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Overshadowed by Controversy

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

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


Bad reviews alone do not make a controversial moment, and in fact some works can be well-regarded by critics and those who watched, read or played the work, and not all of the works listed here are either laughably bad or straight-up abominable. Plot-related twists are generally not what makes up the category either, even if such cases are subjective - if a plot twist qualifies, it is usually an extremely major twist that dramatically changes the story and greatly polarizes or alienates the fanbase. The major qualifier is that the works would be known beyond the fans of a particular genre that there's little knowledge of some other parts of a work to the general public.

    Common sources of this trope include... 
  • From the work itself:
  • From the work's creators:
    • Public catfights between the creator and the media, critics, public, or all three (such as Dear Negative Reader rants).
    • Frequent displays of offensive, embarrassing, or questionable behavior. This includes public intoxication, impulsive offensive comments, vulgarity, and rudeness, political extremism, sexual harassment, etc.
    • Habitual poor showings on social media.
    • Habitual blame games and Never My Fault whenever an aspect of a work receives a negative reception, especially when a creator attacks fans for not accepting it (especially when Why Fandom Can't Have Nice Things is invoked for situations where the backlash is completely understandable) or blame some sort of conspiracy to undermine them when all the evidence points to the fault being theirs and theirs alone.
    • Someone involved with the work is the perpetrator of a violent crime (such as rape or murder).
    • Someone involved with the work holds a view that is taboo in mainstream society (e.g. support for racial supremacy, sympathizing with perpetrators over victims in domestic/sexual violence cases, or anti-LGBTQ beliefs), or unintentionally makes a comment that implies holding such views.
    • A creator has financially predatory or exploitative practices towards other creators in the work.
    • Someone overseeing a large group of creators fails to act on or enables serious misconduct from one or more of them.
    • A group of creators becomes notorious for constant infighting and drama.
    • Troubled Production stories that become more interesting than the finished product.
    • Executive Meddling.
    • Someone involved with the work has attracted controversy for violating Contractual Purity.
    • The creator makes promise after promise that they fail to keep or botch the delivery of, especially if they fail to take responsibility for dropping the ball and/or blame someone else (especially if they blame fans for taking issue).
    • A work has a creator who has some highly questionable views that people were originally able to separate from the work, but eventually spur people to examine the work more closely, which reveals a lot of previously undetected Unfortunate Implications or outright dogwhistles.
    • Cynical, insincere, patronizing, or self-serving attempts to co-opt political or social causes, particularly as a cheap attention grab or a ploy to throw off bad press.
    • Mass recasts, especially abrupt ones.
    • Production missing previously-stated deadlines for release, especially if said release has been heavily hyped or anticipated, or a delay is announced shortly before release. Sometimes delays add up so it seems it will never get released.
    • Badly-managed crowdfunding efforts, especially when creators make lots of empty promises, fail to deliver perks, botch the release (especially if the retail launch goes fine, but the backer launch doesn't), or engage in serious financial mismanagement or outright fraud.
  • From critical reception of the work:

See also Never Live It Down, Colbert Bump, Dancing Bear, Just Here for Godzilla, Even Nerds Have Standards, Mainstream Obscurity, Complaining About Shows You Don't Watch, Watch It for the Meme, Ruined Forever, Contractual Purity, Music Is Politics, Yoko Oh No, Cowboy BeBop at His Computer, All There Is to Know About "The Crying Game", Audience-Alienating Premise, Why Fandom Can't Have Nice Things, Misaimed Fandom, Serious Business, Poe's Law, Jumping the Shark, Tainted by the Preview, Role-Ending Misdemeanor, and Best Known for the Fanservice. Compare and contrast No Such Thing as Bad Publicity, Controversy-Proof Image, and Deader Than Disco. When a whole genre gets held under controversy, it would become The New Rock & Roll. Sometimes may overlap with Bile Fascination, in which an audience is drawn towards a work because of their curiosity about the uproar. Undermined by Reality is closely related.


Keep in mind that, despite how it is usually used, "controversial" is not the same thing as "offensive." You can have a completely family-friendly and non-political work that still provokes dissent, especially if the work is aiming for realism. Additionally, since most scandals and controversies tend to not overshadow a work in the long run, only add examples if the controversy in question is still the main point of discussion about a work after at least a few months (six months to be absolutely safe). Finally, please be cautious when editing this page.

