Celebrity Theft: A Recession Tragedy

Sure the economic collapse is hurting jobless poors or whatever but you know what's really tragic? That celebrities no longer get offered quality swag, so they have to steal it. Take Kristian Laliberte.

The socialgay-turned-reality-diva is apparently the latest outsized personality to turn thief. A tipster said Laliberte made off with five of his company's fedoras:

I FedEx'd him the hats and he promised to produce articles in Black Book Mag and others about my line 7 months ago, never heard or saw any of them, and is refusing to return my goods. I filed a theft complaint with the NYPD. He is a thief!!

Celebrity Theft: A Recession Tragedy

And it's not just your self-important UES cheek-kissers fueling the trend: Hollywood A-lister Jennifer Lopez is said to be guilty as well. Recall Page Six's Wednesday item about how the actress said she'd be keeping $50,000 of diamonds borrowed from a Beverly Hills fashion launch the star attended. An "insider" whispered to Six,

As far as Mr. Mouawad is concerned, Jennifer can have whatever she wants, but a premature demand seemed presumptuous.

Lopez's manager said she'd been promised the diamonds. Maybe he's confused: The fashion industry used to be able to afford such generosity, was once willing to write it off as the cost of doing business.

That's why stars used to get all sorts of freebies at "gifting suites" near showbiz industry events. Those rooms are getting kind of pathetic these days as the luxury goods makers have trouble selling their wares to anyone, celebrity endorsement or not.

So perhaps we should forgive celebs for trying to silently and unilaterally convert borrowed goods into gifts. Their innocent hearts are just trying to maintain the expense-free lifestyles to which they've become accustomed.

And it's easy to rationalize, because there's always someone running a bigger scam — like Michael Jackson, who right after last fall's economic meltdown tried to pretend a $7 million loan was a "gift."

Sorry, A-listers: If it seems like you're losing all your perks, maybe you need to ratchet down your expectations like the rest of us. We hear practically any celeb can still get free headbands, for example.