Beyonce Publicist’s Takedown Request Causes Unflattering Photos to Go Viral

Super Bowl XLVII - Baltimore Ravens v San Francisco 49ers

Want a perfect example of the Streisand effect in action? Look no further than what happened this week involving Beyonce’s publicist, some unflattering Super Bowl performance photos, and a single email requesting that photos be taken offline.

After Beyonce’s well-received Super Bowl halftime performance, BuzzFeed published an article featuring photographs showing how fierce the singer was during the show.

Some of the photographs were rather… unflattering, to say the least, and that didn’t sit too well with the singer’s publicist, Yvette Noel-Schure. She decided to sent the following email to BuzzFeed, asking that certain photos be removed from the article:


Here’s one of the photographs that Yvette is referring to, a shot captured by Ezra Shaw of Getty Images:

Pepsi Super Bowl XLVII Halftime Show

Little did Yvette know, BuzzFeed is more concerned with pageviews than appeasing the wishes of celebrity publicists. Rather than comply with the request, the website quickly published the email and the unflattering photos in a new post titled ‘The “Unflattering” Photos Beyoncé’s Publicist Doesn’t Want You To See‘.

That’s when the whole thing started going viral, leading to a huge embarrassment for Yvette (or a huge success, depending on how you look at it). The takedown story and photographs were quickly published and shared all across the web and on social media websites.

As is often the case with these kinds of viral images, people began putting them through Photoshop and creating humorous derivative works with them:




It’s anyone’s guess as to how viral the unflattering photographs would have become had Yvette not requested that they be nuked from the Web, but it’s pretty clear that the Streisand effect had a pretty significant impact on how quickly they were mocked and turned into a meme.

Update: Apparently the unflattering photographs have all been removed from Getty’s website.

Image credits: Top two thumbnails by Chris Graythen/Getty Images, all other photos by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

  • groovehouse

    …and this is how we get, “no media, photographers on this tour” notices. Also, when I shoot an artist, the last thing I want to do is send unflattering photos to my photo editor.

  • Teresa C

    The whole glam thing is a sham anyway. Funny photos. Got a laugh from all the outrageous comments. Made my day, actually.

  • Mantis

    I knew this was going to happen as soon as I read about her publicists request. What a moron. Beyonce should fire her. Otherwise those photos would have been good for a quick laugh and it would be over in day.

  • Hammer

    Same deal as the White House warning people to not Photo Shop POTUS’s shooting photo. Honestly, did these people never spend time on a platground or in a locker room? Talk about asking for it!

  • John Goldsmith

    Any publicity is good publicity. Who’s to say this wasn’t done on purpose to keep the hype alive? With the US Inauguration – lip synced or not – and the Super Bowl, 2013 is shaping up to be a damn fine beginning to the year for Beyonce and company. I say let the publicist keep her job. I’m sure they are both laughing all the way to the bank, greenbacks and all!

  • Antonio Carrasco

    those photoshops are hilarious… where can I see more??

  • Kathleen Grace

    That’s what you get with social media. There’s no control anymore, life is raw. And any attempt to fix it is like shining a bright spotlight on it – making things much worse. The internet has given us thousands of ways to behave badly and to shame others. You can’t control things anymore, a publicist can’t manipulate things anymore.

  • John Goldsmith

    Exactly. Though I think those restrictions would likely happen regardless. Anyway… to capture that sentiment, this was going around yesterday. :)

  • NotAFanOfCelebrities

    Photos taken during a public performance or in a public venue, especially of celebrities, are fair game. If Bitchonce doesn’t want the photos circulated, she shouldn’t pose for them in front of thousands.

  • adamv

    In fairness. The publicist may have advised her against it, Beyonce
    insisted, the publicist wanted to keep her job/fulfill a feduciary duty and went ahead with it.

  • Mansgame

    to be fair, she’s been limiting photographers for years before this. Maybe this is just payback for 30 second limitations.

  • Mansgame

    That is a clear cut copyright violation. The whitehouse can easily just stop putting out pictures on flickr but they do so royalty free under those terms. If you don’t like it, don’t download it.

  • Richard Lurie

    Beyonce didn’t say anything — it was her publicist.

  • Richard Lurie

    Some of them should have made it through; I really like the hair flip one.

    But yeah, how did these even make it up in the first place??

  • harumph

    The real question is why any pro photographer would have wanted to publish those photos in the first place? Did the Getty photographer really think that it was good career move to post his worst shots?

  • ennuipoet

    I’ve been in debates all over the web about this, and arrived at this conclusion. The Photographer was probably speed shooting on a wireless straight to Getty, and the Photo Editor screwed up big time. Either the PE hated Beyonce or it was their first day on the job, these should never have been released into the wild. They should’ve been passed around the office and laughed at. (Anyone who shoots performance knows you are going to get some might unflattering shots when an artist is lost in the moment, I call it the “O” Face because they really are having a great time, they just LOOK awful.