Examples with their own pages WARNING: Some pages contain unmarked spoilers:

Other examples:

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  • This French Orangina ad. It barely raised an issue in France, but when a few activists showed it to the U.S., people were so shocked by all the YIFF they saw that one of the later Orangina ads poked fun at it.
  • Just For Feet was a growing shoe retailer who distinguished themselves with basketball courts inside stores, an in-store snack bar, in-store appearances by professional athletes, and a large clearance section among others. Nowadays, however, they are known for being taken down by a Super Bowl commercial accused of being racist and insensitive.note  The ad, alongside accusations of accounting fraud, helped bankrupt the company, which collapsed not too long afterward, and it's all that they're known for now. See it here.
  • Texas mattress chain Miracle Mattress is nowadays better known for the 9/11 sale commercial that killed their business than anything else they've done. The commercial, depicting the chain owner's daughter accidentally knocking over two men who crash into two tall stacks of mattresses, went viral and got major backlash over its poor taste. A few days after pleas from the company stating it wasn't their intention to offend,note  the company announced its stores were closing down. A few days later, it was announced they would reopen their stores under new employees and management.
  • McDonald's:
    • This upbeat advertisement from when they used the "We love to see you smile" slogan is pretty unremarkable and would be almost completely forgotten today... except that it was the last commercial shown before Today announced the first plane hit the World Trade Center.
    • McDonalds's former mascot "Mac Tonight" has become better known today for the unofficial parody of the character known as "Moon Man", which depicts him as an advocate for white suprememcy and bigotry. A far cry from the original Bobby Darin-impersonating moon in TV spots from The '80s.
  • In March 2020, Marvel released a trailer for a reboot of the New Warriors series as part of Outlawed. The trailer quickly became infamous for two of the superheroes depicted, two non-binary twins called Snowflake and Safespace, whose namesakes and powers were based on insults often directed towards members of the LGBT community. The criticism was enough for Marvel to silently cancel the series, as the series wasn't out by its October release date.
  • This General Motors ad from the 2007 Super Bowl — depicting a GM assembly robot having a dream about being let go from the factory, becoming despondent by constantly being reminded of its former job by seeing new GM cars, and finally throwing itself off a bridge — was changed when viewers and activist groups objected to the humorous treatment of depression and suicide.
  • In 2013, Cheerios released an ad that featured an interracial family. Unfortunately, the ad became less known for its content and more known for the racist comments it received.
  • For most of the Turn of the Millennium, Jared Fogle was known by virtually everyone as "the Subway guy", as he appeared in many of Subway's commercials as their spokesperson. Nowadays, however, he is more known for his arrest in 2015 where he ultimately pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography and traveling to pay for sex with minors.
  • In 2017, Pepsi released an ad starring Kendall Jenner where during a photo shoot, she decides to hand a Pepsi to a cop during the middle of a protest. The ad was heavily panned for being tone deaf and promoting the message that Pepsi would ease tensions between protesting factions. Pepsi would eventually pull it due to the backlash.
  • One ad from Coca-Cola simply featured the famous "America the Beautiful" being sung by several people of various ethnicities and walks of life, some of whom sang it in different languages. Many people were outraged at the song being sung in anything but English, as well as those on the hard right who condemned it as "liberal propaganda" for showcasing the cultural and ethnic diversity of Americanote  and issued a boycott online. Naturally, this has only allowed the ad to become more memorable; since the initial 2014 airing, Coke has reaired the commercial during major American events and holidays as a sign of unity.
  • Discussions of the marketing for The Emoji Movie will almost inevitably gravitate towards an infamous promotional tweet that parodied The Handmaid's Tale, a TV show about sexual slavery. Needless to say, referencing something like that while trying to advertise a movie for children provoked significant ire.
  • While Sonic the Hedgehog (2020) was well-received upon release, it's hard to talk about the movie's advertising without bringing up Sonic's original model. Needless to say, people didn't particularly like it when it was first shown off in the trailers. The backlash was so big that the movie got delayed by three months just to redesign Sonic's model to be more on-brand.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Formerly one of the most popular and biggest dubbing companies in America, 4Kids Entertainment is now primarily remembered for their heavily Bowdlerised English dubs that frequently bordered on straight-up Macekre. Add that to the dubs themselves making questionable writing changes and removing any traces of Japanese culture from their source materials.
