Prince Harry Nude Photo Scandal: Media Has Sexist Double Standard in Covering, Experts Say (ANALYSIS)
When Prince Harry's naked photos from partying in Las Vegas surfaced last week -- the initial public reaction may be described as shock.
And since … apparent forgiveness.
How would Prince Harry's photo controversy been received if he were a woman instead of a man? Are there larger questions about how men and women are treated by the media?
Several experts of celebrity public relations and gender relations tell Celebuzz that sexism is at work in this scandal's news coverage.
"It is a double standard. A guy that does what Prince Harry did, it's considered funny," Sherrie Schneider -- co-author of the seminal women's dating empowerment book (and Beyonce favorite) The Rules, said.
What is the double standard at work?
"It's like Charlie Sheen, he's back on TV in five minutes. A woman that does that, she's a tramp, she's a slut," Schneider said. "Some of the younger [female] celebs have gotten DWI's -- they look like they're washed up. So, it is a double standard."
The same male/female double standard points are echoed by inveterate Hollywood PR guru Howard Bragman -- who has guided the careers of Paula Abdul, Chaz Bono, Isaiah Washington, and others.
If Prince Harry were Princess Harriet, the public treatment would have been tougher.
"It probably would have been a little harsher," Bragman said. "If it were a princess having an orgy, running around naked with a bunch of guys, it would have been harsher. But, I also think she would have been given the same offer to pose, to do this. I think the princess would have kept her job. We've had some wild princesses in the past. … They have a lot of job security.
"In that sense, there is a bit of a double standard," Bragman said.
Joking with exaggerated hyperbole, he said, "Of course, women are sluts, and men are playful … None of it seems to matter."
Prince Harry -- as has been globally reported -- left his fellow Royal Family red-faced last week when naked photos surfaced online, of the 27-year-old with numerous young women in his suite in Las Vegas.
Media mogul Rupert Murdoch -- whose UK tabloid The Sun published the photos -- wrote on Twitter over the weekend that Prince Harry deserved slack for the sexy indiscretions.
Prince Harry.Give him a break.He may be on the public payroll one way or another, but the public loves him, even to enjoy Las Vegas.Explains Schneider of Murdoch's Tweet, "Rupert Murdoch, he benefits from Prince Harry's escapades. So it's very biased."
— Rupert Murdoch(@rupertmurdoch) August 26, 2012
But the bias may extend beyond just the media -- and reflect how the public feels.
"I think the public reaction is kind of like the media, the public feels it's Harry being crazy again," said Schneider, whose next book Not Your Mother's Rules, hits stores in January 2013.
"Actresses ... Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Bynes ... who do this kind of stuff, they're washed up," Schneider said.
"It's like their career can be over. The public reaction kind of mirrors the media reaction, and vice versa. Women don't get a pass. Men do. And, that's why women are held to a higher standard."
In a nod to comedy -- but still addressing the situation -- the Las Vegas tourism board published signatures this week to protect what is called the "Vegas oath" of not carrying secrets outside of the city.
"“FOR SHAME! To those who traded in their pledge to their Las Vegas brethren, we deplore you!” an ad declared in USA Today last Friday.
Even though there may be a double standard -- Bragman, vice chairman of Reputation.com, said today's younger generation is more blind to the difference than in the past.
Or, at least, he says so.
"There's not a lot of judgment on them. There was a certain amount of judgment -- but people go on," he added.
"Sex and nudity are not particularly big issues, like they were, anymore."
Hilton and Kardashian -- though they may be classified as far different from the British royal family -- came to fame with sex tapes.
The Prince Harry nude photos may be considered a less risque version of the Paris and Kim controversies.
Regardless of gender differences, the forgiveness that has accompanied Prince Harry is due to the openness of the Facebook and Twitter generation, Bragman said.
"If you disrespect [younger people], that's bad. But disrespecting them is not signing an autograph or taking a picture," Bragman said. "DUIs, nudity -- boy, people get away with a lot."
Do you think there is a media double standard at work in coverage of Prince Harry's photo scandal?