one of her biggest regrets.

Fictional Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Idol Singer Yokoso Yoko is about a group of girls becoming Idol Singers (think of it as Holo Live if it was a 90's anime). One girl, Kyoko, has to hide her boyfriend from the public as to avoid public controversy for her up-and-coming career.
  • Perfect Blue has an Idol Singer moving into more risque activities. Some people aren't happy.
  • Macross:
    • Macross: Do You Remember Love?: Hikaru is chastised by his superior officer, Misa Hayase, for having been found kissing Idol Singer Lynn Minmay, never mind it was her idea, because the press had a field day with it, splashing the incident all over the tabloids. Later, after Hikaru "borrows" a training Valkyrie fighter to take Minmay on a joyride, her manager/cousin claims that it would be the end of her career if the press got hold of it.
    • In Macross Frontier, Ranka is suspended from her school after partaking in a "Miss Macross" contest... which is completely official and government-approved.
  • An interesting case in Pokémon Adventures. White freaks at the idea of one member of her star Tepig couple evolving, thinking that they would no longer be as marketable if it happens. As such, she forces Tep to stop evolving by shaking him real hard. Eventually, Tep evolves anyway, after which White adapts and figures out she can pitch the duo as a Bodyguard Crush.
  • In the "Fallen Angel Rina" episode of the Hentai series Cool Devices, a pink-haired Idol Singer called Rina is lauded for her Girl Next Door image... and her manager basically starts pimping her until she reaches the point where she masturbates on stage with the microphone at a concert.
  • In AKB49 – Renai Kinshi Jourei, members of the idol group AKB48 are forbidden from entering into any love relationships. This particular rule is even directly referenced by the sub-title.
  • One story in Black Jack centers around a fifteen-year-old idol who is going through an ectopic pregnancy. Because she was marketed on the appeal of being a wholesome girl, her manager is desperate that this all be kept under wraps. The story gets out anyway, and Black Jack is disgusted that the manager is more upset that the idol has lost her appeal, rather than being glad that she survived.
  • Idol no Akahon has the titular group of idols getting told that they shouldn't date (or be caught in anything resembling anything remotely scandalous) by the CEO of their talent agency to avoid alienating their fanbase.
  • Bakuman。 starts with then-middle-schoolers Mashiro "Saiko" Moritaka and Miho Azuki promising to marry each other when she becomes a seiyuu and he a mangaka (as part of the duo Ashirogi Muto), and she voices the female MC of their manga's anime. Since then, they've had as squeaky-clean a relationship as you can think of, never even kissing, and having a long-distance relationship in which they barely saw each other. Still, when the public got hold of their relationship, both Azuki and the Ashirogi Muto caught a lot of flak, as did Fukuda when he called out those behind the backlash while giving a radio interview.
  • This is part of the reason why Fuuta and Kirari have to keep their marriage a secret in Love Lucky, and also why Fuuta is hesitant to consummate their marriage since it would destroy her pure image.
  • The implication of this plays a big role in Heroine Voice. Suzu Ayase was a popular Idol Singer who got egged on by websites that accused her of dating an anime producer and going home with a fan of her work. Though these charges aren't real, they did play a part in her quitting idol work and relocating to a different voice acting agency. For that matter, being only seventeen years old meant she had no idea how to handle any of it.
  • A chapter of Not Your Idol goes into the "dating bans" many real idols in Japan are contractually obligated to follow: one flashback shows Pure Club reacting to the news of a fellow idol leaving her group after being caught kissing her boyfriend, and another shows Nina and her friends talking casually about how Nina won't be allowed to date anyone once she becomes an idol, leading one girl to muse that idols are basically "everyone's toy."
  • The plot of Oshi no Ko is kicked off when Ai Hoshino, a popular teenage idol, gets pregnant with twins and has to give birth and raise her children in secret because if the truth gets out, her career would be done and the production studio itself would also collapse. They take every measure they can for secrecy's sake, but one mistake costs them dearly, as a fan of hers discovers the truth and murders not only Ai's doctor but Ai herself as well.
  • The Natadeko Girls in Why the Hell Are You Here, Teacher!? are contractually forbidden from dating, to preserve their "pure and innocent" idol image. This makes all three of them have a lot of pent-up sexual urges that they're dying to act on.
  • Parodied in The 100 Girlfriends Who Really, Really, Really, Really, Really Love You. Rentarou's girlfriends (all 13 of them at the time) put on an amateur idol performance at their school. They get scouted by a big-name producer, and even the narration says that the "Idol Road Arc" is about to begin... until the producer says that this trope will be in effect. Since the girls are already all in a happy, if unorthodox, relationship, the very next page has them all walk out the door with the narration declaring the end of the Idol Road Arc.

