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Darth Wiki / Fallen Creator

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"If reincarnation is true, I hope I come back as George Lucas just to find out what it's like to be loved and hated in equally large amounts by exactly the same people."
— YouTube user kasolarUK

There you are, riding high on all your success. The critics adore you. Your fans worship you. The Hollywood Hype Machine has put maximum force behind your career. The money is coming in, and nobody dares speak ill of you. You made that work that inspired the hearts of millions. It seems like everything you touch turns to pure, brilliant art. Just the announcement of your name brings anticipation to whatever you're doing next. There's just nothing you could ever do wrong.

Then it happens. You do something wrong — and it's very wrong. Your first flop.

Suddenly, things don't look so rosy. You just can't recover from that flop. Everything after this flop starts to define you instead, and you can't recapture or recreate the success of the works that made you famous in the first place. Your positive reviews shrink; your aura of invincibility is forever punctured. Your fanbase is fractured and shrinking. The Hype Machine pushing you forward has now moved on to others. In the most extreme cases, just hearing your name attached to a work, even one connected to those beloved pieces you created in the past, makes people cringe where they once cheered. You are now a Fallen Creator.

The life of an artist is full of ups and downs. Unfortunately, some creators, after achieving great commercial and critical success, lose their momentum; their prestige falls far below their previous stature.

Not everyone goes from the very top to the very bottom. Those old franchises still make a lot of money. There's usually just enough people willing to watch your new stuff that you can still be considered commercially successful, even if they're also treating it as Snark Bait. But the love is gone, and your flaws are now constantly on display. The acclaim and hyper-success has dropped, and a once solid and large fanbase is now far less likely to be happy with you.

The true defining trait of the Fallen Creator is the large drop in prestige, even after factoring out the usual Fan Dumb that chases creators wherever they go. It is not necessarily permanent; even if it is, there could still be a partial comeback. Artistic taste can be fickle.

This can sometimes be caused by a combination of Mis-blamed and hubris. The original good productions were a team effort, but one guy took all the credit and was recognized as the sole genius behind the work. When the team breaks up and the sole spotlight hog sets out on his own, people quickly realize he's nothing without his team when he suddenly gets a string of failures. See also Protection from Editors.

An artist developing a Small Name, Big Ego can also trigger this; no matter how talented the creator is, people are only going to tolerate a certain amount of ill-advised egocentric vanity projects and diva-ish tantrums before they start giving up. Same can happen to companies who have bad public relations for one reason or another.

Can also overlap with Condemned by History. Sort of the opposite of He Really Can Act, when someone despised proves they can do well.

Contrast Auteur License, Misblamed, Prima Donna Director. See also Career Resurrection for when the disgraced manage to get acclaimed again.


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  • Ben Elton
    • He was a leading figure of alternative comedy in the eighties and, among other things, co-wrote The Young Ones and Blackadder (which he helped grow its literal beard). Several less popular shows, novels, and West End productions plus a perceived shift in politics later, his name is more or less code for "talentless hack." For many critics and fans, The Thin Blue Line was the turning point, as on the basis of The Young Ones and Blackadder many people were expecting it to be a vicious black comedy about police incompetence, corruption, brutality and racism. What they got was a more traditional sitcom in the vein of Dad's Army. In 2011 Elton wrote and presented a stand-up/sketch comedy variety show in Australia, Ben Elton Live From Planet Earth, which was heavily promoted as something of a comeback and intended to be a flagship for the Nine Network, the station it was airing on. Unfortunately for him, viewers and critics largely agreed that it was actually a contender for one of the worst shows of the year; it was widely pilloried as dated, unfunny and hackneyed, and hemorrhaged from 805,000 viewers to 233,000 over the first episode alone. It was eventually cancelled after three episodes, and it looks unlikely that Elton's going to be returning to the screen any time soon.
    • Elton was at one point doing well as a novelist, Popcorn and Dead Famous in particular being both bestsellers and critically well-received; but he hit a low point in 2005 with The First Casualty which not only did not sell well and was panned in reviews, but also earned him a "Bad Sex Awards" nomination for the worst sex scene in fiction that year. None of his subsequent books have recovered his former success.
  • Jeph Loeb
    • He came to fame off of his work on Batman; along with Tim Sales, he produced a series of Batman Halloween specials and the critically acclaimed The Long Halloween series. Unfortunately, when he took over as writing Superman (and later, the team-up book "Superman/Batman"), Loeb's writing began to slip as he began losing confidence in his ability to let his writing speak for itself. He began recruiting big name artists to draw his work (which led to massive delays in the case of Hulk run) and tailoring his scripts to match what his artists wanted to draw. Further complicating things was his son's death from cancer, which caused Loeb's writing to take a depressing tone (Ultimatium, Fallen Son, Ultimates 3) with death and grief as a major element of his writing. The tone of his later works eventually got lighter, but the writing quality stayed the same as he wrote more and more arcs that were divisive at best.
    • He would later retire from comic book writing in favor of being head of Marvel Entertainment's television department. He was pushed into the spotlight with the first season of Daredevil (2015), which began the marvel Netflix lineup. The second Daredevil season as well as the debut of Iron Fist (2017) brought the decisive Hand storyline in the forefront which lead into the infamous The Defenders (2017). Afterwards, the rest of Marvel Netflix shows ended up canceled. Loeb then received accusations of racism towards Asians by Japanese-Canadian actor Peter Shinkoda. Loeb also faced criticism on his stringent belief in the Animation Age Ghetto.
  • Joss Whedon was once called by Honest Trailers "god of the nerds", being responsible for many beloved shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly, a few comic books, and eventually two massive movie hits in The Avengers (2012) and Avengers: Age of Ultron. Him being brought in to salvage Justice League (2017) already split opinions. But then four years later, just prior to the original version of that movie getting released, Ray Fisher revealed that Whedon was "abusive and unprofessional" on the set, with his co-stars and a few crew members backing the claims, and this opened the doors to many Buffyverse actors to reveal that back then Whedon was also tyrannical and unhelpful, ruining his reputation once and for all, with Whedon being forced to step down from his show The Nevers to save face. Furthermore, Whedon has seen such a dramatic drop in prestige that the writing style he popularized has seen a backlash as well, with negative reviews for Cowboy Bebop (2021) highlighting “Whedonesque” banter in a pejorative way. Once a prolific artist loved by many geeks, he has virtually became a pariah and his output dramatically slowed down after Justice League (2017).

    Comic Books 
  • John Byrne was a famous artist whose work alongside Chris Claremont on the X-Men made it what it is today. When he left X-Men due to creative differences in 1981, he took over Fantastic Four as writer and artist, producing what is considered to be the second most definitive run on the book, second only to the original Stan Lee/Jack Kirby run. When he jumped ship to DC Comics, things started great, with his Continuity Reboot of Superman effectively modernizing the character and his supporting cast for a new generation of fans. Then he went back to Marvel Comics, where he irreversibly destroyed the marriage of Vision and Scarlet Witch, with Vision and the couple's children suffering horrific Fates Worse Than Death. Upon his return to DC he stole Donna Troy from the pages of Green Lantern (where she was involved in an insanely popular romance with Kyle Raynor) and invalidated her entire existence, reducing her to being a "magic reflection brought to life" and not only mindwiped her, but forced her to live out thousands of horrific lives before being "rescued". And that's not getting into his Spider-Man and Doom Patrol work, his egomaniacal belief that only he knows how certain characters should be written, or his threat during his run on X-Men The Hidden Years to erase from canon Magneto's status as a Holocaust survivor just to spite former collaborator Chris Claremont. Having burnt his bridges at both of the Big Two comic companies, he's now reduced to doing license work at IDW, drawing Star Trek and Angel comics.
  • Joe Casey was another rising star in the late '90s, with a popular run on Cable and a popular fan choice for taking over as writer of the main X-Men books. But just as Casey was about to begin the much anticipated "Cable Vs Apocalypse" storyline that Marvel had been building towards since 1996, Casey was forced to quit the book after Bob Harras, gave the book to Rob Liefeld to draw and effectively told Casey that Liefeld would be the de facto "writer". Casey fled to DC, where he became one of the major writers on Superman, but was lured back to Marvel in 2001 when newly hired editor-in-chief Joe Quesada gave him Uncanny X-Men to write. Unfortunately, Casey decided to emulate Grant Morrison's legendary drug usage for inspiration, and slagged his fanbase over the fact that many X-Men fans were expecting Casey's X-Men book to be a more mainstream/familiar take on the X-Men while Morrison reinvented the wheel. Casey's X-Men run was a complete flop and by the time he was giving fans normal X-Men stories, such as X-Men vs. Freedom Force, Marvel lost faith in him and forced him off the book to replace him with Chuck Austen. Casey went back to DC and continued with Superman, but he ultimately pissed off DC Comics years later when he was invited back to do a sequel to Superman: Our Worlds At War, but produced a storyline with no connection to the Crisis Crossover, completely screwing up the retool and resulting in him being fired from the book, with his scripts for the second half of the storyline dumped and replaced with another writer's script. While Casey still has fans with Marvel for his retro-Avengers mini-series and his mini-series work on Iron Man, as well as for his creator owned/Wildstorm Comic work, he's largely considered a burnt-out druggy who could have been the next big thing had he not screwed up.
  • Chris Claremont suffers this, as much of his writing style (Talking Is a Free Action, overly-complex storylines that go on and on and on, and plots that routinely revolve around mind control and BDSM) haven't aged well at all since the 1980s. Granted, most of this is also due to the fact that Claremont's writing style has been aped and homaged upon by so many writers since his first run on the X-Men.
  • Artist Rob Liefeld revived the struggling New Mutants comic, which transferred into the top selling X-Force when Liefeld was given full creative control over the book in 1991. But royalty issues led to him abandoning the book after nearly a year and he went on to found Image Comics. There he launched the equally popular creator-owned series, Youngblood, and inspired a slew of copycats as artists began aping his insanely popular style. But it all quickly evaporated for Rob; the Hype Backlash against him began with several high profile cases of books he was drawing shipping late. He alienated his fellow Image colleagues and split from the company and formed Awesome Comics, which folded after a couple of years of publication. Many of his characters were ripoffs of other characters or rehashes of his own, and his art work left something to be desired, to the point that "Liefeldian" has become a mocking term. Many of his popular characters are considered to have grown the beard once in other hands. He has since rejoined Image Comics and returned home to Marvel Comics, much to the disdain of fans of his characters such as Cable and Deadpool, who have thrived under other writers who fleshed them out, and his involvement is treated with revulsion from fans, who prefer the way post-Liefeld writers have handled his Marvel creations.
  • Artist Joe Madureira was once considered the golden boy of American comic artists. He had an acclaimed run on Uncanny X-Men, brought the Japanese manga style into mainstream American comics, and later went on to create Battle Chasers for Image Comics' Cliffhanger imprint. He never finished Battle Chasers, tried his hand at creating video games with catastrophic results (Darksiders is the only game he designed that didn't become vaporware or a total flop) and now works comics once in a blue moon to lukewarm critical reception. He's bundled with other early-mid '90s comic book artists that are now considered past their prime at best and industry jokes at worst.
  • Frank Miller was an icon of comics in the 1980s with his work on Daredevil and Batman, with The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One redefining the character in the eyes of the mass media. But during the '90s, Miller's creative owned work Sin City led to a massive change in his art style and his tone (already heavily inspired by Film Noir) became overt with an added heaping dose of misogyny with the vast number of high profile Sin City stories that involved hookers or strippers. His later Batman work (The Dark Knight Strikes Again and All-Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder) were widely decried for bad writing, as Miller quickly tried to pass off his bad writing by claiming to be parodying his own earlier Dark Age-inspiring Batman work. However, it was his work on Holy Terror, a vehement anti-Muslim Author Tract-filled political cartoon, that truly sunk his reputation as a writer. Nowadays, Miller's work is more heavily scrutinized and the few projects he's been attached to since Holy Terror have received lukewarm reception at best.
  • Mark Millar was a young writer who got work in American comics thanks to the patronage of Grant Morrison and Warren Ellis. Taking over The Authority just as the book began receiving mainstream buzz, he became one of the top writers in the US and his censorship fights with DC Comics over his run made him a cause celebre amongst comic fans. But the fame quickly went to his head and Millar became a complete and total douchebag, spewing self-promoting lies and showing complete and total contempt for anyone who didn't worship him as the next big thing. Further hurting was Millar taking a massive jump off the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism; his bloody works such as The Unfunnies, Kick-Ass, The Ultimates, and Wanted featured Sociopathic Hero characters and Strawman Political arguments, which had to be removed from the film adaptations. He was also the main writer behind Civil War which featured massive Character Derailment, especially of Iron Man, shamelessly took Bill Jemas's side in firing Mark Waid from the Fantastic Four when Waid refused to make the Fantastic Four more of a sitcom-type book for Jemas, and seems to have permanently burned bridges with his former mentor Grant Morrison, especially since Millar's work seems to wallow in the Dark Age tropes that Morrison despises.
  • Ken Penders was once (for what it's worth) considered one of the best writers on Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) series. In particular, his Knuckles the Echidna series is still regarded as potentially better than the Sonic comics produced during that time. When you mention him now, though, thoughts will inevitably drift to the... less than stellar works from the end of his time on the comic, especially the infamous "Titan Tails" fiasco. Even after he left the comic and Archie, he managed to make things worse by trying to claim the rights to his original characters from the Knuckles series, even though everyone in the comic is owned by Sega, prompting Archie to sue him. Praising any of his works, even his good ones, tends not to go well on many Sonic forums.
  • Dave Sim, creator/artist/author of Cerebus the Aardvark, may well be the most clear-cut Fallen Creator in all of comics. Around the time the "Reads" story arc came out, Sim turned his attention to rambling, batshit-insane misogyny in his comics and in a series of Author Tract essays included as a "bonus" in issues of Cerebus. He shut himself off from friends, family, editors and everyone else, and on the off-chance that he's mentioned at all by anyone else in the industry today, it's usually with a cringe. Coincidentally, he also wrote an issue of Spawn guest-starring Cerebus in which the entire message was essentially that Spawn was the only comic book character ever whose creator didn't sell him out - except for Cerebus, of course.

