David Letterman Showed Emma Watson Photo of Her "Wardrobe Malfunction" in '00s Interview
The actor relived a mishap from a red carpet premiere in front of a late-night audience.
Well, this wouldn't fly today. Back in 2009, Emma Watson appeared on The Late Show, and then-host David Letterman asked her about a "wardrobe malfunction" that she suffered at the premiere of her latest movie. But not only did they discuss it—Letterman also made Watson relive the moment all over again. The host showed a photo of the incident to the 19-year-old star, a chuckling studio audience, and everyone watching the show at home.
Watson laughed off the mishap on The Late Show, but she has been outspoken about being sexualized by the media and other having other revealing photos taken of her. Read on to find out what happened between Letterman and Watson and to learn about other star interviews that have been reevaluated.
Watson's dress flew open at a premiere.
In July 2009, the premiere of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the sixth film in the franchise, was held in London. At the event, Watson wore a vintage Ossie Clark dress, and at one point, the wrap-style skirt opened up, exposing her underwear.
The press reported on the former child star's accidental exposure, with the New York Daily Mail writing, "[L]ittle Hermione Granger seemed unphased [sic] by the wardrobe malfunction. Good thing she was wearing a pair of granny panties, rather than going commando like many of her colleagues in Hollywood have been caught doing in the past."
The newspaper was referring to a period in the mid-aughts in which several young celebrities were photographed exiting cars by paparazzi, revealing a lack of undergarments. The U.K.'s Daily Mail also published a photo of Watson's mishap.
Letterman presented a photo of the incident to Watson.
Watson appeared on The Late Show not long after the event, and Letterman brought it up in the interview.
"Now, tell us what's going on here," the host said, holding up a photo of Watson's dress open at the event. The audience laughed, and Watson said, "Um, this was a small wardrobe malfunction. At least I'm wearing underwear." The audience laughed more as Watson shook her head and added, "I'm still learning."
She had already dealt with invasive photos.
By the time Half-Blood Prince came out, Watson had already dealt with paparazzi taking revealing photos of her without her consent. While speaking at a 2016 event for the United Nations' gender equality initiative HeForShe, she said that paparazzi took photos up her skirt as soon as she turned 18.
"I remember on my 18th birthday I came out of my birthday party and photographers laid down on the pavement and took photographs up my skirt, which were then published on the front of the English tabloid [newspapers] the next morning," she said (via Marie Claire UK). "If they had published the photographs 24 hours earlier they would have been illegal," she pointed out, "but because I had just turned 18, they were legal." The U.K. later passed a law against "upskirting" in 2019.
Watson also had another "wardrobe malfunction" published in the press. In 2012, photos of what was deemed a "nip slip" during the premiere of The Perks of Being a Wallflower were distributed online.
Other interviews with young stars have been reconsidered in recent years.
Today, past treatment of young women entertainers is being reevaluated, including inappropriate questions they were asked in interviews. For instance, in 2004, Oprah Winfrey asked Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen about their clothing size while discussing a rumor that Mary-Kate had an eating disorder. In 2003, Diane Sawyer asked Britney Spears a series of questions that have since been criticized, including about her virginity and her clothing choices.
Paris Hilton spoke out in 2021 about a 2007 interview with Letterman in which he repeatedly asked her about the 21 days she served in prison for violating probation related to a driving ban despite her saying that she didn't want to talk about it. On her podcast, This Is Paris, Hilton said, "It was like he was just purposely trying to humiliate me. During commercial breaks, I would look at him and be like, 'Please stop doing this, you promised me you wouldn't talk about this.' It was just very cruel and very mean."
Letterman apologized to Hilton during a 2008 interview. "I found out afterwards that I had offended you," he said. "I felt horrible about it because I'm not here to make enemies, honestly."
For more celebrity news delivered right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.