Overshadowed by Controversy

Hounddog: Don't remember it by title? Don't worry, neither did we, and now the Cracked IT guys are asking why we have "Dakota Fanning rape" in our Google cache.

There are some well-known works that gathered controversy throughout the years, and there are also famously controversial works in which the controversy, whether rightful or not, would overshadow most other aspects. Which isn't to say that works in the latter category have no other redeeming factor, just that most people would know little else aside from the controversial aspects.

Bad reviews alone do not make a controversial moment, and in fact some works can be well-regarded by critics and those who watched, read, or played the work, and not all works listed here are either laughably bad or just downright terrible. Plot-related twists are generally not what makes up the category either, even if such cases are subjective. The major qualifier is that the works would be known beyond the fans of a particular genre that there's little knowledge of some other parts of a work to the general public.

Controversies can be a result of the following:

See also Never Live It Down, Colbert Bump, Dancing Bear, Just Here for Godzilla, Mainstream Obscurity, Complaining about Shows You Don't Watch, Watch It for the Meme, Ruined Forever, Contractual Purity, Music Is Politics, Yoko Oh No, Cowboy BeBop at His Computer, All There Is to Know About "The Crying Game", Audience-Alienating Premise, and Tainted by the Preview. Compare and contrast No Such Thing as Bad Publicity, Controversy-Proof Image, and Deader Than Disco. When a whole genre gets held under controversy, it would become The New Rock & Roll. Sometimes may overlap with Bile Fascination, in which an audience is drawn towards a work because of their curiosity about the uproar.

Keep in mind that, despite how it is usually used, "controversial" is not the same thing as "offensive." You can have a completely family-friendly and non-political work that still provokes dissent, especially if the work is aiming for realism. In addition, please be cautious when editing this page.


Examples:

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    Advertising 
  • This French Orangina ad. It barely raised an issue in France, but when a few activists showed it to the U.S., people were so shocked by all the YIFF they saw that one of the later Orangina ads poked fun at it.
  • Just For Feet was a growing shoe retailer who distinguished themselves with basketball courts inside stores, an in-store snack bar, in-store appearances by professional athletes, and a large clearance section among others. Nowadays, however, they are known for being taken down by a terrible Super Bowl commercial accused of being racist and insensitive.note  The ad, alongside accusations of accounting fraud, helped bankrupt the company, which collapsed not too long afterwards, and it's all that they're known for now. See it here.
  • Texas mattress chain Miracle Mattress is nowadays better known for the 9/11 sale commercial that killed their business than anything else they've done. The commercial, depicting the chain owner's daughter accidentally knocking over two men who crash into two tall stacks of mattresses, went viral and got major backlash over its poor taste. A few days after pleas from the company stating it wasn't their intention to offend,note  the company announced its stores were closing down. A few days later, it was announced they would reopen their stores under new employees and management.
  • In 2013, Cheerios released an ad that featured an interracial family. Unfortunately, the ad became less known for its content and more known for the racist comments it received.
  • In 2017, Pepsi released an ad starring Kendall Jenner where during a photo shoot, she decides to hand a Pepsi to a cop during the middle of a protest. The ad was heavily panned for being tone deaf and promoting the message that Pepsi would ease tensions between protesting factions. Pepsi would eventually pull it due to the backlash.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Bunny Drop will forever be remembered for its ending where the main character dates and then marries his adopted daughter than any of its own merits before that. The anime gets off easily, though, thanks to ending halfway through the story and keeping it an innocent family tale.
  • Dragon Ball Kai was just reaching the end of its initial run when a lawsuit concerning Kenji Yamamoto's soundtrack struck, and all of said music had to be taken out in every re-run and re-release and replaced with equivalents from Shunsuke Kikuchi's score for the original series. While Yamamoto's soundtrack for the show was already divisive, its legally obligated censorship only made things worse, with a new base emerging to try and defend Yamamoto's plagiarism.
  • The manga Houou Gakuen Misoragumi barely made a blip in the U.S. But what was the general fan response? Absolute hatred. Both from the fans and the English publishers. Why? Because it's a manga that takes the Cure Your Gays route far too seriously, bringing along with it a whole mountain of Values Dissonance regarding lesbianism and gender roles. The English publishers treat it as an Old Shame and don't ever bring it up anymore.
  • Kodomo no Jikan, proposed title Nymphet, was licensed by publisher Seven Seas but never released in America due to its lolicon overtones. They had only seen the first book (which isn't too bad in terms of content). Then the controversy erupted. Initially, Seven Seas defended the title, but a combination of major book chains refusing to stock it and their reading the later volumes (which come very close to violating the PROTECT Act) caused them to change their mind and drop it.
  • Koi Kaze is well known for being about a romance between a 27 year old man and a 15 year old girl, who are also siblings who were separated at a young age. Despite the fact it covers the topic more maturely and realistic than other series that fact troubles the series reputation.
  • Lotte no Omocha! features a female protagonist who is a succubus. Well, OK, nothing bad about it so far until you learn that the female protagonist is also 10 years old and she will die if she doesn't drink Life Essence. It went about as well as you'd expect.
  • Perhaps the one thing most people remember about the 1992 film adaptation of Mr. Arashi's Amazing Freak Show is the fact that it was banned by the Japanese government for 14 years because of its explicit depictions of pedophilia and animal abuse.
  • Pokémon:
    • "Electric Soldier Porygon" is known far more for causing a record-breaking number of seizures in Japan upon its initial airing, and the resulting worldwide ban of the episode, than the actual content itself. This extends to the Pokémon Porygon itself, which despite not being the actual cause of the flashing, that would be Pikachu, is sweeped under the rug as much as they can for no other reason then it being the Pokémon featured in the episode. Even its evolutions have been hit with it, as they've made no major appearances in the series.note 
    • Pokémon: The Mastermind of Mirage Pokémon is more known for being associated with the controversy that followed after Pokémon USA (now known as The Pokémon Company International) fired the English voice actors that had been working on the anime since Day One in favor of newer, cheaper ones.
    • Pokémon: Genesect and the Legend Awakened is mostly remembered for the fan backlash surrounding the inclusion of a second, female Mewtwo and the implied (but eventually debunked) retcon of Mewtwo's backstory that it created, to the point where it has its own folder on the film's YMMV page. This backlash extended to Mega Mewtwo Y, which debuted in the film as the second Mewtwo's Super Mode and was subsequently "tainted." Only when it was used in the Final Smash of the Super Smash Bros. Mewtwo (who is mostly based on the original) was its association with the movie weakened.
    • The XY&Z season of the XY series will likely never be remembered for anything more than Ash's failure to win the Kalos League. While Ash losing Leagues is nothing new, various signs (such as the episode's title, promotional material, and Ash's growth throughout the series) seemed to point towards him finally winning, and yet the rug was pulled under everyone. Moreso than any other League, this one suffered a huge amount of fan backlash across both sides of the Pacific.
  • The 1993-1994 and 2000-2002 OVAs of Stardust Crusaders drew considerable attention in 2008 when Egyptian fundamentalists discovered shots of the main antagonist DIO, a non-Muslim, reading the Koran.Note  As a result of this outrage, Studio Shueisha cut off ties with A.P.P.P., circulation of the OVAs was temporarily halted to remove the Koran text, and Hirohiko Araki himself was forced to redraw the original manga to replace mosques and other Muslim buildings that get harmed or destroyed with more secular constructions. The whole incident and the resulting censorship was heavily scorned by critics as "embarassing," and Shueisha's distancing from A.P.P.P. is heavily believed to be one of the leading contributors to the failure of A.P.P.P.'s 2007 film adaptation of Phantom Blood.
  • The only time Stitch! comes up amongst Western Lilo & Stitch fans is to complain about it being a Stealth Sequel and how it ruins the original series' theme about "ohana" and family. Even fans of the anime hate that episode, though, as originally the anime was marketed as an Alternate Universe.

    Automobiles 
  • The Ford Pinto was actually a good car with better reliability than its American competitors, but is remembered for the gas tank flaw from its first couple of years model that made it explode in rear-end collisions. Heck, even the trope referring to exploding cars is called Every Car Is a Pinto!
  • Buick are in this state right now. The decision to permanently discontinue the Verano sedan in 2017 hasn't been met well with some fans, and the new emphasis on crossovers and SUVs (which is a trend) is also equally as controversial, with some Fandom stating They Changed It, Now It Sucks and others are accusing Buick of being in a Dork Age.
  • Google's self driving car/Automated Automobiles project is seen as this, with the viral of officers pulling over a self-driving car being an issue, along with some people seeing it as Reed Richards Is Useless technology (and by extension, Job-Stealing Robot). The car, which according to Word of God was supposed to be "cutesy" is seen as The Grotesque by some people. It doesn't help that, in Europe, Google is better known as a search engine company. This overlaps with Ludd Was Right, for some people on the blogosphere (including one now-inactive Tumblr site).
  • Tesla's Model 3 is this, even though only prototypes were shown:
    • There is controversy over whether they can build enough cars by 2018, and even debate online over whether Tesla founder Elon Musk is a Corrupt Corporate Executive, an Uncle Pennybags figure or a Snake Oil Salesman, along with people stating that the Tesla Model 3 is lousy in design terms (something that some people have called the Tesla Model S, considered to be The Mockbuster of a General Motors design or a Jaguar design, with the only exception being the powertrain (it being electric, the General Motors and Jaguar being petrol, diesel or hybrid).
    • Some sites accused Tesla of offering Vaporware or an automobile stuck in Development Hell. One blog also considered the car as an unmanly car, with its powertrain and styling and said it basically horrible. The car hasn't even been launched yet, but some people consider Tesla as a manufacturer of The Alleged Car.
  • Uber counts, not only due to the Automated Automobiles, but also being a way to steal taxi driver's jobs, as the many Uber protests show. The controversies surrounding its CEO Travis Kalanick haven't helped matters.
  • The concept of an electric car in general has been overshadowed by controversy since the attempts by many major companies to produce them in the '90s. The cars flopped, but conspiracy theories grew that the automotive industry deliberately mismarketed and sabotaged their own efforts in order to continue making money via the oil industry. While it's generally agreed now that the technology to create a decent electric car wasn't quite there at the time, the oil industry did directly campaign against electric cars in their marketing and literature, poisoning the whole concept as unmasculine. Much of this perception has stuck around today and contributes to the criticism against the Tesla. And this is before we get into the world of hooting coal burner types who view any attempt at ecological consciousness to be a plot by the self satisfied to condescend to them.

    Comic Books 
  • The Ant-Man comics have long lived under the specter of the time where the first Ant-Man, Hank Pym, hit his wife, Janet. What makes this frustrating to certain comics fans is that, while nobody defends the hit itself, it was a one-time incident that was taken out of context and generally agreed to have been blown out of proportion,note  yet people will still jump into a conversation about Ant-Man with "He's a wifebeater!" Even if the conversation is about one of the other Ant-Men, Scott Lang or Eric O'Grady. Thankfully, a well-received Ant-Man movie seems to have finally allowed the character to start moving past it.
  • Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog
    • Ken Penders is infamous for gaining copyright over all the characters (and at least one concept) he created for the series, which he claims is because they are rightfully his.note  He is also infamous for his feud with other Sonic writer Karl Bollers, and his questionable behavior online. This has given him many detractors, not because of his work, but because they think he's an arrogant jerk who demanded more than he deserved.
    • Ian Flynn, his successor on the comic, generally has a better reputation. Unfortunately, the massive Broken Base surrounding his run (issue 200 onwards in particular) and accusations of being an over glorified fan fiction author have likely overshadowed his work.
    • The Flynn penned storyline Mobius 25 Years Later (a follow up to the Penders storyline of the same name) contains a scene in which the protagonists find Rotor, who has been tortured by the Dark Legion. This wouldn't have been too infamous if the Word of Gay hadn't happened around that time, and had it not been implied that the Legion murdered Cobar (who Penders intended to be Rotor's boyfriend). Rotor being Demoted to Extra in the main series didn't help.
  • Batgirl (2011) has developed a reputation for getting caught up in a controversy of some sort every other month, greatly overshadowing the actual content of the book itself. First there was controversy over the very premise (having a well-known crippled character no longer be crippled, which was seen as offensive to the disabled), then there was controversy over one of the first villains being a guy who kills people that experienced miraculous recoveries (seen as insulting people who disliked the change), then there was outrage over the usage of an Unsettling Gender Reveal (interpreted by some as transphobic). Finally, it's been at the center of a massive debate about the role of social justice and feminism in fiction after a cover for the comic, which was confirmed by Word of God to have been a homage to The Killing Joke, was pulled by DC.
  • Rick Remender's run on Captain America was known primarily for the loads and loads of Unfortunate Implications it had. First, there was Steve Rogers suddenly displaying some somewhat sexist behaviour regarding Sharon Carter. Then there was Remender retconning his father, an Irish immigrant, into a stereotypically abusive drunk. Then, there was Sharon Carter being Stuffed into the Fridge in an idiotic heroic sacrifice. And finally, there was the relationship between Sam Wilson and Jet Black, Arnim Zola's daughter. See, she's chronologically, like, five but has the body of a grown woman and runs around in what can be described as black electrical tape. The relationship was filled with squick, and has never been mentioned again.
  • Nick Spencer's run on Captain America, immediately following Remender's, also rapidly became infamous for the frequency with which it was caught up in controversy. It began when the first issue of the run ended with the "shocking reveal" that Captain America had been a sleeper agent for the neo-Fascist terrorist group HYDRA his entire career, which garnered an overwhelmingly negative reception. Spencer insisted that the revelation was true, only to reveal in the next issue that it was the result of the Red Skull using a Reality Warper to change Cap's past, leading to Spencer being attacked once again for lying about it. Subsequent issues also built up a reputation for Spencer unsubtly inserting his politics and/or swipes at critics, the latter of which he also did on Twitter. Also, on Twitter, Spencer condemned the viral video of a bystander punching a Neo-Nazi at a protest on the basis that all violence is wrong. This was retweeted by the Neo-Nazi in question, which further ruined his reputation. Later on, Marvel would try to distance Hydra from Nazis, which fell flat on its face due to not only the organisation's origins, but its MCU history. This led to mockery from all sides. And then, the Secret Empire event happened, wherein Steve is found worthy of wielding Thor's hammer, which many found to be insulting, especially given that the original Thor, who's displayed much more heroic traits than Hydra Cap, was still unable to wield it.
  • Identity Crisis is probably best known for the fact that it included an extremely graphic rape scene (while no genitals were shown, everything else was) and a general sense that it caused The DCU to slip into an annoying period of Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy for a while. The actual plot is an almost totally mundane murder mystery, and the rape is a Red Herring.
  • The volume 94 of manga-esque version of Monica's Gang got a lot of attention in Brazil due the main character, Monica, saying "my body, my rules" during a discussion about her using or not dental braces. Some people started to spread only the panel where Monica said "my body, my rules" by alt-right groups on social networks and these groups quickly started to accuse the comics of spreading feminist ideas and the writer of the history was harassed in her personal Facebook page. In the end, the official page of Monica's Gang made a statement explaining the situation which dissolved the controversy.
  • My Little Pony Annual 2014 was dead on arrival the instant someone noticed a certain incredibly controversial Original Character the writer had slipped in, and the entire story and plot was instantly forgotten in favor of intense arguing, debates, Flame Wars, and even calling for said writer to be fired. The writer and IDW still take flak for it from the fanbase, and the majority of the fanbase only knows that issue as "the one that caused all the arguing".
  • Devin Grayson's run on Nightwing infamously had the eponymous character get raped by a female Anti-Hero named Tarantula. It was somewhat awkward, and became infinitely more so after Grayson asserted that what she wrote was not rape, but rather just "non-consensual sex". The scene and the bizarre statement explaining it are now what the run and, to some extent, Grayson herself are predominantly known for, and usually the zenith of any discussion regarding either of them.
  • The long and acclaimed career of Peter David, known for his work on The Incredible Hulk and X-Factor, was quickly tarnished in October 2016 when he gave a lengthy racist rant against Romani people in front of a large crowd at New York Comic Con.
  • Rat Queens saw its popularity evaporate almost overnight after artist and co-creator Roc Upchurch was arrested for domestic violence. While Upchurch was fired and replaced very soon afterwards, he still receives royalties for sales of any issue or trade in which his art appears, which has made many of the series' fans hesitant about continuing to buy them. Further controversy arose after Tess Fowler, the third artist to handle the book, and the only woman involved with it, was fired. Kurtis Wiebe insists that she was let go so that he could put the book on hiatus and figure out what he wants to do with it, but Fowler has claimed that Wiebe fired her because he was planning to bring back Upchurch.
  • Robert Crumb has drawn a lot of stories that really pushed the boundaries of social taboos. Some of them frequently turn up in analysis about the freedom of speech because they are extremely offensive to women and African Americans.
  • The short-lived Spider-Man spin-off Slingers is probably best remembered for having "internal variants" in its first issue, where, in order to drive up sales, Marvel expected people to buy four copies, with each copy showing the events of the first issue from a different character's perspective. Needless to say, this did not result in increased sales, and the series was cancelled after a year.
  • Dan Slott's run on Spider-Man, once considered the best run in years, has been overshadowed by the antics of Slott himself, who has become known for teasing, debating, and quite occasionally even outright insulting fans online.
  • The Teen Titans tie-in to Brightest Day was considered a pretty bad comic to begin with, but the only thing anyone remembers about it is that it contained the gruesome death of Ryan Choi, The Atom and one of DC's few non-Captain Ethnic Asian heroes. The firestorm the death ignited was so big mainstream news sources covered it, and while Ryan has since returned (indeed, it was revealed he never completely died at all) it's still remembered as a crowning example of how not to kill a character.
  • The first two Tintin stories, Tintin in the Land of the Soviets and Tintin in Africa are both controversial to this day. The first is essentially an Anvilicious anti-Soviet, anti-Communist propaganda piece that even Hergé saw as an Old Shame and refused to have updated, colorized or even reprinted. The second has been updated (notably by removing scenes where Tintin makes huge inroads into Congolese wildlife), colorized and reprinted, but has gained more controversy since the 1960s because of the outdated colonial times imagery and offensive depictions of black Africans. A similar thing happened with The Shooting Star, which was made during the Nazi occupation and features a banker with a big bulbous nose as the villain, who not only looks a lot like a stereotypical Jew, but also has a Jewish sounding name Bohlwinkel. Hergé denied that this was intentional and claimed the name was just a Marollian note  name for "candystore". He was actually surprised that it was a Jewish surname too. The original story had the banker being American too, which was changed in the reprints to the fictional state Sao Rico. There was also a minor scene poking fun at two rabbis, gloating over the fact that the world will end because then they wouldn't have to pay their debts off, which was also removed.
  • Uncanny Avengers and its writer, the until-then-highly-regarded Rick Remender, fell victim to this. The book was intended to be an anti-racism story showing mutants and humans working together for tolerance, but unfortunately, a very badly worded Character Filibuster in the fifth issue lent the impression that the message was "Minorities need to give up their culture and assimilate to be accepted." When criticized on Twitter for this scene, Remender responded with a strange, angry outburst that infamously included a Suicide Dare. He apologized the following day, but the damage was done, and Marvel proceeded to greatly de-emphasize the book in its marketing. Reflective reviews generally see it as a So Okay, It's Average series with extremely confused politics.
  • X-Men Gold has been consumed by controversy since its very first issue when Indonesian comic artist Ardian Syaf's was found to have inserted Indonesian memes used to express sympathy with Islamic fundamentalism and far-right politics. Because of this, Marvel terminated his contract. Everything else about the comic such as the plot seems secondary, since the controversy is the only thing most people discuss about it. What made it worse is that Marvel had announced that they would tone down the political elements in their comics with X-Men: Gold and Blue being used as an example of a superhero title that would avoid this.
  • Pepe, a character from the comic Boy's Club, became a widespread meme after his debut in 2007. However, the usage of Pepe as a meme turned awry in mid-2016, when many alt-rightists around the time of the US election used the symbol as a way of expressing racist or anti-Semetic opinions. The damage had been done by the time the Anti Defamation League classified Pepe as a hate symbol. Matt Furie, the creator of Pepe, was angry that his character had transformed into this, and has since killed off Pepe in his comics by the time the election was over.