    Comic Strips 

    Comic Books 
  • In Brat Pack, the whole reason the Brat Pack exists is that the so-called heroes' merchandising contracts require them to keep teenage sidekicks. The idea was that having minors around would force the "heroes" to control their personal vices, but the vigilantes have simply turned their sidekicks into monsters like them.

    Fan Works 
  • In One Year, Rise realizes that her being forbidden to date as an Idol Singer is one reason why a relationship with Yu wouldn't work out. Despite that, she still has the hardest time coming to terms with the fact that Yu ended up with Yukiko.
  • Happens in The Pokémon Squad. After KaBlam! was cancelled, June (who was fourteen at the time) was so upset, that she started smoking and drinking. At her age of twenty-five in the fanfic series, she is a full-blown alcoholic, smokes constantly, and in the episode "The Future is Evil", she starts pole-dancing at nightclubs.
    • As for Henry, he tries not to get himself into trouble. He just has the occasional drink at a party.
    • Doug Funnie, on the other hand, subverts this. While he's still as sweet as sweet can be (and even more so), he's also an alcoholic, due to various problems in his life (which usually have to do with Barney, Roger never leaving him alone, the stress of being owned by two companies, and his job at McDonald's which is dressing up as children's characters for birthday parties)
    • The main six from Recess caused a scandalous incident when they went to a restaurant and ordered alcoholic beverages (and they were able to get them because T.J. explained to the waiter at the restaurant that they were nine in 1997 so they were born in 1988 and could legally drink; however, those characters in the fanfic are under Comic-Book Time and are still nine), and a little kid found them, noticed that they're the ones he saw on Disney XD and told his mom as they watched them drunkenly sing the Texas song.
  • In POP Culture, teen pop star Cassie being arrested for drug possession and later coming open about her sexually abusive managers negatively affected her career. After a lot of public shaming and Slut-Shaming online, she was Driven to Suicide.
  • In Snapshots, hosts of Inkopolis News are not allowed to enter romantic relationships because of the potential for messy drama. When Marie tells Pearl and Marina this right before the contract is signed, Marina is indifferent (mainly because she's half-convinced she's in a Lotus-Eater Machine that wouldn't allow that much happiness anyway) but Pearl is absolutely crushed that taking this opportunity means holding off confessing her feelings to her best friend.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • A large amount of Death to Smoochy dealt with hosts of children shows living less-than-exemplary lives off-screen.
  • In Ernest Saves Christmas, a famous children's show host wanted to break out of the kid scene and have a more serious role but backed out of it when his role required him to swear. It's played with in that the character (who's a send-up to Mr. Rogers) clearly doesn't want to make the switch and still prefers working with children but his career as an actor had taken a big hit and he felt this was the only way to start getting roles again.
  • Inside Daisy Clover: Producer Raymond Swan (Christopher Plummer) wants Daisy Clover (Natalie Wood) to be "America's Little Valentine" and thus becomes a Control Freak over her life, forbidding her to smoke, wanting her to never see her mother again and chastising her over her romance with Wade Lewis (Robert Redford).
  • The Scream series:
    • In Scream 3, Angelina, the seemingly-sweet ingenue actress playing Sidney in the Film Within a Film Stab 3 (loosely based on the events of the past films), turns out to be a prima donna who exploited the Casting Couch in order to get the part. Unsurprisingly for a series that runs on mocking the cliches of slasher movies, Sex Signals Death kicks in almost immediately after this is revealed. In the original version of the script, meanwhile, she was supposed to have been one of the killers.
    • The ending of Scream 4, meanwhile, has Jill positioning herself as a mediagenic, wholesome Final Girl who the news media will fall in love with... except that she actually orchestrated the entire killing spree for expressly this purpose.
  • This is Carla Naples' problem in the 1958 Jerry Lewis film Rock A Bye Baby. She's maintained a clean, wholesome image (the word "virgin" is used a lot), never having affairs, drinking, smoking, or attending wild parties. On an impulse, she secretly marries her friend, a Mexican bullfighter, but he is killed the next day, leaving her pregnant — and she's so upset she tears up her marriage license. She and her manager employ a number of screwball-comedy schemes to avoid a career-ending scandal and thereby hangs the tale.
  • In The Idolmaker, Tommy and Guido aren't allowed to be seen smoking or drinking, and when Guido has an image-threatening affair with a reporter, Vinny gets her fired. Tommy grumbles that he's lucky he's allowed to jerk off.