    Film - Directors 
  • Robert Altman began the 1970s with the success of M*A*S*H in 1970 and Nashville in 1975, two films which epitomised New Hollywood, and had influence far beyond their box office take. He then spent the rest of his directorial career falling and rising and falling again in twenty-year cycles. His work in the rest of the 1970s left the box office cold, and eventually turned off the critics; several of his films from the late 1970s and early 1980s remain unavailable on DVD. He began the '80s with a disastrous musical version of Popeye starring Robin Williams, and was forced to work in television for a while, until The Player and Short Cuts in 1992 and 1993 rehabilitated him; he threw it away with 1994's Pret-a-Porter, but seemed to be coming back into fashion when he died in 2006.
  • Hal Ashby, after creating classics such as Harold and Maude, Coming Home, Shampoo, and Being There, made a string of critical and commercial failures in the '80s, ruining his reputation, until he couldn't find work anymore. He was dogged by rumors that he'd become an unreliably eccentric drug casualty, but a biography (Being Hal Ashby by Nick Dawson) suggests that this was mostly malicious gossip spread in retaliation for his fighting back against Executive Meddling. Ashby smoked epic amounts of weed and loved his booze, but it was his workaholic and perfectionist tendencies and unwillingness to compromise that really hurt his reputation in Hollywood. He died from cancer in 1988 just as he was starting to make a comeback.
  • In the late '80s and early '90s, Luc Besson was an internationally acclaimed filmmaker whose movies The Big Blue, La Femme Nikita, The Professional and The Fifth Element continue to be popular with audiences and critics alike. Then he started focusing more on producing and writing action movies such as the Taxi and Taken franchises, which were increasingly panned by critics despite being box offices successes. However, he lost even that when he directed Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets and Anna and both turned out to be Box Office Bombs. These days, he is dismissed by most French critics as a once-talented sellout who writes and produces loud, dumb and cliché-ridden action movies.
  • Peter Bogdanovich was compared to Orson Welles with The Last Picture Show, and succeeded it with the successful comedy What's Up, Doc? and the equally acclaimed Paper Moon. It all went downhill from there, with the negative reception of Daisy Miller and Nickelodeon being the decisive points (1985's Mask being his sole bright spot afterwards).
  • Director Tod Browning had a string of successful silent-film collaborations with Lon Chaney, and helmed the seminal talkie vampire film Dracula (1931), but after the initial disaster of Freaks, it was all downhill. However, Freaks has become Vindicated by History and is now considered an underrated classic.
  • Michael Cimino went from The Deer Hunter, the Best Picture Oscar winner of 1978, to Heaven's Gate just two years later. Its failure was so catastrophic that, as noted at Genre Turning Point, it ruined United Artists as a stand-alone studio and turned Hollywood off the Western for a decade or more. A while later, Paramount signed Cimino to direct Footloose, but when filming was to have started he demanded more time and money from the producers, who fired him. He only made a handful of further films before his death in 2016.
  • Francis Ford Coppola. He brought the world The Godfather saga and Apocalypse Now in the 1970s. Then the disaster One from the Heart came along, sunk his production company, and put him deeply in debt. His filmography afterwards throughout the '80s and '90s has largely been a big string of commercial and/or critical disappointments (one of the few bright spots is Bram Stoker's Dracula) that he admitted to be doing them mostly to avoid bankruptsy. Once considered an masterclass director, nobody nowadays expects much from him anymore, with his more recent indie movies only considered curiosities at best.
  • Fred Dekker directed two of the most well-known cult classics of the 1980s: The Monster Squad and Night of the Creeps. In 1991, he took on the job of writing the screenplay for and directing the much-maligned sequel RoboCop 3, effectively killing the RoboCop franchise in the U.S. for several years. Dekker stayed out of the limelight, and only stepped out of hiding more than a decade later to help produce the first season of Star Trek: Enterprise.
  • Another writer-director who took a fall was Blake Edwards. He established himself in the late 1950s/early '60s with Breakfast at Tiffany's, Days of Wine and Roses, The Pink Panther series, etc. He hit rough waters later (the biggest flop of his being Darling Lili), but the Pink Panther series revival in 1975 brought him back around, and his non-Panther films (especially 10 (1979) and Victor/Victoria) were well-received too. He even managed to write and direct a thinly fictionalized Take That! to Hollywood (S.O.B.) for his earlier treatment during this period. Then Peter Sellers, who played Inspector Clouseau in the Panthers, died — and Edwards made Trail of... using outtakes and flashbacks of Sellers, and Curse of... using a Replacement Scrappy. Critics were appalled, Edwards and United Artists were sued by Sellers' widow over Trail, and both were box-office underachievers. Edwards made a lot of movies over the next ten years, but to diminishing returns, to the point that MST3K once made a joke where a "brainwashing" machine says "Blake Edwards makes a really good film..." He did receive an Honorary Oscar in 2004, though.
  • The career of William Friedkin, director of The French Connection and The Exorcist, never really recovered after Sorcerer, in spite of its positive reception from critics, flopped at the box office on release in 1977. (It didn't help that it was completely overshadowed by a little film which came out right around the same time...). He continued to make movies afterwards, but never on the same level as those two movies. His reputation as a Prima Donna Director didn't help matters, either.
  • Stephen Herek established himself as a big name director during the 80's and early 90's. Among his big hits were Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, The Mighty Ducks, and The Three Musketeers (1993). That all changed in 2005, however, when he directed Man Of The House. Slammed by critics and audiences alike, Herek has since been stuck to directing Direct to Video movies, such as the sequels to Into The Blue and The Cutting Edge.
  • Writer/director John Hughes was the man who practically defined 1980s pop cinema. He hit it big right out of the gate with his teen-oriented smash-hits like Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and Pretty in Pink. He hit a plateau with Planes, Trains and Automobiles and began a slow slide downward with mediocre but more dramatic films like Some Kind of Wonderful. He had his last major success with Home Alone and its sequel, before bombing with a string of lowbrow flops in the '90s, including Curly Sue, Baby's Day Out, the So Okay, It's Average Home Alone 3, and a major holiday flop with his Miracle on 34th Street remake; his biggest hits were the live-action 101 Dalmatians (1996) and Flubber, the remake of classic Disney film The Absent-Minded Professor. Flubber was a critical disaster, but still financially successful. After 2001, he wrote scripts for the direct-to-video Beethoven sequels and a couple minor hits (Maid in Manhattan and Drillbit Taylor) under the pseudonym of "Edmond Dantes" until his death in 2009.
  • Roland Joffe received Best Director Oscar nominations for his first two movies, The Killing Fields and The Mission. It's all been downhill from there, leading to him directing widely-panned torture porn film Captivity (with Elisha Cuthbert) in 2007.
  • John Landis, the director of Animal House, The Blues Brothers, An American Werewolf in London, Trading Places and the video for Michael Jackson's "Thriller", suffered one of the grislier disgraces on this list. While he was filming a segment for the Twilight Zone: The Movie anthology movie, a Landis demanded the helicopter get closer in each shot against the advice of stunt men and actors alike. A crash killed actor Vic Morrow and two illegally employed child actors. Landis shook off criminal charges in a highly publicized court case, but the accident was a serious blow to Landis's career. In spite of this, he still made fairly successful movies for most of the '80s, and had a major hit with Coming to America. What really derailed his career totally was the over-budget, out of control production of Beverly Hills Cop III, and the subsequent flop of Blues Brothers 2000 confirmed the kill. He then retreated to documentaries, a field in which he hasn't declined yet (he won an Emmy in 2008 for Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project).
  • When George Lucas started out his career, American Graffiti earned him critical success and several Oscar nominations for making such a groundbreaking film. Then, of course came Star Wars, which revitalized the science fiction genre and turned into a landmark film and franchise that, to this day, remains very near and dear to the hearts of many, as well as Oscar nominations for him personally and the movie. Despite a few missteps in the '80s, he made his mark again with Indiana Jones, another series of critical and fan darlings that still endure. However, much of his success during this period was the result of him getting a number of friends (including future critically-acclaimed filmmakers Francis Ford Coppola, Brian De Palma, and Steven Spielberg) to read them and offer advice concerning which ideas worked and which didn't. It's also been said that in the original Star Wars trilogy, especially A New Hope, bad lines were ad-libbed over by the actors (Harrison Ford is on record saying to Lucas while filming A New Hope that he "could type this shit... but you sure as hell can't say it"). As time went on, his works were rarely vetted by anyone other than himself, and seemed to borrow more from his own previously rejected ideas. The results of having nobody to cover up his weaknesses were predictable. Starting in The '90s, his prestige as a fandom idol began to take swift hits due to multiple different Star Wars recuts with some controversial changes, the mixed-reception to the Star Wars prequels that swiftly divided a once relatively united fanbase, and his long-delayed return to Indiana Jones receiving a lukewarm response at best (it was actually widely acclaimed by critics, though the fan base is much more divided). Today, Lucas is just as likely to be reviled as he is to be praised. He still has no trouble finding an audience to see his movies, but a sign of his decline is the usually negative reaction a Star Wars spin-off receives whenever his involvement is revealed and the likelihood that a review is going to start calling out the usual flaws in his work.
  • John McTiernan was one of the biggest action directors of the late 1980s and early '90s with films such as Die Hard, Predator, and The Hunt for Red October. It was pretty hit or miss after that with Medicine Man and Last Action Hero both underperforming and getting mixed reviews. McTiernan made "good again" by returning to direct the third Die Hard film in 1995. Unfortunately, this was followed by the massive financial flop that was The 13th Warrior. The remake of The Thomas Crown Affair was McTiernan's last "real" hit. What followed was extremely harshly received (not only financially, but critically) remake of Rollerball. McTiernan's next film (and his final film to date), Basic, despite the presence of John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson also received mostly negative reviews. After that, McTiernan was in the news more for his criminal conviction in the Anthony Pellicano wiretapping scandal than for his movies.
  • Japanese director Hideo Nakata was internationally acclaimed for Ringu, his foray into the J-horror genre. He came to the United States to remake their own films. The Ring Two made money but was critically panned for retreading the remake of the first film's events. Nakata has struggled to gain back his momentum, an attempt at a comeback with Chatroom was a critical and commercial disaster.
  • While Roman Polański is still generally acknowledged as a gifted artist, when he raped a thirteen year old girl and fled the country, a lot of people were appalled. It was, however, an extremely complex situation which also involved allegations of judicial misconduct, and there are many people who are going to reserve judgment until he actually comes back to America and faces the courts, as well as some die-hard fans who don't care. Even before the incident a lot of critics felt that Polanski had betrayed the promise of his earlier films and had been riding on his reputation for a while. While Chinatown was universally praised, Polanski only joined the project well into its development. His other early '70s movies (Macbeth, What?, The Tenant) were mostly commercial and critical flops.
  • Rob Reiner was a force to be reckoned with as a director in the 1980s-'90s: This is Spın̈al Tap, The Princess Bride, Stand by Me, When Harry Met Sally..., Misery, A Few Good Men... and then he made North in 1994, and its box-office and especially critical failure saw his reputation crater, with only 1995's The American President and 2007's The Bucket List being a comparable success since.
  • Ivan Reitman used to be a well-respected Hollywood director that first broke out into fame by directing Meatballs and is best known for being the man behind Ghostbusters, as well as several successful comedies like Stripes, Twins (1988), Kindergarten Cop, and Dave. However, after many huge flops following the release of Dave, his cred dropped considerably, to the point where even the critics began to openly dread his screen credit. My Super Ex-Girlfriend, for instance, had a critic in Newsday asking "... why was it made? ... And, most important, why is there 10 bucks missing from my pocket?" He did claw back some respectability with No Strings Attached (2011) and Draft Day, but every movie he produced afterwards up until his death (with the possible exception of Ghostbusters: Afterlife) was panned by critics and forgotten.
  • Nicolas Roeg, director and cinematographer, was the guiding force behind sci-fi landmark The Man Who Fell to Earth, Walkabout), and Don't Look Now (also on the list and voted the eighteenth best film ever made by The Times). Yes indeed, The '70s were an amazing time for him. His films in the eighties were largely overlooked, and in The '90s he was making movies like the straight-to-cable, soft-core erotic film Full Body Massage with Mimi Rogers and Bryan Brown.
  • Joel Schumacher had some acclaimed films in The '80s and The '90s, such as The Lost Boys, St. Elmo's Fire, and Falling Down. Yet when he's the director chosen by Warner Bros to turn Batman Lighter and Softer... while Batman Forever made some money while dividing people, the dreadful Batman & Robin led him to picking lower budget films, most of which were failures (the critically acclaimed Tigerland and the critical and commercial hit Phone Booth being exceptions). The next big-budget film he directed, The Phantom of the Opera, met with popular approval, but critics denounced it as overproduced and badly directed. (The film was nominated for three Academy Awards, but not for Best Director or Best Picture.)
  • Japanese director Takashi Shimizu was internationally acclaimed for Ju-on, his foray into the J-horror genre. His acclaim was so good that he came to the United States to remake his own film. The Grudge was a hit but its sequel was badly received and became a Creator Killer for him and its star, Amber Tamblyn. Nearly all of his subsequent projects have been complete disasters.
  • M. Night Shyamalan may be the fastest example of this happening in the history of film. After his exceedingly awesome debut, The Sixth Sense, his movies continued to rely on a thin pattern of obligatory but telegraphed twist endings and characters awkwardly bonding in forced situations. This might have not even done him in if not for his huge ego that constantly riled at his critics, and increasingly more important Self-Insert/Mary Sue parts for himself in each of his films. Once regarded as "the next Alfred Hitchcock", he's become a joke about twist endings and The Sixth Sense is generally regarded as a lucky fluke. While his works did not decline in quality immediately, as he later directed Unbreakable, which had good critical reviews, and Signs, which had lukewarm critical reviews but good box office numbers, he suffered one flop after another, leading to the self-indulgent mess of Lady in the Water and the widely loathed Film of the Series The Last Airbender. Shyamalan showed good promise years later with The Visit and Split, but the films he made afterwards, Glass (2019) and Old, were released to poor reception.
  • John Singleton started his career out with a bang with Boyz n the Hood, which was a box office hit and got him Academy Award nominations for Best Original Screenplay and Best Director (he was the youngest to be nominated for the latter). After a number of acclaimed films in the 1990s, the changing box office climate in the 2000s made Singleton a dinosaur and forced him into making for-hire projects such as 2 Fast 2 Furious. One of the big reasons for his downfall was that Paramount apparently screwed him over after he made a deal with them for Hustle & Flow, basically they promised him two independent films, but they made it all but impossible for those films to get made. The bottom fell out in 2007 when he was in a car accident that caused him to accidentally kill a man (he was acquitted though), which led him to become a pariah in Hollywood. His first post-accident project was the critically mauled Abduction, and the other films he made before his death in 2019 similarly failed to re-capture the fame and glory of his early days.
  • The Wachowskis have been lurching dangerously towards this status over the last few years. After a modest start with Bound (which didn't do all that well at the box office but performed pretty nicely in the VHS market, no doubt due to the volume of lesbianism it featured) they hit it big with The Matrix, which many acclaimed for "revolutionizing" the action genre. Since then, it's been a gradual downwards slope. The Matrix Reloaded did pretty well at the box office, but there was a nagging feeling among viewers that it should have been a lot better, and later that year The Matrix Revolutions was widely slammed as being nigh-incomprehensible as well as being a poor conclusion to the series, and did only moderately well at the box office. V for Vendetta saw a brief return to form (although they didn't direct it), but since then it's been downhill all the way as everything they've made afterwards were commercial failures and either critically panned or divisive (with the exception of Sense8).
  • Robert Zemeckis fell victim to this in early 2011 with the spectacular failure of Mars Needs Moms, killing the animated performance capture movies Zemeckis was a champion of. He still had some success with live-action movies such as Flight and The Walk, but Allied was where his critical cred started to go and Welcome to Marwen his box office success.
  • Between the three of them, the trio of "Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker" (affectionately nicknamed "ZAZ") did The Kentucky Fried Movie, Airplane!, Police Squad!, and The Naked Gun. They started splitting up after the first Naked Gun film and separately, all three of them have declined. Jerry Zucker's last film was the critically panned and mostly forgotten Rat Race, after which he appears to have retired entirely; Jim Abrahams vanished after co-writing Scary Movie 4 (a few years after directing the badly received Jane Austen's Mafia!) with David Zucker, who proceeded to have a high-profile flop in An American Carol, an Anvilicious parody whose protagonist was a Strawman Political Michael Moore expy). It notably tried to play up his earlier success from Airplane!, which caused the few critics that actually saw it (it wasn't screened for them) to remark on how terrible it was in comparison to his earlier movies and how unfunny he has been since.