  • If you weren't a reader of Act-age during its serialization in Weekly Shonen Jump, you most likely only know it as that one manga that was swiftly Cut Short, scrubbed off from Shonen Jump corporate history and banished to Keep Circulating the Tapes purgatory worldwide in August 2020 after its writer, Tatsuya Matsuki, was arrested for groping middle school girls.
  • The manga The Beautiful Skies of Houou High barely made a blip in the U.S. But what was the general fan response? Absolute hatred. Both from the fans and the English publishers. Why? Because it's a manga that takes the Cure Your Gays route far too seriously, bringing along with it a whole mountain of Values Dissonance regarding lesbianism and gender roles. The English publishers treat it as an Old Shame and don't ever bring it up anymore.
  • Bunny Drop will forever be remembered for its ending where the main character dates and then marries his adopted daughter than any of its own merits before that. The anime gets off easily, though, thanks to ending halfway through the story and keeping it an innocent family tale.
  • Cardcaptor Sakura had the controversial Teacher/Student Romance between Rika, a fourth grader, and Mr. Terada, her homeroom teacher. It was abundantly clear that Rika was in love with him, and the manga had him return her feelings. Nothing happened beyond him giving her a ring and an implied promise to wait until she is actually old enough to be in a relationship with him, but the damage was done.note  Because of this, Mr. Terada was completely written out of Clear Card in order to avoid further controversy. It got to the point where Funimation bumped up the rating of the original series to TV-14, despite it otherwise containing no offensive content, purely due to Mr. Terada's presence.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Dragon Ball Z Kai was just reaching the end of its initial run when accusations of plagiarism concerning Kenji Yamamoto's soundtrack struck, and all of said music had to be taken out in every re-run and re-release and replaced with pieces from Shunsuke Kikuchi's score for the original series. While Yamamoto's soundtrack for the show was already divisive, its legally obligated censorship only made things worse, with a new base emerging to try and defend Yamamoto's plagiarism.
    • In Latin America, Kai tends to be best remembered for the very negative reception its original run had due to massive censorshipnote  and, more importantly, the fact that almost all of the original cast, whose work reached cult status in the region, were replaced. The fallout from this led Toei to restructure their Latin American division and make it so that, in The Final Chapters, where possible, all characters were voiced by their original voice actors.note 
    • Dragon Ball Super was hit with this early on, thanks to the decision of making the first two sagas adaptations of the two canon Dragon Ball Z movies, which was seen as very repetitive and invoking It Was His Sled, especially since they had been released very recently at the time of Super's debut, and the notoriously awful animation early on, especially with Episode 5, ended up overshadowing any of the content. The series later improved (although some controversial plot elements of certain sagas ended up overshadowing said sagas, such as the Future Trunks Saga ending with the entire future timeline getting wiped out of existence by Zeno) but the whole "rehashing the movies" and quality early on remains a Never Live It Down moment.
    • Dragon Ball Z gets a lot of scrutiny from American videophiles because of the Digital Destruction that has plagued all home video releases since the mid-2000s, including, among other things, cropping the whole series to 16:9. Even the first 4:3 release in a long while, made from film elements FUNimation happened to still have, got flack for excessive DVNR. It's gotten to the point where videophiles have gone on record as wanting to seek out the seven Dragon Balls to wish that FUNimation would simply import and upscale the far superior-looking Dragon Box DVD releases issued by Toei.
  • The ecchi manga and OVA Eiken was near-universally despised by viewers and critics, and has made virtually no impact otherwise... well, except for the fact that the girl with the largest breasts in an already exaggerated World of Buxom is only 11 years old.
  • The manga Gal Cleaning started as a fairly standard high school comedy with an emphasis on cleaning tips. Then it was announced that it would be cancelled due to low sales, and the remainder of the manga went Off the Rails. What followed was a fifteen-chapter long "Chapter 8,"note  which among other things ends with a sexual assault completely out of nowhere that drags on for multiple chapters. The final chapters act like none of it ever happened and tried to make some sort of return to normalcy for the ending. It is almost impossible to talk about the manga by itself without mentioning the sudden swerves it took, and seemingly just to spite its cancellation.
