That must be the biggest scandal since Watergategate. Mitchell:
"Watergategate"? Isn't it just "Watergate"? Webb:
No, that would mean it was just about water. No, it was a scandal or "gate" — add the suffix '-gate', that's what you do with a scandal — involving the Watergate Hotel. So it was called "the Watergate scandal", or "Watergategate".''
On June 17, 1972, five men were arrested for breaking into the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, DC
. The fallout was immediate, widespread, and immense, leading directly to the resignation of Richard Nixon
, then-President of the United States, on August 9, 1974.
The event, dubbed "Watergate" after the hotel, was the biggest political scandal to hit the United States in recent memory. As a result virtually every political scandal that has happened since has had the suffix "-gate" applied to its name. Even scandals that aren't political in nature have followed this naming convention (see The Other Wiki
for a proper list
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- Referenced in the Post-Boot Legion of Super-Heroes. The crisis of the United Planets' Portal Network being subverted by an alien power and used to invade Earth is referred to as "Softgate."
- Popped up in Christopher Priest's run on Black Panther. The Wakandan consulate sponsored a children's charity which was later revealed to be involved in embezzling and drug-running; one of the charity's wards ended up mysteriously dead. The resulting scandal was dubbed "Wakandagate."
- In the Goldie Hawn vehicle Protocol, Goldie Hawn's blond ditz character, Sunny Davis, is unaware that she's being asked to be a prostitute for a high-ranking Arab shiek. When the scandal finally broke, the TV news called it "Sunnygate".
- Don't Call Me Ishmael!
- In Ishmael and the Return of the Dugongs, an event at a pool-party is later discussed as Piss-in-the-watergate. It was cordial.
- The first book in the series had Buggate. The author seems fond of the pun.
- In A Disagreement with Death, the last of the Wuntvor novels by Craig Shaw Gardner, Wuntvor's master, the wizard Ebenezum, refers repeatedly in interviews to "Wizardgate," but it is never revealed what the Wizardgate scandal actually involved, partly because Ebenezum cast a spell to make the reporter, and possibly everyone else, forget all about Wizardgate.
- A variant occurs in Neuromancer: "watergated" is a verb meaning an attempt to cover up/spin a scandal.
Live Action TV
- The Thick of It — Flatgate, despite Terri pointing out that Notting Hill-Gate would be a lot cleverer.
- In That Mitchell and Webb Look, Rob refers to the original scandal as "Watergategate" on the grounds that, otherwise, what would you call a scandal about water?
- On Community, the main characters conspire to make "Star-burns" lose his job in a scandal. The school newspaper headline reads "Star-Gate!" in big letters, and underneath reads "Headline in reference to Watergate, not the 1994 sci-fi film."
- A similar one happened in Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, the Polk Middle School newspaper reveals that the money supposed to replace the tiles has been spent on something else. The following day's headline: "Tile-Gate!"
- Hugh Dennis on Mock the Week made a joke about this, calling a scandal about tapping the phones of celebrities "stargate" and one about politicians buying pornography "masturgate."
- TMZ is fond of blowing seemingly minor events out of proportion, often with the "-gate" suffix. For instance, they attributed the Los Angeles Lakers' troubles in the 2010 NBA Finals (you know, before the epic Game 7 close call) to the fact that many of their key players ate steak with heavy, buttery sauce the night before at Ruth's Chris Steak House. They dubbed it "Steakgate" and over the next few days made repeated reference to it.
- A crossover between Sesame Street and The MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour occurred during a PBS pledge drive in the '80s in which news anchor Robert MacNeil covered a presumed cookie theft by Cookie Monster known as "Cookiegate."
- Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report referred to Michelle Obama shaking the hand of Indonesia's Health Minister as "Handergate."
- In the mid-1990s, EastEnders ran a storyline nicknamed "Sharongate," whereby Sharon confessed to cheating on one of the infamous Mitchell brothers with the other brother.
- Parks and Recreation:
- A Sleazy Politician invented a sex scandal with Leslie in order to divert attention from the far more embarrassing sex scandal which he was actually involved in. Eventually, Leslie challenges him to provide proof of their affair on TV and he claims she has a mole in her buttocks. After a very fed-up Leslie shows her butt to the reporter, said reporter terms it "no mole-gate".
- When an explicit tweet is sent from the Department's official account, the local news dubs the scandal "Twitter Watergate, until we can think of a snappier name for it."
- In the first season of Glee, the Glee Clubbers sometimes referred to their "first scandal"—Quinn getting pregnant—as "Babygate".
- In 1600 Penn, President Gilchrist makes a joke about marriage being pointless. The press dubs the incident "Wedding-gate" and spends the next month harping on his supposed opposition to family values.
: Sir, you've offended women. And men trying to impress women, which is all men
, except gay men, whom you've also offended.
- An episode of The Naked Brothers Band had Alex mentioning that their band is ‘bigger than Santa’, prompting widespread protests against the band all over the country. He refers to the incident as ‘Santagate’. It turns out at the end of the episode that he was referring to the band’s picture in a calendar that recently came out—their picture was bigger than Santa’s.
- In a Calvin and Hobbes strip, where Calvin pretends that his dad is an elected official, Calvin mentions major scandals during Dad's administration, such as "Bedtimegate" and "Homeworkgate." Dad brushes it off: "Instances of true leadership. History will vindicate me."
- In this Pearls Before Swine strip, problems with using a Windows computer to upload a video of a horse trotting through a gate lead to the incident being dubbed "Gates Gait Gate Gate".
- The Far Side: In one cartoon, a caveman impresses the rest of his tribe with his invention of fire—except the fire in question is just a wooden cutout, painted to look like flames. The caption notes that he was exiled from the tribe over "the Firegate incident".
- G. Gordon Liddy occasionally complained about the practice on his talk show, on the grounds that attaching the "-gate" suffix to every scandal diluted his personal place in history.
- In a New Definitions round on Im Sorry I Havent A Clue, Linda Smith redefines the seaside town Margate as "the mother of all scandals".
- A Home and Away storyline from 2005 centered on the paternity of Hayley Lawson's baby became unpopular with the fans, who were aware that Scott was the father from the beginning (the test results had been switched by the vengeful ex-girlfriend of the other prospective father, Kim) but were forced to sit through months of near misses with at least three other characters finding out but being prevented from revealing it for various reasons. The story is now dubbed "Paternitygate" on the Backtothebay message board.
- WikiLeaks included the word "cablegate" in the URL to the 250,000+ diplomatic cables they leaked in November 2010, as if they were naming their own scandal that they were trying to make.
- YoGPoD 2, Sipsgate, in which Lewis randomly calls his internet friend Sips (who said to never, ever call him in real life except in emergencies related to their website, which he maintained) three times for no reason other than entertainment. Luckily, the potential scandal and defriending is averted, and Sips is cool with it... as long as they don't call him again.
- Invoked in a review of The X-Files episode "Deep Throat" by SF Debris, in which he owns that the habit of calling every other scandal with the suffix "-gate" annoys him a great deal.
- Named number four in this Cracked article: 5 Things The Media Loves Pretending Are News. Parodied in the entry in the form of "Gatesgategate", a hypothetical scandal involving then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates misappropriating public funds to install a new gate on his property.
- Welcome to Night Vale: Episode "PTA Meeting" describes a disastrous PTA meeting that was broken up by rampaging pteranodons, dubbing its continuing coverage "Pteranodon Attack-gate."