    Film - Actors 
  • Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle was one of the top film comedian/director/producers in the beginning of The Golden Age of Hollywood. After a scandal in 1921 where a woman died of kidney failure at a party Arbuckle held, and (unsubstantiated) rumors kindled by the press formed that Arbuckle raped the girl while she was unconscious, crushing her under his weight, his good-guy image fell hard. Arbuckle, even while acquitted in court, had to resort to working under pseudonyms as a movie director for the rest of his life. Neither he nor his career ever fully recovered from the rumors (tragically, he had reportedly just signed a film contract with Warner Bros. that looked as though it might restore his reputation hours before his death in 1933), and the scandal was reportedly one of the catalysts of the passing of The Hays Code.
  • After Signs, Mel Gibson decided to take a break from acting and focus on directing, eventually making the controversial but successful The Passion of the Christ and Apocalypto. But then his personal life made him a very hated person, with allegations of anti-Semitism and racism, and arrests for DUI and domestic violence. In 2010, he attempted an acting comeback with Edge of Darkness, which flopped. And then came the release of a series of recorded phone conversations with his ex-girlfriend, in which his lunatic behavior seems to have been cranked up to eleven. It's probably safe to say he'll never fully recover from this; he got kicked out of a cameo in The Hangover Part II after Zach Galifianakis raised holy hell, and The Beaver flopped despite being one of the most acclaimed unproduced scripts from the last couple decades. To make it worse, despite a promising trailer, his next movie, the domestic debut of his next movie, Get the Gringo, was not theatrical, but on DirecTV's video-on-demand.
  • Lindsay Lohan had a decent start to her film career with remakes of The Parent Trap and Freaky Friday (2003), and seemed poised to transition well to young adult stardom with Mean Girls and A Prairie Home Companion. Immediately afterward, her reputation tanked hard thanks to drug addiction and numerous car crashes, plus a publicized letter during the making of Georgia Rule about her frequently showing up late to the set thanks to going out partying the night before. After seeming to hit rock bottom with the universally panned I Know Who Killed Me, Lohan went through rehab and publicly stated that she let success go to her head and she would try to maintain a better public image from now on. Then came her recurring role on Ugly Betty, where she reportedly acted like such a diva on set that the storyline was heavily rewritten just to get rid of her, though there are conflicting reports that say she left the show due to Creative Differences over the way her character was handled. In 2012, she appeared on Saturday Night Live, and though many watched the episode, critics gave mixed-to-negative reviews, noting that she didn't play a big role in the sketches. Her attempted comeback in the role of Elizabeth Taylor in the Lifetime movie Liz & Dick that year was also poorly received.
  • Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Burt Reynolds was one of the biggest movie stars in the world. However, by the start of the 1990s, he seemed to be more in the news for his personal life (such as his messy divorce from Loni Anderson and having to file for bankruptcy) than for his acting. Around this period, Reynolds transitioned himself into being a television star with the B.L. Stryker TV movies for ABC and the sitcom Evening Shade for CBS. Reynolds would resurface in the critically bashed buddy movie Cop & a Half. It wasn't until Reynolds' Oscar nominated turn in Boogie Nights that Reynolds regained some respectability, but even that didn't last too long, and the remaining films he made before his death in 2018 mostly sank without trace.
  • Molly Ringwald achieved success high school/teen films in the 1980s with Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink. However, her relationship with writer/director John Hughes ended on a sour note when she turned down Lea Thompson's role in Some Kind of Wonderful. Also, by the end of the '80s and start of the 1990s, Ringwald turned down roles that would prove to be star making roles for Meg Ryan (When Harry Met Sally...), Julia Roberts (Pretty Woman), and fellow Brat Packer Demi Moore (Ghost (1990)). For a good share of the '90s, Ringwald spent time in France only resurfacing for the short-lived ABC sitcom Townies (co-starring a pre-Dharma & Greg Jenna Elfman and pre-Gilmore Girls Lauren Graham). Ringwald however, would poke fun at her iconic high school movie status with a cameo in the 2001 film Not Another Teen Movie. Ringwald is perhaps most known these days for her role on the considerably Anvilicious Narmfest on ABC Family called The Secret Life of the American Teenager.
  • Following her breakthrough role in When Harry Met Sally..., Meg Ryan starred in a string of successful romantic comedies and dramas over the course of the 1990s (perhaps most notably, her three films with Tom Hanks, the latter two, Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail both grossed over $100 million at the domestic box office). However, Ryan's reported affair with her Proof of Life co-star Russell Crowe (while Ryan was still married to, albeit separated from, Dennis Quaid) did serious harm to Ryan's "good girl", "America's Sweetheart" image. Ryan gained further negative publicity while promoting the erotic thriller In the Cut on the UK talk show Parkinson. Ryan gave a few one-word answers, acknowledged that she wasn't comfortable with the interview, and stated she would "just wrap it up" if she were in his position. Parkinson later revealed to the press that he felt her behaviour to his earlier guests, What Not to Wear co-presenters Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine, whom she turned her back on, was "unforgivable". Ryan also commented that Parkinson was a "nut" and said that she was "offended" by him as he was like a "disapproving father" in his tone. Ryan's ill-advised cosmetic procedures (which further diminished her Girl Next Door appeal) also served as a major blow to her career. Following the 2004 boxing drama Against the Ropes (which flopped at the box office and was panned by critics for bearing too much of a resemblance to other boxing movies, such as the Rocky series), Ryan didn't appear in another movie for three years. Ryan would resurface in the independent movie In the Land of Women and the direct-to-DVD movies The Deal and Mom's New Boyfriend. Ryan's next major theatrically released film, 2008's The Women, received significant negative response from critics and holds only a 13% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Ryan herself would also be nominated for a Worst Actress Razzie for The Women, alongside co-stars Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Debra Messing.
  • Peter Sellers himself was this for a time. In 1964, he was an acclaimed actor with the success of The Mouse That Roared, The Pink Panther and Dr. Strangelove. But then he suffered a series of heart attacks. While his first post-attack film, What's New Pussycat?, was a hit, After the Fox was a disappointment, and his behavior on the set of Casino Royale (1967) was so infamous that the producer and Columbia Pictures blamed him for many, if not most, of its problems. His difficult nature and disappointing films made him almost Condemned by History (particularly with American studios) until the Pink Panther revival and Being There turned things around, an example of how the fallen can be redeemed. He looked to be on the verge of throwing it all away again with 1980's disastrous The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu, but in a piece of incredibly good timing, he died a month before it was released.
  • In The '90s, Robin Williams (having built himself up from being just a stand-up comedian / sitcom star) was one of the most beloved comedic actors. He was doing it all: Adult comedies, kids' films, a few dramas here and there. And for one film in that last category, Good Will Hunting, he won an Oscar. And then he made Patch Adams, which wasn't even a bad movie, but many people were turned off by the combination of overly-zany humor and saccharine drama, and many also believed that the other doctors in the film were right. From then on, many television shows viewed him as a kind of walking punchline rather than the jokester. People started to focus on his less-than-stellar career choices like RV, License To Wed, and Old Dogs while ignoring his better output such as House Of D, The Big White and World's Greatest Dad (it doesn't help that the former three are major studio films while the latter three are from independent studios). The exceptions are films like Insomnia and One Hour Photo where he plays the villain. A series of well-received stand-up specials helped to restore some of his lost respect in the years leading up to his 2014 suicide.

    Film - Other 
  • Woody Allen is a multi-talented actor, director, writer, and musician. (For example, he holds the record for most Academy Award nominations for Best Screenplay — fourteen.) First becoming famous as a stand-up comic in the 1960s, he went on to major film successes like Sleeper, Bananas, Annie Hall, Manhattan, and Hannah and Her Sisters (among others) in the '70s and '80s. His films began to decline in prestige and commercial success in the 1990s; in fact audiences favoring his "early, funny" films were already a problem for him in The '80s. Unfortunately, he also had a massive scandal in his personal life that overshadowed much of his earlier work — an affair with his long-time lover Mia Farrow's adopted daughter, Soon-Yi. Because he had known the girl since she was seven, it didn't matter very much that she was 22 at the time they married and that she was a legal adult when the relationship is believed to have begun, thus dogging him with jokes about pedophilia ever since. This ended his relationship with Farrow and also estranged him from one of their biological children in the aftermath. It didn't help that the real-life scandal caused audiences and critics to be more judgmental about his tendency to romantically pair his characters in films with ones played by very young actresses, although he's far from the only Hollywood offender there. Allen's films continued to decline, with several massive flops in the late '90s and 2000s, with minor bright spots in 2005's Match Point, 2008's Vicky Cristina Barcelona and 2011's Midnight in Paris. While he is prolific, with at least one new film each year since 1982, his glory days appear to be well behind him. It doesn't help that Woody Allen came out and supported Roman Polański after the famous director was arrested for drugging and raping a thirteen year-old girl.
  • In film scoring, Hans Zimmer protege Klaus Badelt was a rising star in film scoring with his work in action films such as The Time Machine (2002) and Equilibrium, with his high point being the score in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Then a pair of high-profile flops (Catwoman2004 and Poseidon) combined with the reveal that the majority of the Pirates of the Caribbean was really the work of Zimmer (Badelt simply taking credit) irreparably destroyed his career. He's still around but as a lower-tier composer in Zimmer's canon, scoring mostly little-seen indies and straight-to-DVD films.
  • Warren Beatty was once a renowned actor/director, but that all changed when he made Town And Country which was both a Box Office Bomb and a flop with critics, the behind-the-scenes drama of the film (Beatty insisting on doing re-shoots of almost every scene, causing the film's budget to swell from $40 million to $80 million, quite a large amount for a romantic comedy) didn't help him either. He didn't make another film for a decade and a half, and said film, Rules Don't Apply, was similarly mostly ignored by critics and audiences. Ironically, at the start of the 1990s, Beatty had somewhat of a Career Resurrection with Dick Tracy (the most commercially successful film of his career) after the previous biggest flop of his career in 1987's Ishtar.
  • Former Disney CEO Michael Eisner was brought in by Roy E. Disney after the first "Save Disney" campaign in 1984. Eisner took Disney to the major market force that exists today — returning it to higher-budget films, creating the Touchstone division for adult-oriented material, and pushing for the much-lauded Disney Renaissance that revived animated films after the false start of The Black Cauldron. He believed in Who Framed Roger Rabbit and brought new interest to the golden age of animation, while getting Disney into television animation (resulting in DuckTales (1987), Darkwing Duck, TaleSpin, Gargoyles, etc.). But when Disney's president Frank Wells died in a helicopter crash just before the release of The Lion King in 1994, long-time studio chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg expected to be promoted to fill Wells's position. When Eisner refused and forced Katzenberg to resign, he left the studio to found Dreamworks SKG, whose animation arm became a major competitor to Disney's. The promotion of Eisner's friend Michael Ovitz to the position was a disaster that upset most of the shareholders. Disney's new films, shows, and theme parks began to tank one after another in the late '90s and early 2000s — accused of becoming formulaic, obsessed with The Merch, and in the case of the parks outright lazy and cheap, while the old animated films were hit hard by Direct to Video Sequelitis. Eisner was also famous for being a control freak. He rejected the CSI franchise, hated Lost and Desperate Housewives which were immense hits for ABC, all while pushing his own project which was basically "Stacy's Mom" by Fountains of Wayne as a sitcom. Eisner burned enough bridges that even Pixar was ready to end their long partnership. In the wake of this, Roy E. Disney resigned from the board of directors and started a second "Save Disney" campaign to get rid of Eisner, who resigned under extreme pressure in 2005. Bob Iger, rebuilt the bridges with Pixar, among other things, and while his reign as CEO did face several criticisms (most notably the start of Disney Live-Action Remakes), the company as a whole became more financially successful than they had ever been. Eisner's guest-hosting stint on The Charlie Rose Show not long after his ouster led to him getting a regular talk-show on CNBC; he continues to expand into Internet production and he bought the Topps baseball company.
  • Vincent Gallo. After making a career as a supporting actor in films like The Funeral, he made his acclaimed directorial debut Buffalo '66. Then he made his infamous follow up The Brown Bunny, which led him to an unsuccessful war of words with critic Roger Ebert, who had previously supported his career. Since then, he has mostly been in tabloids for his extremely bizarre behaviour (e.g. trying to put a hex on Ebert), his truly venomous personality (e.g. criticizing Christina Ricci for her weight, unprovoked four years after working with her), his own claims of genius, and his vitriolic verbal tirades (e.g. calling Francis Ford Coppola "a fat pig", Sofia Coppola "a parasite" and Martin Scorsese "an egomaniac has been, who hasn't made a good film in twenty-five years"). While he still has a sizeable fanbase, even his most ardent supporters have come to accept that he is an unfortunate case of talent undone by ego. Nowadays, he is more likely to be known for inspiring the character of pretentious jerkass Billy Walsh in Entourage.
  • National Lampoon made a name for itself as a humor magazine spun off from the Harvard Lampoon. Their first film, Animal House, was an American classic and a huge box office successnote . The National Lampoon name was a valuable commodity, and they licensed it out to other films. The success of the Vacation series only added to their clout. Then the magazine fell hard from its '70s peak, and they have since attached their name to a string of low-budget "teens behaving badly" productions: Senior Trip, Dorm Daze, and Van Wilder are relative highlights.

