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Publicity stunts that destroyed celebrities careers

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Leading up her 2008 album release, Ashanti was still a known commodity in music and movies, but she wasn’t the megastar she once was. Maybe that’s why she felt like she needed to make a big noise when it came time to promote her new album, The Declaration. Unfortunately, you can file this publicity stunt under: What was she thinking?

The plan was to use gotcha-grams as a promotional tool. The murder-themed ad campaign enabled fans to send fake news stories to unsuspecting friends that would lead them to believe their lives were in danger. The first music video released for the album featured a similar murder theme, albeit with an added racial angle. 

The whole thing was not a good look. In fact, it was downright ugly. The violent ads led to anti-violence protests, and Ashanti’s album sales suffered, resulting in her first album that failed to go platinum. The singer was subsequently dropped by her label, The Inc. Records, over a so-called difference in “philosophies.”

“That Ashanti would have to resort to lame PR stunts to sell records is as much an indictment of her label as it is of the singer,” reported CNN. “…Even as the sole female member of the rap collective Murder Inc., she was always more good girl than gangster moll. Sullying her act in the hopes that it would translate into album sales didn’t work. Not all press is good press.”