    Fan Works 
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfiction The Conversion Bureau and its numerous spinoffs are most well known for their misanthropy, Unfortunate Implications (least of which include the advocating of genocide), and the intense Flame Wars that often accompany these fics. One spin-off writer, Chatoyance, is especially controversial for essentially taking the above and taking them Up to Eleven and then some. Three particular stories stand out: Ten Minutes: Aftermath, a personal Fix Fic that was interpreted (due to how Chatoyance posted a link right on the original author's comments page) as a middle finger to the fans of the original Ten Minutes story; The Reasonably Adamant Down with Celestia Newfoal Society, which was little more than a caustic insult leveled at anyone that didn't like her work; and finally, the short story New Universe Three: The Friendship Virus, TCB fic In-Name-Only that veered straight into Unfortunate Implications territory with its overtly misandric messages.
  • My Little Unicorn is remembered more for the author's near endless complaining about MLP:FIM and its reputation than the fact that it's a fanfic at all. His notoriety in the Digimon and Teen Titans fandoms haven't helped.
  • Pretty Cure Bukatsudo Energetic is at least as well known for the author's defensive behavior against anyone who dared to even attempt any Curefic with an "afterschool activities" thematic, which helped end that thematic for Curefics for the foreseeable future, as it is for its merits as a quality story. Not helping is that said behavior earned her at least a few enemies within the Pretty Cure fandom, even among those who enjoy the story.
  • Fan fiction author Sky the Hedgehog 47 is more known for his controversial viewpoints on various things and vitriolic rants in his scraps section (where he brings up said viewpoint), then for any of his actual work. This has made him a very polarizing figure in the community.