  • Martin Amis. After writing for a while, he struck it big with Money, and continued his success with books such as London Fields and The Information. Then came Yellow Dog, which despite being longlisted for the Man Booker Prize was reviewed extremely harshly (The Daily Telegraph even compared it to "your favourite uncle being caught in the playground masturbating"). He managed to recover some success with House of Meetings and The Pregnant Widow, but those also received mixed reviews and average sales. Time will tell if he manages to get his momentum back.
  • Orson Scott Card is also an excellent example of this trope in action. Between Ender's Game, Speaker for the Dead, the early books of the Alvin Maker series, and even his work on games like Monkey Island, Card was easily one of the best sci-fi/fantasy authors of the '80s and early '90s. But he took a turn with the increasingly political and continuity-contradictory Ender's Shadow series and Advent Rising. Now Card can't seem to write anything without having to rehash his political views and run them smack dab into the plot as he did in Empire. His online non-fiction essays and blogosphere reaction to them also made his more controversial social and political views much more visible and hotly-debated, reaching a peak with an article (which he later back-pedalled from) that appeared to suggest that legalisation of gay marriage in the US would justify armed revolution against the government. Now just the mere mention of his name can cause problems, such as his work on the plot for Shadow Complex. Then he rewrote Hamlet and explained that Hamlet's father was a gay pedophile who was killed by Horatio because he molested him as a child. Oh and he, Laertes, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern all turned gay because of it. It ends with Hamlet damned him to Hell, where his father tells them now they can be together. This was initially published in an anthology, and then someone somehow decided that it should have wider release.
  • Troy Denning made a big hit with the novel Star By Star, a book which defined the New Jedi Order series. He followed up on this with the Dark Nest Trilogy, on which opinions are all over the place. He has been accused of major Character Derailment in Legacy of the Force and later Fate of the Jedi. Fans are divided on whether his Darker and Edgier approach to Star Wars is the best for the Expanded Universe. Troy Denning wrote the last book of Legacy of the Force, where did not show Jaina really applying what she had learned from the Mandalorians to her fights with her brother Jacen in the last book. It can be inferred from this that Troy did not like Karen Traviss treating the Mandalorians as important over everything else, that he was willing to mess up the story just to give her the finger.
  • Yukio Mishima was one of the most prolific writer of post-World War II Japan, and was nominated three times for the Nobel Prize in Literature. He also became his country's biggest embarrassment when he attempted to stage a coup with the Japan Self Defense Forces, then committed seppuku when this failed. Even though his writings and other creative works are still considered culturally significant, his death - and the faulty justification behind itnote  - left an ugly mark on his otherwise influential legacy.
  • Anne Rice was a groundbreaking author (and partially responsible for creating the goth/vampire subculture.) Then in the early '90s, she started demanding Protection from Editors, and the quality of her writing took a sharp turn downward. Matters became worse when she became quite religious, declaring that she had "consecrated [her] work to Jesus Christ" and was now committed to writing Christian fiction, which didn't seem to go terribly over well, nor her adamant stance against fanfiction or her blow-up on after poor reviews.
  • J. K. Rowling was the most famous author of the 90s and 2000s, having her first book series Harry Potter explode in popularity and become a worldwide phenomenon. The extremely successful books grew into a franchise, that spun off into theme parks, candies, and an esteemed film series, and sparked a massive boost in fantasy literature and young adult literature as a whole. But her seemingly flawless reputation cracked in the following decade, as readers began to question her depictions of marginalized cultures and races in her books. This was not helped by Rowling’s further additions to the HP setting with Fantastic Beasts and Pottermore being viewed as embarrassing to the lore, and Rowling stoking controversy with her increasingly open transphobia. By the time of the films’ 20th anniversary, Warner Bros did not invite her to participate in the commemorative documentary and kept her appearances in archive footage to a minimum, seemingly to distance themselves from her. To this day Harry Potter has a faithful fanbase but it’s very common to hear many of those same fans decry Rowling as an active detriment to the series.
  • Star Wars Legends author Karen Traviss started out with the hit novel Republic Commando: Hard Contact, widely considered one of the best Clone Wars novels, and delivered the well-received sequel Republic Commando: Triple Zero. After these books, her writings attracted a Broken Base for not only painting the Jedi in a much more negative light, but also a heavy bias in favor of the Mandalorians. Things only got worse in her contributions to Legacy of the Force, where she killed off two beloved fan favorites in disappointing fashion; and again turned the Mandalorians into a Spotlight-Stealing Squad. But what really turned fan opinion against Traviss was her abrasive arguments with fans on Star Wars message boards — she has since left Star Wars due to contractual reasons, but just mentioning her is still looked down upon.

    Traviss did not get much better when she moved on to Gears of War and Halo. Her first Halo novel, Halo: Glasslands, was poorly received for its treatment of Dr. Catherine Halsey; Traviss removed many of Halsey's positive traits, such as her guilt over the SPARTAN program, and had most of her companions hate her while talking about her in unflattering terms. Glasslands also suffered from Protagonist-Centered Morality, because even while those "good" characters lectured and humiliated Halsey, they were just as amoral as her. As a result, the sequel book The Thursday War tried to rectify the hypocrisy with several Authors Saving Throws, and 343 Industries turned Glasslands's protagonist into a villain.
  • John C. Wright was once considered a very promising science-fiction/fantasy author, with his opera prima The Golden Age being seen by many as one of the best SF debuts in years. Unfortunately, after having visions which converted him into Christianity, he ended up taking his new beliefs too far. Now, after having done such things as joining his friend Vox Day in the latter's infamous attempt to sabotage the Hugo award for its perceived left-wing bias, or savagely disparaging beloved creators Bryan Konietzko / Michael Dante DiMartino (for The Legend of Korra's Queer Romance ending) and Terry Pratchett (for his defending euthanasia), it can be safely said that the SF mainstream considers him little more than a source of embarrassment.

    Live Action TV 
  • During the hit days of The X-Files, Chris Carter was untouchable. Fans were convinced that Carter had plotted an elaborate and minutely thought-out web of deceit and lies for his FBI agents to unravel. Eventually the overarching story had effectively mutated into a dense Kudzu Plot, and people started accusing him of just making the show's 'mythology arc' up as he went along, which he confirmed was the case. His other show Millennium (1996) got increasingly bizarre and difficult to follow as it went on, the end of the final season provided no closure at all, and the show being merged into X-Files further alienated fans. The X-Files movie The X-Files: I Want to Believe, was widely criticized for ignoring the myth arc entirely. Carter's attempted Amazon series The After was ultimately called off because Amazon was unwilling to produce a 99 episode show at a whopping $40 million per season if Carter was unwilling to plan ahead.
  • Bryan Elsley, the creator of Skins, was once the favored writer among the Skins fandom. Lately, though, he has seen his star fall as a result of the utter failure of the American adaptation of Skins, which he helmed. (In addition to losing most of its advertisers thanks to Moral Guardians, the show had low ratings and was slammed by critics.) He particularly upset LGBT viewers, a group he had won over in large numbers with his treatment of the Naomi/Emily pairing in the British version, by playing the Bait-and-Switch Lesbians game with Tea in the US version. By contrast, Jamie Brittain, who used to be disliked due to his love of shocking swerves, has done a fairly good job with the new generation on the British show and has seen his popularity increase as a result. With Brittain's departure from the British version and Elsley's return to it with the US remake's cancellation, this has only increased as the sixth UK series has Jumped the Shark in the eyes of most fans, largely due to Brittain's and Elsley's competing visions for the Generation 3 characters.
  • Bruce Kalish went through this so fast among Power Rangers fans it borders on Mood Whiplash. The first season he produced was SPD, which was received well by fans (though it had quite a few holes that didn't escape notice, while not ruining the show for most). The next that he did was Mystic Force which... wasn't. After that, he produced Operation Overdrive, which is one of the three considered the worst of the show's entire run, alongside ''Turbo'' and ''Wild Force''. Jungle Fury was a little better, but now most fans consider his entire four-year run of the show an Audience-Alienating Era for the series, and blame him for its near-cancellation (though Screwed by the Network actually carries equal responsibility).
  • Crossing Jordan did well for writer Tim Kring, but he garnered tons of notice after he made Heroes. There were many Lost-like shows then, but Heroes not only become a popular phenomenon on its own but actually became more popular than Lost was by that point. It even got a Emmy nomination for Best Drama Series, rare for a sci-fi show. His popularity didn't decline with season 2, because the well-known writers' strike made whatever plans they'd had impossible, and he apologized for the season's flaws and promised to do better. Then came the universally-derided third season, leading critics and fans alike to say that the only way the show could improve would be if Tim Kring left, turning him from "the next JJ Abrams!" to a complete laughing stock. With the show's cancellation, fans seem pretty convinced that it was actually Bryan Fuller who was responsible for the show's initial greatness, and that Tim Kring has good ideas but is not good at executing them right. Not helping was an interview where he throws blame around with reckless abandon as to why the ratings were drying up, as well as the infamous "saps and dipshits" comment Kring made where he claimed that DVR was ruining serialized shows like Heroes.
  • Verity Lambert was the producer who helped Doctor Who get under way, in no small part due to her disregarding the initial instructions given to her by The BBC. She enjoyed similar levels of success in her subsequent projects, and in the '70s and '80s was widely considered to be the top drama producer in the UK. Then, in the early 90s she produced the infamous soap opera flop Eldorado (you may recognize the name from an episode of Whose Line Is It Anyway?), which knocked her reputation quite badly. She still amassed a decent list of credits (including Jonathan Creek) between then and her death in 2007, but her reputation never really recovered to the phenomenal levels it had reached in the preceding decades.
  • Graham Linehan was once a highly respected sitcom writer responsible for Father Ted, Black Books and The IT Crowd, which remain beloved comedy classics in both Ireland and the UK. However in the 2010s his creative output was eclipsed by his increasingly vocal transphobic views and activism, including his support for J. K. Rowling and praise for anti-trans protesters at a Pride event in 2018, which eventually resulted in his twitter account being permanently suspended. These days, Linehan remains a pariah in the television industry and amongst his former colleagues, and he has received no work since 2017.