  • While Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! was initially a subject of high acclaim, nowadays it's mainly known for the fact that the manga's author, Sumito Owara, got caught following photorealistic child porn artists on Pixiv in late July 2020 and gave a caustically dismissive response on Twitter that attempted to shift blame onto the people who called him out rather than taking accountability for his actions when taken to task for it. While many initially believed Owara was simply unaware of those artists' mature work (as Pixiv has an optional filter to prevent R-18-tagged works from showing up), later digging into his site activity and the content of Eizouken itself seemed to debunk this and stoke the flames further. Consequently, even though its fandom is still going strong, it's become incredibly difficult to discuss the series without having to address the issue of Owara's apparent predilictions and actions, especially due to how heavily they undermine both Eizouken's message of recognizing and improving upon your mistakes and Owara's own treatment of the series (in particular his hardline stance against Rule 34); a large number of fans abandoned Eizouken out of a belief that it is irreconcilable with Owara's apparent hypocrisy.
  • Kemono Friends had its second season overshadowed by the Troubled Production it endured, including the director being pushed out and the blame for everything being shunted over to the voice cast, who had next to nothing to do with the trouble, among other things. The backlash to this, including the harassment of Tomason's staff by disgruntled fans (including an incident where the animation director's name was used to fraudulently sign the studio on for multiple paid online services, resulting in getting swamped with emails and phone calls asking for info) and the massive dislike bombing every episode got on Niconico in protest, is likely not to be forgotten as well.
  • If anybody in the West who isn't a big anime fan brings up Kimba the White Lion, chances are it's to talk about the many accusations that The Lion King plagiarized the story.
  • Kinnikuman is best known for the controversy surrounding the character Brocken Jr., who is a good guy with a Nazi-themed outfit, complete with swastikas. Due to this character, the series was pulled from broadcast in France shortly after he debuted.
  • Kodomo no Jikan (A Child's Time), proposed English title Nymphet, was licensed by publisher Seven Seas Entertainment but never released in America due to its Lolicon overtones. They had only seen the first book, which isn't too bad in terms of content. Then the controversy erupted. Initially, Seven Seas defended the title, but a combination of major book chains refusing to stock it and their reading the later volumes (which come very close to violating the PROTECT Act) caused them to change their mind and drop it.
  • Koi Kaze is well known for being about an Age-Gap Romance between a 27-year-old man and a 15-year-old girl, who are also siblings who were separated at a young age. Even though the series covers the topic more maturely and realistically, it's still controversial due to the premise.
  • Ask anyone who has heard of the anime adaptation of Kokoro Connect, and you'll hear it be associated with Mitsuhiro Ichiki's controversial treatment during the promotional phase. He was tricked into giving a fake audition for a character that didn't exist, embarrassed himself on TV, and had the producer say he didn't regret any of it. This angered many people, including some voice actors.
  • Kosuke Fujishima is well known for creating Ah! My Goddess and being the character designer for Sakura Wars and Tales Series. However in 2017, his divorce with his first wife and later engagement to a much younger woman ended up overshadowing his work. It wouldn't be until 2020 with Tales of Crestoria until he was back to doing character designs.
  • The anime version of Kuma Miko: Girl Meets Bear became infamous due to its Cruel Twist Gecko Ending, which the mangaka criticized. One Twitter comment that was used in a few articles covering the controversy basically said the show started off fun but will likely go down in history as that mind break show with the bear.
  • Kuroko's Basketball is infamous as the manga that was targeted by domestic terrorists and is at least as well-known for the Fanwork Ban (which has since been lifted) and removal of merchandise that resulted from the poison threats as it is for its artistic merits and accomplishments. It doesn't help that the terror threats dominated the news in anime circles for over a year. To this day, it's still not known why the suspect who was caught targeted the manga and everyone associating with it even tangentially, or even if he had acted alone in his threats, but it's speculated a personal grudge against author Fujimaki Tadatoshi may have had something to do with it.
  • Lotte no Omocha! (Lotte's Toy!) features a female protagonist who is a succubus princess of a fantasy kingdom. Well, OK, nothing bad about it so far until you learn that the female protagonist is also 10 years old, she's expected to start creating her own male harem as part of her royal duties, and she will die if she doesn't drink Life Essence from male beings. It went about as well as you'd expect, and the sheer concentrated lolicon on display is all it's known for.