  • In the novel Second Coming Attractions by David Prill, Ricky Bible is an actor who becomes famous for portraying Jesus. Needless to say, he's ambivalent about telling anyone that he and his (unmarried) girlfriend are expecting a child.
  • Spoofed in Ben Elton's High Society. A drug-addled rock star who became famous through a reality TV show lifts the lid on one of his fellow contestants, who tried to win over the public with a sweet and squeaky-clean image but was secretly a coke-snorting porn queen.
  • There's a short story in which a jaded ex-child star's pregnancy must be accounted for without destroying her Contractual Purity, so her studio arranges a hasty marriage to an actor whose manly public image also needs shoring up. (The groom is secretly into gay child porn, though he's never acted on his urges.) For added publicity, they're cast in a live-broadcast production of a play about the search for a unicorn. At the climax of the show, right when the surgically-crafted goat "unicorn" is supposed to walk up to the actress in a Sickeningly Sweet finale, the animal suddenly forgets its training, goes into a trance, and — live on global television — lays its head in the mother-to-be's husband's lap.
  • In W.E.B Griffin's Men At War series, there is Monica Carlisle, an actress who specializes in playing sweet young ingenues and mother of major character Eric Fulton. The studio that employs her goes to considerable effort to make her public think she really is like that, including things like covering up the fact that she has a son in his twenties (Who is only legitimate because she quietly married the father after she got pregnant to maintain her public image, and divorced him a year later), who would have been born when she was seven if one believes the birth date listed in her studio-produced biography. She's also The Prima Donna, who is despised by many of the lesser studio people who have to interact with her on a regular basis.
  • The Asterisk War: In volumes 7 and 8, Girl Group Rusalka plots to ruin rival Idol Singer Sylvia Lynneheym's career by starting a scandalous rumor that she has a boyfriend. This seems to be a case of Creator's Culture Carryover at work here; while Japanese otaku can get downright weird about idols' virginity, those in most other countries probably wouldn't care. (It's possible Rusalka's Empathic Weapon Lyre-Poros is messing with their heads, as Mahulena, the least compatible with it, is the only member to voice any objections to the plan.)
  • Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai: Female lead Mai Sakurajima is a child actress who, following the events of volume 1, has come back from a break in her career and is transitioning to adult roles, and she and her boyfriend, male lead Sakuta Azusagawa, have to spend a fair amount of effort navigating the purity standards of Japanese celebrity culture. After Mai accidentally lets slip to her manager that they're in a relationship in volume 3, they're told to hold off on dating to avoid endangering her Career Resurrection (which might cause her Adolescence Syndrome to relapse). However, after they're photographed together by a paparazzi in volume 5, she and said manager quickly move to get in front of it by holding a press conference to announce that, yes, she has a boyfriend, and (paraphrased) he's a civilian so would you all please behave like reasonable human beings and leave him the hell alone. Surprisingly, this works, and they have no further problems.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Game of Thrones: Invoked in-universe, where unmarried women are expected to be chaste and refined. This is referenced most concerning Margaery Tyrell, who is "officially" a virgin and behaves like a Princess Classic in public but more like The Vamp in private.
  • Dealt with in an episode of Shark, in which such an actress had been murdered.
  • An episode of Diagnosis: Murder had the murder victim (the Executive Head of a PAX-style Christian TV network) given a fatal heart attack by video clips sliced into a show she's reviewing that had images of a lookalike practicing Satanism (which she did in college), something that would ruin anyone's career, let alone hers.
  • Entourage:
    • After making the Aquaman movie, Vincent is "branded" by the studio as being family franchise only — which means that, until he completes all three movies in his Aquaman contract, the studio is unwilling to let him make his dream film Medellin (about drug lord Pablo Escobar) for fear of hurting the franchise. Of course, since admitting this to Vincent would naturally make him quite angry, the studio tries to deflect the issue by setting up a series of seemingly impossible conditions before they'll let him make the movie. Which backfires even worse, because while Vincent may have accepted the problem if they had told him about it outright, the fact that they lied to him and sent him on a wild goose chase causes him to make an unreasonable demand of his own — thirty million dollars or he's not putting on the tights again.