  • Anthrax enjoyed massive success in their early years, becoming one of the "Big Four" 1980s thrash metal bands alongside Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer. Their chunky, mosh-oriented riffs, quirky sense of humor, and two excellent vocalists in the form of Neil Turbin on their first album and the famous Joey Belladonna on their next three, have made their earlier material undisputed metal classics. But then grunge got big, Belladonna was fired in favor of the terminally bland John Bush, and Anthrax quit making thrash in favor of tepid '90s wannabe grunge. Fans deserted them in droves. In 2005 Joey Belladonna rejoined the band, Anthrax went on a dynamite world tour, and the fire seemed to be lit again, but relations fell apart in 2007 and Belladonna left. Anthrax went back to their forgettable '90s selves. Belladonna later came back to Anthrax and the band have announced a new album. Time will tell if they can make a comeback on the same level as the excellent new albums from Megadeth and Overkill.
  • Common consensus is that the four members of The Beatles never managed to hit the same heights in their solo careers as that they did in a group. It's generally argued that John Lennon and Paul McCartney particularly benefited from the other's strengths offsetting their respective weaknesses. After several years of solo releases of mixed critical and commercial success Lennon eventually retreated from the limelight for five years while McCartney's work — although often commercially successful — was generally dismissed by the critics. Of the other two, George Harrison had the most successful post-Beatles solo album (All Things Must Pass) — unfortunately, that was his first solo album, and he never really recovered the critical and commercial success in his later albums. And to be generous to Ringo Starr, great things were never really expected of him compared to the other three, so while he had his successes he was never really in the same league.
  • Rock & roll pioneer Chuck Berry enjoyed one last top 40 hit with 1972's "My Ding-a-Ling". However, Berry didn't help himself by, shortly thereafter, stopping recording and strictly doing the oldies circuit (with a different backing band each night because he didn't want to hire anyone full time and figured everyone knew his songs). Ironically, Peter Tosh's cover of "Johnny B. Good" stormed the charts in 1983, two years prior to the smash success of Back To The Future. Unfortunately, Berry himself received negative publicity for being caught filming women using the toilets in his St. Louis eatery. At his death in 2017, he was still remembered mostly for his pivotal contributions to early rock & roll than for anything he had done in the preceding half-century.
  • Coolio was one of the most successful rappers in the 1990s (especially in 1995), with hits like "Fantastic Voyage" and especially, "Gangsta's Paradise", which reached number one on the mainstream charts and earned Coolio a Grammy. Coolio even popped up on Nickelodeon to provide the theme song to Kenan & Kel. The start of Coolio's "fall" was his feud with "Weird Al" Yankovic over Al's spoof song of "Gangsta's Paradise" called "Amish Paradise". However, what really did Coolio in was when his album My Soul fell just short of the top 50 on the Billboard charts (which caused his record label to drop him). It didn't help that Coolio didn't release another album for about another five years.
  • Jermaine Dupri was one of the most notable record producers in the R&B world, helping launch the careers of Usher and Jay-Z while also producing many notable albums in the late 1990's and early 2000's and helping Mariah Carey have a Career Resurrection. However since 2008 he's been relatively silent with his status having dropped severely since his golden days, with the likely culprit being the Troubled Production of fellow fallen creator Nelly's Brass Knuckles (in which all but one of his songs was thrown out before release). The one song also barely charted.
  • Gary Glitter. It goes without saying that if you want to maintain your career as a game-changer in the field of rock n' roll, then don't commit a severe sexual offence. From The '70s to the early '90s, Glitter had spent a combined three and a half years on the chart and was one of the most influential names in rock music. Then, a search of his computer by a PC World repairman turned up thousands of pictures of child pornography. Understandably, he was mauled by the media, saw his music used less commonly at sporting events note  and his appearances cut out of films, and was rejected by the British public. This is prominently reflected in the events surrounding On, his last album, less than three years after his conviction. It generated controversy simply by existing—the British Phonographic Industry had to release a statement claiming that Glitter was allowed to make it. He had to sell it himself, as no distributors would issue it, or anything else of his. It sold 5,000 copies worldwide before going out of print.
  • MC Hammer was once the biggest rap star on earth ("Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em" went 11x platinum and was at the top of the charts for 21 weeks), but after going bankrupt he fell harder than Michael Jackson ever did.
  • Lauryn Hill was already an established act with the hip-hop group The Fugees when she released her commercially and critically successful solo album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (which won five Grammys including Album of the Year). However, about a year or two later, Hill had disappeared from the public eye. This was due in part to her displeasure with fame and the music industry. Hill briefly resurfaced with an "unpluggged" live album and a short-lived reunion with the Fugees (which in itself, ended badly due in large part to Hill's chronic tardiness and diva behavior). Also, by this time, Hill was in the news more for her controversial criticism of the Vatican (in reference to the molestation of boys by Catholic priests) than her music.
  • Michael Jackson was big in the 1970s, successfully building a solo career from his initial success with the Jackson 5/Jacksons, and then became huge with 1982's Thriller, especially when the three music videos derived from it ("Beat It", "Thriller", "Billie Jean") refined and defined many tropes of the format. He was the biggest celebrity in the world for the remainder of the 1980s, and his next two solo albums were big hits as were most of his side projects; even his Pepsi commercials were events. He had a reputation for eccentricity, plastic surgery, and ego, but also for delivering great entertainment. Then in 1993, he was accused of child molestation and settled out of court. Nothing was the same for him after this, in part because he had cultivated an image as a friend to children — he became "freakish" rather than "eccentric" (not helped by his increasingly uncanny appearance). The resultant Creator Breakdown resulted in 1995's HIStory, which let many critics and listeners down in the wake of its massive hype. Jackson didn't release another album of all-original work (Invincible) until 2001, and he was so unhappy with its sales (which weren't bad, but not close to his old numbers) that he accused his label of racially-motivated sabotage in its promotion. Things went From Bad to Worse with a second round of child molestation charges resulting in a trial over 2003-05; he was found not guilty. Nothing of artistic note followed until he announced a series of London farewell concerts over 2009-10. These might have returned him to glory, but he died of an overdose of medication in June 2009 before a single show was performed. The upshot was that suddenly there were "King of Pop" tributes everywhere, with nary a critical word spoken. From The Onion's point of view, death was the only normal thing to happen to a star whose abusive childhood paved the way for a deeply disturbed adulthood.
  • R. Kelly was the biggest R&B superstar in the 90s and the early 2000s. Many of his albums hit number one on the Billboard 200 and went Platinum multiple times, and he received numerous awards for his songs, "I Believe I Can Fly" probably being his most well known song thanks to being featured in the movie Space Jam. However, as early as 1994, R. Kelly was also known for having inappropriate relationships with underage girls; he attempted to get married to Aaliyah, who was 15 at the time, but the marriage was quickly annulled by Aaliyah's parents. Throughout the 2000s and early 2010s, news would sporadically pop up about his behavior, such as a viral video of him allegedly peeing on an underage girl, possession of child pornography, and allegedly running a sex cult where he controlled every aspect of the girls' lives. All of this came to head in light of the #MeToo movement and the release of Lifetime's Surviving R. Kelly, putting all of his crimes in the spotlight. He was soon dropped by RCA Records, his music was temporarily removed from Spotify, Apple Music, and Pandora, and many artists who collaborated with him have publicly expressed regret in doing so. He was convicted in 2021 and 2022 of personally sex trafficking underage girls, and sentenced to 31 years in prison.
  • It's hard to believe now, but when The Knack debuted with Get The Knack in 1979, some people seriously called them "The New Beatles," partially because Capitol Records encouraged this idea with its Meet The Beatles-like packaging of the group. The hype was somewhat justified, as the album was pretty good power-pop. But they followed Get The Knack up with ...But The Little Girls Understand, perhaps the worst second album in rock history. After one more flop album, the band broke up and is now known to most people only as the band that did "My Sharona."
  • Limp Bizkit used to be one of the biggest bands in the entire world (really). The album Results May Vary, however, is regarded to have killed not just their career but the entire Nu Metal genre. Wes Borland, regarded as the band's most talented member, left after Chocolate Starfish and the Hotdog Flavored Water was released. He was replaced with former Snot guitarist Mike Smith, and the band spent the next three years trying to release a new album. When Results May Vary was finally released, not only was it critically panned, but it received the third-lowest composite score in Metacritic history. In a case of Critical Dissonance, it actually did mange to go platinum and fans seemed to like the album a lot more than critics did.
  • Metallica pioneered the sound of Heavy Metal in America, selling out concerts without radio airplay and generally known for their rebel personas (who had special sections in their concerts for bootleggers to come and record the shows). Then they released Metallica (what we all call "the Black Album"). Not a bad album, but it made some of their old fans disappointed. Produced by Bob (Mötley Crüe) Rock, it lacked their traditional complex song structures and depth, and sounded like Metallica-lite. Then they went and dropped Load (no pun intended) on their fans in 1996, which sounded like some of the heavy grunge bands that had been popular for a couple of years by that point, only a bad version of grunge. Of course the guys in Metallica claimed that they weren't listening to any of that type of music and the album reflected their personal tastes. Not long after that, during the days of Napster, the rebels revealed their Digital Piracy Is Evil crusade, finally alienating most of their original fans. They followed up Load with a little album called St. Anger in 2003, an album widely hated by the fanbase, and one that even the band doesn't care much for. But then came Death Magnetic, widely considered a return to form - despite the Unpleasable Fanbase not being fully satisfied, and a nasty case of the squish. Death Magnetic was followed by Lulu, a joint project with Lou Reed consisting of off-the-wall 'avant-garde' rock and noise. If the idea sounds nutty to you, you're not alone. Critical opinion ranged from underwhelming to horrified, with Pitchfork Media giving a rare 1/10 rating, and the fans were far less kind. Lou Reed said in an interview he made the album for fun and not to appeal to anyone, while Lars Ulrich compared the change in style to the band's acoustic turns on the critically acclaimed Ride The Lightning, suggesting that listeners would grow to like it. Still, the band again bounced back with their actual follow-up album Hardwired... To Self-Destruct.
  • After dropping three consecutive Platinum albums from 1996-1998 and then two more that went Gold, Master P dropped off the radar. An attempt to rebrand his No Limit record company didn't do much to bring Master P back to relevance. Master P's involvement with World Championship Wrestling and the rise of the more polished Cash Money label put a damper on his sales.
  • Milli Vanilli's debut album went sextuple platinum in the US alone. Then it was discovered that the two guys fronting it never actually sang anything and were lip-synching at live performances. This blew up in their faces and things quickly went downhill from there.
  • Nelly was once one of the most popular rap stars in the world, with his first three albums going platinum (the third one, a double album, sold six million units) and giving rise to the St. Louis rap movement. Then, his fourth album went through constant delays and had a chaotic production with several producers having different ideas on how to do it. After finally being released to weak reviews and sales, his star largely derailed with only his hometown fanbase sticking to him. A 2011 attempt at a comeback hasn't fared much better despite slightly better sales. The infamous "Tip Drill" video set things in motion for Nelly's supposed "Fallen Creator" status by alienating a good portion of Nelly's female fanbase.
  • Not many people like Axl Rose anymore after he split up Guns N' Roses, trying to replace them with hired musicians, and building up massive hype for Chinese Democracy - which proved to be unremarkable given the amount of time it spent in Development Hell.
  • Sepultura, who once made brilliant albums like Beneath The Remains, have gone a long way from that and developed a Broken Base with their next material.
  • As a teenage idol, Britney Spears used to be known for her sexy schoolgirl look and sexier music that led her to international superstardom. As an adult, her musical success has been eclipsed by the breakdown of her mental health and personal life (2004-08). Most notable were her surprise late-night Vegas marriage to a childhood friend, the subsequent annulment 56 hours later, her equally sudden marriage to one of her stage dancers, her even more sudden decision to divorce said second husband, several failed trips through rehab, shaving her head and attacking nearby paparazzi with her umbrella, losing custody of her children over her behavior and her rumored drug abuse, an MTV Video Music Awards performance in which she appeared terrified, supposedly out of shape, and unable to perform, and eventually being legally declared a conservatee of the state and placed under the care of her father and her attorney. Yet despite all this, her albums can still sell well. She has since made a successful Career Resurrection. Top selling tours, number one singles, outrageous first day plays, critical acclaim. Just to name a few.
  • The Spice Girls were top of the pops after the success of their debut single "Wannabe" in 1996: critical success, shedloads of awards, two platinum-selling albums, a sell-out tour and a movie that was a hit at the box office, as well as advertising deals for everything from cameras to lollipops. Then in 1998 Geri Halliwell left the group citing "differences" with the other girls. This fuelled tabloid speculation and led to backlash against the surviving band members (encouraged by similar rumours the previous year when they had fired their manager.) Her departure threw a spanner in the works of their recording and tour plans, forcing them to take a hiatus. Two of the "girls" got pregnant and wanted time off, Victoria became better known for her relationship with David Beckham than as a performer and Melanie C, claimed by some of the more cynical to be the only talented member of the group, became desperate to work as a solo artist. Their next album was a flop and they faded into the distance, although an official split was never announced. In 2007-2008 they had a successful reunion tour, but their new music was again poorly received. Victoria and Mel B, in particular, have begun to get bad reactions for events in their personal lives.
  • Billy Squier was one of the biggest Hard Rock stars of the early 1980s, selling himself on a "tough guy" persona. The video for "Rock Me Tonite," a So Bad, It's Good video featuring Squier dancing in a pink tank top, completely destroyed this image and caused a major blow to his career. He would still have moderate success throughout the rest of the decade, but even he admits that the video killed any chances of being as big as, say, Queen.
  • Roger Waters of Pink Floyd became this after The Wall, and especially during The Final Cut, when he wrote all of the songs for that album, and the recording sessions for the album were so fraught with tension that David Gilmour requested to have his name removed from the producer's credits. Waters would quit the band in 1985, calling it "a spent force", and tried to sue his former bandmates to prevent them from using the Pink Floyd name, but he lost, though he did retain exclusive rights to The Wall, save for three songs that were co-written with Gilmour. Despite this image damage and solo albums that made a fraction of the impact of the Gilmour-led Floyd, in the 21st century Waters found success again, with Pink Floyd's reunion concert, solo tours inspired by The Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall, and the debut of Ça Ira, an opera written by him (!).

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, after a screed he posted against the "men's rights" movement in March 2011 went viral, in which he essentially said that he agreed with them on every point, but they should "man up" and stop complaining, because women get special treatment for the same reason as the mentally disabled. It didn't help him when he deleted it, or when he was exposed for defending himself with sock puppets, and it really didn't help when he posted an article a few months later saying that a number of "men behaving badly" stories in the news was due to society suppressing male nature - including the rape allegations against Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Julian Assange. He fairly clearly condemns rape, but the juxtaposition was enough for some, as well as his assertion that female urges were "encouraged."