    Films — Animation 
  • Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker is remembered for two controversial scenes: the Bonk vs. The Joker scene in which the latter kills the former with the "Bang!" Flag Gun, and the entire flashback scene, with the very noteworthy part near the end in which Robin does the same thing to the Joker. Even before the film was released to video and DVD in 2000, movie companies were coming under heavy criticism for violence in films during the fallout of the Columbine shootings that had happened over a year ago, and WB felt pressured and afraid that Moral Guardians and Media Watchdogs would object that the movie would be a repeat of Columbine. As a result, the original release date (Halloween 2000) was postponed, and the film heavily edited and toned down for release on December 12. But even then, the Bowdlerised version (especially with the Joker's death scene changed to a Family Unfriendly High Voltage Death) didn't help matters, but only caused unrest among many Batman fans that lasted for over a year. That unrest thankfully quelled down when the film developers still retained the original version in shelves and eventually released it on DVD as "the original, uncut version" under the PG-13 rating on April 23, 2002 (just three days after the third anniversary of the Columbine tragedy) following an online petition to have it released. The same uncut version would be digitally enhanced and released on Blu-Ray nine years later.
  • Batman: The Killing Joke ran right into this. The original Killing Joke comic had the Joker paralyzing Barbara Gordon as its inciting incident, with little statement of who she actually was in the story itself. The Animated Adaptation attempted to correct this by expanding Barbara's role in the story, but it was done in a way that comes off with more problems: namely the sexual tension between Batgirl and Batman.note  This culminates in the two having sex which Squicked out a good portion of the audience, especially those who have seen Batman as more of a paternal mentor to Batgirl in other media. And that's not even getting into the debates on whether the first half of the movie, which set Barbara up as a character, should've even been made in a movie called "The Killing Joke".
  • Coonskin, Ralph Bakshi's satirical Blaxploitation re-imagining of the Uncle Remus tales. The Rev. Al Sharpton famously criticized the film without even seeing it, saying, "I don't got to see shit; I can smell shit!" This has given the film some very undeserved bad publicity that it only managed to shake off over the years, when professional critics and black audiences praised it for being a great movie that is absolutely the opposite of being racist. Even Spike Lee is a fan.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Everyone will agree that A Clockwork Orange is a controversial film. However, in the United Kingdom, its reputation is more legendary because the film was banned there from 1971 until Kubrick's death in 1999. Therefore, its controversial reputation remained far more intact than in other countries.
  • A Dog's Purpose got hit with outcry from animal rights groups when a behind the scenes video featuring a German Shepard refusing to perform a water stunt and ends up soaked got leaked online. While the authenticity of the clip has come under question, the concept disgusted people so much that IMDb users gave the film one star.
  • A Serbian Film is a low budget Torture Porn flick that has been seen by few but is well known by many for being extremely bloody and disgusting, and it's been banned in several countries due to as-yet-unsubstantiated but persistent rumors that it contains footage of unsimulated child molestation. The actual plot concerns a destitute man who gets sucked into the Snuff Film industry as a way to make ends meet, and the director insists it's meant to all be a metaphor for the atrocities of The Yugoslav Wars. Most don't believe him.
  • Alice Through the Looking Glass was initially known for being Alan Rickman's last film before his death, but now, it's largely overshadowed by the nasty divorce of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, including Heard alleging that Depp beat her, the week before it came out.
  • At one point it became impossible to talk about Allied without mentioning the rumors that the reason Brad Pitt, one of its stars, separated from his wife Angelina Jolie was because he supposedly had an affair with his co-star in this film, Marion Cotillard, who's already in a relationship. It went to the point that Cotillard's partner issued a public declaration stating that she backed her and lashing out against those who spread the rumors. The rumors finally fizzled out after the movie came out and reviewers mostly agreed that Pitt and Cotillard had next to zero chemistry together on screen, with one critic writing that if they were actually lovers in real life, they should be given the Oscar for how well they "hid" it on the film.
  • Aloha is a Box Office Bomb that is little remembered except for the outcry over casting Emma Stone as the supposedly half-Chinese half-Hawaiian "Allison Ng".
  • Baise Moi is a national example of this. In France itself, the film is badly regarded because most people know that it is an adaptation of the book of the same name by writer Virginie Despentes, known for her "tragic and depressing" tales about prostitutes. Some French people would have loved to ban the film for no other reason than the fact that one of her books somehow got a movie adaptation. Whenever a foreigner has heard about it they say either that it was so controversial in France that there was a special rating for it or that it has hardcore sex scenes. The latter was the cause of its red link on this very wiki.
  • The Basketball Diaries is more notorious these days for allegedly inspiring Columbine co-conspirators Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris to go on the infamous school rampage. The controversial part in question involves the main character walking into his classroom in a Badass Longcoat and mowing down everyone he hates with a shotgun while his friends cheer him on. A school rampage wasn't even the main subject of the movie; this scene was actually a fantasy that the character has as his drug addiction starts spiralling out of control.
  • The original Batman movie is legendary among fans and Hollywood insiders alike for its Troubled Production, which dragged out over nearly ten years. Seven of those years alone were spent shaping the script, which at one point had to be scrapped entirely and Tom Mankiewicz dismissed in favor of Sam Hamm and Warren Skaaren. Then there was the casting of Michael Keaton, who was thought to be all wrong for the Batman role and was booed by British fans as soon as filming began just outside London. Sean Young was cast as Vicki Vale but broke her arm, leading to a scramble for a replacement. Director Tim Burton, who had directed only two much smaller-budgeted films previously, suffered a panic attack early on and had to be convinced not to quit the project. Jack Nicholson made history by being paid a percentage of the film's massive box office gross as his salary for playing The Joker, which was unprecedented at the time and led to Nicholson becoming cocky and demanding even more money for future projects. And on top of all that, the script was not even finished when filming began, seriously hampering production and resulting in a rushed ending.note  The release of the film on June 23, 1989, was accompanied by a gargantuan media campaign unlike anything Hollywood had ever attempted, starting the trend of Hollywood blockbusters being aggressively merchandized to the point where the publicity campaigns almost overshadowed the movies themselves.
  • D.W. Griffith's film The Birth of a Nation (1915) is a milestone in the history of cinema as an art form, pioneering many techniques that would shape motion pictures for decades to come. Unfortunately, it's also a film that glorifies the Ku Klux Klan, has white people in blackface, portrays black people as either savage criminals or lazy idiots, and has been cited as a key influence in the revival of the Klan in the 1910s and '20s. These aspects have overshadowed most of its historical significance. For these reasons, many Griffith fans prefer to point to the mostly inoffensive Intolerance as his landmark Hollywood film, even though it had almost zero impact on American cinema (at least at first) and was better appreciated overseas, especially in Russia.
  • Nate Parker's film The Birth of a Nation (2016) intended to reclaim the title of the 1915 film and turn it into an important work in black cinema. Too bad the film had the bad luck of being made just as an old rape case involving Parker came into the spotlight, after already receiving complaints about a rape scene being added in the middle of a real-life, historical event.
  • The Bruce Lee biopic Birth of the Dragon has gotten a lot of accusations, just based on the trailer alone, of whitewashing by having his story be told through the eyes of a white man loosely based off of Steve McQueen, one of Lee's real life friends. The character, Steve McKee, will also apparently have a relationship with an Asian woman in the film, while Linda Lee Cadwell, Lee's real life Caucasian wife, is nowhere to be seen. Lee's daughter, Shannon Lee, has gone on record as to distance herself from the film, claiming that it lacks any understanding of her father's philosophy and approach to martial arts.
  • The Brown Bunny is a film known mostly for an unsimulated oral sex scene, being booed harshly at the Cannes Film Festival, and the subsequent media catfight between Roger Ebert and the director. The film was later Re Cut and given a wide release, and Ebert gave the recut a three star review.
  • Interestingly, it didn't happen with In the Realm of the Senses; much like The Brown Bunny the film has many unsimulated sex scenes including oral and it also received harsh criticism at the Cannes Film Festival, but ultimately it was not overshadowed by it. This is probably because In the Realm of the Senses is actually a quality film with some artistic vision. It also gained more positive reviews from professional critics than The Brown Bunny ever did or will.
  • Cannibal Holocaust was notorious to a degree that it forced director Ruggero Deodato and the actors to explain that nobody died in production and the gore was just special effects. There is still a great deal of controversy to this day relating to animal cruelty, such as an infamous scene in which an actual live turtle is brutally decapitated and eviscerated onscreen. Seven animals were killed during the film's production. Although the director himself condemned his past actions and seems genuinely regretful, many people are turned off by the presence of actual animal deaths onscreen.
  • Many movies which were put on the Video Nasties list in the UK during the early 1980s have gained more notoriety for being on that list than for their actual artistic merits. In a lot of cases the violent and/or sexual content of the movies was much exaggerated and it's obvious that the people who compiled that list probably didn't see many of the films and just based their opinion on the titles or rumors.
  • Subverted by Citizen Kane. It was once best known for the fact that William Randolph Hearst believed the film to be slandering him (even though his name was never mentioned in the dialogue) and tried to stop the film from being made. It was also known for director/star Orson Welles's somewhat arrogant attitude toward the Hollywood establishment while making the film, which stirred up so much resentment toward Welles that Kane was snubbed at the Academy Awards. Today all of that is forgotten except by film buffs and historians, and Kane is recognized as perhaps the greatest film ever.
  • Cloud Atlas will probably be remembered more for the controversy over the decision to have white actors appear in Yellowface than for its story.
  • The 1996 film Crash (based off the book of the same name, not a 2004 film about racial tension) is a film that revolves around James Spader and Holly Hunter's characters reviving their failing marriage by replicating famous car crashes and getting sexually aroused by it. The premise naturally caused the UK's Moral Guardians, most notably the Daily Mail, to campaign against both the violence and the sex (the latter of which was agreed to be the source of the controversy, somehow overlooking the whole "recreating car crashes" premise) and cause a huge national debate that lasted for a few years. The film was agreed by critics to be okay, but some said that the campaigning against it had heightened their expectations, leaving them disappointed.
  • The 2004 Crash itself is best remembered for its unexpected victory over Brokeback Mountain at the 2005 Oscars than its actual content, a decision many felt both then and now to be the result of either homophobia or fear of backlash from homophobes on the part of the Academy voters.
  • The Crow is often remembered for the tragic death of its star Brandon Lee during filming as the result of injuries sustained from a malfunctioning prop gun. Although it was a critical and financial success, most still remember it as the final film in his career that Lee never lived to see finished.
  • The Dark Knight Trilogy:
    • The release of The Dark Knight might well be overshadowed by the controversy surrounding the tragic death of Heath Ledger, who played The Joker, not long before the movie premiered.
    • The release of The Dark Knight Rises, the final film of the trilogy, was stained by a mass shooting at its Aurora, Colorado premiere, with the shooter even identifying himself as The Joker.
  • Ken Russell's The Devils (1971) has been banned, censored and re-cut in so many countries that several different versions of different lengths exist. Its offensive blasphemous content has brought more attention than the actual picture itself.
  • The Elite Squad already suffered before release with its digital leak. Then came the discussion on whether the aggressive special corps were glorifying police violence (though it was mostly overseas; in Brazil, reviewers considered criminality was high and cruel and at times can only be fought by using equally brutal methods, and also thought it wasn't a work glamourizing criminals for a change).
  • The Film of the Book Ender's Game was boycotted because of Orson Scott Card's blatant homophobia, despite his not getting a single penny from ticket sales and said film having absolutely zero homophobic overtones.
  • Eraserhead has the baby. Primarily because no one associated with the film, especially not David Lynch, cares to discuss what the baby was made out of, leading to persistent rumors that it was a real animal fetus... or even a real human fetus:
    "They're not even sure it is a baby..."
  • If you see any articles on Exodus: Gods and Kings, chances are they're more about the film's casting choices (white actors playing Egyptian and Middle Eastern characters) than of the actual film itself. Among the religious crowd who would generally be this movie's target audience, there's Ridley Scott, an atheist, choosing to depict the Plagues and Parting of the Sea as mostly natural phenomena instead of divine miracles. Furthermore, before the film came out, Christian Bale describing the real Moses as "likely schizophrenic and was one of the most barbaric individuals that I ever read about in my life."
  • Fight Club: So much discussion is made of the violence and underlying message of the film that almost nobody says anything about its actual quality as a movie.
  • Gangster Squad ended up having some scenes reshot because a theater shooting that occurred in the film resembled the real life theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado. Yet even with the reshoot the film as whole was deemed to be so violent that it was still hard to forget the parallel with Aurora. It didn't help that the film was released about a month after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
  • It's impossible to have any discussion of the Ghostbusters (2016) reboot without addressing the criticism, both legitimate and sexist, towards it. After a poorly-cut and boring trailer (notably, the European market version was better cut), director Paul Feig, the cast, and Sony lashed out by deleting fair criticisms, which had caused fans to join in and be opposed to a remake not because of quality but because of the Can't Take Criticism and hostile reaction to comments on the film. However, owing to the replacement of the original's all-male main cast with an all-female one, by far the nastiest criticism the film attracted was from anti-feminists and anti-political-correctness trolls, whose racism led them to focus their abuse on Leslie Jones. Jones' harassment on Twitter led media outlets to cover the story, but the Moral Event Horizon was crossed when hackers hit Jones's official site, filled it with racist and shock imagery, and gave out her private information.
  • Prior to release, Ghost in the Shell became embroiled in a whitewashing controversy over the decision to have Scarlett Johansson play the Major, who is Japanese in the source material. The controversy consumed the entire discussion about the film, so much so that Paramount admitted that it was the main factor for its financial failure.
  • Gods of Egypt started to get this immediately after its trailer came out. All everyone talked about, before and after release, is the fact that most of the "Egyptian" cast are played by white actors.
  • A month before The Hateful 8 was released, its director Quentin Tarantino joined a rally against police violence, causing police unions around the country to declare they would boycott the film, and not provide help to any future projects of his. This caused his fans to get up in arms themselves, especially when a NYPD spokesman said there would be "a surprise" for Tarantino when the film opened, sounding for all the world like some kind of mob boss. They reneged on whatever the plan was shortly before the opening, having finally realized they were only giving the film free publicity (and from the more cynical suspicions, realizing that busting some heads at the theater would only get them more bad publicity).
  • The 1968 TV movie adaptation of Heidi was infamous for interrupting the end of a Jets-Raiders game, leading to numerous complaints and setting the precedent for longer-than-intended sporting events overriding scheduled programming on American television.
  • Hound Dog, as quoted on the page description above, was infamously referred to as "the Dakota Fanning rape film" by critics and moviegoers alike.
  • How Green Was My Valley, a John Ford film about the death of the Welsh mining industry, is best known today for the fact that it somehow beat out both Citizen Kane and The Maltese Falcon at the 1942 Oscars, a decision many felt was guided by backstage politics, namely the aforementioned William Randolph Hearst controversy, above all else.
  • The Huntsman: Winter's War was never really able to escape the fallout from Rupert Sanders's affair with Kristen Stewart, which got them both removed from the movie. Unfortunately, the Executive Meddling caused by that incident alone was enough to torpedo not just the film's chances at the box office but also Universal's plans for its own fantasy franchise to rival the live-action adaptations of the Disney Animated Canon.
  • The Interview had already attracted controversy for playing an assassination attempt on a real-life dictator for laughs, but after hackers leaked a massive amount of sensitive information relating to Sony Pictures and issued terrorist threats for any theater that dared to screen the film, Sony announced they would pull the film from theaters... Only to release it in a smaller scale (limited cinemas, wide digital) a week later. Between the cancellation and the eventual release, a very large debate over the limits of free speech was waged with respect to the film.
  • The Norwegian film Is-slottet (or Ice Castles) is mostly remembered for the brief nude scene within the first 10 minutes involving its two preteen leads.
  • Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ had sparked protests from religious groups worldwide, including the infamous attack at a Paris cinema where the use of Molotov cocktails injured 13 patrons and brought the theater under heavy repairs for the next three years.
  • Golden Age actress Hattie McDaniel, the first African American to win an Academy Award, was dogged for much of her life by accusations of selfishly perpetuating harmful stereotypes to advance her own career, as she usually played submissive servant characters such as Mammy in Gone with the Wind, the role that landed her the Oscar. McDaniel for her part saw no shame in it, famously quipping that if she wasn't playing maids she'd probably be one.
  • Other ethnic performers accused of perpetuating harmful stereotypes to advance their careers include Stepin Fetchit (African-Americans in the early age of cinema), Jackie Chan (Asians), Tyler Perry (African-Americans in modern-day cinema), and Sofía Vergara (Hispanics).
  • Melancholia gets remembered more for the infamous interview of its director Lars von Trier about how he empathized with the Nazis, and then how that got him banned from Cannes.
  • Manhattan Melodrama came into full publicity not with the film itself, but with how the notorious Midwestern gangster John Dillinger was fatally gunned down by FBI agents outside the Biograph Theater after watching the film. One of the cast members expressed disgust over the whole matter surrounding it than with the film itself.
  • Mohammad, Messenger of God was plagued by this from the start. False rumors that it actually portrayed the Prophet Mohammad onscreen, condemnation from numerous Muslim clerics, funding from Muammar Gaddaffi, violent protests abroad and a terrorist attack in Washington, D.C. conspired to make Mohammad notorious for reasons other than its artistic merits.
  • Monty Python's Life of Brian was considered by the troupe to be their best movie, but the protests surrounding its supposed heresy will always limit its popularity with religious viewers. At the time of release, protests by religious groups were described by the Pythons as the best publicity they could have hoped for. It really raised a lot of awareness of the film's existence, and led to a much higher box office taking. No Such Thing as Bad Publicity.
  • The only thing anyone remembers about My Super Ex-Girlfriend is the backlash that resulted from its playing female-on-male Domestic Abuse for laughs.
  • Natural Born Killers: The film inspired a number of copycat killers who would get with a lawyer and claim that the movie inspired them to commit crimes in imitation of the fame-seeking homicidal Outlaw Couple in the film. They carefully left out that they were also on acid, but the film became rather controversial because of this in spite of its intended condemnation of media sensationalism.
  • The 2015 Peter Pan reboot Pan is primarily remembered for the controversy over Rooney Mara playing a character of Native American descent.
  • Passengers is a sci-fi romance film that attracted a considerable negative critical buzz before it was even out thanks to a creepy premise and a deceptive ad campaign that masked said premise. The trailers would have you believe that it's the story of a man and a woman who are accidentally awakened from a suspended animation spacecraft too early and fall in love in the depths of space. In the actual film, only the man's awakening is accidental, and he then deliberately wakes the woman to avoid going insane from loneliness, lies to her that her awakening was also accidental, and then seduces her. Reviewers overwhelmingly agreed that this premise, described by some as "an ad for Stockholm Syndrome," drags down every other aspect of the film, even the numerous good ones, and that it even squanders a perfectly interesting What You Are in the Dark moral dilemma by insisting on playing the romance angle straight.
  • Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ owes its record-breaking success with audiences who weren't devout Christians because of this. Practically everyone in America already knew the story; unlike The Last Temptation, the plot itself wasn't revisionist in any way, so the most interesting two things about the movie for most people were that it was ridiculously violent for a "Christian" film (as well as being probably the only R-rated film in history that Christian leaders urged their congregations to see) and that it was that rare post-1945 Western film with (supposed) anti-Semitism as part of the subject matter. Gibson himself, from this film onwards, has become more of a presence in the media for his various run-ins with the law, abusive treatment of his ex-girlfriend, far-right views, and open anti-Semitism than for any of his films.
  • Roman Polanski:
    • It's impossible to discuss Polanski's filmography without mentioning his childhood as a Holocaust survivor, the horrific death of his wife Sharon Tate at the hands of Charles Manson and his conviction for statutory rape of an underage girl, and his subsequent flight to France after Judge Rittenbrand gave indications that he intended to cancel the plea bargainnote . Polanski's arrest is also an example of a controversy resurfacing after staying dormant (much like Woody Allen's). He had many several films after Chinatown and he won Best Director for The Pianistnote  and more importantly he had travelled back-and-forth from France, Poland and Switzerland for several years without any arrest or fear of prosecution.
    • One of his best-known films, Chinatown, also gets this. The film is generally agreed to be excellent, but what people who haven't seen it tend to know about it is that it includes Parental Incest as a major plot point and is one of the few works of fiction to end in a complete and utter victory for the villains. The Big Bad of the movie also happens to be a pedophile, and while it was made well before Polanski's arrest has still prompted cynical comparisons between the character and the director.
  • The Japanese disaster film Prophecies of Nostradamus became infamous for its gruesome depiction of mutated human beings, which was considered so disturbing that the studio was forced to withdraw the original uncut version from circulation. In addition, survivors of the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were appalled by the film's depiction of radiation victims as vicious, mindless monsters, believing such a portrayal would only serve to perpetuate discrimination against those affected by radiation exposure in real life.
  • Taxi Driver is good enough to stand on its own merits, but it will forever be linked to John Hinckley and his attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan. Even Jodie Foster had to keep a low profile for many years to avoid her name to become tainted to the incident.
  • Terminator Salvation was dismissed by most movie critics as a rather forgettable action/sci-fi flick, and it turned out to be one of the lowest grossing movies in the Terminator franchise. Unless you're a hardcore Terminator fan, you probably don't remember much about the plot beyond "Christian Bale fights robots in the future". But there's a good chance that you do remember Christian Bale's infamous profanity-laced rant against the film's lighting technician, which became an internet sensation when it was recorded and leaked, forcing Bale to issue a public apology for his behavior.
  • Walt Disney's Song of the South, like the stories it is based on (see the Uncle Remus stories below), is remembered more for the Unfortunate Implications of a happy ex-slave living in the American South than for anything other than, perhaps, "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah". This aspect of the film has made it enough of an Old Shame for Disney that they have locked it up in the Disney Vault forevermore.
  • Triumph of the Will and Olympia by Leni Riefenstahl are visually impressive documentaries which were way ahead of their time from a technical and artistic standpoint.note  However, it's hard to praise these films because they were intended as Nazi propaganda. Riefenstahl was never able to distance herself from all the controversy surrounding these films and herself.
  • Twilight Zone: The Movie will be forever tainted by the helicopter crash death of Vic Morrow and two child actors during filming.
  • Many feel uncomfortable watching the work of Woody Allen after he divorced his wife to marry her adopted daughter (while she was never legally his child, Allen had known her since she was seven years old), which has only increased after he was accused in 2014 by a different stepdaughter (this one was legally his child) of molesting her as a little girl. Many feel this places Allen's frequent casting of women much younger than himself as his characters' love interests (albeit opposite young male actorsnote ) in a quite disturbing light. This is also a case of a generational gap and Zigzagged Trope. The controversy surrounding Allen had dogged him since the early '90s when the scandal first broke out in public (the romance with Soon-Yi, the accusations of Dylan Farrow which was publicly checked by independent organizations who cleared Allen) and Allen continued making movies for a full twenty years after that, and whose films in the 21st Century (Match Point, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Midnight in Paris, Blue Jasmine) became critically acclaimed and commercially successful. The press cycle brought no new evidence to the table, and none of the films and releases in the interim recieved any of the same approbation. What makes the case unique was its dissemination via social media and the greater Internet, and perhaps a generational backlash.
  • Vase de Noces is mostly a Leave the Camera Running film, starring an Ambiguous Disorder man and his faithful pig, going about on random hobbies and at one point porking each other. That one scene is thus the most highlighted part of the film for those who've heard of it, to the point that the DVD release even added the subtitle "The Pig F***ing Movie". It's also subverted in that, according to some critics such as Kyle Kallgren, the film's even-worse scenes (including unsimulated piglet hanging and eating feces) avoided public outcry due to being overshadowed by the one (simulated) zoophilia scene (which happens much earlier in the movie).
  • Actor Jon Voight, following his Star Derailing Roles as the villains in Baby Geniuses 2 and Bratz, has become more of a presence in the media for his far-right political views and the resulting family feud with his daughter and ideological opposite Angelina Jolie than his acting. Other than that, if he's known at all it's just for being Jolie's dad.
  • Other Hollywood actors who have incited controversy over their far-right views include John Wayne, Chuck Norris, Adam Baldwin, Kirk Cameron, Kevin Sorbo, James Woods, Victoria Jackson, and (in his later years) Charlton Heston. An actor having ultra-leftist viewpoints (social justice politics, third-wave feminism and pro-multiculturalism), however, has generally been nowhere near as controversial, largely because progressivism has become norm in the industry, at least on the outside. That said there are limits, the likes of Sean Penn and Oliver Stone who despite being on the left, are seen as too political and controversial, with Sean Penn's "interview" with Mexican drug lord Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán seen as a questionable decision, as has Stone's support of the Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez regimes in Cuba and Venezuela, his interviews with them and Vladimir Putin, and his belief in various conspiracy theories.
  • Zero Dark Thirty went from being a very strong Oscar contender—Jessica Chastain winning for Best Actress seemed like a lock—to a long shot by the time the ceremony rolled around, due to controversy over its torture scenes.

    Jokes 
  • This trope is made light of in a classic joke about a drunken old Scotsman who vents to a younger patron at the same bar about how he'd accumulated a laundry list of accomplishments over his long life, but nobody remembers them because he screwed ONE goat.

