January Jones, Alex Pettyfer, Megan Fox

Nation Photo Group; LRR/Fame Pictures; SNAP/GSI Media

What is Alex Pettyfer's problem, and why won't his PR team shut him up?
—Struk E., via in the inbox

You mean the fact that he has a tattoo over his penis that says "thank you"? Or the fact that he used the C word to describe undesirable women? Or just that he's not even that famous and he's mouthing off like he's the next Batman or something?

He's not alone—January Jones recently declared that girls in high school were "bitches because I was pretty." And Megan Fox—well, is Megan Fox. And here's the unbelievable truth:

Don't be surprised if all this seemingly out-of-control mouthing-off is all on purpose—and that the stars' publicists are in on the plan.

"Offensive remarks coming from someone with a 'bad boy' image shouldn't surprise anyone," notes crisis PR consultant Scott Sobel. "That strategy can actually be a business plan. You'll notice Pettyfer hasn't libeled or slandered anyone specifically, at least not that I know, and that might be at the advice of lawyers, a business manager or even a PR person.

"I'd advise him to let those that matter know his rants are planned and controlled."

BJ Coleman, a publicist who has represented Naomi Campbell, agrees.

"As long as he is able to stay true to his brand, maintain business contacts, and continue to appeal to his audience, he will be fine," Coleman says.

Indeed, I've also spoken to casting agents about this type of behavior. I'm told that, particularly on set, nastiness actually is a fairly common strategy among actors on the rise.

In many cases, the swagger can actually enhance the demand for a star, as long as said star doesn't cost a producer too much money—and the behavior doesn't last.

A young Angelina Jolie acted like a sexoholic train wreck just long enough, before cleaning up her act and reinventing herself as a world-saving mommy. Early in her career, Madonna insta-morphed from an egomaniacal slut to a 1930s-style floral-print gamine, saving and boosting in career in the process.

And don't be shocked if you see a similarly ay-maying transformation out of Pettyfer or Jones or Fox in the very near future.

"The problem with the rebellious bad boy notion," says Bretton Holmes, a crisis PR guy who recently represented Laurel Kagay, an ex of Bachelor contestant Brad Womack, "is that it really has a short shelf life."

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