  • v jr

    Orientation of image: 1
    File change date and time: 2013:02:08 08:57:10
    Image description: Singer Beyonce performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl XLVII Halftime Show at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on February 3, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
    Image input equipment manufacturer: Canon
    Image input equipment model: Canon EOS-1D X
    Software used: Adobe Photoshop CS4 Macintosh
    Person who created the image: Ezra Shaw
    Copyright holder: 2013 Getty Images
    Exposure time: 0.000625
    F number: 2.8
    Exposure program: 3
    ISO speed rating: 3200
    Shutter speed: 10.625
    Aperture: 3
    Exposure bias: -1.33333
    Maximum lens aperture: 3
    Subject distance: 22.2
    Metering mode: 5
    Flash: 16
    Lens focal length: 400
    Focal plane X resolution: 5728.18
    Focal plane Y resolution: 5702.97

  • Blayr

    I think it’s good that they weren’t taken down… Everyone at some point in their lives looks silly while doing something; it’s showing that everyone’s ‘precious’ celebs are flawed just like every other person… Showing that they’re human too.

  • Xactoish

    Well I think this is great way to show that on this perticuler day she tried to redeem herself from lip singing the inauguralation. Good story line on the photo

  • harumph

    That’s the only thing that would make sense. It’s either that, or the person responsible for posting the images to Getty is legally blind. It would be like a wedding photographer posting the most unflattering images of the day for his client to see. It really only makes the photographer look bad.

  • Eric C Vogel

    It’s nasty sentiments like yours my friend, that just adds to the escalating negativeness we find our society dealing with. Not a particular fan but, she’s a successful singer, worked hard to get where she is, and is a mother as well. Your misogynistic “version” of her name is not only in the same language that propaganda addicts use, but also shows zero class or empathy.

  • FuzzyWuzzy

    Ahhh, Streisand Effect, how I love thee…

  • TheMadScot

    It’s not that clear-cut. As works of the Federal Government, the photos taken by the White House staff photographers are in the public domain from the moment of creation. Disseminating them via flickr just makes it easy for the public to access them

  • sean lancaster

    If the publicist didn’t want these images to appear online then the publicist should have spoken up when Beyonce was deciding what she’d wear and the routine she’d dance to because the unflattering images didn’t have to be photoshopped.

  • TSY87

    who cares, people need to grow thicker skin. Throughout the course of any type of activity, there will be moments where if a picture were taken, we would look ridiculous… this just tends to happen more when people dance. Beyonce’s reputation would have not been impacted negatively if these pictures floated around the internet unrestricted.. now with this negative attention, I still highly doubt anything negative will happen.

  • Chad Rutledge

    When you try to imitate sexual moves and pass it off as dance at some point there has to be your o face.

  • Kyle Woodside

    Oh, boo-fucking-hoo. Everyone looks funny when they sing…

  • moviefann1

    What the photographer saw is what he shot. Beyonce performance was off the hook but she was flipping the hair, body shaking, face making which means she was into her performance and it was real. So why shouldn’t those photos be shown. Sometimes its just the way it is as there are many photos of Beyonce have been great but as far as I know there is no obligation for photographers and those who pay for them be selective.

  • nick

    Big deal! At the end of the day, who really cares!

  • Tamara Supplice


  • Honeychildplease

    HUMM yet she dances around on the stage like a dirty whore on national t.v….oh but she’s a mother smh right

  • fstop

    IMO I don’t think that the Photographer or editor have done anything wrong. The problem lies with the self indulgent celebrities and staff around them that bow to their every need. Photography is about recording what you see and yet all too increasingly these days we are see celebrities being photoshopped to death to make them look good, which in turn makes the general public believe they are like that all the time, when in reality they are not. It is acceptable that people sweat, have wrinkles, cellulite etc. We have young people getting into all sorts of self conscious issues because they do not look perfect like the next celebrity to hit the block, which they will never achieve. It is time that element of reality is brought back to the world, wether it shows these celebrities that believe their own hype in a bad light, so be it. We all look like dog poo when we first wake up. A photographer is paid to record what they see, this photographer did that, Beyonce is paid to sing not lip sync, if she is not up to the job, then maybe she ought to find another one. As for me I want to see the truth not someone elses fantasy.

  • Jason

    I bet worldwide celebrity and fame and wealth beyond imagination is such a burden to bear.

  • Mantis

    That’s a fair point.

  • Dozer


  • harumph

    Well, that kind of backfired then, didn’t it?

  • herzco

    I do hope the jerks at Buzzfeed and others who profit from posting unflattering images get something embarrassing posted about themselves. They probably feel just great throwing stones, but wait until someone posts images of them – They might not find it so funny.

  • Richard Ford

    Can’t trust the intelligence of anyone with a double barrelled surname.

  • Paul Adrian Montaño

    That’s just great.

  • Gary Martin

    I have to say they are very funny but hell she has to look some way bustin those moves on stage.She works damn hard

  • fun

    Thats a PR failure! LMAO HAHA!

  • Terri Wonder-Woman Kinckner

    She needs to get over herself. If I were her, I’d have fun with it. I’d show up on Saturday Night Live or something making awkward faces, or being she-hulk. She should have a sense of humor. The rest of the world certainly does!

  • pvbella

    Comply with a request? There was nothing to comply with.

  • RudyTorres

    They are not public domain. The WH is very generous in the usage rights but are by no means public domain without copyrights.

  • bree

    The photos werent even that bad. she killed the show and her passion was visible; nothing wrong with that

  • Dozer

    Are you kidding?!?!? When 10s of millions of people see your photos and they go viral… the magazine that first paid for those photos are going to pay this guy 4x his previous asking price next time. Sadly this photog gets paid more the worse his photos are.