Collage by Cathryn Virginia
If social media has taught me anything about celebrities, it’s that most famous people are just like the rest of us: horny, bored, and glued to Instagram. That’s why early reports that Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine has been sending raunchy DMs didn’t phase me; “Moves like Jagger” could only have come from the mind of a pervert, anyway.
But as more women came forward with screenshots of Levine setting up camp in their inboxes, I realized the depth of his transgressions against the institutions of both marriage and flirtation. Not only is he a cheater—he’s a certifiable cornball, which means it’s worth taking a moment to evaluate where he falls in the canon of A-list DM sliders. Or, at least, the ones who’ve been publicly exposed.
A methodology note: We omitted overtly sexual DM exchanges that were violent and/or involved underaged participants. This knocked a truly gross number of contenders out of the running… but that’s a story for a different article!
Drake, Drake, Drake. Canada’s thirstiest superstar was bound to make this list. In 2015, Mia Khalifa leveled a thinly veiled jab at Drake for sliding into her DMs with a “half-naked” shot that she called “cringeworthy.” Drake never publicly responded to Khalifa’s comments, and no screenshot of his DM ever surfaced, but based on literally everything else we know about him: I believe her.
RATING: 2 out of 10 eggplant emojis for a lack of creativity. I expected more from the guy whose entire persona hinges on being down despicable.
5. Adam Levine
TikTok is aflame with Adam Levine chatter right now, and for good reason: He apparently tried to name his new baby after a woman who he had an affair with, a move that would earn him a permanent spot in the Scumbag Hall of Fame if such a place actually existed. (If anyone is interested in funding that enterprise, please reach out.) Other women have since come forward with their own screenshots of messages from Levine, who has the same amount of game as the guy from your hometown who responds to every single Snapchat story you post but would duck down the frozen food aisle if he ran into you at the grocery store. How embarrassing.
RATING: 3 out of 10 “hahahaha”s. Not only is it deeply uncool to cheat on your pregnant wife, it is extremely telling that most of these women do not appear to have let him hit. With lines like “I would buy your ass a steak dinner,” who would?
4. Justin Bieber
The year is 2017. Justin Bieber is just about to get back together with Selena Gomez for the last time (so far). But just a few months before that, he slid into the DMs of a random gym in Savannah, Georgia, with a simple inquiry: Who was that girl in the small business’s latest Instagram post? Not a fan, apparently, given the fact that she posted screenshots of the DM on Twitter and followed up with pictures of her future husband. Icy!
RATING: 6 out of 10 Instagram Explore tabs. This DM slide is endearingly normal, a relic of Bieber’s pre-Christian era. It’s no “pissing in a mop bucket and saying ‘Fuck Bill Clinton!’” but then again, what is?
3. LeBron James
If a 2016 report from GQ is to be believed, one of the greatest basketball players of all time hits on women with the same line my coworkers use when they want me to send them our company holiday schedule. LeBron James has turned up in a few other inboxes since Instagram model Rachel Bush tweeted a screenshot of this message from him in 2016. Each time, James’ texts have been almost on the right side of innocuous… which makes sense, given the fact that he’s been married to his high school sweetheart since 2013.
RATING: 7 out of 10 immediate unfollows. This DM slide is all about plausible deniability, and I respect that. It’s just a shame that James shot his proverbial shot before Instagram released its “unsend message” feature.
2. Salman Rushdie
There’s something so poignant about a horny text from a world-famous man of letters—or should I say so poignanttt!, to borrow some flirty spelling from Salman Rushdie. As a 2011 blog from Gawker pointed out, Rushdie famously pulls, so maybe his horny DMs are all part of the magnetism. Even though he rebuked media mentions of his relationship with socialite and reality TV star Devorah Rose, the fact that he called her “so gorgeous and hottt!” over Facebook messenger will forever have a place in his body of work.
RATING: 8 out of 10 Booker Prizes, whatever that is.
1. Ben Affleck
Before he and Jennifer Lopez tied the knot—but after his ex-wife Jennifer Garner ferried him through the Jack in the Box drive-thru—Ben Affleck spent a short stint swiping on Raya, the members-only dating app that is supposedly for celebrities but is actually for Twitter-verified musicians and VICE employees. His time there birthed what is, in my opinion, the greatest celebrity DM slide of all time: a selfie video he sent to a woman named Nivine. “Nivine, why did you unmatch me? It’s me,” Affleck says. I am not ashamed to say that not only would I have kept this video to myself (and several of my closest group chats), but it would have completely worked on me. Lucky for J. Lo, I’m not on Raya anymore.
RATING: 10 out of 10 Raya bans for screenshotting. This is a perfect video.
BONUS: Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods’s sexting scandal actually predated Instagram, but I believe he deserves some recognition in this article for his work as a pioneer of using the internet to be horny—he is the Davy Crockett of online depravity. I’m pretty sure I found out what sexting was because of Woods. Jeff Bezos (another almost-ran) wishes his “alive girl” exchange sparkled like the conversations Woods had with his mistresses. Come on:
RATING: 100 out of 10 golf clubs to the windshield. Peerless athlete and peerless sexter.
Katie Way is a senior staff writer at VICE. Follow her on Twitter.