You didn’t need to be Olivia Pope to realize that this latest attempt at blackmail would crash and burn—and, ultimately, backfire.
A post-coital pic of NHL star Jaromir Jagr asleep while a model snapped a selfie has been making the rounds after someone reportedly tried to blackmail the two-time Stanley Cup champ.
According to Czech tabloid Blesk, someone attempted to extort Jagr by threatening to leak the photo of him in bed with a hot young lady who was only referred to as “Catherine from Moravia.”
It is not exactly clear if Catherine from Moravia was the one attempting blackmail.
The U.K.’s The Mirror reported that she was the alleged blackmailer—and also identified Catherine from Moravia more specifically as Kateřina Provazníková.
The New York Daily News also reported that the model was the blackmailer.
However, Yahoo! Sports reported that Blesk claimed the “image had been making the rounds on Czech social media. Someone came across the photo, and had the bright idea to attempt to extort Jagr.”
The New York Post reported that “Though the photo in question was originally in the brunette bombshell’s possession, like most sexy snaps, this one made the rounds through the social sphere in the Czech Republic before landing in the laps of the extortioners.”
Multiple articles have noted that the model in the photos is reportedly dating Czech junior player Dominik Rudl.
If that’s the case, one would think that Catherine from Moravia would perhaps have an incentive to keep the photo under wraps.
While outlets are reporting that Jagr shrugged his shoulders at the blackmail attempt, some claim that he made the insanely ballsy move of literally saying “I don’t care” when faced with the photo threat.
Here’s the quick list of problems with this attempt to scandalize Jagr fans. First, Jagr is single: no ring and no girlfriend, as far as we know. Second, while Catherine is a lovely young thing, she’s not that young. At age 18, she’s legal.
At 43, Jagr is a hefty 25 years her senior, but single men sleeping with attractive women who are less than half their age doesn’t transform hockey fans into purse-lipped pearl clutchers.
While Jagr is known for being a devout Orthodox Christian, no one in America expected him to live as a virginal Tim Tebow or Lolo Jones.
Thus, it is little wonder that Jagr reportedly told the blackmailers to puck off when they asked for—wait for it—the Czech equivalent of $2,000.
The alleged Jagr blackmailer simultaneously overestimated the “scandal” on their hands while being pathetically unambitious in their financial demands.
By the way, Jagr makes $3.5 million a year. With the NHL’s 82 games for the regular season, he would make $2,000 in well under five minutes on the ice.
Yet, Jagr apparently knew this scandal was such a nothing-burger that he wouldn’t spare his loose change.
The Daily Beast reached out to Jagr’s agent, Peter Svoboda, who seemed surprised we were even asking about the selfie and the alleged blackmail attempt. When asked if Jagr would comment, he replied, “I don’t know. I wouldn’t even ask him about it. I don’t think he’s too concerned about it.”
That may be an understatement. If anything, Jagr should be celebrating the scandal that wasn’t.
The most bizarre part of an admittedly strange extortion tale from an Eastern European tabloid is that Jagr has only risen in hockey fans’ esteem.
Catherine from Moravia’s bed picture has become its own meme with the hashtag #JagrSelfie, according to Greg Wyshynski at Yahoo! Sports Puck Daddy blog.
Fans have started taking selfies with the pursed lips and peace signs next to sleeping bedmates, stuffed animals, and, my personal favorite, a bottle of Jagermeister (Jagr, Jager—get it?).
Jagr comes across as the Teflon Don of hockey, an utterly nonchalant ice king (pun intended). “Model Tries to Extort $2,000 From Jaromir Jagr With Post-Sex Selfie, Fails Because He DGAF,” was the headline at Complex.
That’s not completely accurate. While it’s not clear that Catherine from Moravia was the blackmailer, the fact that Jagr DGAF (Doesn’t Give A Fuck) and is refusing to cower is.
Jagr’s sleeping sex selfie echoes the pic snapped of Justin Bieber--also, apparently, post-coital--in Brazil in 2013 by a “lucky” lady.
However, unlike the singer that my colleague Kevin Fallon so eloquently referred to as “Arrogance With Hair,” Jagr is not denying nor spinning out in a rage—and that may be why he’s winning.
“If you can diffuse a story, so it doesn't snowball and become a bigger scandal, that usually works to your advantage,” Brian Berger, the co-founder of Everything Is On The Record, a public relations strategy group, told The Daily Beast.
Berger cited the David Letterman blackmail attempt in 2009 regarding his extramrital affair with a staffer and how the CBS Late Show host faced the scandal head-on.
“With Letterman, he came out and spoke, and there was nothing left to chase,” he said.
The negative counterexamples of celebrities, and especially celebrity athletes, who have played the denial card and had it backfire on them, is long and illustrious.
“At the end of the day, I really believe people want you to be honest,” he said. “Then they’ll root for you on your comeback. Look at Michael Vick and Kobe Bryant. Bill Clinton.”
Inevitably, Catherine from Moravia is faring far worse online, even though it is unknown if she is the actual would-be blackmailer. The comments about her are steeped in misogynistic vitriol.
“There is only one thing this picture says...SHE'S A WHORE...LMAO…,” one man posted comments via Facebook regarding the Complex article on the selfie. Another wrote, “Women like her deserve to be assaulted... fuck you gold diggin hoes!”
How did a bizarre story about a NHL star staring down an alleged blackmail attempt become fodder for those who relish blaming victims of sexual assault?
The many misogynistic leaps of logic that needed to be taken to reach those vile sentiments is a testament to both the ludicrous, virulent hatred on the Internet, but also how men and women face different vitriol in even a relatively innocuous sex scandal.
Jagr may have scored big on this scandal. But before popping open the victory champagne, consider the blood on the ice.