    Literature 
  • A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess thanks much of his infamy to the movie adaptation by Stanley Kubrick, something Burgess himself wasn't happy about.
  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is well known for how many times the book has been banned because of its persistent use of the word "nigger". This is despite the facts that the slave character, Jim, is the smartest character in the whole book, and that the book is ultimately anti-racist, as shown when Huck tears up a letter meant to tell where Jim has been captured and goes to save him, despite Huck honestly believing this means that he'll go to Hell.
  • Alfie's Home is a children's book... about curing homosexuality, arguing that dysfunctional families cause kids to be gay because they lack the love from a parental figure, but it's MUCH more infamous for a blatant depiction of a child getting molested by his Creepy Uncle, who is also a Karma Houdini.
  • Fanny Hill is well known for having been a subject of obscenity tests and for having been banned in America from inception until a 1966 Supreme Court case ruled that the book has redeeming social value. When it was published in 1748, it got the author arrested on obscenity charges.
  • If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love is a Nebula award-winning (and Hugo-nominated) short story in which the fiancée of a comatose paleontologist fantasizes about their love being a Tyrannosaurus rex. It is best known for attracting the ire of science-fiction purists who feel that it barely qualifies as speculative fiction and thus did not deserve to win awards for science-fiction literature.
  • Anne Rice, known for Interview with the Vampire and its sequels, is just as famous for her inability to take criticism of any kind and frequent Dear Negative Reader screeds, one of which spawned the popular internet meme "You are interrogating the text from the wrong perspective." She's also notable and/or notorious as one of the few authors of fiction to have completely banned Fan Works for her books.
  • Flowers in the Attic is a book about four children who are abused by their grandmother. It also has incest between the two teenage siblings. The latter fact has created a lot of controversy and infamy, to the point where people forget this isn't basically an incest novel.
  • The Legend of Rah and the Muggles is (in)famous because the author, Nancy Stouffer, sued J.K.Rowling for plagiarism without success. It did not help the fact that the book is poorly written, and it is ofted cited in literary talks for its infamy.
  • Lolita is unfortunately more famous for the controversy that surrounds it than the actual content and quality of the novel: Vladimir Nabokov went through many publishers who refused to publish it, and after it was published, it was banned in many places for being "pornographic" or "an instruction manual for pedophilia" (which it is not). Even for people who aren't familiar with the history of the book, a lot of the covers/jackets make it look like erotica.
  • James Bond:
  • The children's book The Pet Goat probably wouldn't have an article on The Other Wiki if it weren't for the fact that George W. Bush was reading it as he was notified of 9/11, and the subsequent debate over whether he should have left or kept reading like he did.
  • The Qu'ran is this in some Islamophobic circles, including Western media. To non-Muslims, most of what they heard about the Qu'ran is how zealots, terrorists and fundamentalist crackpots misuse it. It has gotten to the point that quite some people claim the book is dangerous. On the other hand, the Torah is also this to some (obviously not all) of the more particularly Antisemitic Muslim communities. In Indonesian grade to high schools for example, the Torah and Jewish people themselves are often cited as the cause for all that is wrong with the world (also the United States, which of course is also controlled by those dirty Jews); it's not rare to find a random Indonesian Muslim proudly professing to be a Holocaust denier (or better, claim that they've never even heard of the Holocaust before) when asked.
  • Rage by Stephen King is probably best known for being King's Old Shame after several school shootings were possibly inspired by the novel. King has let the work fall out of print.
  • The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie is recalled more for the ensuing fatwa declared on the author by the Ayatollah Khomeini, and for the fallout from that incident, than for the novel itself.
  • Stranger is less known for its content than for the fact that it was unsold for years... simply because agents wanted to make a gay character straight or take him out completely out of fear the book wouldn't sell. The resulting Publishers Weekly post — Say Yes to Gay YA — was widespread and led to a lot more diverse YA being picked up both by publishers and by readers, and it among many other things eventually led to the We Need Diverse Books movement. But how many people know Stranger finally came out in 2014?
  • The Turner Diaries, a white supremacist novel by William L. Pierce, is best known for its association with Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City Bomber. As well as being a white supremacist novel, that ends with the extermination of all ethnic minorities.
  • The Uncle Remus stories are a group of actual fables told by slaves and former slaves in the American South, making them a valuable cultural resource. However, though once popular, they are now nearly unknown. Compiler and editor Joel Chandler Harris' fictional character who tells the stories, Uncle Remus, was written as an elderly ex-slave who was basically content to continue to work for a white family. The implied racism is now almost all that is known of the stories. The fables themselves, taken out of the Remus context, are stories about animals using their wiles to trick each other, and man, in order to survive. Unlike Aesop's fables, they are not meant to be morally instructive, but are a commentary on man resorting to animal-like behaviors in desperate circumstances.
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin had a controversy that the publication of this book inspired over slavery, particularly in the years leading up to The American Civil War. However, few people have actually read the book, even those who (inaccurately) slur supposedly servile African Americans as "Uncle Toms".
  • Vox Day may have made some interesting work, but he is by far more known for his almost cartoonishly sexist/homophobic/xenophobic opinions and a partially successful attempt to sabotage the most popular Science Fiction/Fantasy award (the Hugo). Said attempted sabotage being in theory a protest against the award's perceived left-wing bias (citing the aforementioned If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love as an example), but very likely also a form of petty revenge against SFWA (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America) for having being expelled from the association due to his racist remarks against fellow fantasy writer N. K. Jemisin. Suffice to say, he is considered the most hated writer in the SF/F community for a reason unrelated to his writing.
    • Then there is John C. Wright, who despite of usually being considered a better writer than his friend Vox Day is similarly despised because of his being accomplice to the attempted sabotage of the Hugo award; his savage, homophobic disparagement of The Legend of Korra creators for daring to end the series on a Les Yay note (see below), and his comparing Terry Pratchett to none other than Adolf Hitler because of the former's endorsement of voluntary euthanasia.
  • Fantasy writer Marion Zimmer Bradley was considered an important figure in the genre and something of a feminist icon among fans even though rumors about her husband Walter Breen's sexual molestation of minors during their marriage had popped up now and then since the 1960s. It generally hadn't effected her personal reputation as many assumed Breen's actions had taken place without her knowledge and she had divorced him when he'd been arrested. After her death in 1999, it was revealed that not only had she known about and tolerated Breen's abuse of children throughout their marriage, she'd helped in covering it up, which tarnished her name but generally left her literary legacy intact. Finally, her reputation took a fatal blow in 2014 when her daughter made it public that Bradley had not only been complicit in Breen's acts, she was a molester in her own right, having abused along with other unknown victims, her own children.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Amos N Andy was a very popular comedy radio and TV show from the 1940s and 1950s starring two black people playing stereotypical dimwitted jive talking black fools. Due to Values Dissonance, it hasn't been broadcast in ages and is probably better known for the racial offensiveness than the actual comedy.
  • Ghostwatch, the one-off Halloween Special drama shown on BBC 1 in 1992, is better known for the controversy caused when a sizable chunk of the viewing audience thought it was real and the ensuing argument over whether this was the creators' desired effect than the fact that it's a damn fine ghost story. It makes frequent appearances on 'Underrated Horror Films' listicles as a result.
  • Growing Pains will forever be known as a Troubled Production where its star Kirk Cameron demanded that the show be clean of everything even remotely obscene, including having series regular Julie McCollough fired for appearing in Playboy, due to being a born-again Christian. This behind the scenes drama has permanently tarnished Cameron's reputation. Since then, he's become far more famous for his far-right views.
  • Jeopardy!:
    • The October 12, 2009 episode was the third game for 5-time champion Terry Linwood. However, one of his opponents was Jeff Kirby, who'd previously appeared on Jeopardy! in 1999, even though Trebek-era contestants are not allowed to appear again. The producers hadn't realized this until someone on the show's message board pointed out that he was wearing the same tie he had worn in his 1999 appearance. Because of him, this game's been banned from reruns.
    • The "Kids' Week" games which started in the late '90s gradually fell victim to this. On July 31, 2013, a player on Kids' Week absolutely owned the game to the tune of $66,600. What do people best remember about this episode? One of his opponents was penalized for misspelling "Emancipation Proclamation" for his Final Jeopardy! response. In the days that followed, angry posts flooded the show's Facebook page, claiming that since children were playing the game, the judges should have been more lenient. Journalists and news websites also chimed in on the issue, with the contestant claiming he was robbed because of his spelling error. Never mind that he would've gotten only second place regardless and the controversy over the misspelling completely overshadowed the winner's huge haul. They tried another Kids' Week in December 2014 but a Stage Mom caused a stir with host Alex Trebek when she demanded that an act be re-shot. It didn't help that the latter fiasco happened around the same time Sony got hacked. Because of this, Jeopardy! hasn't done a Kids' Week since, and the series has all but distanced itself from them.
  • Million Dollar Extreme Presents: World Peace became overshadowed by the fact that the comedy troupe that created the show have been accused of having ties to white supremacist groups. As a result, a number of [adult swim] employees threatened to quit unless the show was cancelled, which it ultimately was.
  • CN Real was a commercial dud, and you probably don't remember much about the actual shows themselves. You probably do remember the backlash it got for being a block of Live Action Reality and Game Shows on Cartoon Network, a channel associated with anything but. It doesn't help that the block is frequently brought up in discussions about everything that was wrong with the channel during the late 00's (widely considered the channels Dork Age).
  • Donald Trump's offensive remarks towards Mexican illegal immigrants in his opening campaign speech for the 2016 presidential election led to such backlash that it resulted in both the Miss Universe pageant and his show, The Apprentice taken off of NBC. His continued remarks, controversial views, unexpectedly successful election as the President of the United States in 2016, scandal-ridden presidency, and low approval rating has resulted in the programs that were once his largest direct contribution to pop culture becoming just mild footnotes in his story.
  • Even supposedly family-friendly shows such as Canadian "tween" drama The Next Step (and by extension, its Spin-Off Lost and Found Music Studios) are not exempt from this trope. The actress Jordan Clark (of whom some people watch the show for - she is considered as Ms. Fanservice) caused controversy with her slightly raunchy act in Dancing with the Stars, which caused no end of ire with Moral Guardians and Think of the Children!-type groups. Word of God is she did it to avoid Contractual Purity.
  • The most remembered facet of The Pat Sajak Show, other than the fact that Americans got to see the host of Wheel of Fortune cut his teeth in the talk show industry, was the March 30, 1990 episode. At this point, the show was employing guest hosts on Fridays, and Rush Limbaugh happened to be the guest host that night. He entered the audience to gauge feedback on an anti-abortion bill in Idaho, causing him to get heckled for several minutes, to the point that he had to cut to commercial and conduct his interview with the next guest in another studio. He then began to speak on affirmative action in the next segment, but once again had to cut to commercial due to further heckling, and conducted the final segment with the audience cleared out. Limbaugh later claimed that the hecklers were planted as a publicity stunt. The show also ended up being cancelled while Sajak was on vacation overseas.
  • If people don't remember Press Your Luck for the Whammy, then they remember it for Michael Larson's infamous memorization of the Big Board's light patterns, resulting in him getting a huge haul.
  • Roseanne was more famous for Roseanne Barr's backstage antics and personal life than the show itself when it was on the air. For the record, it's a realistic show about a working class family. Despite shades of Fashion Dissonance and Unintentional Period Piece, it's relevant with the Great Recession of the late 2000s/early 2010s, due to many American families struggling to make ends meet.
  • Ronan Farrow Today managed to get hit with controversy twice in just its first few weeks. First, he was overshadowed by his sister Dylan going public with her allegations that she'd been molested by Woody Allen. Then, three days after his show premiered, he was awarded the Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism and Exploration. While the award was unrelated to his work on his show (Farrow had previously worked for years in a variety of roles that might justify his getting the award) the fact that the award came so soon after the premiere of his show made him look like an over-privileged celebrity scion, an image that he wasn't able to shake, particularly not after someone released a memo to the press declaring that Farrow would not take "off-topic" questions during the pressers for the Cronkite Award ceremony. Incidentally, his show suffered from chronic low ratings and lasted only a year.
  • Two and a Half Men will likely forever be linked to the often bizarre and sometimes even dangerous personal behavior of its star Charlie Sheen, including but not limited to numerous drug- and alcohol-induced tirades, being a 9/11 Truther, and allegations of Domestic Abuse. He eventually proved so difficult to work with that he was unceremoniously fired and his character killed off and replaced by Ashton Kutcher - and he played one of the leads.
  • Maude ran for six seasons, and was a ratings hit throughout its run, but today it is remembered for the abortion episode and little else. This was very evident when Bea Arthur died, and reporters mentioned virtually nothing else about the show. (Contrast their fond and detailed retrospectives of The Golden Girls, which has stuck far more firmly in the popular imagination.)

