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:
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