  • The anime of Love Lab is most well-known for a scene in episode 8 where characters dress up in a manner that resembles blackface.
  • The Love Live! franchise is becoming increasingly known for bad press generated by badly-behaving fans. The worst incident was a vandalism incident involving manhole covers bearing the images of the main characters in June 2018, which resulted in the manhole covers being pulled indefinitely.
  • Perhaps the one thing most people remember about Midori (Shōjo Tsubaki), the 1992 film adaptation of Mr. Arashi's Amazing Freak Show, is the fact that it was banned by the Japanese government for 14 years because of its graphic depictions of child molestation and animal abuse, rather than being known for its actual plot or the fact that it overtly depicts child molestation and animal abuse in a scathingly negative light.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion:
    • The series still enjoys a reputation as a classic that any serious anime fan should check out, but it's quite hard to go into it without already knowing about how Studio Gainax was running on fumes by the time the final two episodes were produced, resulting in them being a nonstop Mind Screw with little resolution and the Trope Namer for Gainax Ending.
    • The show became embroiled in controversy when Netflix picked it up for streaming in 2019, as it was completely redubbed and retranslated from the ground-up at the insistence of Studio Khara. The announcement of a redub itself was hotly contested by fans of the original ADV Films dub, especially since none of the original English-language cast returned, but the new translation as a whole became an even greater subject of scrutiny when it was discovered that it was far more literal to the extent of Bowdlerizing a number of fan-favorite lines from the more Woolseyism-rich ADV dub— including toning down the script's hints at a possible romantic connection between Shinji and Kaworu (e.g. changing most instances of "love" to "like" and replacing Kaworu's description of Shinji as "worthy of love" with "worthy of my grace"), which LGBT+ fans quickly decried as homomisic. Because of this, it's become difficult to discuss Evangelion in the west without bringing up Khara's stricter handling of it, and despite Netflix having nothing to do with the changes, the controversy surrounding the retranslation is still touted as a microcosm of longstanding issues with their poor treatment of media from outside the Anglosphere.
  • Pokémon:
    • The episode "Computer Warrior Porygon"note  is known far more gaining the questionable record of "Most Photosensitive Epileptic Seizures Caused by a Television Show" from Guinness World Records for causing 700 seizures in Japan upon its initial airing, and the resulting worldwide ban of the episode, than the actual content itself. This extends to the Pokémon Porygon itself. Despite not being the actual cause of the flashingnote , it's swept under the rug for no other reason than it being the Pokémon featured in the episode. Even its evolutions have been hit with it, as they've made no major appearances in the series.note  After this incident, OLM, the animation studio behind Pokémon, dropped all strobe lights caused by Pikachu's attacks in future episodes of the anime and re-edited the first 37 episodes to eliminate said effects. This even extended to anime as a whole—ever since this snafu, any fast-paced scenes that could conceivably cause seizures have to be darkened for the broadcast version.
    • Pokémon: The Mastermind of Mirage Pokémon is more known for being associated with the controversy that followed after Pokémon USA, now known as The Pokémon Company International, fired the English voice actors that had been working on the anime since day one in favor of newer, cheaper ones.note 
    • Pokémon: Genesect and the Legend Awakened is mostly remembered for the fan backlash surrounding the inclusion of a second, female Mewtwo and the implied (but eventually debunked) retcon of Mewtwo's backstory that it created, to the point where it has its own folder on the film's YMMV page. This backlash extended to Mega Mewtwo Y, which debuted in the film as the second Mewtwo's Super Mode and was subsequently "tainted." Only when it was used in the Final Smash of the Super Smash Bros. Mewtwo (who is mostly based on the original Mewtwo in Pokémon: The First Movie) was its association with the movie weakened.
    • The Episode N arc of Black & White is infamous for the fact that the original version of it was cancelled after an earthquake that hit the Tokohu region of Japan in 2011, and the fact that it is criticized for completely butchering the portrayal of Team Plasma (with their depictions solely being based on the Team Plasma from Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, with their Pokémon Black and White depictions completely removed save for N) alongside Ghetsis as a Generic Doomsday Villain.