    • There is another story arc where Vince becomes romantically involved with actress/singer Mandy Moore when the two of them are cast in the Aquaman film together. When Mandy's handlers find out about the relationship, they attempt to force an end to it because they fear that Mandy's squeaky-clean, good-girl image will be damaged if the public learns that she's involved with Vincent Chase, who has a reputation as a womanizing party animal.
  • Married... with Children: Bud, in his capacity as Kelly's acting agent, manages to finagle his sister the role as the spokeswoman for Extra-EXTRA-Virgin Olive Oil. Unfortunately the oil is made by nuns, who insist that anyone representing their product be as pure as the driven snow, which presents a problem for the normally promiscuous Kelly. While she does try her hardest, ultimately Kelly breaks her how of chastity, but fortunately Bud does have someone else in mind who has been going decades without sex: his mother Peggy.
  • An entire episode of Monk, "Mr. Monk's Favorite Show", revolves around this concept.
  • Parodied in one episode of Chappelle's Show. One episode has a sketch in which comedian Paul Mooney plays "Negrodamus", a black prophet, who is asked why "White people love Wayne Brady so much." Negrodamus replies it is because "he makes Bryant Gumbel look like Malcolm X". A later episode has a sketch where Dave reminisces about spending time with Wayne, in which Wayne reveals himself to be so vile that Dave is afraid to hang out with him again. He's a pimp, murderer, and in one instance, actually says a line that he felt uncomfortable saying for comedy, "Is Wayne Brady gonna have to choke a bitch?"
  • An interesting example happened in the 12th season of the Spanish series Cuéntame Cómo Pasó. Back in the first season, six-year-old Ricardo Gomez was cast as 8-year-old Carlitos, and since the series has been on air for over 10 years, the now-16-year-old actor is playing an 18-year-old character who had to become sexually active as it was necessary for the series to reflect the Spanish "destape" age. A few people in Spain thought it scandalous when Carlitos and his girlfriend had sex. The scene was filmed overhead, so the nudity was minimal, but some people admitted to being uncomfortable watching the children they had seen grow up on TV having sex. However, the controversy in Spain was still relatively small compared to what one can imagine would have been the Moral Guardians outrage if something like this had happened in the US.
  • In the British drama, Drop Dead Gorgeous, a high school student is employed by a modelling agency, only to cause an uproar when scantily clad photos of her are plastered about town.
  • Lampshaded on Once Upon a Time. When Emma runs into Mary Margaret late at night and asks what she's doing, Mary Margaret replies a little annoyed, "I'm a teacher, not a nun. I was on a date."
  • In The L.A. Complex, Alan Thicke plays the creator and executive producer of a 7th Heaven-type show one actress auditions for. He expects everyone involved in the production to live as the Bible teaches. (This may be a Take That! to Thicke's Growing Pains co-star and current evangelical poster-boy Kirk Cameron.)
    • could also be Take That! or ironic Actor Allusion to Thicke himself as he has a reputation as a Ladies' Man and is one of the first to joke that his work on Pageants is all about access to the contestants.
  • In 30 Rock, Jenna Maroney at one point contracts to be the spokeswoman for the wool trade group, which includes a morality clause because of wool's wholesome image. This poses something of a problem for Jenna since she does have a habit of getting into shenanigans and freaky sex, but then, she reasons, she can always do that in private. Her problem is that her boyfriend Paul is a "gender-dysmorphic bigenitalian pansexualle" who, long story short, dresses up as Jenna for a living (and beat her in a Jenna Maroney lookalike contest). Hilarity Ensues when the president of the wool trade group and his wife come to dinner, and Jenna and Paul are trying to act normal...
  • In an episode of The Drew Carey Show, Drew wins a functional Batmobile in a contest and is forced to give it back once he has sex in it, violating the morals clause.
    Lewis: Batman's car has a morals clause? He kept a young boy in a cave!
  • In a second season episode of Elementary, a man's latex-clad body is found by a dominatrix. As it turns out the man is not at all into S&M - he was an important executive and upon retirement or death, his company owed him over 100 million dollars. The man who first found him was one of his coworkers. He dressed the body in the latex costume and called the dominatrix in order to later invoke the morals clause of his contract and void the payout. Ironically, the victim absolutely was violating the clause, just not because of any taste in S&M - he was sexually abusing his own son, who killed him when it seemed like his tastes might wander to his younger brother.

