Gloria Allred, famed feminist attorney and celebrity scandal chaser, emailed an invitation to a press conference Monday afternoon with a subject line worthy of a tabloid banner: “Kylie Jenner, Tyga and the Kardashians—Has Scandal Journalism and Tyga Gone Too Far?”
In the annals of Allred cases defending pretty girls as victims of lurid celebrity scandals, this particular scandal was hardly a scandal at all before Allred entered the fray.
As ever, Allred—in her customary pantsuit of armor—delivered drama and outrage at the presser, holding her client up as yet another example of society exploiting young women.
The latest victim ushered into Ms. Allred’s lioness den was 14-year-old Molly O’Malia.
Allred claimed at the press conference the teenager had been forced to “tell her side of the story” after OK! magazine ran a feature in its Dec. 28 issue suggesting rapper Tyga had been pursuing the teen behind girlfriend Kylie Jenner’s back.
“We are here today to set the record straight,” Allred said at the presser, flanked by O’Malia and her mother, Anne Lowry O’Malia.
To set the record straight about what exactly? Until Allred’s three-ring circus, O’Malia was an anonymous, pixelated face in a showbiz story that fizzled to not that much.
On Monday, she was named, pictured, and her 15 minutes of tawdry tabloid fame would be querulously extended.
Allred was kvetching about her client’s privacy being invaded, when the most fundamental invasion was happening at the press conference—and the hyperbolic intrusion was orchestrated by Allred, not the scandal-mongering journalists she was spoon-feeding.
Until this moment, O’Malia had not been identified beyond OK! running a blurred photo of her face on the magazine’s cover, which Allred said was taken from her Instagram page, and referring to her as a “14-year-old model.”
The feature also included benign messages exchanged on Instagram between Tyga and O’Malia (whose name was redacted in the feature), as well as a quote from an unidentified friend of the teen saying that Tyga was “definitely trying to hook up with her, and she’s flattered. She thinks it’s exciting.”
Those damning words had led O’Malia and her mother to connect with Allred, who railed against “scandal journalism” for exploiting O’Malia’s privacy.
Yet here, all three women were simultaneously revealing O’Malia’s identity to the public.
They demanded an apology from OK!, Allred said, and were “preserving their options” for other possible redress.
“She has a right to earn her own reputation and not have someone hijack it and present it in a false light, in a sexual way,” Allred railed. “We are sexualizing young people, teenagers far too much. Don’t get me started on the pornification of our culture. It’s disgusting.”
“I know Tyga has some music coming out this month, ‘Gone too far,’” Allred added, referring to the musician’s explicit new single, apparently about sex with Jenner.
She then segued clumsily to a closing reference to her client: “I think that [Tyga] has gone too far.”
But it was not clear what made O’Malia—an exceptionally pretty girl with long, blond hair and beestung lips—a victim in this case, until she had been transformed into one by Allred.
Sniffling and dabbing her eyes with a tissue as she spoke did nothing to clarify her victimhood either.
But with Allred hugging her client close, her face inches away from the O’Malia’s own (which Allred repeated with O’Malia’s mother moments later), the message was clear: This young girl was a traumatized victim.
Indeed, O’Malia claimed Tyga had made her feel “uncomfortable” when he “asked me to FaceTime 3 times, but I did not do it.”
She said that even though her face was pixelated in the magazine, people had recognized her (she has 49.2 thousand followers on Instagram, after all), and that she didn’t deserve the “negative attention that I have been getting as a result of the story.”
“It’s crazy how so much can come out of nothing,” O’Malia said, unaware of the fantastic irony of this statement.
Minutes after the press conference, O’Malia tweeted that she had “never been more proud of myself.” (Later, she made her Twitter and Instagram accounts private.)
There was more irony still to come from Allred.
In case she hadn’t already made this clear, her client had “been hurt. Her mom has been hurt. A lot of tears have been shed over this and it’s not right! Where are the boundaries? Are there any boundaries any more in journalism?”
Allred has always insisted she’s in this business for the victims, for the women who call on her to help salvage their damaged reputations.
Yet, as Monday’s hysterical pantomime demonstrated, Allred is also a lawyer whose career traffics in celebrity scandals and the media’s coverage of them, from Tiger Woods to Bill Cosby, and now to a 14-year-old teenager vaguely connected to the Kardashians, another modern, demented media circus.
One might ask Gloria Allred where she draws the boundary herself—between sensitive, effective representation of a client, and absurd self-promotion.