    Music 
  • Black Metal is mostly associated with crimes committed by a few of its members. This was not helped by said members exaggerating their own acts. As noted by Lords of Chaos in reference to an article in Kerrang:
    Like it or not, however, the Kerrang! article was what brought Norwegian Black Metal to the rest of the world's attention. It probably meant the crimes would eternally overshadow the music, but it was undoubtedly the best piece of international P.R. the scene would ever receive.
  • The Norweigan music project Burzum is more known for its creator, Varg Vikernes, who murdered Mayhem band member Euronymous when tensions rose between the two. As well as this, he is also known for his white supremacist views and burning down four churches.
  • This tends to be zigzaged with hip-hop artists. Sometimes they're overshadowed by controversy, other times they're fueled by it.
  • Fear of this was what caused Ice-T to remove "Cop Killer" from Body Count's debut album, Body Count as he felt that the controversy over its lyrical content had eclipsed its musical merits.
  • Igor Stravinsky 's The Rite of Spring is universally praised for being a milestone in classical music and music in general. Yet the infamous story of the riots during its premier will forever remain associated with the piece.
  • If you're not a devoted fan of Lostprophets, most likely the only thing you know about the band is that its lead singer Ian Watkins was convicted for child molestation and attempted rape of two infants.
  • As I Lay Dying is nowadays best known for the fact that frontman Tim Lambesis tried to hire a hitman to murder his wife.
  • The Black Crowes' 1994 album Amorica garnered significant controversy for its cover; A woman's bikini-clad crotch taken from the 1976 bicentennial issue of the pornography magazine Hustler. The pubic hair included in the image was deemed objectionable by retailers like K-Mart and Walmart, and the band relented by issuing an alternate cover featuring the American flag bikini against a black background. The album is now known mostly for the cover controversy than for the music on it.
  • Michael Jackson's career went through an interesting loop with this. From 1986 on, he became increasingly more notorious for controversial issues such as his facelifts, his ever-whitening skin color, his daft Man Child behavior and the child molestation accusations. It got to the point that he was basically a walking punchline for the last decades of his life. After being cleared from the child molestation accusations in 2005, his public image got a change for the better. Radio stations started giving his music more airplay, critics started to focus on his musical legacy again and after his death, he was literally beatified to the point that the same media who had hounded him for years now praised him as a musical genius, innovator and trendsetter. Nowadays, it's no longer embarrassing to like his music, but reports of child molestation still keep popping up from time to time.
  • Malevolent Creation is still a reasonably big name in death metal, but while many people believe that they have been treading water musically for a while, the general consensus as to why they're not a bigger name even after all these years (aside from some label issues that genuinely were not their fault) is the fact that Phil Fasciana and Jason Blachowicz have both become infamous for racist and homophobic comments (and, in Phil's case, the "foiled a robbery while going to buy chocolate milk and accidentally killed a dude" story that was quickly proven to be complete and utter bullshit by Fort Lauderdale police even as he still vehemently insisted that it happened) and general Jerk Ass behavior. While they have multiple albums that are still regarded as classics, most metal fans know them less for the music and more for the drama and generally idiotic and childish behavior that has surrounded them for a while now.
  • Notorious criminal Charles Manson has caused some pop songs to gain unwanted notoriety. For instance, the tracks "Helter Skelter" and "Piggies" from The White Album by The Beatles inspired him and his cult to go killing. They even wrote the song titles on the walls, smeared with the blood of their victims. Similarly the track "Never Learn Not To Love" from The Beach Boys' 20/20 has gained notoriety because it was written by Manson. Only a couple of months after the release of this album he would be arrested. If the murders had happened earlier the single would have likely been omitted from the album.
  • Marilyn Manson was one of the most controversial artists in the 1990s, and their music and stage act resulted in everything from protests at concerts to being blamed for the Columbine massacre. Even rock stations were hesitant to play their music at the height of their popularity. Nowadays, outside of their fanbase, more people know the group for the reputation than for any of their actual music.
  • Milli Vanilli were once one of the most popular bands in the world, but their career was obliterated by the revelation that frontmen Rob Pilatus and Fabrice Morvan didn't sing a note on any of their songs. The resulting scandal made their music Deader Than Disco and they're now regarded as one of the worst acts of the era.
  • The Russian Shock Rock girl-group Pussy Riot was virtually unknown in the West until two of its members were imprisoned on a vaguely-defined "hooliganism" charge and reportedly treated quite badly inside; many felt the true motive behind the arrest was an attempt by the government to silence their gay-rights activism.
  • Richard Wagner: Another example of a composer who is widely seen as important, innovative and influential, yet also notorious for his anti-semitism. His case isn't helped by the fact that so many Nazi members, including Adolf Hitler, adored his operas. This is the main reason why the composers' work is banned from being performed in Israel.
  • The Sex Pistols are mostly known for trying to play "God Save the Queen" from a barge during the Queen's Jubilee after being prohibited from playing the song on land. Much of the bad press was intentional. As was the bad press they received for "Belsen Was a Gas", which was more of the offensive variety.
  • Yoko Ono: She has been the subject of hate and derision by many Beatle fans for supposedly causing the split of The Beatles and turning John Lennon's music into too many unenjoyable experimental, pointless, too politically heavy handed and/or Yoko obsessive songs. And that's not mentioning her own incomprehensible art, left alone her One-Woman Wail singing. All these aspects have made her perhaps the most recognizable Avant-garde Music artist of all time, but not the most popular by any length. In old age, she is getting a bit more recognition for her work, but the controversy stays. A special case in point is Lennon and Yoko's debut album, Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins, which caused scandal because it featured them both fully frontal naked on the album cover. This aspect completely overshadowed the actual content of the record, which is basically experimental noise. Even today it is far better known for the nudity on the cover than the recording itself.
  • Britpop band Kula Shaker are better remembered for the controversy that destroyed their career than their psychedelic/Indian-influenced sixties-revivalist music. Already unpopular with critics thanks to their relatively unhip influences and suspicions that they owed their career to their lead singer Crispian Mills being the son of the actor Hayley Mills, things went completely pear-shaped when Mills enthusiastically discussed his hope that the swastika would be reclaimed for its positive mystical meanings during a newspaper interview. Some research then discovered that Mills's previous band The Objects of Desire had included a former member of the National Front (who was Mills's mother's boyfriend at the time), and had played at a conspiracy theory conference in London that had also featured notorious Holocaust-deniers and anti-Semites among the speakers. This was enough to get Mills branded irretrievably as a neo-Nazi and the band's career stopped dead.
  • In 2015, Justin Bieber and One Direction went head-to-head with their new albums. Unfortunately, the releases happened to be on November 13, 2015 — the day of the worst terrorist attack in French history.
  • To most people, the Dixie Chicks are known more for their feud with Toby Keith and for getting completely blackballed by country radio after lead singer Natalie Maines said she was ashamed to be from the same state as then-President George W. Bush than most of their musical output. And even that is known mainly for the controversial "Goodbye Earl", which many detractors saw as glorification of murder, moreso than any of their actual hits.
  • 1990s country music singer Doug Supernaw seems to be known almost entirely for his 1993 song "Reno", which got horrible reception in the city of Reno, Nevada for using the city as a metaphor for a "heartless" former lover. That and being institutionalized in 2007.
  • The music videos to Sia's "Chandelier" and especially "Elastic Heart" are this. They're catchy songs in their own right however many people are unnerved by a twelve year old girl doing interpretive dance in a flesh-toned leotard. The latter received controversy for having Shia LaBeouf in a cage with the girl, also wearing light toned shorts and no shirt. There is an interpretation that "Elastic Heart"'s music video is about a father and daughter, either with the daughter trying to help her father with mental illness (or drug abuse) or a single father dealing with his daughter becoming a teenager, however there's still a huge amount of controversy about it.
  • Anita Bryant was a moderately successful singer in the 1960s, with four top 40 hits. The only thing most people remember her for today is her Save Our Children campaign against gay rights in Florida in the late 1970s. Her crusade effectively killed what was left of her entertainment career, with her career and crusade becoming the butt of many jokes throughout the remainder of the decade and into the early 1980s.
  • While Rod Lauren is remembered for his One-Hit Wonder "If I Had a Girl" and for his role in The Crawling Hand, in the Philippines, he is far more remembered for the suspected murder of his wife Nida Blanca in 2001.
  • Jerry Lee Lewis, known for "Great Balls of Fire" among other songs, was considered a serious competitor to Elvis Presley at his peak. Nowadays he's probably best remembered for marrying his twelve-year-old cousin and a persistent rumor that he tried to settle his rivalry with Elvis by hiring a guy to kill him.
  • Even people who aren't fans of R. Kelly know about his arrest for urinating on an underage girl, and his subsequent acquittal despite the existence of video evidence, which many found to be a disgusting example of Screw the Rules, I Have Money!.
  • Chely Wright's "The Bumper of My SUV" is known mainly for the controversy over members of her fan club were calling in requests for the song, and posing as friends and family of military members in doing so.
  • Similar to Jon Voight and the other actors mentioned above, Ted Nugent has become better known for his far-right political views, especially his rabid advocacy of gun rights, than for his music.
  • The career of Country Music singer Mindy McCready (best known for the 1996 hit "Guys Do It All the Time") seems to have been overshadowed by her many attempts at suicide, arrests, and an alleged underaged affair with baseball player Roger Clemens. She ultimately committed suicide in 2013.
  • Producer Dr. Luke is much better known for the accusations of sexually assaulting Kesha and the legal battle he had with her than for the music he produced.
  • Aside from the Dr. Luke case, Kesha is also infamous for the controversy "Die Young" got in after the Sandy Hook shooting.
  • Azealia Banks is far better known for her crass and confrontational behavior on social media and real life violent incidents than she is for her music. Noteworthy incidents include her accusing Bill Cosby's alleged rape victims of lying, getting into feuds with numerous other artists, making more than a few deranged rants about race relations, publicly endorsing Donald Trump's incredibly controversial presidential campaign, continuing to work with Dr. Luke even after the Kesha lawsuit came out, throwing homophobic and racist slurs at anyone she got into fights with (notably former One Direction member Zayn Malik), getting into a physical altercation with a flight attendant, and bleaching her skin. She's been kicked off at least three social media platforms, and her musical career has suffered as a result since no one wants to work with her or book her in concerts anymore.
  • Iggy Azalea is nowadays much better known for the controversy over her cultural appropriation and making intolerant and homophobic remarks than she is for her music.
  • If Country Music singer Holly Dunn is remembered for anything other than her Signature Song "Daddy's Hands", then it's probably for her 1990 single "Maybe I Mean Yes". The song was the subject of controversy due to some Moral Guardians misconstruing its lyrics as condoning date rape ("When I say no I mean maybe, or maybe I mean yes") despite the song having nothing to do with such a subject. Oslin withdrew the song, but the damage to her career had already been done.
  • Any music artist whose concert becomes the site of a deadly tragedy. Notable examples include The Rolling Stones at Altamont in 1969 (immortalized in the climactic penultimate verse of American Pie), Great White at the Station nightclub in 2003, Sugarland at the Indiana State Fair, Eagles of Death Metal during the Paris terrorist bombings, and Ariana Grande in Manchester in 2017.
  • At one time Chris Brown seemed like The Chosen One, the music artist who would take Michael Jackson's place as the next big male Pop superstar, complete with having a dream relationship with Rihanna. Then he savagely beat her up on the night the two of them were the talk of the American Music Awards. Since then he is mostly known for not being able to stay out of trouble with law enforcement.
  • The Thai Boy Band Slur is regarded as a pretty average boy band back home. Ask any Westerner on the other hand and they think "the boy band that dressed up as Adolf Hitler in a music video".
    John Oliver: That is misjudged just from a marketing standpoint. How are teenage girls supposed to pick a favorite boy band member if all of them are the bad boy?!
  • Robin Thicke's musical career died as soon as it started due to his massive 2013 hit song "Blurred Lines" coming off as more than just a little sleazy with regards to sexual consent (a popular Tumblr post featured rape survivors holding up cards with their rapists' quotes on them that eerily echoed the song's lyrics). It only got worse when stories began to emerge that Thicke's Handsome Lech persona wasn't entirely an act and his wife, actress Paula Patton, left him after pictures of him groping a girl in an elevator surfaced, and then he was sued by Marvin Gaye's estate for copying one of Gaye's songs for "Blurred Lines", with Gaye's estate winning the lawsuit. Since then, Thicke's many attempts to maintain his career have been utter flops and his name is more synonymous with "that rapey song" than anything else.
  • Brad Paisley's 2013 album Wheelhouse reached #1 on Top Country Albums and produced two big country hits in "Southern Comfort Zone" and "Beat This Summer". But the general public remembers it solely for the album cut "Accidental Racist", a duet with LL Cool J that was laden with Unfortunate Implications about black-vs.-white struggles, and was critically panned for its ham-fisted and offensive attempts to convey a well-intentioned message.
  • Many Viking Metal bands and other musicians inspired by Norse Mythology have had to deal with the fact that their music inevitably attracts a Periphery Demographic of Neo-Nazis and other racists, usually to the band members' great irritation.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Axxel is generally agreed to be a good luchador. Unfortunately for him, since his 1993 debut, he's been less known for his talent than for his uncle's, Hijo del Santo's, attempts to kill his career for initially being billed as Nieto del Santo. Despite managing to keep his career going for twelve years, most of the better known promotions have refused to book Axxel for fear of his uncle's backlash, resulting in much less exposure than a luchador of his experience would usually have.
  • Survivor Series 1997: The Montreal Screwjob. There were six other matches on the card. Does anybody remember those?
  • WWF's 1999 Over the Edge pay-per-view will forever be known as the event where Owen Hart fell to his death. Vince McMahon's decision to keep the pay-per-view going despite Owen's death remains one of the most controversial topics in professional wrestling circles to this day.
  • WCW and ECW both enjoyed time as the flagship of the National Wrestling Alliance before becoming successful enough to ditch the NWA. Both also went out of business in 2001, for largely the same reason. Despite their successes both companies were financially mismanaged to the point the network cable support they earned wound up being a crutch and their respective cable partners, TBS and TNN, turned on them, blocking attempts to shop for other deals and ignoring perspective buyers before cutting the plug, resulting in the WWF picking up the rights to both feds for pennies on the dollar. The difference between the two is that ECW managed to keep fans talking more about its great matches than its missteps, allowing WWE to successfully launch a revival brandnote . WCW had several great matches under its banner as well but these were so overshadowed by their blunders that no network the WWF worked with wanted anything to do with the brand.
  • No Mercy 2002: Even the presence of a Brock Lesnar/Undertaker Hell in a Cell and a classic Tag Team match won't change the fact that this pay-per-view will always be remembered for the Triple H vs. Kane title unification match, built upon one of the most infamous angles in professional wrestling history: Katie Vick.
  • The WCW\ECW case is mirrored by their would be successors, Ring of Honor and TNA. While RF Video decided to go with a different tone after being rejected by then most visible ECW cash in CZW, RF were still confident they could keep the revenue streams ECW brought them going simply by selling the tapes of another promotion in its place. TNA, by contrast, was formed by WCW workers who decided to go with a different model entirely due to WCW's poor reputation. Still it was ROH who managed to keep fans talking about its great matches despite one of its founders being shamed out of the promotion for his involvement in one of pro wrestling's most infamous scandals during 2004 (which was the beginning of the end of its partnership with TNA), its other founder being shamed out for poor booking decisions in 2008, seven years of financial instability directly related to these incidents and a few other controversies. TNA meanwhile was criticized for its very name when it started, had its booking mocked for most of its existence, was known for Jeff Jarrett's relations with Kurt Angle's wife in 2009 and was largely held up as an example of how not to manage finances from 2010 through 16 despite also having many great matches to its name.
  • The 2006 One Night Stand, the very first WWE event devoted exclusively to the revived ECW promotion, was overshadowed by the massive amount of hatred the ECW fanbase directed toward visiting wrestlers from WWE proper, especially WWE Champion John Cena when he faced ECW favorite Rob Van Dam for the title in the main event. A fan stirred up the crowd by holding up an inflammatory sign: "IF CENA WINS, WE RIOT!" - leading to a commentator proclaiming, "Here comes the riot!" when Cena prepared to put Van Dam away. The only thing preventing a riot was a biker in a full helmet appearing out of nowhere and delivering a "spear" tackle to Cena, allowing Van Dam to pin Cena and bring the WWE Championship to ECW - and that biker, of course, turned out to be Cena's archenemy, Edge.
  • In June 2007, WWE's Vengeance pay-per-view was relaunched as Night of Champions, which continues to this day. At the time, WWE had nine championships, and this PPV was the first time that all of them were defended in the same night. But hardly anybody remembers that, because what they do remember is that John Morrison unexpectedly won the ECW Championship because he was booked in place of Chris Benoit, who no-showed the event due to him killing his family and then himself during the time frame. Not only was Benoit's reputation forever tarnished, but Morrison has, at least for some fans, yet to live down the fact that he rose to main event status in WWE entirely because of this tragedy.
  • WrestleMania 28 in 2012 was said to be one of the better Manias. It featured the highly anticipated John Cena/The Rock showdown, The Undertaker and Triple H in a Hell in a Cell, and a solid CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho match. Unfortunately, its reputation is soiled by the presence of one of the most infamous moments in WWE history: "18 seconds." In the end, the loser of the match's popularity skyrocketed to astronomical proportions and the winner's reputation amongst hardcore fans was damaged to the point of no return, not helped at all by a similar incident happening at Survivor Series 2015 in which he was also the winner.
  • CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan at Over the Limit 2012 was a sure-fire classic; unfortunately, the pay-per-view is remembered instead for the Epic Fail of a main event between John Cena vs. John Laurinaitis.
  • The 2014 and 2015 Royal Rumble matches are remembered for the massive Internet Backdrafts that ensued. In both matches, a homegrown pet project of Vince McMahon and his associates won, Batista and Roman Reigns, respectively, despite the fact that the crowd overwhelmingly wanted Daniel Bryan to win the match; unfortunately, Bryan wasn't even in the 2014 match and was quickly eliminated by Bray Wyatt in 2015. The 2014 Rumble is also remembered for being the final straw that led to CM Punk quitting WWE the day afterwards, while the 2015 edition is also remembered for a spot in which older stars The Big Show and Kane eliminated/buried other beloved Ensemble Darkhorses like Dolph Ziggler and Dean Ambrose from the match as well.
  • John Morrison and Melina's backstage heat overshadows most of the things they've accomplished in their wrestling careers. Melina slightly moreso, since Morrison has gotten some of his recognition back due to his work in Lucha Underground.

    Sports 
  • Ty Cobb. While he is one of the greatest baseball player of all time, his reputation suffers from allegations of racism and violence, largely stemming from a couple of biographies that were released following his death that were later largely discredited.note 
  • Cyclist Lance Armstrong, winner of a record breaking 7 Tour de France contests. All stripped afterwards when it turned out he had used a complicated and water tight system to use doping. It seems unlikely he will ever be trusted again.
  • Tonya Harding, a promising figure skater able to pull extremely difficult tricks that few were able to back then, like the triple axel jump, apparently ordered an attack on fellow figure skater Nancy Kerrigan with a telescoping baton so she could defeat her rival that way.note  The case came out afterwards and she was sentenced guilty to racketeering, stripped of all her titles, and banned from figure skating for life. Since then, she only gets in the news media for the kind of behavior you wouldn't want to become famous for; it doesn't help that, whether innocent or not, she has some serious character flaws that make it difficult for her to endear herself to the public. She continues to have some fans though, especially among people who believe her to be the victim of a smear campaign, or for Taking the Heat for something her husband ordered someone else to do.
  • Boxer Mike Tyson, once a world champion boxing, is more notorious for the numerous violent incidents in his private life, including an alleged rape and biting off Evander Holyfield's ear. The only other thing he is known for now is being near unbeatable in Punch-Out!!.
  • O.J. Simpson's achievements as a football player and actor have been overshadowed by the controversy over his involvement, and possible guilt, in the murder of his second ex-wife, Nicole Brown, and her friend, Ron Goldman. Most people today know him solely for the murder scandal or for subsequently getting arrested for stealing what he alleges was property stolen from him.
  • Tennis player John McEnroe was one of the most glorious champions in his sport, even managing to give Björn Borg a difficult time during Wimbledon 1980. Yet he mostly lives on in people's memories for his Hair-Trigger Temper and F-Word induced yelling at the referee during many matches. It has gotten to the point that there's more demand to see that kind of archive footage again than him winning his matches.
  • French soccer champion Zinedine Zidane is world famous for one incident during his final game where he headbutted another player. Especially to people who don't know much about soccer, like American citizens, this is all they know about him. What's especially embarrassing was that Zidane's disqualification as a result of the headbutt cost France its victory in the 2006 World Cup game with Italy. What usually isn't mentioned is that the Italian whom Zidane attacked insulted both his heritage and his sister.
  • Penn State's Joe Paterno is the winningest coach in major college football history, but will forever be remembered in connection with longtime assistant coach and serial child molester Jerry Sandusky.
  • Despite Michael Schumacher being the driver with most victories and titles in F1, he still more remembered for his controversial actions in some races, especially in the finale of 1997 season when he tried to wreck Jacques Villeneuve for win the championship. He failed, ended in the gravel trap and after the race he was excluded from the championship.
  • Nelson Piquet, Jr. had a very short career in F1, but he is only remembered for the “crashgate scandal” in 2009 season, when deliberate crashed in the wall, forcing the safety car and helping his team mate, Fernando Alonso, won the race.
  • Ryan Lochte was known for being one of the best swimmers in the world and winning multiple Olympic medals. Then during the 2016 Rio Olympics, he, along some other swimmers, drunkenly vandalized a gas station bathroom and caused a confrontation with a security guard. After the fact, Lochte made up a story about being robbed at gunpoint to cover up the incident, and returned to America, leaving the other swimmers involved to deal with the fallout in Rio. Once the attempted cover-up came to light, nearly any mention of Lochte in the media referenced the incident.
  • Double amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius is nowadays more known for shooting his girlfriend dead than his track career.
  • San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick is nowadays best known for kneeling during the national anthem during the 2016 NFL preseason to protest police brutality.
  • Marion Jones was a superstar track and field runner in the 90s with lots of charm and charisma. Famous for winning 5 medals in the Olympic games in Sydney during the year 2000. However, rumors began to spread that she was using steroids after the medical company Balco was exposed for giving many famous athletes illegal drugs that were undetectable by drug test back then. Marion Jones was one of the athletes named. She was successfully able to deny it, until she was caught up in a insurance fraud racket. She made a deal to confess using steroids in order to reduce jail time. Her medals were stripped and she is now known as one of Olympics tragic stories.
  • The Washington, D.C. Redskins football team are best known for the fact that they take their name from a racial slur against Native Americans, resulting in many campaigns to attempt to persuade them to change it.