    Professional Wrestling 
  • There was a time when Chris Benoit was one of the most famous names in wrestling, thanks in part to his hard-hitting technical style of wrestling as well as his close friendship with Eddie Guerrero, among other factors. Alas, his life and fifteen-year wrestling career came to a Downer Ending in mid-2007 when Benoit killed his wife and seven-year-old son, then killed himself as well. WWE, the last promotion he worked for, came to see his name as being so poisonous that they have gone out of their way to not mention his name or accomplishments under their banner unless they have no choice, and while he is not universally hated, the last day of his life has completely overshadowed everything else about his career among most fans. Today, Benoit is mostly remembered both as a reminder of the severe harm concussions can cause (he suffered several over the course of his career) and a cautionary tale about what can happen to performers who don't take care of themselves.
  • By the later half of the 1980s, Jim Crockett Promotions (the Charlotte, North Carolina based faction of the National Wrestling Alliance or NWA) was the number two biggest wresting promotion in America behind the WWF. In 1985, JCP landed the coveted Saturday evening spot on TBS (ironically, replacing the WWF). Unlike the more cartoonish, kid-friendly WWF product under Vince McMahon, Jim Crockett Promotions was the more "PG-13" product that was more grounded in athleticism rather than one-sided squash matches from the former. Attempting to keep up with Vince McMahon, Jim Crockett made several key mistakes. Crockett burned out his main booker, Dusty Rhodes, who kept the same talent on top for far too long, protecting them with non-decisive "Dusty Finishes" (in which the babyface is initially thought to have won the match only to have it reversed at the last minute), he flew himself and his superstars across the country in private jets, he booked Starrcade '87 (JCP's version of WrestleMania) and the 1988 Bunkhouse Stampede in areas which had no real history with his product (Chicago and Long Island, New York respectively, where they inevitably bombed at the gate), and he had the company make an expensive move to Dallas, Texas (feeling that the company would have been better represented in a Top Ten media market). The 1987 purchase of the Bill Watts-led UWF led to a very large cash outflow, as the UWF's television outlets were essentially paid programming. His attempts to expand his business into pay-per-view were troubled by the stale television product and counter-programming from the WWF (the first Survivor Series and the first Royal Rumble aired directly against Crockett shows; Crockett struck back with the first ever Clash of the Champions airing on TBS against WrestleMania IV, but the cable companies put a stop to it happening even further). By the start of 1988, the traditional Carolinas markets were weak, markets outside the Carolinas were effectively dead, and Crockett was taking out one and two million dollar loans every week in order to meet his expenses. Later in the year however, TBS founder, Ted Turner (who always had a fondness in his heart for wrestling, because it was really the first big TV show on his network dating back to the early '70s) purchased what would become World Championship Wrestling (which was the name of the Saturday night TBS program) for about $9 million. Crockett and Rhodes were very harshly judged by wrestlers and wrestling fans alike for a long time, although the more business-savvy ones are willing to point out that a small regional wrestling company wasn't going to survive the business changes in the early '90s either way.
  • Ric Flair is like the "only less so" version of Hogan. His reputation as one of the best wrestlers in the business by and large kept the disintegration of his family out of the public eye (in particular, his then-wife accused him of abusing steroids, hitting her, and exposing himself to other women; the latter has been a backstage trademark of his for some years if other accounts are to be believed), as did his position as a dignified WWE elder statesman. After being given an incredible send-off in 2008 for a retirement match against Shawn Michaels, Flair ultimately had to sever his WWE contract in order to make enough money on outside projects to cover his back taxes (he's had IRS issues going back to the '70s) and his alimony. He was a partner-in-crime on Hogan's failed Australia tour, and ended up following him to TNA, with little or no impact on ratings, buyrates, or house show attendance. His return from retirement has acquired him a significant hatedom in the wrestling fandom, since his retirement show was so emotional. This article shows how far he's fallen money-wise. The absolute low point was a money dispute with (over him putting up a NWA title belt as collateral for a loan without mentioning there was a lien on it for another outstanding debt) that threatened to land him in jail.
  • Verne Gagne was a ten time World Champion and his American Wresting Association (AWA) promotion was one of the "Big Three" promotions from the 1960s to first half of the 1980s (alongside the National Wrestling Alliance and World Wrestling Federation). The Minneapolis based AWA was one of the most successful and expansive single territories in the country. More to the point, the AWA at its peak featured a virtual "who's who" of wrestling. One of these notables was Hulk Hogan, who went to the AWA after ending his heel run in New York and becoming a successful superstar in New Japan Pro Wrestling. As Vince McMahon, Jr. was expanding the WWF and raiding the AWA's talent (including Hulk Hogan, who immediately became "The Chosen One"), Gagne stubbornly refused to change with the times (i.e. adapt to a more "sports-entertainment" type promotion). Gagne seemed to think that what worked in the '70s could still work in the '80s. By late 1987, the AWA was running on fumes (even though they landed a national cable TV deal with ESPN, they were still losing talent left and right to the WWF, including then World Champion, Curt Hennig) and had to align themselves with World Class out of Dallas and the CWA out of Memphis. This culminated with the AWA's first and only stab at pay-per-view called Super Clash III. Gagne burned his bridges with the other promotions when it was revealed that the wrestlers were literally, working for free. Jerry Lawler refused to defend the AWA World Title until he got the payout from Super Clash III. Instead, Lawler was "stripped" of the belt and the next champion was Gagne's real life son-in-law Larry Zbyszko. With the AWA sinking further and further in irrelevancy, they threw a Hail-Mary called the "Team Challenge Series", which backfired (and is generally regarded as one of the most embarrassing, poorly executed and desperate angles in wrestling history). Not too surprisingly, the AWA was forced to shut down by the end of 1990. It got even worse for Verne Gagne however. In 2009, Gagne, who by this time in his life, had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease, accidentally killed a 97 year old man in memory-loss section of a Bloomington, Minnesota health care facility. Meanwhile, Verne's granddaughter Gail (Greg's daughter) had a warrant issued for her arrest for criminal sexual conduct with a then 16 year-old St. Paul, MN high school student when she was a teacher there. Here's a great blog chronicling the sad decline of the AWA.
  • Hulk Hogan was once the single most dominant personality in the whole of Professional Wrestling, and one of the most financially successful. His All-American Face role model status was permanently tarnished in The '90s by a steroid scandal and his clumsy attempts at outright denial. His attempts to play Superman to the more traditional, heel-oriented WCW audience pegged him as a Creator's Pet until a well-timed Face–Heel Turn. His post-WCW appearances have typically led to one strong nostalgia-based TV or PPV number, and disappointing returns afterwards (and his non-WWE appearances didn't even have that one strong number). His attempts at branching out into acting went nowhere. Then the personal issues came: his son Nick was involved in a high-profile street racing accident, with a passenger in a vegetative state, Hogan himself was caught on tape claiming it was all a God-given punishment to the passenger, which the TMZ crowd did not like one bit; and a nasty divorce followed, with both sides airing their dirty laundry in public. Hogan's later attempts at a comeback with rival TNA didn't generate any significant interest, and an attempt at a revival of the Monday Night Wars almost cost them their TV slot. The divorce and the legal settlement from the car wreck have left him with a negative net worth, and the damage done to his back by years of bumping, heavy weightlifting, and steroid abuse have more or less finished him as an active wrestler. His following attempts at staying relevant include ten minute retirements, protein powder multi-level-marketing schemes, making an ass of himself on Twitter on a regular basis, and lending his name to a midget wrestling TV show.
  • Vince McMahon and WWE in general would be a highly contentious example. Attempts to branch out into other forms of entertainment have continuously failed over the years, to where announcements of a new "media venture" of any kind are enough to make the stockholders start banging their heads against the wall. Despite strong international growth, there's a feeling among wrestling reporters and even in the company itself that the product isn't connecting with the American viewerbase (outside of children, explaining much about the hated "TV-PG" push), with domestic PPV buys at their lowest since the early '90s. Of the scores of performer deaths between the product's first expansion in 1984 and today, many of them have been shown to be related to the use of performance enhancing drugs; WWE's "Wellness Policy" has no credibility with the public and doesn't explain why that many people in a fake sport feel driven to use the drugs in the first place (or why the company's 66-year-old CEO, who is a featured performer and isn't tested, has a physique putting most 30-year-olds to shame). The only reason the company managed to avoid the Congressional bitch-slapping that MLB got is that even elected officials don't take wrestling seriously.
  • In 1998, Vince Russo was one of the best bookers and storyline writers in the Wrestling Industry. After co-masterminding the Attitude Era with Vince McMahon and with input from several other writers, Russo was an important part of a creative team that snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in the Monday Night Wars. Unfortunately, when his contract expired in 1999, Russo jumped ship to WCW, where he almost single-handedly killed the entire company. According to The Death of WCW, during the time Russo worked for the WWF he would bounce ideas off of McMahon, who would decide whether or not to use them. In WCW, he was given free reign to do whatever he wanted, which didn't work out. With Russo's ridiculous storylines used in a company that was famous for being very traditional when it came to wrestling, the massive mismanagement of money by Eric Bischoff, and older stars like Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, and Scott Steiner outright refusing to put over new talent, Russo's arrival, which was supposed to herald WCW's return to form, instead set about pounding in the final nail in WCW's coffin. Being part of the writing/booking team at TNA until October 2011, it appears that Russo has yet to learn his lesson.
  • The Ultimate Warrior: The fact that WWE went as far as to produce a DVD (called The Self-Destruction of The Ultimate Warrior) that totally buried one of their biggest stars of the late '80s-early '90s is enough evidence. Most of the things the DVD makes fun of are actually the things that made the Warrior stand out and become a star in the first place. Warrior's Fallen Creator status more than likely comes from his repeated entrances and exits over the years, his general batshit-craziness, and his homophobic comments in the following years.
  • During the 1980s, "Cowboy" Bill Watts headed up Mid-South Wrestling (later the Universal Wrestling Federation or UWF). Watts' promotion (which regularly sold out the New Orleans Superdome and was renowned for its well booked and entertaining storylines) gave wrestlers such as the Junkyard Dog, "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, and Ted Dibiase their first taste of national exposure. Unfortunately, things went sour for Mid-South when the once lucrative oil market collapsed. After selling out to Jim Crockett Promotions (the forerunner to World Championship Wrestling) around 1987, Watts took a lengthy hiatus from the industry. Watts would reemerge in 1992 to take over as the Executive Vice President of WCW. However, it became quite apparent how out of touch Watts became. He banned off the top rope moves (which, in essence, killed the cruiserweight division), cut the wrestlers' pay, banned catering and wives and families backstage at live events, removed the protective padding at ringside (thus, making for a more hazardous working environment), and forced the wrestlers to stay at the events from start to finish regardless. Despite rumors and allegations throughout the years of him being racist, Watts booked African American Ron Simmons to become World Heavyweight Champion. Unfortunately, Simmons didn't exactly set the world on fire during his championship run (mostly due to Simmons lacking in the charisma department and being booked in matches against life-long midcarders like the Barbarian). Worst of all, Watts used his position of power (just like Verne Gagne did with his son Greg) to push his son Eric to the moon despite being incredibly green (or unprepared/not fully trained) and bland. Ratings and attendance fell into the toilet. The final straw for Watts was an interview he did for the Pro Wrestling Torch (ironically, before he was even hired), in which he went off on a libertarian rant, defending the actions of Lester Maddox (a Southern restaurant owner who closed his establishment rather than sell food to blacks), defended slavery as the best thing that ever happened to the black race (in the sense of them being transported to North America, where their descendants could live better than in Africa), and made liberal use of the word "fag". This obviously didn't sit too well with the folks over at Turner Broadcasting (among them, baseball legend Hank Aaron), and Watts quit before he could be fired.


    Video Game Designers 
  • George Broussard was a pioneer of the shareware model of distribution with Scott Miller and their company Apogee Software (later 3D Realms); he saw his breakthrough in 1996 with Duke Nukem 3D, which was an incredible success. The he announced Duke Nukem Forever... and the rest is (sad) history. Given how he managed the whole fiasco, only the most ardent fans still believe in him. Thanks to the efforts of Gearbox Software and Randy Pitchford, his dream lived on, but, alas, it was not to be - Duke Nukem Forever hovered in the mid-40 percent range on GameRankings for the Xbox 360 and, most unfortunately, PC versions. The game was derided as being several years too late, looking and playing dated. The script was described as overly crude and even hypocritical - an early scene in the game has Duke turning down a suit of Halo-style power armour with derision, except he is now only able to carry two weapons and has a regenerating health bar... exactly like Halo.
  • David Crane was one of the first game developers to become a household name, largely thanks to being the lead developer behind a number of well-loved Atari 2600 games, most notably the smash hit Pitfall!. After he left Activision however, Crane's career suffered its own pitfall. He and other former Activision employees formed Absolute Entertainment but, with few exceptions (most notably A Boy and His Blob), the company churned out a series of bad and/or licensed games, mostly based on The Simpsons, along with David Crane's Amazing Tennis (which most critics agreed was only amazing in how bad it was); he also collaborated to the infamous Night Trap. Absolute collapsed in 1995 and, while he has never left the game industry (he has made a rather successful career out of advergaming), Crane has been under the radar since then.
  • Trip Hawkins was the founder and CEO of Electronic Arts, which would become a giant in the video game industry, and contributed heavily to some of their most successful early games such as M.U.L.E. and the first edition of John Madden Football. In 1991, he left Electronic Arts to form The 3DO Company, which would create the console of the same name. After the console bombed due to its ridiculous pricing, the company went third party and had some early success with the Army Men series, BattleTanx and the acquisition of the lucrative Might and Magic IP. However, 3DO's habit of releasing buggy and unfinished products and churning out bad sequels and spin-offs at an insanely fast rate long with numerous other bad decisions led them to crash and burn spectacularly, ending with the company filling for bankruptcy in 2003. After that, he founded the Casual Video Game developer Digital Chocolate and while it is doing decently well, it's still a far cry from EA's dominance, and he owes the Federal Bank more than $20 million due to avoiding paying taxes after the fall of 3DO.
  • Video game writer Masato Kato had a hand in a number of beloved classics in the 90s, including the NES Ninja Gaiden trilogy (the series primarily responsible for popularizing cutscenes and story in action games), Chrono Trigger (one of the most beloved and highly acclaimed RPGs of all time), portions of Final Fantasy VII, Xenogears, and Chrono Trigger's controversial sequels, Radical Dreamers and Chrono Cross. General consensus is that his projects from the early 2000s onward (including an MMORPG and several low-budget DS games) have been almost unilaterally underwhelming and forgettable.
  • Keiji Inafune got his start at Capcom in the 1980s, and quickly made a name for himself as the "father" of the Mega Man franchise.note  He moved up the ladder to executive producer, and many classic franchises were created under his watch. By the time of the seventh generation of video games, Inafune grew sick of Capcom's sequel policies; thanks to that, as EP he made sure that games like Dead Rising and Lost Planet went so over budget that they couldn't be cancelled in favor of more sequels to existing titles. Another thing that got him in thin ice was his hostility towards Japanese game developers for not adapting to HD hardware and the tastes of western gamers; all this caused him to leave Capcom by 2010, triggering the cancellation of the highly-anticipated Mega Man Legends 3 in 2011.
    As soon as Inafune left Capcom, he founded a new studio called comcept, and raised a staggering 4 million USD in a Kickstarter campaign for his first new major product, Mighty No. 9, a Spiritual Successor to Mega Man. The game was first announced for a late 2014 release, then went through endless delays until it was released in June 2016. By the end of it all, Mighty No. 9 was widely derided as an ugly, uninspired knockoff rather than the Spiritual Successor it was meant to be.

    Not helping was Inafune's utter abuse of Kickstarter as a crowdfunding platform: not only did he announce a KS campaign for a CGI cartoon of the character, but also another one for English voice acting and yet another for the Mega Man Legends-esque Red Ash—and that last one meant nothing anyway, as it was already being fully funded by the Chinese studio FUZE Entertainment. All this had the gaming public question if Inafune was genuine in his efforts or a greedy con man.

