How Much is a Scandal Worth?

Is there really no such thing as bad press?

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This fall, we've seen quite a bit of scandals; but perhaps none of them burned brighter than the news of Adam Levine's flirtationships with online influencers. I doubt you missed this, but in case you did, here's the punchline: Adam Levine, frontman of Maroon 5, is married to Victoria's Secret model Behati Prinsloo who is pregnant with their third child. Happily ever after... until it became public that, unbeknownst to Behati, Adam had been sending flirtatious DMs to women on Instagram like: "I'm now obsessed with you." and "Holy fucking fuck. That body of yours is absurd." And when asked if he was married, responding with a: "Yes but it's a bit complicated [...] I might get away." Overall, not cool.

Of all of the recipients of Adam Levine's DMs, Instagram model Sumner Strog made the most headlines. She classifies their correspondence as an "affair" and in a particularly icky confession, shares that Adam told her he was contemplating naming his child Sumner.

There's a lot to unpack here, but because we're the Money Minute, we're going to stick to the financial angle. In the entertainment business, people will tell you there's no such thing as bad press. But is there? Abso-freakin'-lutley. Just like a public company's stock can go down after publishing some bad news, so can a celebrity's net worth.

With that said, will Levine's career be affected by his personal lapses in judgment? That remains to be seen.

Maroon 5 announced a Las Vegas residency amidst the cheating scandal, and I am on the edge of my seat waiting to hear whether Adam's place in the headlines affects ticket sales, and if so, how? Better? Worse? As soon as I know, you'll know.

One thing is clear, however: Sumner's coming out ahead. According to Social Blade—a public database that tracks social media statistics—Stroh gained 42,528 Instagram followers when the cheating story broke. I know what you're thinking: Sure, this makes sense. People are learning about Sumner and are curious about her, so they'll throw her a follow. Big deal. What does Instagram followers have to do with money? Well, dear reader, everything.

Social media follower counts are tricky to valuate, but most reports put the value of 1,000 followers around $10, because brands on average will offer compensation for a social media partnership scaling up $10 for every 1,000 followers. That means that Sumner's social posts got $425 more lucrative in one day. That's a significant boost! If she's posting once a day, she just added over $150k/year to her income.

Wake up call?

So, what do we learn from all of this? Well— number one, be loyal to your pregnant wife. Duh. But, in all seriousness, the answer here is that the stakes for our decision-making are higher now that scandals can be monetized. So if just being a good person for the sake of being a good person wasn't enough incentive, now there's a price tag. Like I always say: life is long, the world is small, don't be an asshole.


How Much is a Scandal Worth?

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