    Theater 
  • The mid-Victorian play Our American Cousin would forever be remembered for the Lincoln assassination instead of the witty characters like Lord Dundreary. In addition, John Wilkes Booth was a well known and critically acclaimed stage actor at the time. Nowadays he's only remembered, obviously not without reason, as one of the most notorious criminals in American history.
  • While The Rite of Spring is cherished for its avant-garde music and choreography, its premiere night in 1913 sparked a near-riot inside the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris when the audience turned against each other on whether it was groundbreaking or sheer crap, with the latter throwing stuff on the orchestra and the dancers. It didn't help that inside the curtain, the composer and lead choreographer Vaslav Nijinsky had cooperation issues during the production. You might say that the premiere night had been a near-literal Broken Base.
  • Nord-Ost, a Les Miserables-esque Russian musical, is today best remembered for the Chechen movie theater siege of 2002.
  • Theater director Julie Taymor won the Best Musical Tony for her adaptation of The Lion King, has adapted Shakespeare and Greek tragedies, made a foray into film with the Cult Classic Beatles tribute Across the Universe, and throughout all her work has received acclaim for her use of elaborate costumes and puppets. What's she best known for these days? Her major mishandling of her Spider-Man adaptation Turn Off the Dark, which was plagued by, in addition to bad writing and prima donna antics by Taymor herself, numerous accidents involving the aforementioned elaborate props and costumes, some of which even resulted in serious injuries. In the end she was unceremoniously given the boot from her own show, and has done little of note since.
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber's Love Never Dies, the twenty-years-later follow-up to his smash hit The Phantom of the Opera, was never able to rise above the stigma of being a sequel that nobody but Webber himself really wanted. It was based on a poorly regarded Fan Sequel novel called The Phantom of Manhattan and contained cliches that have appeared in fan works of dubious quality for decades, including Christine giving birth to the Phantom's illegitimate child after a one-night stand and deciding he was her true love after all, and her kindly love interest Raoul having become a neglectful drunkard who's blown his fortune at the gambling table. All of this resulted in considerable fan opposition before it even came out (including a Twitter campaign called #LoveShouldDie) and a general sense that the show was Webber's terrible Draco in Leather Pants fanfiction that he forced onto the stage with his piles of money, and despite having the Phantom name and Webber's own behind it, the initial run received mediocre reviews and closed at a loss - though the show later picked up a cult following in Australia, where a more polished production was staged (and filmed).

    Theme Parks 
  • It's become very difficult to discuss anything pertaining to SeaWorld due to the massive controversy surrounding the orcas and the Blackfish documentary that only worsened said controversy. Things have gotten slightly better following SeaWorld announcing the termination of the orca breeding programs, but some grievances still remain.

    Video Games 
  • Action 52 is more well known for the overambitions of developer Active Enterprises and it's reputation as one of the worst games of all time than the fact that it's a game at all.
  • Battleborn has suffered from the notorious reputation of Gearbox Software for their terrible mishandling of Aliens: Colonial Marines and Randy Pitchford's negative reputation online has given it the same negative reputation as No Man's Sky as the game was released in the same time as Overwatch launched an Open Beta and is seen as a cautionary tale on how negative reputation from a previous game can carry on to another game.
  • CarnEvil is considered a classic of the rail shooter genre, but its also well known for the fact that one of the bosses in the game is a twenty-foot-tall undead baby, which has been deemed so disturbing it's been banned from several arcades.
  • Civilization VI is a difficult game to discuss without covering the allegations of Eurocentrism and Creator Provincialism surrounding it. Its stable of playable empires was the most European-dominated since the first game, and included several European and European colonial civilizations not typically in the base game, most notably Brazil. There were no pre-Colonial empires from the Americas included in the game at launch, save for the Aztecs (included in the base game for every installment until this one), who were a pre-order bonus and only released for everyone ninety days later. The first two DLC civilizations were Poland and (post-colonial) Australia, which along with Brazil comprise three of the biggest overseas markets for the series, leading to allegations of putting profits before sense on the part of the developers. The sole Sub-Saharan African empire in the game at launch, Kongo, has an ability that defines it by how other civilizations affect it, is the only one to be locked out of a victory condition (Religious), and its Civilopedia entry and India's describe them rather condescendingly. Finally, Alexander the Great was given his own playable empire, Macedon, independent from Greece (which he usually leads), while non-European series standbys such as the Inca, the Mongols, and the Zulu have yet to appear.
  • Custer's Revenge was an unauthorized third-party game for the Atari 2600 in 1982. It gathered quite a bit of negative attention, particularly from feminist and Native American groups, as the objective involved raping an Indian woman. From the next generation of consoles onward, manufacturers require approval for games to be released on their machines.
  • Daikatana, aside from its years spent in Development Hell, picked up controversy over its advertising campaign, which stated that "John Romero's about to make you his bitch. Suck it down." The game has mostly been forgotten aside from the aforementioned campaign and the negative press that brought Romero's development career down with it.
  • Played straight and then ultimately subverted with Doom. For a period in the late '90s and early '00s the game was inexorably linked to the fact that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, perpetrators of the infamous Columbine High Massacre, were huge fans of the game. There were even rumors, though no hard evidence, that they rehearsed the massacre by means of a modded Doom map in the shape of the school's floor plan (Harris and Klebold did in fact make Doom mods, but this one, if it existed at all, has never been found). Over the years, however, the supposed link between violent video games and real violence has been increasingly debunked, advocates of the existence of the link are now largely seen as behind-the-times idiots, and Doom has been recognized as a classic of the First-Person Shooter genre and spawned an acclaimed franchise that continues to this day.
  • Much uproar arose when Kenji Yamamoto's soundtrack for the Dragon Ball Z: Budokai series was replaced for the HD re-release following several plagiarism lawsuits. A Broken Base has emerged as to whether or not Yamamoto was in the wrong, despite the borrowed melodies appearing to be unauthorized.
  • Dragon's Crown gathered some rather heated debates around the Internet over the Amazon and Sorceress' character designs. This actually led to lot of free advertising in the West, making the game more successful in the process.
  • Evony, a browser-based, allegedly free strategy game, is more known for its infamous advertising campaign and false promises of boobs than for anything else. On top of that, the publishers have been accused of plagiarism, spamming, and distributing spyware, and they tried to sue a British blogger for libel for pointing it out (which backfired predictably).
  • Eternal Darkness semi-sequel Shadow of the Eternals was engulfed in controversy ever since its announcements, and it seemed to swell up more with each bit of progress made. First, fans were skeptical of the development team accepting PayPal for donations instead of using a reputable site like Kickstarter, and Kotaku published an article shortly before which focused on Silicon Knights and its alleged shady business practices. After Kickstarter was finally secured as the primary funding platform, skeptics accused Precursor Games of double-dipping, and co-writer Ken McCulloch was arrested after an accusation of being involved with child pornography.
  • Fear Effect 2: Double Helix was known for having the first lesbian couple in video game history.
  • The indie game Fez has become more well-known for the now-infamous online outbursts of its creator Phil Fish, particularly the outburst that caused him to announce that he was leaving the gaming industry.
  • The general hype surrounding the release of Fire Emblem Fates has been very hard to come across in light of the massive uproar surrounding its localization. Much of the anger is directed towards the removal of Skinship,Explanation  the exclusion of an optional Japanese vocal track due to copyrights, and shoehorning memes into the game's dialogue. Even before the game's Western release, the Japanese version came under heavy fire for Soleil's support conversation due to its supposed Unfortunate Implications of Slipping a Mickey & Cure Your Gays, and there was even a petition to cancel the game's localization. All in all, online discussions on the merits of the game's localization heavily outweigh discussions on the game itself, with detractors of Fates citing it as a microcosm of what they see as a Dork Age for Nintendo of America... but in the end, the game managed to sell 300,000 copies during its opening weekend, making it the fastest-selling game in Fire Emblem history. It has been speculated that the massive controversy surrounding its localization probably increased the awareness in the general public that isn't as concerned with the various disputed elements.
  • The Grand Theft Auto games. Whether it is about beating up prostitutes or dealing drugs in a Nintendo DS game, every game in the series has had their own share of controversy.
  • The Guy Game is an obscure erotic video game that rewards you for completing various puzzles with FMV clips of lovely gals taking their clothes off. Even among porn games it would likely not have been a blip on the radar... if it didn't hold the dubious honor of being the one and only video game to receive a nationwide ban in the United States, after it was discovered that one of the aforementioned lovely gals was underage at the time the clip was filmed, leading the game to be declared child pornography and ergo not protected by the First Amendment.
  • Hatred is notorious for its Audience-Alienating Premise, the controversy its trailer caused, and the major outrage that occurred when Valve attempted to pull the game off of Steam. This has all vastly overshadowed the actual gameplay merits.
  • Lethal Enforcers was known for its realistic graphics and violent content, leading to Moral Guardians to question the game. However, it's not as extreme as the controversies over other games released around the time, such as Mortal Kombat and Doom.
  • The Manhunt series is best known for its premise of being about a convict being forced to take part in snuff films (the gameplay was mostly stealth based, with elements of Survival Horror). The first game was given mixed reviews, with some marking it down for the gorn and others praising it for its atmosphere, the sequel received average reviews across the board and the series was mostly forgotten. The franchise is also overshadowed by claims that the first game inspired a series of killings in the UK which led to it being temporarily pulled from several chains (claims which were ultimately proven unfounded); while the sequel was actually banned outright in several countries, unlike the first game.
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is considered a crossfire victim within the Konami / Hideo Kojima controversy resulting with Kojima's departure from the company and the cancellation of Silent Hills. And that's just the tip of the iceberg...
  • Metroid:
    • Metroid: Other M is mainly known for putting series protagonist Samus Aran through severe Badass Decay, thanks to a combination of Character Shilling of new character Adam Malkovich, Values Dissonance, and just plain Bad Writing. It's made all the worse since Samus is one of the medium's first and most well-known female protagonists and therefore something of a feminist gaming icon, which means gender politics get brought into play (and Other M's gratuitous Male Gaze at inappropriate moments doesn't help either). In second place is the attempted justification for the series' usual Bag of Spilling that ends up absurd (particularly, not using available heat shielding in a lava-filled area).
    • Other M even wound up overshadowing the next game in the series, Metroid Prime: Federation Force. Fans had been desperate for a new entry to correct Other M's sins and put the series back on track, but Federation Force is a multiplayer co-op game featuring Federation soldiers instead of a Metroidvania starring Samus; adding up to an immediate Audience-Alienating Premise. From its announcement, it was received with bile from fans for not being what they wanted in the slightest. Even its defenders admitted that Nintendo really misread the timing and the audience here. Even worse, a couple weeks before Federation Force came out, the Fan Remake Another Metroid 2 Remake was released; this was exactly the style of game that Metroid fans wanted, but Nintendo shut it down within a few days, riling everyone up again.note  Thankfully, nearly a year later Nintendo announced Metroid Prime 4 and their own Metroid II remake, Samus Returns; helping to satisfy the fans upset by Other M and Federation Force and partially explaining the AM2R takedown.
  • Mighty No. 9, for the majority of its developmental cycle, was extremely hyped up and awaited due to looking like a worthy successor to Mega Man. The project was headed by series co-creator Keiji Inafune, and was held up as a sign of what crowdfunding could achieve. However, as time when on, the game's reputation got increasingly bogged down by further crowdfunding attempts for extra features, as well as a series of delays.note  The nail in the coffin was the Red Ash Kickstarter, which started before Mighty No. 9 was even released and had some shady practices involved. In particular, it was revealed that the game was already funded, and the Kickstarter was merely to increase its scope; it failed by a decent amount. By the time the game was finally released, to middling reviews, a good chunk of backers were more interested in the Troubled Production than the game itself, and it became a symbol of how not to make a game via crowdfunding.
  • Surprisingly enough, Modern Warfare 2 managed to avert being hit with this. Despite the initial uproar over the "No Russian" levelnote , Modern Warfare 2 managed to outsell its predecessor and is still one of the most highly regarded games in the Call of Duty series.
  • Mortal Kombat led to the creation of the ESRB through its fatality system. Amusingly, the Sega versions of the game were rated, while the Nintendo ports were censored.note 
  • Night Trap was one of the video games that contributed to the creation of the ESRB in the United States. An infamous bathroom scenenote  in particular was what led to intense Senate hearings with proponents of the ban saying it glorified violence toward women, while many of them admitted they hadn't played the game.
  • No Man's Sky, which was riding a wave of extreme speculation since its initial reveal at the 2013 Spike Video Game Awards, gained a Vocal Minority of increasingly absurdly zealous fans well over a year before it came out, to the extent that they ended up sending death threats to both the developers of the game and a Kotaku reporter as a consequence of a short release date delay, tainting the perception of its fanbase before it came out. Not that the actual release ended up improving the situation- the game got disappointing So Okay, It's Average reviews on the PlayStation 4 and was an Obvious Beta on PC, to which the most devoted fans reacted by lashing out at anyone who had anything bad to say about the game, to the extent that reviewer Jim Sterling's website got what is believed to be a distributed denial-of-service for his slightly negative review. Meanwhile, another group of fan haters were happy to see the game "fail" and decided to attack anyone who had anything good to say about the game. It didn't take long after its launch for No Man's Sky to gain comparisons to games like Spore and Fable, and is seen as cautionary tale of everything wrong with hype culture in AAA video games.
  • If you mention Otomedius, most people who have heard of it will immediately bring up the controversial Fanservice and the ways it "ruined" the classic Vic Viper design rather than the gameplay itself.
  • Paper Mario:
    • Paper Mario: Sticker Star was generally regarded as a So Okay, It's Average game, with its biggest flaw being an extreme amount of unnecessary changes. What pushed it to become an extremely disliked game was the Executive Meddling during development; the drastic changes were caused by Shigeru Miyamoto thinking the initial plan would've been too much like Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, and the infamous restriction of only using pre-established Mario characters also stemmed from this. This only got worse when it became clear that Nintendo was really proud of the game, and stated that they planned to keep Sticker Star's formula for future Paper Mario games. In the end, fans are much more likely to talk about how Sticker Star affected the franchise than they are to talk about its plot, gameplay, or anything else.
    • Paper Mario: Color Splash was wrecked by the fanbase upon its announcement due to being a sequel (gameplay-wise) to Sticker Star. While many of the developers attempted to assure fans that it would address the shortcomings of Sticker Star, unfortunately for them, an interview with one of its producers gave the impression that Nintendo saw the Mario & Luigi franchise as their premier "Mario RPG franchise" (that also happens to diverge from its RPG roots in favor of gimmicks and setpieces as of Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam) and that the Paper Mario franchise would instead focus more on humor and puzzles.
  • Pokémon:
    • Jynx is known more for the controversy surrounding its appearance and the debate about just what it's supposed to be than anything else. It's not really useful in battle and very few like its design. The list of things it has been suggested to be include a Viking, opera singer, ganguro (Japanese fashion trend), and Yama-uba (a kind of Youkai), among others. Unfortunately, whatever it is, its old design looked like a racial stereotype of black people. As a result, its design was changed to have purple skin, anime episodes featuring Jynx were either edited or withheld from airing in the West, and its sprite was edited to have purple skin in the international versions of Pokémon Gold and Silver and in the Virtual Console release of Pokémon Yellow.
    • Kadabra is mostly known for the controversy generated when supposed psychic Uri Geller sued Nintendo, claiming it was based off of him without his approval and was anti-semitic due to the markings on its body. The Pokémon hasn't appeared in any animé episodes since 2005, and no Kadabra cards in the card game have been printed since 2003 (with Abra's evolution skipping over to Alakazam).
  • The Postal series is well-known for being a common target for Moral Guardians to campaign against video game violence, more so than any quality of gameplay, as opposed to other common targets like Doom or Grand Theft Auto.
  • Sly Cooper: Thieves In Time, the long-awaited forth game of the Sly Cooper franchise, became infamous shortly after release for having Penelope Mouse, a Nice Girl in the previous game, pull a Face–Heel Turn and become a greedy Yandere without reason for a cheap Plot Twist, and for game to end with a cliffhanger. While fans were alright with the Sequel Hook, thinking that the franchise will have a major trilogy in the works similar to the Ratchet & Clank Future trilogy, no fifth game was ever announced, and within a year, Sanzaru Games, who developed Thieves in Time, confirmed that they're not making a sequel. Fans were so angry with the Downer Ending and Penelope's poorly-written Face–Heel Turn that they've disowned the game, and Sanzaru was declared a pariah of video games.
  • Street Fighter X Tekken was highly anticipated upon release, being the crossover of two fighting game giants. Then through a series of controversies (the Gems game mechanic, the addition of "Bad Box Art" Mega Man in the wake of the controversial cancellation of Mega Man Legends 3) culminating in the revelation that all DLC was on disk (and there was a lot of DLC) overshadowed the game's actual quality. To this day, Namco's half of the crossover is still pending and very much in question.
  • The Settlers 7: Paths To A Kingdom actually fixed many of the complains people have had over the last games and is as a result often considered the best Settlers game in almost a decade. Unfortunately though, the game's problematic, always online DRM and infamously bad US box-art meant most people didn't bother to find out.
  • Thrill Kill is a case where the controversy was enough for the game to never get released (it was so violent ESRB gave it an Adults Only Rating, and thus Electronic Arts pulled the plug despite it being basically finished).
  • Tomodachi Life is infamous due to the lack of a Gay Option and Nintendo's initial rationalization about it, which was later retracted in an apology, moreso than the game being about interpersonal relationships between Miis. An Urban Legend of Zelda asserting that the Japanese version had a bug allowing same-sex couples that got fixed in the localization didn't help.note 
  • TERA tried to market itself as a new breed of action MMO, but most people who know of it know of it because of the controversy over the Elin, a One-Gender Race of Lolicon Little Bit Beastly girls who, like all the females in the game, dress in an incredibly skimpy fashion. Even with the American publishing company (shoddily) making the clothes more modest, this reputation has never particularly died down. As you can guess, Western fans of the game actually developed uncensored patches because they in turn feel betrayed by their publishers, making this a double case of this.
  • TRON: RUN/r got negative reception from fans for being short, for being released instead of a third film that was cancelled due to Tomorrowland's failure at the box office, and for being made by Sanzaru Games, still reeling from the Sly Cooper controversy.
  • In March 2017, Playtonic Games decided to remove JonTron from Yooka-Laylee due to the very controversial remarks he made earlier in the month. This created a huge split between fans/backers and a huge political flame war in the gaming community.
  • WWE 2K16 is best remembered for the controversy that erupted when it was revealed the "Four Horsewomen of NXT" would not be included in the game despite most of the male NXT names making it in, not even as DLC. Not even the WWE video game debut of Samoa Joe that year (who debuted just that May) was able to calm down the fans' anger.
  • Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE was originally announced as a straightfoward serious Fire Emblem and Atlus' Shin Megami Tensei crossover Role-Playing Game on 2013 but became this upon its final gameplay reveal on 2015 as a Lighter and Softer Pop Idol-themed Shin Megami Tensei Spin-Off that uses Fire Emblem characters as the companion monsters and enemies of the game. Things got worse when it was discovered that the game was heavily altered to tone down the sexual undertones and cultural differences in the international release while Atlus and Nintendo gave vague reasons for the alterations.
  • Duke Nukem Forever is known primarily for two things: being delayed for over a decade, and the fact that when it did finally come out it was found to contain extremely outdated attitudes toward race and gender, most infamously a "capture the flag"-style minigame based around abducting women.