    • The XY&Z season of the XY series will likely never be remembered for anything more than Ash's failure to win the Kalos League. While Ash losing Leagues is nothing new, various signs (such as the episode's title, promotional material, and Ash's growth throughout the series) seemed to point towards him finally winning, and yet the rug was pulled under everyone. More so than any other League, this one suffered a huge amount of fan backlash across both sides of the Pacific. This also saw Alain, having before been a well-liked character, become a pariah among the fanbase for being the one Ash wound up losing to.
  • In 2017, Rurouni Kenshin returned with a new volume after a nearly twenty-year hiatus... just in time for creator Nobuhiro Watsuki to be arrested for possession of child pornography, scuttling the new series almost as soon as it began and retroactively tainting the old one. Not helping was that it hugely undermined the manga's central message about moral improvement: this coming out in the way it did, instead of the author himself admitting it makes it hard for fans to rewatch the series without feeling hypocritical. And despite Watsuki expressing regret for his actions, paying a fine, and returning to work in April 2018, the damage is already done and fans are mixed whether to support his work or not. There's also the publisher Shueisha letting him continue to work after six months since the charges, which many people felt was too soon, given that the controversy was (and continues to be) still fresh in the people's minds.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • The only thing most know about the DiC/Cloverway dub is that it made several changes to the original, most infamously changing Haruka and Michiru, a lesbian couple, into cousins. However, because a good deal of the romantic subtext wasn't removed, this led many fans to assume that they were not just lesbians, but incestuous to boot.
    • When the anime was airing in Italy, there was a huge controversy in 1997 due to an infamous statement of psychologist Vera Slepoj, who claimed that being a strong fighter is an exclusively manly trait, while a girly/female superheroine is a bad role model for little boys who want to imitate her, making them "sexually confused". note  The headline of her article was "Kids, don't watch Sailor Moon, it will turn you into sissies", which was considered outrageous even in the '90s and caused so many discussions that the Italian dub of Sailor Stars (the season that was airing at the time) was ridiculously censored: the Sailor Starlights, women who disguise themselves as men and revert to their female form when transformed, were changed into real men with twin sisters who occasionally take their place. Not helping matters is that the controversy played a considerable role in Naoko Takeuchi's infamous international embargo that lasted through the better part of the following decade.
  • The 1993-1994 and 2000-2002 OVAs of Stardust Crusaders drew considerable attention in 2008 when Egyptian Islamic fundamentalists discovered shots of DIO, the non-Muslim Big Bad, reading The Qur'an.note  This may not seem like it would be such a big deal in the Western world or East Asia, but it started a firestorm of controversy in much of the Islamic world. Since some fundamentalist Muslims, such as the ones in question, believe that only Muslims are entitled to read the Quran, the sight of a supernatural non-Muslim glancing at a few pages of it was bound to infuriate them. Repercussions of this controversy spread elsewhere. As a result of this outrage, Shueisha cut off ties with A.P.P.P., circulation of the OVAs was temporarily halted to remove the Quran text, and Hirohiko Araki himself was forced to redraw the original manga to replace mosques and other Muslim buildings that get harmed or destroyed with more secular constructions. The whole incident and the resulting censorship was heavily scorned by critics as "embarrassing," and Shueisha's distancing from A.P.P.P. is heavily believed to be one of the leading contributors to the Keep Circulating the Tapes fate of both the OVAs and A.P.P.P.'s 2007 film adaptation of Phantom Blood. More than a decade later, the Quran controversy remains one of the biggest points of discussion surrounding the OVAs for anyone who aren't already fans of JoJo or OVA staff member Satoshi Kon.
  • Usually, the only times Stitch! comes up among Western Lilo & Stitch fans is to complain about it being a Stealth Sequel and how it ruins the original series' theme about "ʻohana" and family. Even fans of the anime hated the episode where Lilo appears, as originally the anime was marketed as an Alternate Universe.
  • The life and career of Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata was overshadowed in August 2018 by revelations that he was a Prima Donna Director, being so tough to work under that his exacting standards may have led to the untimely passing of up-and-coming Ghibli talent Yoshifumi Kondō, a theory that fellow Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki and even Takahata himself were willing to believe. Worse, he died without ever having to account for the damage he might have done, leaving his legacy (if not the enjoyability of his works) up in the air. The controversy never made Takahata's movies' reputations radioactive, but it's still an elephant in the room when it comes to discussing Takahata and his works.