  • "Centerfold" by the J. Geils Band. The speaker fondly remembers a young blue-eyed, sweater-clad girl from school that he had a crush on way back when, and sees her again as an adult a porn magazine. He is initially shocked as it clashed with her squeaky-clean image, but eventually, he not only accepts it but embraces it.

  • In Ayn Rand's unproduced play Think Twice, a stage actress known for playing noble, innocent, Too Good for This Sinful Earth characters is desperate to play in a "cheap, vulgar commercial" comedy the part of a conniving social climber who drinks, swears and sleeps around. She declares she's done enough saccharine simpering, her producer be damned.

    Video Games 
  • Paz in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker is something of a parody of this treatment towards Japanese pop idols. She has blond hair, is The Pollyanna, and is voiced (in the Japanese version) by a Japanese pop star, who even contributes an Image Song for her for the soundtrack. But Paz herself is a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, who is a lot older than she says she is and hates her false identity more than anything else on Earth.
  • Brought up in the SNK Dating Sims Days of Memories, if the girl you-as-the-player want to romance is the pop idol Athena Asamiya. She will often be worried about how her career will be "tainted" if she begins dating the MC, which will happen in more than one game: in Boku no Ichiban Taisetsu na Kimi her manager threatens to resign if Athena's image is harmed, and in Boku to Kanojo to Koto no Koi a scandal breaks out when some pictures of her and the MC are leaked to the I-net.
    • Also alluded to in The King of Fighters XIII: if Athena wins against Benimaru she'll say "As an idol, scandals are taboo, so I can't go on a date with you! ♪", and in Story Mode Yuri will directly ask Athena if it's true that she can't "hang out with friends in public or date and stuff", which Athena will confirm.
  • In Shining Song Starnova, Mr. Producer discusses this trope during one of his internal monologues. He notes that talent agencies have morality clauses that allow them to terminate an idol's employment if she's caught dating someone, a fact which forces idols to keep their relationships (and other vices) secret for fear of being fired. Mr. Producer himself nearly fires Julie after discovering that she engages in Compensated Dating, only for her to talk him out of it.
  • Discussed in Ensemble Stars!: as all of the main characters are idols, they will be expected to remain single to appease their fans as long as they are performing. Kaoru, being The Slacker, mostly tries to ignore this and flirts with girls a lot anyway, but Love Comedy finally brings up the Elephant in the Room with Rei confronting him about the matter and forcing him to choose between his current carefree lifestyle and the serious requirements of being an idol. Kaoru ultimately decides to put his womanising on hold and wait for the day he and Anzu can be together if she will have him. (On a lighter note, in the same story Tomoya expresses a bit of envy that Kaoru even could be associated with such a scandal - he'd like to be considered cool and mature boyfriend material, but fans of his unit only ever seem to find them all cute...)
  • Persona 4, which prominently features the Idol Singer Rise, brings this up from time to time. In an attempt to convince her manager Inoue that she's through with being an idol, Rise claims that she's going to marry the Player Character once she graduates, although Inoue doesn't seem to believe her. If the player does get into a relationship with Rise, she still keeps it under wraps, despite being fairly openly flirtatious toward him, possibly because of this trope. She also discusses this trope if you talk to her while wearing your Featherman costume, saying that the stars of the show have to lead decent private lives, so as not to ruin the image kids have of them.
  • In Persona 5, this comes up in Hifumi's Confidant. Her mother, hoping to use Hifumi's shogi career to make her into a gravure idol, tells her that she's not allowed to date, since when she becomes successful, she can get any guy she wants. In Rank 9 of the Confidant, after Hifumi's reputation is ruined as a result of her mother's crimes to further Hifumi's career being exposed, you can enter into a relationship with Hifumi.
  • Yakuza 5: This trope ripples through the entire plot. Mirei's idol career was strangled in the cradle by the fact that she was married and pregnant, and the fact that she had a divorce and an abortion she didn't quite manage to keep secret in an attempt to salvage her career only made things worse. Meanwhile, Haruka, whose foster father is an ex-con and retired yakuza, has to keep everything about her family secret, or the scandal would destroy her career. Of course, very few producers are above suggesting the Casting Couch, and that literally everyone Haruka works with has even stronger ties to the yakuza is overlooked.
  • Idol Manager: The game puts the player in charge of an Idol Singer agency and lets them choose how to run it. Such choices include the agency's official stance about the idols dating and what to actually do if one of the idols starts dating.