    Web Comics 
  • Ctrl+Alt+Del is more well known for the CADbortion arc and its writer's reputation as an arrogant jerk than anything else. Accusations of being a Penny Arcade knockoff haven't helped, and likely played a part in the comic's Retool.
  • Sonichu was already considered a terrible webcomic, but its author being openly homophobic and having a bad reputation due to their attitude/antics gives it further infamy.

    Web Original 
  • Very few knew of Innocence of Muslims on YouTube until protests in the Muslim world were triggered after an excerpt was aired on an Egyptian television station.
  • DaddyOFive will forever be tainted by allegations of child abuse, the massive amounts of evidence supporting the claim, the controversy over their "Invisible Ink Prank" video, and the backlash growing so big, two of the most abused children shown in their videos are now in the hands of their biological mom instead of the family shown in the videos.
  • The Amazing Atheist is mostly well known for an incident online when he not only accused a rape victim of lying, but also told her to reexperience it. Largely everything else seem minor compared to it.
  • Pretty much the only thing most people know about The Irate Gamer is the accusations of plagiarism creator Chris Bores faced due to the similarities to the Angry Video Game Nerd.
  • Animator and former Philadelphian pistachio vendor Emily Youcis has become much more known after being fired from her job after she had posted her far-right views on Twitter. Creator/Troma dropped support of her, and her reputation in the animation community dropped to a new low. Outside of the controversy, many people know her as one of the animators for the extremely polarizing Where the Dead Go to Die.
  • While Web Video/Vinesauce mostly avoid this trope, many things they had in 2015 (such as every streamer becoming a Twitch partner and the very successful charity run) have been overshadowed by an infamous incident called the Towel incident, where Joel Johansson's channel was hijacked for a week in November by an anonymous troll named "Towel".

    Western Animation 
  • Countless cartoons from The Golden Age of Animation (1930s until the end of 1950s) have been subject to censorship since the 1960s because of imagery that is nowadays considered racist or a bad example to little children (scenes of smoking, Suicide as Comedy, etc.). Though most of them only have minor scenes that can be edited in syndication, other cartoons are almost impossible to show because they are troublesome from the first until the last frame. These are the Censored Eleven, cartoons who are never shown on American TV. The unfortunate thing about many of these is that some of them are actually good, funny and/or important films.
    • Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs: A parody of Snow White with grossly exaggarated stereotypical caricatures of African Americans. Still many claim it to be Bob Clampett's best work.
    • All This and Rabbit Stew is a fairly straightforward Bugs Bunny cartoon where the rabbit outwits a hunter. Yet the hunter is black and a mix of almost every African-American stereotype at the time, making the cartoon far more infamous for this aspect than anything else.
  • Der Fuehrer's Face: An Oscar winning propaganda cartoon that has gained more notoriety over the years for starring Donald Duck as a Nazi than its artistic merits. It doesn't help that images from the cartoon often pop up out of context on various sites, causing many people to believe it actually endorses Nazism rather than criticize it.
  • The Adventure Time episode "What Was Missing" immediately became popular and controversial, for the alleged lesbian subtext between Princess Bubblegum and Marceline the Vampire Queen.
  • The one thing most people remember about the Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie, other than the famous opening number by Mastodon, is its Viral Marketing campaign that caused the Boston Bomb Scare and resulted in then-head of Cartoon Network Jim Samples stepping down and being replaced by Stuart Snyder who became hated by fans for pushing out action cartoons in favor of live-action shows.
  • While Clarence is still a pretty popular show, mention it anywhere, and typically at least one person will bring up the mental breakdown and subsequent firing of the show's creator Skylar Page. It's possible that the management at CN didn't forget about it either, as Clarence wound up getting Screwed by the Network big-time over the next several years before being cancelled after only three seasons.note 
  • Full English was a British show intended to be the counterpart of adult shows such as South Park or Family Guy. Already unpopular with audiences who viewed it as copying from its source material, what nailed the show into the ground was an infamous segment where the ghost of infamous reality-television star Jade Goody has a fight with the ghost of Princess Diana. After numerous complaints, especially from newspaper The Daily Mail, the show was subsequently canned, and the remaining episodes were then aired one last time before never being aired again.
  • The SpongeBob SquarePants episode "House Fancy" only seems to be remembered for scene where Squidward's toenail is ripped out when he and SpongeBob move furniture, and the complaints it received.
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "The Last Roundup" appears to be only remembered for giving fan favorite character Derpy Hooves lines and a canon name, and then subsequently censoring her due to her portrayal and name being considered offensive to some, delving into her cross-eyed look. Everything else about the episode is eclipsed by it.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (2016):
    • Within a month of starting, the series gained an unsightly reputation due to various changes such as removing popular character Ms. Bellum.
    • The series' reputation was further affected by the accusation of character Jared Shapiro being a blatant Self Insert for writer Jake Goldman.note  This wouldn't be so bad if it weren't because Blossom has a crush on him and it isn't quite specified whether or not the feeling is mutual. Keep in mind that Blossom is middle school-age at the oldest, Jared is in high school, and Goldman is an adult man. However, another writer stated that Jared wasn't Goldman's direct creation, as he was just physically based on him as a production crew inside joke, and they simply decided it'd be doubly funny if Goldman voiced him, too.
  • The final episode of The Legend of Korra has largely been overshadowed by the last four minutes where Asami and Korra receive a Relationship Upgrade. There's been talk about it being anything from pandering to it being improper for a show aimed at elementary schoolers to have a same-gender relationship. And even then some were unsatisfied because their relationship was only subtly built-up, and was not given full confirmation on-screen like Aang & Katara's relationship, but was instead only confirmed online afterwards.
  • The episode "Man's Best Friend" from The Ren & Stimpy Show was banned due to a scene with Ren violently beating George Liquor with an oar. It was also one of the possible reasons why John K. was fired from the show. Despite this, it is still considered one of the funniest and best episodes of the show.
  • The South Park episodes "200" and "201" is a Milestone Celebration and we learn the real truth behind Cartman's father. However, "200" caused a Muslim group to send death threats to Trey Parker and Matt Stone for depicting The Prophet Muhammad in a bear suit (even though it was really Santa Claus); Comedy Central subsequently altered "201" so all audio and visual references to Muhammad were censored, thus resparking the Muhammed cartoon controversy in real life. To this day, it has never been rerun, it's not available for legal streaming and only the censored version has been released on DVD. Portions of the uncensored cut very rarely leak onto the Internet but are immediately blocked before they can spread. The censored speech at the end, amusingly proven true by the forced censorship, essentially amounts to "Use fear and you will always get what you want!"
  • A minor example happened with Star vs. the Forces of Evil in Brazil after the gay kiss. Some evangelical bishops called for a total boycott of all Disney products in the country.
  • Gwen Stefani's cartoon Kuu Kuu Harajuku is more known for complaints from various blogs and sites about its Japanese "cultural appropriation" than any aspect of the show itself. It doesn't even have a page on This Very Wiki.