  • In early February 2018, internet users found the Twitter account of Kazuyoshi Yaginuma, long-renowned for his work on a number of high-profile anime, most notably his direction of the anime adaptation of Recovery of an MMO Junkie, only to find that he's a virulent Neo-Nazi who had been posting and endorsing anti-Semitic and pro-Hitler content since joining Twitter in 2011. The discovery led to Signal.MD terminating their association with Yaginuma, who proceeded to blame his firing on a nonexistent Jewish conspiracy instead of considering that it had anything to do with him being a Neo-Nazi. Needless to say, discussions surrounding him revolve less on the merits of his artistic output and more on his beliefs and the ethics of supporting the works he contributed to despite them, with MMO Junkie being hit the hardest.
  • The Macross franchise is better known for the sheer amount of legal trouble that it was involved with in the United States. To explain, Big West Advertising, the primary sponsor of the franchise, partnered with Tatsunoko Production to help secure financial funding for the original Super Dimension Fortress Macross, which gave the latter the rights to the international distribution of the show. Tatsunoko would then license Macross, along with two of its own productions, Genesis Climber MOSPEADA and Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross, to Harmony Gold USA, who reworked all three of them into a single narrative for syndication purposes: Robotech. Through this, Harmony Gold would claim all the rights to the Macross franchise in the United States. This has lead to Macross producer Studio Nue and the aforementioned Big West to pursue legal action, and has resulted in most of the installments in the franchise never leaving Japan.
  • Yuki Suegutsu is chiefly known for two things: her Career Resurrection with Chihayafuru and her earlier career low point with Eden no Hana in which she plagiarized Takehiko Inoue's art, putting all manga serialized in the Bessatsu Friend magazine on an international blacklist.
  • Transformers, being an American toy line created by importing and re-purposing Japanese toys, has had several Japanese media, many of which fall into this:
    • Transformers Kiss Players is undoubtedly best known for its blatantly suggestive imagery involving teenage girls that look prepubescent. Western fans were disgusted by this, while Japanese fans were embarrassed and feared it would irrevocably color perceptions of Japanese Transformers media in foreign countries.
    • Transformers Armada is mainly remembered for debuting in the U.S. six months before it debuted in Japan, the animation and translation errors that resulted from it, and the first half focusing almost entirely on finding Mini-Cons.
    • Transformers Energon, the sequel to Armada, is best known for its use of rather primitive CGI to depict the Transformers (especially compared to the earlier Canadian series Beast Wars and Beast Machines), the massive unpopularity of viewpoint character Kicker, the fact that most of the subplots were unresolved or unceremoniously dropped, the main story running out before the show was over, and an English dub that was even more rushed than its predecessor, resulting in the show being barely coherent.
  • In the west at least, Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! is known less for its actual content and more for the frequent debates among audiences regarding the title character's massive Gag Boobs, which are considered unusually huge for a mainstream Slice of Life series and jar with her otherwise looking significantly younger than she actually is. While the controversy ultimately boosted the anime adaptation's popularity to the forefront of the wider anime fandom, it nonetheless dominates discussion of both the series and the summer 2020 anime block as a whole.

    Asian Animation 
  • In the English-speaking world, it is impossible to find English coverage of Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf without seeing stuff from that one time two kids in China tried replicating something they saw in the show and ended up seriously injuring themselves.

  • The first-generation Chevrolet Corvair was one of GM's most popular models during the 1960s, but it is better known today for its handling issues, a problem that was further compounded when it was revealed by consumer advocate Ralph Nader in his book Unsafe at Any Speed that GM executives had declined to include suspension upgrades that would have made the car safer after calculating that paying off lawsuits was cheaper than re-engineering the car.
  • The General Motors EV1 was one of the first mass-produced electric cars and had a moderate amount of success when it first came out. Today, it is best known for the fact that General Motors would end up forcefully repossessing several units of the car and destroying them (with a few intact units being disabled and donated to museums), believing that the car was unprofitable. The EV1's discontinuation remains controversial to this day, with many accusing General Motors of deliberate self-sabotage, and accusing the oil industry of trying to keep electric cars off the road.
