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, and All There Is to Know About "The Crying Game". 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.

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 about editing this page. It isn't supposed to imply that there's no other redeeming factor for the works on this list. It also doesn't necessarily mean that the creators meant their work to be controversial.


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  • This French Orangina ad. It barely raised an issue in France, but when a few activists showed it to the US people were so shocked by all the YIFF they saw that one of the later Orangina ads poked fun at it, only to realize that most French that saw it barely had any clue what the fuss was all about. They continued to keep the border-line furries as mascots, as their target country seemed all right with it.
  • Just for Feet were, once upon a time, 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 commercialnote  accused of being racist and insensitive. 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 (the owner of the company had no idea the commercial was made), 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Lotte no Omocha features a female protagonist who is a succubus. Well, OK, nothing bad about it so far... wait, the female protagonist is also 10 years old and will die if she doesn't drink Life Essence? Dude, Not Funny!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


  • 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.
  • 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), and now most recently 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.
  • 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".
  • 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 a Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 long and acclaimed career of Peter David, known for his work on The Incredible Hulk and X-Factor, was 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


     Films — Animated  
  • 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 has not aged well, with one major problem being that Barbara Gordon only shows up to be Stuffed into the Fridge. 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 as even more sexist: she spends the entire movie lusting after Batman and only became Batgirl in order to get his attention. This culminates in the two having sex, which Squicked out a good portion of the audience.
  • 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.
  • Alice Through the Looking Glass was 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.
  • 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 recent 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 recent case unique was its dissemination via social media and the greater internet (a fairly recent phenomenon) and perhaps a generational backlash.
  • 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 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 on 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.
  • The Birth of a Nation:
    • D.W. Griffith's film 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 intended to reclaim the title 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.
  • 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 saw 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 Yellow Face 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 Film/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 Saga:
    • 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 lenghts 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 knew criminality was high\cruel and at times can only be fought by being equally brutal methods, and also thanked it wasn't a work glamourizing criminals for a change).
  • 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.
  • 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 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 reboot without addressing the criticism, both legitimate and sexist, towards it. Director Paul Fieg, the cast, and Sony lashed out by deleting all fair critique and trying to portray everyone who dislikes the film as losers, which had caused fans who were not all that bothered 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. On the other side of the controversy, many of the film's fans felt that many of its critics were motivated primarily by misogyny, owing to the replacement of the original's all-male main cast with an all-female one, and racism, owing to Leslie Jones being in the cast (her moments in the first official trailers not helping matters). However, it's generally agreed that for those opposed to the film, as far as the controversy is concerned the Moral Event Horizon was crossed when hackers hit the official site of Jones, who had already been subjected to abuse on Twitter for her role in the film, and filled it with racist and generally outright NSFW imagery, even going so far as to dox her. It says something that even Milo Yiannapoulos, despite having led the Twitter abuse campaign against Jones and calling the hack itself karma for her role in his eviction from Twitter, was disgusted by that.
  • 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 an 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 Heidi TV movie adaptation 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • It's impossible to discuss the filmography of Roman Polanski 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 theatre 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, DC 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.
  • Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ owes its record-breaking success with audiences who weren't devout Christians to this very trope. 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. Cool.
  • 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 standpoint. 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.
  • 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).

  • 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.
  • TheLegendOfRahAndTheMuggles 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 paedophilia" (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.
  • 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 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.
  • James Bond:
  • 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.
  • The Turner Diaries, a white supremacist novel by William L. Pierce, is best known for its association with Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City Bomber.
  • 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".
  • The notoriety of John Lennon's murderer and Ronald Reagan's attempted murderer (among other gunmen) each possessing (and claiming as an influence for their actions) a copy of J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye has — in some circles — overshadowed any merits of the book.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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?

     Live Action TV  
  • 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.
  • Married... with Children gained notoriety in 1989 for causing a Michigan housewife to launch a crusade to get it cancelled, which resulted in getting one episode banned for about a decade.
  • 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 tarnished Cameron's reputation and is frequently cited by anti-theists as a textbook example of why religion is bad.
  • 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.
  • 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 anymore and is probably better known for the racial offensiveness than the actual comedy.
  • 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.
  • Even supposedly family-friendly shows such as Canadian "tween" drama The Next Step (and by extension, its Spin-Off Lost And Found Music Studios is 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 PleaseThinkOfTheChildren-type groups. Word of God is she did it to avoid Contractual Purity.
  • Donald Trump's offensive remarks towards Mexican immigrants 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 and run for presidency of the United States has resulted in the programs that were once his largest direct contribution to pop culture becoming just mild footnotes in his story.
  • Jeopardy! had this happen 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 a very controversial group in all of music during the mid to late 1990s, garnering everything from concert protests to being blamed for the Columbine shootings... but outside his fanbase and 1990s rock fans you'll find more people who know him as a result of the controversy than for his actual music.
  • Milli Vanilli was once a popular group, but after a scandal broke out revealing the fact that they playbacked all their songs they became a universal shame. To this day nobody in their right mind can admit liking their hits without addressing the playback scandal.
  • 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 Dude, Not Funny! 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 a campaign against gay rights in the 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!.