    Eventually it was discovered that not only did he personally order the shutdown of Capcom's beloved Clover Studios, but his harsh statements on Japanese devs not adapting to Western tastes caused development of the highly controversial DmC: Devil May Cry. All of the above, along with the failure of Mighty No. 9 and the mediocre reception of ReCore has given Inafune a reputation as Japan's counterpart to John Romero.
  • American McGee began as a level designer of the first two Doom and Quake installments, and later gave us American McGee's Alice, his own grim take on a certain Lewis Carroll classic and became an overnight superstar with even talks of movie deals for the property. Since then, he's never been anywhere near as popular, with his subsequent works being mostly ignored (Scrapland got a lukewarm reception from players and critics, and Bad Day L.A. was a pure trainwreck). American McGee's Grimm got a small amount of press and has done reasonably well on GameTap, but still has yet to achieve the critical or commercial success that Alice had, which might explain why he chose to create a sequel, Alice: Madness Returns, which has received reviews ranging from fairly positive to lukewarm, although it can hardly be credited as a full return to form.
  • Brad McQuaid, the original lead developer for Everquest, got most of the credit for the initial success of Everquest 1. When his company, Verant Interactive, was absorbed by Sony, McQuaid was dropped. At this point, he had the implicit loyalty of Everquest fans. He began ostentatiously working on Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, with people waiting anxiously. The end result? A game so high-end that most computers couldn't handle it, almost no high-end content, and all the flaws of the old-school EQ with few of the good points. His name is now reviled by the same people who once exalted him, and to rub salt in the wound, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes was also bought out by Sony.
  • This happened with Tetris of all things. Henk Rogers, the man originally responsible for exporting Tetris out from the former Soviet Union, decided sometime around late 2005 to standardize Tetris games in what originally seemed to be an attempt to avoid Damn You, Muscle Memory! in future releases via Executive Meddling. Unfortunately, the resulting revised Tetris Guideline was based entirely on Tetris Worlds, a version that wasn't all that popular (or good) to begin with, and was so overly restrictive that it basically forced future games to be snowclones of Worlds. In addition, The Tetris Company has a tendency to send out cease-and-desist letters for anything unlicensed even vaguely resembling Tetris, even for game elements which the US Supreme Court has ruled cannot be covered by copyright (Lotus v. Borland), while the Tetris Guideline was a licensing requirement, which meant the only games which dared to defy the Tetris Guideline were Fan Remakes and frequently hit by C&D's. This quickly resulted in a Porting Disaster of Tetris: The Grand Master ACE because the staff had to rewrite a ton of stuff to match the behavior of Tetris Worlds (and replacing various staples of the Tetris: The Grand Master series in the process). The Tetris Company and Rogers have been declining on the PR front ever since. It doesn't help that Rogers loves to brag about how rich he's gotten from Tetris basically every time he makes a media appearance, accidentally furthering his own image as a Corrupt Corporate Executive.
  • Richard "Lord British" Garriott, father of the Ultima series, fell into this after the last iterations of the series felt short for many of his fans. He then spent eight years developing Tabula Rasa as his personal project, which, after released, lasted a little more than a year online before being shut down. It didn't help that, while the game was failing, he seemed more interested in spending a large chunk of his personal fortune for his space trip in Autumn 2008. Now he is dedicated to doing Poker games for Facebook.
  • John Romero was a revolutionary. He helped design the ultraviolent masterpiece Doom, and earned such respect there is a whole genre based on the Trope Codifier: First Person Shooters. But, when the sodomy-threatening publicity for Daikatana came along, and the game's release date was changed so much for what turned out to be a game so bad it is frequently described as one of the worst games ever, nothing has been the same. He lost his prestige, his company, his girlfriend, and even his hair. He eventually apologized over the ad and the quality of the game.
  • Bill Roper was praised as the genius behind Diablo and Diablo 2. He quit Blizzard Entertainment due to what many suspected was a conflict about the direction of Diablo III, taking most of the Diablo staff with him. He founded Flagship Studios and went to work on Hellgate: London, a game that was expected to be so successful that things like separate executables for single player and multiplayer (to prevent hacking), a comic, a series of statues with a price tag approaching four figures and a whole separate free game (Mythos) created just to test the network infrastructure seemed appropriate. The actual game was rushed out the door after a very long development cycle and was a massive flop due to underdeveloped content and an insane amount of bugs. The company later went bankrupt. He then went to work with Cryptic Studios, but the collaboration was amidst a period of serious difficulties for the developer and lasted less than two years. After a period of hiatus, it seems he's going to work with a branch of Disney Interactive that will deal with Marvel Comics' properties.
  • Manfred Trenz was responsible for many beloved Commodore 64 classics such as the Turrican series, The Great Giana Sisters and Katakis, but his success practically died with the system. Rendering Ranger, a fine SNES game he worked on, was inexplicably published only in Japan. An attempt to revive Turrican in 3D failed. He formed his own studio, Denaris Entertainment Software, which then proceeded to make many medium-changing masterpieces such as Crazy Frog Racers.
  • One of the more tragic examples — Gunpei Yokoi was a creative genius at Nintendo that was making successes even before Shigeru Miyamoto became the public face of the company. On top of being the inventor of the D-pad that all gaming controllers use to this day, he created the Game & Watch series that broke Nintendo into home video games, and later replicated this with the Game Boy. Serving as a producer, he also oversaw the creation of Metroid, Kid Icarus, Fire Emblem, Dr. Mario, and Panel de Pon. Then he made the Virtual Boy. The high-profile disaster of a system was discontinued within a year, by which time he had become persona non grata at Nintendo. Nintendo was notoriously cruel to the poor guy, too. After the Virtual Boy debacle, they made him man the booth at a trade show, which in Japanese corporate culture is considered entry-level work, and thus a severe insult to someone of Yokoi's stature. He eventually resigned and began development on the Japan-only handheld system, the WonderSwan, which did go on to be a reasonable challenger to the Game Boy's domination in Japan. But sadly he didn't live to see it as he died suddenly in a traffic accident in 1997. After his death, Nintendo paid tribute to him and still recognize him to this day as an important figure in the company's history... and are kind enough to his departed soul to just forget the Virtual Boy ever happened.

    Video Game Companies 
  • Atari was the top video game manufacturer in The Golden Age of Video Games, with the Atari 2600 cranking out hits of arcade ports and original games. Then came the disastrous E.T. video game and the horrid port of Pac-Man, leading up to The Great Video Game Crash of 1983. Atari was never able to recover fully after that—not with the Atari 5200's wonky controller, the Atari 7800 being drowned out by the NES, and the Atari Lynx falling behind the Game Boy. It was finally the overhyped "64-bit" Atari Jaguar and its even worse add-on, the Jaguar CD, that sent Atari to bankruptcy. A few years later, the Atari brand was bought by toy giant Hasbro, and currently the name is used by numerous companies and only for marketing: most notably, the current Atari in videogaming is in fact French company Infogrames.
  • Blizzard Entertainment was once hailed by the fandom as one of the premiere Western video game developers. Some of their accomplishments include two Real-Time Strategy juggernauts that truly left their marks in the world and media in general: Warcraft and Starcraft seriesnote , and the dark Western RPG Diablo series. They also created the biggest and most profitable Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game title World of Warcraft, a game whose status as the most played game in the world was unmatched for decades. Their entry to the Trading Card Game and Hero Shooter genres, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft and Overwatch, were greatly praised. Even with several setbacks, they always managed to get back up (such as the Diablo III launch or several poorly received WoW expansions). Unfortunately, by 2018, they started to show a lot of continuous cracks that eventually destroyed the image of the company once referred as 'can do no wrong':
    • During Blizzcon 2018, completely ignoring that their player base are mostly Westerners with little interest in mobile, they decided to use that grand event to announce a mobile game based on Diablo: Diablo Immortal, teaming up with NetEase, while responding to player concerns with mockery such as "Do you guys not have phones?" This event was so negatively received that fans started fearing that Blizzard has been pandering so much to China (at that point under the rule of Xi Jinping and the CCP) instead of their loyal fans in the West.
    • In 2019, during a Hearthstone tournament, pro-player Blitzchung, a Hong Kong native, made a political statement to support Hong Kong protesters against China's takeover. While it was a breach of the rules, Blizzard went out of its way to punish Blitzchung by banning him from tournaments, taking away his prizes and also banning his casters. Many players were disgusted at this and committed a mass deletion of their accounts (and Blizzard even at one point prevented them from being able to delete their accounts). Even Nintendo cancelled their promotion of the Overwatch port on the Nintendo Switch and offered refunds to those who bought its Switch port. One of its characters, Mei, was turned into an anti-CCP symbol by the fandom. While Blizzard hit the brakes for a bit by lessening Blitzchung's punishment, the damage has been done.
    • In 2020, Blizzard launched a remaster of one of their classics, Warcraft III Reforged, only for the game to be an extreme Obvious Beta, not giving what was promised in the trailers that had been hyped up since the previous year, coming with a lot of controversial terms of service, screwing over original owners of the game (by forcefully replacing the older, more stable version with the buggy version), and when Blizzard was forced to issue a public apology, it was considered 'half-hearted' and not serious. The game went on to be one of the worst rated games ever in the history of the internet and was considered by the older fans as the proof of how disconnected the modern Blizzard was with the beloved classic Blizzard.
    • 2021 has been considered the lowest point, as Blizzard got hit with a lawsuit which revealed that they have such an abusive workplace environment based on a Frat Bro culture that includes in a female worker being harassed repeatedly until she committed suicide because of it. Before they sorted it out, Blizzard got hit with another lawsuit that condemned them for making light of their workplace environment. It didn't help when they were found out to be shredding evidence. At that point, whatever attempts Blizzard made to restore their reputation became hollow, and disgruntled fans and content creators jumped ship from their games into their rival games (chiefly Final Fantasy XIV). Even worse, many key figures in the company decided to resign (or were fired to avoid further controversies), resulting in delays on some of their big projects (Diablo IV and Overwatch 2) that they could have used as redeeming points. Their attempt at an Author's Saving Throw, Diablo II Resurrected, ended up being Overshadowed by Controversy, and many of their e-sports scene sponsors pulled their support from Blizzard to the point it became one of the lowest revenue-making companies under Activision.
    • In the end, the once mighty Western Video Game Developer was eventually seen as a husk of its former self with none of the beloved old guard remaining, only filled with greedy people only interested in money and showcasing the problems within the modern AAA game industry. Since 2018, not a single year passed by without a serious controversy involving Blizzard, making them appear to be addicted to controversies that they self-destructed. note  Disgruntled fans now chant one of the phrases Blizzard games used to cite during its climax to describe the fallen company: "At long last, no King rules forever."
  • Core Design was a respected developer in the first half of the 1990s, especially on the Amiga (Bubba N Stix, Banshee, Chuck Rock, Rick Dangerous, and more); they were also capable with the Sega CD (Video Game/Soulstar, Video Game/Thunderhawk). In 1996, they hit big with Tomb Raider and also produced Fighting Force and Project Eden in the following years. However, Tomb Raider had entered the new millennium already under Sequelitis, until the flop of Angel of Darkness. The series was handed over to Crystal Dynamics, the studio sold over to Rebellion (but without its brand); it was finally closed in late 2009 after their last game, the abysmal Rogue Warrior, making such demise akin to a mercy killing.
  • Those of us from the mid-90s DOS gaming scene are likely familiar with Abuse as a brilliantly simple and fast platform shooter with a then-innovative control scheme (keyboard+mouse). After that, though, developer Crack Dot Com sat down to produce the sequel, Golgotha, which was intended to be an RTS with the ability to jump into vehicles on the fly. Development costs spiraled, era spending ran rampant, deadlines were missed, and internal tension led to the project and the company collapsing in 1998, just two years after Abuse was released.
  • Data Design Interactive has had a very, very, very bad reputation over the course of the years, with crap-tacular shovelware titles like Ninja Bread Man, Anubis II, and Action Girlz Racing. All of them use the same engine, are plagued with atrocious controls, and are very generic and uncreative. However, what most people don't realize is one of their older titles has a small cult following to it - Lego Rock Raiders. It was a real-time strategy game that had you searching through many caverns to find things like ore, energy crystals, and lost rock raiders. Despite looking fairly rushed, the game did reasonably well and even has its own fan-forum. It's amazing to think it was made by the same people who brought us masterpieces like the ones mentioned above.
  • During The Sixth Generation of Console Video Games, Dimps’s games were further praised for making quality Sonic games when the main console games were declining in quality. Then came Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I. Suddenly, they took all of the blame for the game not truly being in the spirit of the original Genesis games, saying that Sonic Team alone should have made the game (cheerfully ignoring that it was the current leader of Sonic Team, Takashi Iizuka, that said he wanted it to be different from the original Genesis games). Afterwards, they somehow went from producing completely original Sonic games to Reformulated versions of the Sonic Team's games, and now Dimps gets a lot of flack for producing some of the worst games in the entire franchise (most notoriously Generations 3DS and Lost World 3DS), and even their earlier Sonic games like Sonic Advance and Sonic Rush now receive bile for being subpar.
  • The team who did GoldenEye left Rare shortly after it was done to start Free Radical Design. Their first title was TimeSplitters, which was lauded for continuing what GoldenEye started, but was met with some critique, like the lack of story. Their follow-up was Timesplitters 2, which rectified all the problems of the first game and overall polished it. The game was a huge success and still to this day has a hardcore cult following. After that came the very underrated Second Sight. But their next title would be the third Timesplitters game. This one faced some problems, seeing as it was trying to be a bit more of a standard FPS similar to Halo, instead of the more classic GoldenEye feeling of 1 and 2, but was still a huge hit. Their next title would be Haze, a game that was bashed to hell by critics and led to Free Radical announcing bankruptcy in the end of 2009 and laying off most of their employees (by locking them out of the building with no prior announcement), but the core members became Crytek UK.
  • Interplay, Shiny's publisher up to Sacrifice, owned a good number of successful franchises including said Shiny games, Fallout, Descent, Baldur's Gate among many other things. Then in the 2000s, they mucked up with Fallout. The end result? Interplay went bankrupt, and only managed to save its ass by selling the Fallout franchise to Bethesda Softworks. Nowadays, they are only putting up games on the Virtual Console, and not much is heard of their planned sequel games. Interplay's descent into the shit began when they became publicly traded in 1998 and reported losses after the release of Descent 3 and FreeSpace 2. Then a different company managed to buy a majority share of Interplay's stock in 2001. That company was Titus Software, headed by a pair of French hacks by the names of Eric and Herve Caen. Brian Fargo then left Interplay to the wolves. After the acquisition, Titus as a company went belly up because of their over expansion and shut down in 2004 while racking up huge debts because of owed back pay and redundancy to wholly owned development studios. Herve Caen named himself the new CEO of Interplay but their sky high debts ensured that they had no resources to produce new games. Herve Caen is still CEO of Interplay and the court battle between Interplay and Bethesda over Fallout licensing and the lack of progress on the Fallout MMO Project V13 shows that Caen is still a talentless hack who can't produce results.

