In Hollywood, morals clauses began cropping up starting in 1921, when silent-film star Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle was accused of raping and accidentally killing a young actress at a wild party in San Francisco. A series of scandals led to popular outrage and calls for censorship.
A morals clause allows a buyer to bail on a contract if a star’s conduct is detrimental to the buyers interest.
In the late 1940s, morals clauses provided a convenient out for studios looking to get rid of suspected communists in Hollywood. For example Ring Lardner Jr. was among the “Hollywood 10” who were notified that their studio deals were being dumped under the morals clauses. These days there are other forces that push on top stars as an actor who has a ‘history’ can be much riskier to employ because bond companies generally don’t want to insure a motion picture or TV show that depends on such a person.
And speaking of morals, communists and conduct being “detrimental to a buyers interests” we have TV personality of defunct West Coast Chopper fame and Austin Speed Shop owner, Jesse James – a heartwarming story of a man who dresses up in Nazi garb (a joke he states), cheats — repeatedly — on his universally beloved wife with a tattooed stripper, the Amish-raised Michelle “Bombshell” McGee, but turns it all around and gets engaged to yet another tattoo enthusiast, Kat Von D (a.k.a. Miami Ink).
So in a world where words speak volumes, Gallery Books, a Simon & Schuster imprint determined that a Jesse James memoir is what you’ve been waiting for and is going to hit bookshelves later this year. James who writing experience is limited to, uh, well, nothing I can think of will write the tell-all book for those fans that want to know all the details about re-hab, his infidelities and how he found true love. The memoir is called “American Outlaw” not to be confused with the movie of a similar title, but it looks like bad is good again!
And speaking of tattoo chronicles… Kat Von D has her own illustrated diary that offers up an intimate look at her life and art.