     New Media  
  • 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.

     Professional 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, 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 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 in 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 first Night of Champions 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 because he was busy murdering his wife and child and then committing suicide. Not only was Benoit's reputation forever tarnished, but Morrison has (at least with some people) yet to live down the fact that he rose to main-event status in WWE entirely because of an offscreen 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.
  • 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 (Batista and Roman Reigns, respectively) despite the fact that the crowd overwhelmingly wanted Daniel Bryan to win the match; unfortunately, he 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 and the 2015 one for respectively pushing and burying not only Reigns and Bryan, but other washed-up stars like The Big Show and Kane and beloved Ensemble Darkhorses like Dolph Ziggler and Dean Ambrose.
  • 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.

  • Ty Cobb. While he is one of the greatest baseball player of all time, his reputation suffers from the fact that he was a surly tempered man and an unshameful racist too.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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 the lead choreographer 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.

     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  
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 on the series has had their own share of controversy.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 instead of a Metroidvania and it's A Day in the Limelight for heroic Federation soldiers instead of starring Samus; adding up to an immediate Audience-Alienating Premise. From its announcement, it has been received with bile from fans for not being what they wanted in the slightest. Even its defenders admitted that while it would likely be a good game, 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  Once Federation Force came out, it earned another strike against it since Samus is the Final Boss - a boring, Anti-Climactic Final Boss hardly worthy of her badass reputation, but the bad timing is what hurt the game the most.
  • 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.
  • 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: Sticker Star was generally regarded as a So Okay, It's Average game, with its biggest flaw being an extreme amount 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.
  • 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-semetic 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.
  • 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 an obese parody of 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.
  • 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-gender 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 uncensor patches because they in turn feel betrayed by their publishers, making this a double case of this trope.
  • 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).
  • Surprisingly enough, Modern Warfare 2 managed to avert being Overshadowed by Controversy. Despite the uproar about violence in video games coming to a head about the game's "No Russian" level, Modern Warfare 2 managed to outsell its predecessor and be highly regarded.

     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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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 kickass 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.
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "The Last Round-Up" 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 (except for perhaps, Pinkie's antics) is eclipsed by it.
  • 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!"
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Within a month of starting The Powerpuff Girls (2016) gained an unsightly reputation due to various changes such as removing popular character Ms. Bellum for being too fansservicey. It also has a TransNature metaphor for transgender people episode with a Broken Aesop that bugged a lot of people.

  • 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, 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 favour. 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, succesful, 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 and as a straight edge comic and social critic, and as such set himself for a greater public disgrace than an edgy avant-garde European film-maker.
  • 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, than typical of any modern government (be it democratic or totalitarian). The fact that such policies as anti-smoking laws, television, vegetarianism, 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) with Nazi Germany is either airbrushed from history or occassionally 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".
  • Basically 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 would be Libya and Muammar Quadaffi, Cambodia and Pol Pot, Uganda and Idi Amin, Iraq and Saddam Hussein, and Turkmenistan and Saparmurat Niyazov.
  • 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 nationalsocialists. 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 traveller to Communism is seen as misguided and naive blindess. 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 Reifenstahl'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 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 model years that made it explode in rear-end collisions. Heck, even the trope referring to exploding cars is called Every Car Is a Pinto!
  • 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 is forever remembered for corruption charges and the human rights violations during his Martial Law era presidency. And yet, his widowed cough  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, currently a senator and running 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.
  • The 2015 and especially 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 ceremony's host, the African American Chris Rock. On the bright side, at least Leonardo DiCaprio finally got an Oscar.
  • 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 early 2016, two Republican governors — Michigan's Rick Snyder and North Carolina's Pat McCrory — were thrust into the national spotlight due to outrage over the former's handling of the Flint Water Crisis and the latter's support of House Bill 2, which forces transgender people to use bathrooms corresponding with their gender at birth. These two scandals quickly tainted their reputations both in their respective states and on a national scale.
  • The Brazilian congressman Jair Bolsonaro is very well known in the country for his controversial opinions. For example, in an interview for Playboy magazine in 2011, he said he would prefer to see his son's death rather than to be a homosexual. In 2014, he said to a congresswoman during a heated discussion that she doesn’t deserve to be raped because she is too ugly. But his most controversial moment was in the beginning of 2016 when during the process of Dilma Rousself’s impeachment, he paid homage to colonel Brilhante Ulstra, a well known torturer during the military dictatorship in Brazil which tortured Dilma and many others. Many criticized this action and even some of his supporters think he's gone too far. Now he could lose his mandate for speaking in favor of torture.
  • The 2016 Miss Teen USA pageant was supposed to be seen as a huge step in distancing beauty contests from their misogynistic pasts 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 the 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.