  • In MegaTokyo, Erika reveals that she once had a pregnancy scare that could have ruined her Idol Singer career, and her boyfriend broke up with her so that it couldn't happen again and she would be safe. This only made her hate her job for destroying her relationship, disappear from the public eye, and become the snarky Broken Bird we know and love. Then she discovered that her boyfriend was a big fat liar.
  • When Safari Sam was outed, all hell broke loose, beginning the comic's endgame.
  • The major characters of Love Me Nice all need to maintain squeaky clean public personas to protect the image of the popular children's show they work for, to the point where one of them getting a boob job is cause for a minor crisis because it might make her look too mature and sexual for the part she plays on the show.
  • Sleepless Domain: The magical girls that protect the city are treated like celebrities or idols by the non-magic population, leading to some pressure along these lines. As a result, the official bodies governing them keep it secret that pregnant magical girls lose their magic upon giving birth to daughters, who in turn inherit unsually strong magical potential. Heartful Punch, a child from such circumstances, believes it's covered up because a pregnant teenager would not only tarnish the reputation of the warriors but humanize them and show they have lives outside of fighting (and dying) for others.

    Web Original 
  • Subverted in an xkcd strip with a video of Mister Rogers fighting his wife. Despite the buildup, it's actually just him talking to her about how much he loves her in spite of their differences of opinion.

    Western Animation 
  • South Park:
    • In the episode "Taming Strange", Foofa from Yo Gabba Gabba! decides to adopt a more adult-oriented image. Her castmates and Sinead O'Connor try to talk her out of it, but they are unsuccessful, and Foofa gives a raunchy performance.
    • The show deconstructed this with "Britney's New Look", painting this as a deliberate invocation in the style of The Lottery, where young starlets going into adulthood were routinely sacrificed to guarantee a good harvest. After they were done with Britney, they then turned to Miley Cyrus, saying: "Next year will be a good harvest."
    • The episode "The Ring" similarly riffed on how Disney treated its male teen stars, specifically how The Jonas Brothers promoted sexual abstinence even as the company made them into sex symbols. At one point, Mickey Mouse shows up to beat the brothers into submission when they voice a desire to live like normal teenagers.
  • BoJack Horseman gives us Sarah Lynn, former child star of the titular character's old sitcom who, after getting some very bad advice from BoJack, spent the next twenty years from an adorable, catchphrase-spewing child to a sexed-up pop diva (and later tabloid-foddering train wreck) in an attempt to prove that she was an adult.
  • Cheyenne Cinnamon appears to be a parody of this; she projects the image of a wholesome Teen Idol, surrounds herself with anthropomorphic candy who act as her bodyguards and managers, sings about "magic and love", believes in abstinence until marriage, literally has magical powers, lives in the Candyland-esque Sugar Town Fudge and spends the first (and only) episode trying to help a disadvantaged pregnant teen. However, this is all a mask; she's really a Hard-Drinking Party Girl whose Candyland-esque wonderland includes a cocaine volcano, which she partakes in often. While she believes in abstinence until marriage, her song on the subject heavily implies Technical Virgin and her interest in the aforementioned pregnant teen does the poor girl more harm than good and eventually gets her arrested.

Alternative Title(s): Prisoners Of Polly Anna, Mouseketeer Syndrome