    Real Life 
  • Hirohito:
    • Hirohito reigned as Emperor of Japan from Christmas of 1926 until his death one week into 1989, but he will always be most remembered and blamed for the atrocities committed in his name by the Imperial Army during World War II (including the Second Sino-Japanese War). To many people of that era from the Allied countries, especially China and Korea, he was a war criminal who escaped the meting of justice they felt he deserved (General MacArthur in particular wanted to see him hanged, and never forgave President Truman for not only sparing Hirohito a Nuremberg Trial but allowing him to remain on the throne for what turned out to be several more decades). For instance, when the Emperor visited Europe in the 1970s, he was protested by people who had survived Japanese POW camps. Really, the only "punishment" he received was that he was forced to admit to the Japanese people that he was not semi-divine. The War completely overshadows his other achievements. For example, did you know he was a noteworthy research scientist who published scholarly papers about fish? Neither did anyone else.
    • To this day, there is considerable debate amongst historians, especially in the West, as to just how much of a role Hirohito played in starting and executing the War. It is generally accepted today that by the time shots were fired (against United States, China is another matter entirely), his role was minimal at best, real power being exercised by Hideki Tojo and the military's top brass — the ones who did stand trial and were hanged — much of the more insane policies coming about as a result of the Imperial Army and Navy fighting their own internal turf war to gain favor. By the time Little Boy and Fat Man reduced Hiroshima and Nagasaki to ashes, Hirohito was at risk of becoming a war casualty himself; he had to record the Declaration of Surrender in secret and smuggle it out of the Palace because his own military would have killed him to keep it from being broadcast.
    • His legacy is still up in the air thanks to the existence of the Yasukuni Shrine, a war memorial which includes convicted war criminals among its names. Nationalist politicians like to pay their respects there, despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that doing so invariably angers China and the Koreas. The fact that history classes in Japanese high schools either gloss over or ignore the War doesn't help either. note 
  • Bill Clinton oversaw the largest economic expansion since the end of the postwar period (even if a lot of the .com stuff was a speculative bubble), signed a far-reaching trade deal with America's then-largest trading partners Canada and Mexico (though YMMV on whether that was a good thing), helped negotiate the Good Friday Agreement which all but ended The Troubles, oversaw the Oslo Accords that led to direct Palestinian control over (a tiny fraction of) their own territory for the first time since 1967, and became the first American president in at least a century to balance the federal budget (and the last). So what is he most remembered for? A sex scandal that led to him being only the second president in American history to be impeached. Note however that this did not hurt his popularity at the time; in fact, it backfired on his opponents, as many people saw the impeachment as a nakedly partisan power-grab – Clinton's approval rating increased during the hearings, and he left office as one of the most popular presidents of the modern era.
  • Richard Nixon's presidency has been overshadowed by the Watergate affair. Other memorable events during his administration, even good ones like him opening relationships with China, have been forgotten except for history buffs.
  • Silent movie comedian Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle's legacy has been tainted by his involvement in an party/orgy where a young girl died. Even though his name was eventually cleared, the affair destroyed his career and public image. He was given the chance for a comeback, but died the day after signing a new deal. Nowadays, if he is remembered at all, it's more for this public image than any of his films.
  • Boris Yeltsin is not remembered today for any of his policies, but more for his very visible and embarrassing alcoholism problems during public appearances.
  • The long, successful, and admirable career of Bill Cosby will now forever be overshadowed by all the controversy of him being an alleged rapist and all the women who've come forward claiming to have been raped or sexually assaulted. NBC and Netflix dropped projects they had with Cosby like a hot potato and he was erased from popular culture à la Jimmy Savile (see below). It's an open question whether a court case or his sudden death might change anything. Interestingly, Roman Polanski, who admitted to statutory rape of a minor and served time in Chino Prison for a period of evaluation before absconding from America in fear of a stricter sentence has not garnered the same amount of public backlash Cosby now endures. One reason for this was that Cosby had long put on a Holier Than Thou image as a straight edge comic and social critic, and as such set himself for a greater fall from grace than an edgy avant-garde European filmmaker. Another reason was that, while Polanski raped one girl, there are dozens of alleged Cosby's victims.
  • Illich Guardiola is a voice actor known for his anime dub work with Sentai Filmworks. However, after April 2014, he is only remembered for his sexual relationship and sexual abuse with a 16-year-old female student of his. Even though the charges were dropped, this scandal effectively destroyed his voice acting career.
  • British TV presenter Jimmy Savile. During his lifetime, he was quite popular as a host and fundraiser for humanitarian causes, even being knighted for his goodwill. He died as a celebrated entertainer with people gathering to watch his funeral procession in the streets. Only a year after his death a revealing documentary outed him as a sexual predator who had molested hundreds of young women, many of them only teenagers. The report caused an outcry and many people reported similar incidents. As a result, Savile's name became so tainted that virtually all memorials, tributes and statues to him have been removed and destroyed. Even archive footage of him, or downright references to him in comedy shows, have been removed from the BBC site, making him effectively an Un-person at this point. It seems unlikely that his name or image can ever be shown again without creating controversy.
  • Gary Glitter: A glam rock icon from the 1970s, but dogged by scandal from the late 1990s on. He was arrested and sentenced for possession of child pornography and as a result his music is mostly banned from airplay. It's not likely he'll ever shake off the controversy again due to his friendship with Jimmy Savile.
  • Adolf Hitler, Nazism and extreme right-wing ideologies have been permanently discredited since the revelation of The Holocaust.
    • It remains highly controversial to discuss, say, aspects of Nazi Germany which were, if not normal, typical of any modern government (be it democratic or totalitarian). The fact that such policies as anti-smoking laws, implementation of television, vegetarianism, standardization of color film stock, rocket technology, public television, assault rifles as well as the development and co-existence of several major German brands (Adidas, Siemens, Deutsche Bank, Volkswagen, Porsche, Fanta, Bayer) started with Nazi Germany is either airbrushed from history or occasionally invoked via sheepish Old Shame, Hitler Ate Sugar and Godwin's Law.
    • What makes Hitler's case exceptional, in some respects, is that other conquerors from the past, such as Julius Caesar, Charlemagne, Genghis Khan and/or Napoleon Bonaparte have far less controversy attached to them. You can discuss their achievements in relatively neutral and/or positive terms since their legacies are not in living memory. One reason for this is that Genghis Khan was after all a descendant of a nomadic pre-modern civilization in a harsh environment rather than a democratically elected politician in a post-Enlightenment, industrialized and advanced Republic; Khan also reserved brutality for the combat fields, being a very open-minded and tolerant ruler overall. A historian can make a case that Temujin's brutal and violent conquests was an exceptional and special period in human development, and likewise meted out violence out of conquest rather than racial persecution. As for Charlemagne, Caesar and Napoleon, they may have been megalomaniacs, but all of them developed legal, social and cultural reforms of genuine merit; in the case of Napoleon, he crusaded against anti-Semitism. Besides, unlike Hitler, their military and political successes could be directly attributed to their own skills, rather than blind luck or the vision of subordinate staff. Also, none of them attempted genocide.
    • The problem with discussing Hitler and Nazi Germany in positive terms, in any case, presupposes the existence of anything genuinely positive or redeemable in Nazi policy. Most of their successes in economics, infrastructure and military governance, were 1) Typical rather than Exceptional 2) Temporary rather than Lasting, 3) Reversed with total defeat with Germany occupied, partitioned and territory permanently granted to Poland. Indeed, historians note that the only reason the Nazis and World War II are subject to intense ideological discussions is because of The Holocaust, which is today regarded by historians as Hitler and Nazi Germany's central legacy, the only reason for history to remember them.
    • A famous advertisment by Brazilian newspaper Folha de S. Paulo tells on the feats of an art-loving man who helped rebuild his war-ravaged country before revealing it's Hitler, followed by "You can tell a lot of lies by only saying the truth".
  • Any country that was ruled by an infamously cruel and eccentric dictator during the 20th century will have a hard time escaping his reputation, particularly if the country was not particularly well-known prior to his rule. Examples from more notable countries would be Germany and Adolf Hitler, Russia and Josef Stalin, China and Mao Zedong, Italy and Benito Mussolini and Spain and Francisco Franco, while examples of initially lesser-known nations include Libya and Muhammar Gaddafi, Cambodia and Pol Pot, Cuba and Fidel Castro, North Korea and the Kim family, Syria and Hafez and Bashar al-Assad, Afghanistan and the Taliban, Iran and Ayatollah Khomeini, Uganda and Idi Amin, Zimbabwe and Robert Mugabe, Zaire and Mobutu, Iraq and Saddam Hussein, Turkmenistan and Saparmurat Niyazov and the Philippines and Ferdinand Marcos Sr. The fact that some of these dictators or their families are still in power right now (namely, Mugabe, al-Assad, and the Kim, Castro and Marcos families) doesn't help. In the West, this reaction is averted with Japan, despite its crimes in World War II being second only to the Nazis' and the fact that modern Japan has many more Axis apologists than modern Germany and Italy do, including high-level politicians, and Pearl Harbor is the only crime of theirs that the West remembers. It's a very different story in Asia, where Imperial Japan is looked on with the same revulsion Nazi Germany is elsewhere and as a result Japan has few friends on its own continent.
  • Poor, poor swastika. Originally used in an almost exclusively positive manner, it is completely associated with Nazi Germany now. Even if you are yourself a Jew, Romani, etc. — and in fact, trying to use the Grandfather Clause or N-Word Privileges on this point will likely only stir up greater resentment against you.
  • To make a case of how influential Adolf Hitler was, you only need to go back to 1938 when a Belgian by the name of Hendrik De Man proposed a plan to reform the government in the times of the great depression. It was meant to oppress fascism thanks to the introduction of a social democracy of 5 classes controlled by technocrats. This man and his followers, who perpetrated a socialism that would reform the Belgian nation into a better one, called themselves national socialists. After World War 2 they realized just how horrible it was as a name to have and they renamed themselves as demanists, after the creator of their ideology, to get rid of all the fascist and hideous connotations they had.
  • Artists who support controversial political regimes and ideologies often face this:
    • Bertolt Brecht, Sergei Eisenstein, Paul Robeson and several other artists who supported or sympathized with communism, even under Stalin, saw their reputations decline, at least briefly, during the Cold War, and they faced further backlash in their homeland during De-stalinization and the Kruschev thaw. The phrase "useful idiot", misattributed to Lenin, is often used by historians to tag any artist or intellectual who supported or sympathized with Red October and used, retroactively, to justify such instances as The Hollywood Blacklist.
    • Still, being a fellow traveler to Communism is seen as misguided and naive blindness. Supporting Nazism and Fascism on the other hand is the deal breaker: Louis-Ferdinand Céline, author of Journey to the End of the Night, one of the most acclaimed novels of the 20th century. He was grotesquely antisemitic and supported Vichy France and never repented. This makes it difficult for people to praise him as an author, especially given that during the war, another collaborationist writer, Robert Brasillach was actually shot by firing squad in the post-war trials. The same applies to modernist poet Ezra Pound, an American who wrote and broadcast Fascist Propaganda for Mussolini during World War II, was imprisoned for treason several years afterwards. Leni Riefenstahl's Nazi propaganda and the degree to which they qualify as legitimate works of art.
    • Fashion designer Coco Chanel is a legend in the fashion world, but she is not without controversy throughout her career; the infamous one being a collaborator to the Nazis, even dating one of them. Then there is Hugo Boss: famous for their luxury suits and perfumes for men, infamous for its eponymous founder's creation of Nazi uniforms.
  • This also extends to authors who voice racist and sexist stereotypes in their works, which in their day might have been typical or exceptional but thanks to Society Marches On and later political developments, their legacy gets tarnished. Richard Wagner is universally considered a genius composer, but his open anti-semitism and the Nazi party's promotion of his music and writings has tarnished his legacy. Modern readers of books by William Shakespeare, Voltaire, Charles Dickens, Fyodor Dostoevsky and many others are often difficult to read for the open anti-semitism, sexism and other stereotypes present in the content. Rudyard Kipling's promotion of Mighty Whitey and White Man's Burden made him, formerly the most popular and well-read author of his day, an embarassment for literary critics in the wake of decolonization. And the less said about D. W. Griffith and The Birth of a Nation the better.
  • While the late South Korean president Chung-hee Park is still highly respected by many Koreans for practically rebuilding the nation from the ground up (after it spent 35 years under Japanese rule and another three at war with North Korea), his 18-year rule is remembered by just as many for the fact that he led one of the most oppressive and dictatorial regimes the country had ever seen after becoming convinced that he was the only person who could properly maintain his country. This became such a dark mark for him that when his daughter Geun-hye became president in 2013, she publicly apologized for the atrocities he committed while he was in office. The younger Park, always a divisive figure due to her parentage, was herself disgraced in October 2016 when she was forced to admit to a longstanding friendship with an infamous Cult leader who may have influenced many of her decisions as President, and she was impeached that December.
  • November 22, 1963:
    • Any American capable of cognitive thought can tell you what happened on this day. But wasn't there something else? Something that was at least notable in the business world? Notable to Detroit Lions fans? Yes, it was the day that William Clay Ford, Sr., son of Edsel Ford, and member of board of directors of the Ford Motor Company, purchased the Lions and became majority owner. Had it not been for the terrible tragedy that day in Dallas, it's safe to say that while not necessarily front page news, it would have made at least some waves.
    • Not only did Kennedy die that day, but so did authors Aldous Huxley and C. S. Lewis.
    • And of course, science-fiction fans know it was the day before Doctor Who first aired. The BBC actually reaired the pilot the week later.
  • The 2015 Miss Universe pageant was overshadowed by host Steve Harvey accidentally announcing the wrong name as the winner and later by a vehicular incident that injured dozens of pedestrians (and killed one) outside the venue.
  • Ferdinand Marcos Sr. is forever remembered for corruption charges and the human rights violations during his Martial Law era presidency. And yet, his widowed wife and son are elected to political positions which makes a special case that the people who voted for them are either born after the EDSA revolution, believe that Marcos did some good things during his administration even before declaring Martial Law and that some of people tend to exaggerate that he's the worst president in Philippine history, that he and his family got Drunk with Power during the Martial Law era and the voters are willing to forgive them or that his Martial Law is beneficial to keep the peace in the entire country and the whole EDSA revolution is strictly for "Imperial Manila". When his son, a former senator who also ran for the Vice Presidency in the 2016 elections, was interviewed about his family name being a hindrance or a benefit to win the elections, he said with confidence that it's the latter. As expected, he earned a lot of backlash which doesn't help that he refused to apologize for his father's crimes during his administration. However, this doesn't stopped him nearly winning the elections until his opponent Leni Robredo beat him in a near margin of votes.
  • Academy Awards:
    • The 2015 and 2016 Academy Awards gained more attention for the troubles over the issue of racial diversity amongst the acting nominees — as they were all white — and online protests and planned boycotts that ensued in response than the actual nominations. All of this ended up becoming the butt of many, many jokes by the latter ceremony's host, the African American Chris Rock. On the bright side, at least Leonardo DiCaprio finally got an Oscar.
    • The 2017 Academy Awards attracted several notable controversies:
      • Casey Affleck's Best Actor win for Manchester by the Sea was controversial due to Affleck having been sued for sexual harassment in 2010; while the allegations were never proven and the matter was settled out of court, many believe he was guilty, to the point that several attendees of the awards refused to applaud him on his win. Also controversial was the fact that Affleck was given a very different treatment from his African-American contemporary Nate Parker, whose sexual assault allegations destroyed his Oscar chances.
      • The Iranian film The Salesman, which won Best Foreign Language Film, became better known for the fact that its director Asghar Farhadi boycotted the ceremony in protest of President Donald Trump's controversial executive order temporarily suspending immigration from his and six other Muslim-majority countries. Iranian-American astronaut Anousheh Ansari picked up the award for him.
      • The last and biggest controversy came at the ceremony's end, when Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway erroneously announced that La La Land won Best Picture instead of Moonlight, the actual winner, the first time this mistake had been made in the Awards' history. The error, resulting from Beatty being mistakenly handed the Best Actress envelope, which La La Land HAD in fact won, rapidly became the defining moment of the ceremony in pop culture.
  • George W. Bush's December 14, 2008 press conference in Iraq, where he explained how the withdrawal of all U.S. combat forces would proceed, was overshadowed by an angry Iraqi journalist that threw his shoes at him, which Bush hastily dodged. Furthermore, the man's presidency is almost exclusively associated with his poor handling of the Second Gulf War (primarily because it ensued over suspicions that Iraq possessed nonexistent chemical weapons), and to a lesser extent the Financial Collapse and ensuing Great Recession that happened on his watch. In addition, there are still conspiracy theories floating around alleging that his people somehow masterminded the September 11th Attacks (usually framed as an excuse for the aforementioned Gulf War 2.0). What had at the end of 2001 been a highly-regarded presidency had become, by the end of 2008, one of the worst-regarded in American history.
  • In December 2014, Dave Grohl finally got his first solo Rolling Stone magazine cover. Sadly, that moment has been completely overshadowed by the "A Rape on Campus" article in the magazine.note 
  • In 2016, three Republican governors — Michigan's Rick Snyder, North Carolina's Pat McCrory, and North Dakota's Jack Dalrymple — were thrust into the national spotlight due to outrage over Snyder's handling of the Flint Water Crisis, McCrory's support of House Bill 2, which forces transgender people to use bathrooms corresponding with their gender at birth, and Dalrymple's involvement in suppressing protests against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline over the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. These three scandals quickly tainted their reputations both in their respective states and on a national scale. McCrory lost re-election later that year.
  • The 2016 Miss Teen USA pageant was supposed to be seen as a huge step in distancing beauty contests from their misogynistic pasts, as it was the first such pageant since the organization cut ties with Donald Trump, and modernizing into a female-empowering competition, with its swimsuit competition being replaced by a sportswear one. Instead, it drew more attention for racist concerns, as its finalists were all blonde white women and the eventual winner had used the "n-word" in several past tweets.
  • In 2014, a story about a man from Virginia claiming a disputed empty desert territory between Egypt and Sudan went viral. He wanted to establish a "kingdom" so that his daughter could become a real life princess. It was a heartwarming story of a father's loyalty for his daughter. Things, however, took a turn for the ugly when Morgan Spurlock bought the movie rights to it, and Disney was to distribute it. This announcement brought the story back into the spotlight and immediately brought connections to the highly illustrious — and controversial — Disney Princess franchise. This drew many Unfortunate Implications, as this was about a white girl becoming a princess in Africa — a continent strongly associated with anything but whites, and the colonialism aspect reminded people of another highly controversial entry in the franchise, Pocahontas.
  • Former President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmedinejad was well known both at home and abroad for his Hair-Trigger Temper and is defined in popular culture by various audacious things he's said and done, such as expressing terrorist and Holocaust-denier sympathies and perhaps most infamously a 2005 statement that he'd like to see the entire country of Israel completely destroyed, which even Iran's spiritual head Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, himself no friend to Israel, thought was too much. By the end of his two terms in 2012 his own people were more than sick of him (which he helped very little with his violent crackdowns on protests) and swiftly elected a more liberal successor.
  • Pope Benedict XVI, having a short pontificate sandwiched between the hugely popular John Paul II and the also hugely popular Francis I, probably wouldn't have been remembered for much in any case, but he had the bad luck to be on the throne when decades of child sexual abuse by priests were exposed, which also implicated him in a massive coverup to save the Church's reputation (though there's some evidence John Paul was complicit as well). He's also known as the Pope Who Quit, i.e. abdicating his seat while still alive (not unprecedented but extremely rare), paving the way for his successor. References to him in popular culture that aren't to the scandal, his uncanny resemblance to Darth Sidious, or the fact that he had a much better predecessor and successor are few and far between.
  • Joan Crawford's long career in Hollywood, which spanned several decades and included several award-winning movies (including What Eaver Happened To Baby Jane) has been largely overshadowed by the accusations laid out in Mommie Dearest that she was a mad alcoholic who abused her oldest adopted daughter Christina. That the book was released after Joan's death, leaving her unable to refute it, didn't help, nor did the fact that the book was adapted into a Cult Classic movie in 1981.
  • Vladimir Putin is the man who returned Russia to world power status after the disasters of the 1990s. Unfortunately, his authorizing invasions of Chechnya and Georgia under justifications that remain murky, the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula (while they did vote to it, and it was de facto independent, it was not recognized by most of the world), the pro-Russian paramilitary factions in Ukraine, Russia's anti-LGBT laws, and his reputation as a petty authoritarian with a lack of tolerance for political opposition have given him many detractors, inside and outside of Russia.
  • Malaysia Airlines is best known outside its home country for two disasters that happened to its planes in 2014, the disappearance of Flight 370 and shooting down of Flight 17.
  • Alex Tizon was a respected journalist and author for much of his career, but his earlier work has largely been overshadowed by his final story, "My Family's Slave", in which he confesses that his parents kept a slave for 56 years.
  • Jade Goody (mentioned above in the Western Animation section) was once a rather famous British women's gossip icon in the early 2000s, thanks to her role in the third season of Big Brother. However, things took an ugly turn in her re-appearance in the fifth season of the show, where she and two other female contestants racially insulted Indian actress Shilpa Shetty (who would later go on to win the season) many times over her incorrect usage of cooking with stock cubes. The incident led to the highest caused Goody to quickly be voted off the show, and she eventually became the butt of many jokes afterwards until her death from lung cancer in 2009. Even though her reputation has slightly improved after her death, her name has still become synonymous with the event.
  • Philosopher and author Friedrich Nietzsche, much like Richard Wagner (see "Music"), is now best known for the promulgation of his work by the Nazis rather than its actual content. Saying you agree with Nietzsche's philosophy on anything will get you accusations of being a racist, fascist, and/or Social Darwinist, and it's Common Knowledge that the man himself was all these things and more (he wasn't).

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