In regards to the photo in that post: it took some Internet detective work (and an awkward call to my office’s tech support explaining that I was trying to verify the identify of a historical figure and not looking at pinup websites for fun, YOU’RE ALL VERY WELCOME) and you are correct. That is not Betty Boop. I can’t verify who the model is, but the photo appears to belong to a group of pinup photographers called Retro Atelier.
In regards to the content: The text explicitly says Helen Kane ripped off Esther Jones and then became the inspiration for Betty Boop. Not sure how you’re trailing this photo around Tumblr without reading the text that accompanies it. But! I am glad to have the opportunity to research this further and share what I found.
Helen Kane tried to sue Paramount in 1932 for creating Betty Boop as a “deliberate caricature” of her. The defense showed footage of Esther Jones, known as “Baby Esther,” performing her boop-a-doop routine several years earlier, and Jones’ manager testified that Kane and her manager had seen Jones’ show in the late 1920s. A bunch of stage and film stars with similar acts also testified. Kane lost her lawsuit.
So how did the image get attached to that story? It appears there are no verified photos of Esther Jones. If you Google iamge search “real Betty Boop,” that Retro Atelier image is the first one to come up, which is probably how it ended up on that post.
I will add a note to that post indicating that it is not Esther Jones, but the story is backed up by history.
Being a “product of their times” is no excuse. Never let someone off the hook for bigotry.
the Lakota woman who was raped as an inmate at Fall River corrections facility (South Dakota) is testifying against the white male guard that raped her today; please send prayers of support and love her way, as what she is about to do can be traumatizing and promises to be emotionally challenging.
if anyone has anymore resources, feel free to reblog and add!