    FreeSpace 2's lackluster commercial faring probably didn't do it any favors either,note  nor did the 2002 breakup of Volition and Interplay. The mediocre sales of the series killed the space sim market built by the Wing Commander and X-Wing series, which not even the Microsoft juggernaut could revive with Starlancer and Freelancer (produced by the company Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts created after leaving Origin, following WC4).
  • Konami used to be a beloved video game studio and publisher of some of the most respected video game series, including Castlevania, Metal Gear, and Contra amongst their titles while also having a very strong arcade presence and inventing the ever famous Konami Code. At the eighth console generation, everything just went down the drain on this company:
    • Signs of problems had been detected in 2012, when they continued to dissuade and restrict the director of the Castlevania series, Koji Igarashi, from continuing to develop the Metroidvania games that had not been profitable since Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin. In response to this, Igarashi departed from the company after the next game and years later went on to create his own studio and make a Spiritual Successor of the Metroidvania-style games, which achieved great success.
    • Around the same time, Konami also started making decisions that slowly alienated their fans. These included announcing the cancellation of the Silent Hill reboot that was meant to be directed by Hideo Kojima, as well as acquiring Hudson Soft (creator of the iconic Bomberman series) but doing nothing with their titles, letting them rot.
    • 2015 exacerbated the issues further with their decision to seriously scale back AAA-Video Game development and focus on Pachinko and Mobile games, alienating gamers and even their own staff. After the release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, which was mired with development conflicts, Konami fired the franchise's creator Hideo Kojima and barred him from receiving the awards that the game won.
    • Then news spread that Konami had been absolutely making its video game division's life a complete hell by working with them, with the employers likening it to being sent to prison and made worse when another news spread that the current CEO of Konami admitted to never playing video games before taking the position. The fandom went into justified rage of learning this mistreatment to their video game division.
    • As Konami went on, old beloved franchises like Castlevania and Metal Gear were given pachislot titles, the former having very questionable features and marketing strategy (titled 'Castlevania Erotic Violence' with tons of gratuitous fanservice shots) and the latter, after the debacle with Kojima and the video game division staves, went on to become the third most disliked video in all Youtube history.
    • By 2016, people have forgotten Konami's influence in early gaming history and it is seen as nothing more than a money-grubbing greedy corporation that continued to insult video gamers by unapologetically making games that no gamers liked and considered by many to be as one of the worst video game companies ever, matching even Electronic Arts. Any attempts by them to Win Back the Crowd usually backfired. At best, it's a complete laughing stock to western gamers, and at worst, it generates bitter rage amongst all gamers.
  • Formed in 1982, LucasArts became a well-regarded and financially dominant PC gaming studio throughout the late '80s and early '90s for their ground-breaking adventure games. Well before they began to truly leverage the obvious licenses they had, they became best known for the Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion franchises, several one-offs such as Full Throttle, turning Sam & Max: Freelance Police from an indie comic hit to a household name, and even making Indiana Jones games that were actually good. Sometime around the mid-'90s, however, there was a management shift as Star Wars games finally started coming out through their studio. Ron Gilbert, David Grossman, and Tim Schafer, along with many other key creative staff, drifted out of the company as they left to start their own projects or were let go. Several big games flopped, numerous other games were canceled, and slowly but surely, LucasArts converted into a Star Wars factory... which wouldn't have been a problem since some of these games were still memorable, but these eventually slid in quality and sales as well, with only out-sourced projects like Knights of the Old Republic managing to sell. The 2000s were largely defined by a massive series of CEOs coming in and out of the company, mass layoffs, one attempt to completely convert the studio into nothing more than a Star Wars licensing house, more layoffs, occasional attempts to market their old properties with remakes and even an attempt to get Monkey Island going again by licensing it out to some of the original staff that had since gone on to form Tell Tale Games. None of this really helped the company stay solvent and by 2013, with their last release being the terribly received and poorly-selling Kinect Star Wars and the massive failure of Star Wars: The Old Republic, all internal development was (again) shut down by new corporate owner Disney. While any of the IPs could resurface again, 2013 marked proper the end of its thirty-year history.
  • Mythic Entertainment was once a force in the field of MMORPGs thanks to Dark Age of Camelot; it was even given back its name by Electronic Arts (who had renamed it EA Mythic upon purchase in 2006) prior to the release of their supposed next big thing and World of Warcraft-killer, Warhammer Online. Unfortunately, the good launch of the game couldn't cover its rushed release, and, worse still, new content often added new problems while old ones were never fixed properly; many argue if there ever was a precise direction in the project from the start. The number of players quickly dropped, Mythic's CEO resigned, and the company has been reduced to a division of Bioware, with much of WO's staff diverted to The Old Republic. In the end, WO came to an unceremonious end on December 18th, 2013 when Mythic's licence agreement with Games Workshop expired and was not renewed. Mythic has only developed two games since then: Ultima Forever: Quest for the Avatar, an online free-to-play RPG that shut down barely a year after it launched, and Dungeon Keeper, an app store game that is most remembered for controversies involving an excessive reliance on in-app purchases and EA filtering user reviews.
  • Rare has gone through this situation twice:
    • Back during the ZX Spectrum days, they were known as Ultimate Play The Game (initially Ashby Computer Graphics), and their earlier works were all acknowledged as massive landmarks in gaming — Jetpac, Atic Atac, Sabre Wulf (possibly the biggest selling game on the Speccy) and the seminal Knight Lore, which introduced isometric graphics to the machine. Then came Filmation II. Nightshade and Gunfright were both toss, and the name was sold to U.S. Gold. Unfortunately. Martianoids and Bubbler were Ultimate games in name only, and the company soon disappeared, until the team behind Ultimate rebranded themselves as Rare.
    • As Rareware, it produced games for various consoles like Battletoads, various movie-licensed games (like A Nightmare on Elm Street and Who Framed Roger Rabbit) and R.C. Pro-Am. Starting with Donkey Kong Country and Killer Instinct for the Super Nintendo, Rare had become a successful Nintendo developer at its peak in the Nintendo 64 era, creating GoldenEye, Diddy Kong Racing, Banjo-Kazooie and its sequel Banjo-Tooie, Perfect Dark, Jet Force Gemini, Donkey Kong 64, and Conker's Bad Fur Day. Enter the GameCube era, and Rare created Star Fox Adventures, which is considered the black sheep of the Star Fox series, if not completely without merit (in their defense, Adventures was the result of Nintendo doing some Executive Meddling on what was to be Dinosaur Planet at the time). In the middle of production of Star Fox Adventures, Microsoft acquired Rare, moving it from being a successful Nintendo developer into a poster child for Microsoft. As a Microsoft developer for the Xbox, Rare created Grabbed by the Ghoulies, which is known as their biggest flop, and a remake of Conker. It got a little better into the Xbox 360 era, with Kameo: Elements of Power (a game they'd started working on before their fall) and Viva Piñata, and revived Banjo-Kazooie with Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts (albeit with mixed results, and fairly low sales), but not to their former glory. In the following years, they rebranded themselves as a developer for Kinect games in the style of Wii Sports. This wasn't well received either.
  • Sega is probably the shining example of the fall of a modern console maker. With the Mega Drive (the Genesis in the US), Sega experienced its golden age and proved to be a powerful competitor to Nintendo, and the system held up well even against the Super NES. However, the first signs of its fall started with the release of the Sega Saturn. Due to numerous boneheaded marketing decisions, such as releasing the system four months earlier than scheduled and alienating third party developers and major retailers, the system flopped against the Nintendo 64 and PlayStation. Sega's true fall wouldn't come until the release of the Dreamcast, however. While the launch was hugely successful, sales dropped quickly and the release of the PS2 killed the Dreamcast (it was discontinued in early 2001, just 18 months after the American launch) and any hopes of anybody taking a Sega console seriously again. Since then Sega has not made a new console system and has been relegated as a third party game developer. It now produces games and franchises that were once Sega exclusives for its former competitors, Sony and Nintendo. Notably, the Dreamcast and Saturn are fondly remembered despite their failure and Sega has never been known to actively insult their fans like many of the creators here. Gamers are still glad they're around — they just don't expect anything particularly groundbreaking from them anymore.
  • Shiny Entertainment went from - among other things - the first two Earthworm Jim games, the MDK series, Sacrifice to movie tie-ins of The Matrix and The Golden Compass. Their final fate was to be merged with The Collective (which did only licensed games up to that point) into Double Helix Games, whose Silent Hill: Homecoming and Front Mission Evolved are generally considered decent but not great (they did spawn a stinker in the form of G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra in bewteen these two though, so it's safe to say that they have yet to fully recover).
  • Another victim of this is Silicon Knights, who was coincidentally another former Nintendo devnote . The creators of the first Legacy of Kain game, the acclaimed GameCube Survival Horror game Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem and well-done Metal Gear Solid remake The Twin Snakes, their next game, Too Human, languished in Development Hell. From jumping from three different consoles to an incredibly bloated budget ($60 million!) to a series of Frivolous Lawsuits between Epic Games, the finished product received mediocre reviews and rather bad sales, which put a damper on that trilogy they planned. X-Men: Destiny fared no better with critics, averaging around 50% on Metacritic note . The reasons for the poor quality of the game have been disputed; comments allegedly from former employees claim that the game was mismanaged by President Denis Dyack, who was taking the funding from Activsion and directing it towards work on a sequel to Eternal Darkness while prolonging Destiny's development for more money, while Dyack refutes the allegations and lays the blame on a drastic decrease in funding due to Disney purchasing Marvel and resulting legal issues with Activision. The nail in Silicon Knights' coffin came when Epic Games won their countersuit and received a court order to recall and destroy Too Human and X-Men Destiny along with all games currently under development, ultimately leading to the studio's closure two years later.
  • Sonic Team. Sonic the Hedgehog used to be a worldwide icon and the only real challenge to Mario's domination of platform games. The Sega Genesis entries in the series are still considered great games. Then Sonic went 3D. For most fans and critics, most of the 3D Sonic games have a bad camera, broken controls, and too many characters, and Sonic Team has lost its old glory to them. It started with the two Sonic Adventures, which were worthy additions to the series despite being plagued by fundamental problems. Sonic Heroes marked the teetering edge of the abyss, Shadow the Hedgehog was made on the way down, and Sonic 2006 was the echoing crash of the series finally hitting rock bottom. Since then, the franchise has been making significant progress at climbing back up, but it still struggles with the basics like camera controls, physics, glitches, and fair level design. It also doesn't help that Sonic Team can't seem to resist putting a weird gimmick into gameplay. note  Sonic the Hedgehog 4, Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations have improved their reputation a bit by now, presenting creative and ambitious game ideas in the series' trademark rough and fractured frame. Colors won back a sizable portion of the disillusioned fanbase, Generations did pretty well for itself as well, and while Lost World is divisive, it's not terrible any way you cut it. There was also Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing; while a Mario Kart clone (well, more like Mario Kart meets OutRun), the racing gameplay was actually praised by many to be better than that of Mario Kart and the game was both a commercial and critical success.
  • THQ was once a fairly respectable second tier publisher, with ownership of respected developers like Volition and Relic that gave us hits like Red Faction, Company of Heroes, Homeworld, and more. THQ also made a very healthy profit developing licensed children's games. However, in order to emulate publishing giants Activision and EA, THQ began buying up huge numbers of licenses and game developers without giving a second thought to how profitable their investments would actually be. Also, several high profile flops like Red Faction: Armageddon, Homefront (not to be confused with the aforementioned Homeworld), and the ill-advised HD version of the uDraw tablet device bit into the company's dwindling cash reserves. THQ filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on December 9, 2012, and sold off its remaining properties a month later.
  • Titus Software itself used to be a good company in the late eighties and early nineties, with titles such as Crazy Cars 2 and the Prehistorik series. Then, it went downhill. Before the Interplay buyout above, they released the infamous Superman 64, and also the Porting Disasters of Prince of Persia 2 on the SNES and Carmageddon 64.

    Web Original 
  • Channel Awesome and to an extent, Doug Walker. During its debut and early years, they took the internet by storm, becoming universally beloved icons and pioneering internet review/criticism, with The Nostalgia Critic himself being the only figure that could match The Angry Video Game Nerd in 'reviewing bad media'. In 2018, however, several disgruntled old associates revealed a lot of mismanagement by Channel Awesome CEO Mike Michaud (most infamously their hesitance to internally deal with reports of a now-deceased sexual predator on their staff, then accidentally revealing his identity against the victim's wishes when addressing the allegations in 2018) and Doug not raising enough objections against it while getting preferential treatment over other contributors. This caught on the internet and it erupted into a wildfire, with hashtags like #ChangeTheChannel trending, condemning their form idols, and a majority of old contributors leaving the channel to go their own separate paths (only a few like Brad Jones stayed out of his loyalty as a personal friend with Doug). These days, surprisingly, Channel Awesome manage to still stand and gather many subscribers, but these mostly consist of newer fans; older fans and former associates rejected them, and they're no longer the internet personality juggernaut they used to be.
  • Adam Rosner, creator of the Slender Man webseries Tribe Twelve was a prolific and well-respected creator that was heavily involved in The Slender Man Mythos, alongside the creators of Marble Hornets and Everyman HYBRID, even crossing over with the latter series a few times. Both fans and creators alike respected Rosner’s devotion to the series, on top of writing, producing, and editing it independently (mostly) for over 10 years, in spite of production slowing to a crawl in the later years due to him attending medical school in New York. His reputation completely changed overnight on September 7th, 2020, when several girls and young women (one of which was Heather Faller of Dark Harvest) gave credible evidence that Rosner had attempted to groom and/or rape them as young as 15 years old, on top of having incredibly disgusting sexual kinks, and an inability to feel empathy for anyone but himself. Since then, Rosner has done everything in his power to unperson himself from the internet, and his fellow Slenderverse creators have condemned him for his actions, to the point of being a Persona Non Grata. With the addition of a recorded phone call Rosner was on with one of his abusers being made public, on top of a damning statement made by fellow online creator and former friend Nick Nocturne of Night Mind on the matter on January 9th, 2021, the chances of Rosner ever making a return to form are slim to none.

    Western Animation 
  • Earl Duvall was one of two directors - the other being Friz Freleng - that helped get the Warner Bros. cartoon studio back up and running after original directors Harman and Ising defected to MGM. He directed some pretty decent cartoons and was given the honor of directing the studio's first color cartoon. These days however, Freleng is widely regarded as one of the Godfathers of animation, while Duvall's name is just a footnote in animation history books, and the reason for this is that Duvall one day decided it'd be a great idea to get extremely drunk and demand that his pay packet be doubled. Needless to say, it wasn't - Duvall was instantly fired and never worked in the animation industry again.
  • John Kricfalusi was regarded as influential in animation, with The Ren & Stimpy Show being his breakout work. Unfortunately, his ideas are often all too crazy for the execs to tolerate. He got fired from Nickelodeon because of his late work, and his show was handed to another studio only to crash after season 5. When he got the chance to do the show again, it was from Spike TV, whose executives asked for the content to be "more adult", so it could stand next to South Park or Family Guy. Despite good ratings and reception, it was cancelled after a month due to John K managing to complete only 3 out of the 9 requested episodes on time. Nowadays, he currently posts on his blog about his influences, as well as his studies on animation and tutorials for fans wanting to learn how to do animation. And while he doesn't have much of anything kind to say about modern animation or modern stuff in general, he has his reasons for doing so (for the most part, anyway). In 2018, it was revealed that he had sexually groomed his underage staff members such as Katie Rice and Robin Byrd, and even kept child pornography on his computer. This, combined with his mistreatment of crew members such as Bob Camp and Billy West, has lowered his chances of making a comeback from "unlikely" to "impossible", and with every studio refusing to accept his pitches thanks to these scandals, he is pretty much limited to working on his own personal blog.
  • Many years ago, John Lasseter was seen as one of the unsung heroes of animation, for helping start up the acclaimed animation studio Pixar, directing the critically-praised and influential Toy Story and Toy Story 2, and introducing the west to the works of Studio Ghibli. It got even better when he was promoted to chief creative officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios in 2006, helping push the studio out of its Audience-Alienating Era, as well as ending the much-maligned Direct to Video Disney sequels that had plagued the market for the past decade. Then in late 2017, he had to take a leave of absence after it was revealed he had been sexually harassing the female staff members at Disney and Pixar, giving them inappropriate hugs, kisses, and gropes against their wishes. Many went from praising Lasseter to boycotting him and demanding Disney get rid of him. In 2018, this wish was granted, and he was finally released from the company in December of that year. However, a month later, it was announced that he was now heading Paramount's Skydance Animation, which drew much ire from the animation community, to the point where Emma Thompson ended up dropping from one of their projects. It's safe to say that Lasseter will never be able to live down any of this, and will never have the positive reputation he had long ago.