  • The Ford Pinto was actually a good car with better reliability than its American competitors but is remembered for the gas tank flaw from its first couple of years model that made it explode in rear-end collisions. Even the trope referring to exploding cars is called Every Car Is a Pinto.
  • Google's self-driving car/Automated Automobiles project is seen like this, with some people seeing it as Reed Richards Is Useless technology (and by extension, a Job-Stealing Robot).
  • Uber counts, not only due to the Automated Automobiles, but also being a way to steal taxi driver's jobs, as the many Uber protests show. The controversies surrounding its former CEO Travis Kalanick haven't helped matters.
  • The Pontiac G6 suffered an extremely ill-considered marketing ploy in which the entire audience for an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show was given a car for free, with the quickly memetic "You get a car, you get a car, everybody gets a car!" Just one problem: ownership of the car also meant a sizable spike in the recipients' income, meaning they wound up with a $6,000 tax hike, and with much of the audience for the episode specifically chosen because they badly needed a car, they were naturally in no position to pay it, meaning many of the cars ended up being sold just to cover their own cost. The disaster almost certainly played at least some part in the death of Pontiac, something its Aztek was already in the process of doing. Oprah learned her lesson, and the numerous similar promotions she's done since have also included a check to cover the taxes.

    Comic Strips 
  • These days, Dilbert creator Scott Adams is considerably better-known for his outspoken support of former US President Donald Trump than for his cartooning. And while the average comic strip reader might ordinarily be willing to overlook a cartoonist's politics, Adams drew quite a bit of attention to it when he published a rather controversial pro-Trump book whose cover art featured an image of Dogbert with Trump's hair. Because of this, Dilbert unsurprisingly lost a lot of fans who dislike Trump.
  • In its heyday, Li'l Abner was one of the most famous and influential comics strips in America. Moreover, strip creator Al Capp was a well-known and recognizable public figure in his own right. But in the 1960s, Capp drifted into a right-wing crank who sneered at folk singers and political activists, and this started bleeding into the comic itself. Before long, his politics became a cloud that hung over his work. Then he was arrested on sex-related charges in 1971 and papers began to drop his strip in droves. Now, it's hard to talk about the strip without discussing its creator's prickly personality, ideological hang-ups, and the allegations that he committed sexual misconduct.

    Fan Works 
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfiction The Conversion Bureau and its numerous spin-offs are most well known for being accused of advocating for genocide (the original author has stated that this wasn't intentional), and the intense Flame Wars that often accompany these fics. One spin-off writer, Chatoyance, is especially controversial for essentially taking the above and taking them to the next level and then some. Three particular stories stand out: Ten Minutes: Aftermath, a personal Fix Fic that was interpreted (due to how Chatoyance posted a link right on the original author's comments page) as a middle finger to the fans of the original Ten Minutes story; The Reasonably Adamant Down with Celestia Newfoal Society, which was little more than a caustic insult leveled at anyone that didn't like her work; and finally, the short story New Universe Three: The Friendship Virus, TCB fic In Name Only that had overtly misandric messages. Chatoyance is also infamous for her radicalist transgender and feminist viewpoints.
  • Dakari-King Mykan was already considered a terrible fanfiction writer to begin with, but his several run-ins with moderators, different fandoms, critics, and the like have made him a laughingstock. Mykan's My Brave Pony: Starfleet Magic is remembered more for his numerous rants about how much he hates My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic and its reputation than the fact that it's fanfic at all. His works involving MLP in the first place are also more remembered for the insane lengths Mykan is willing to go to torture Princess Cadance for being Happily Married (having her be forced to kill her roboticized brother, making her suffer nightmares, killing off her sister-in-law and close friend Twilight Sparkle (which is another issue altogether), making her miscarry and become infertile, etc.). Friendship is Failure #10 has become especially infamous for the beheading of her daughter Flurry Heart for this exact purpose.
  • Fanfiction author Sky the Hedgehog 47 is more known for his vitriolic and often profanity-laden rants, his political views, and his defensive reactions to criticism than for the fact that he's a fanfic author at all.
  • Dumbledore's Army and the Year of Darkness is a fairly normal Harry Potter fanfiction, and was once widely acclaimed. However, it has since become controversial for the many infamous antics of its author Thanfiction, particularly once he was exposed as being the same person as "Victoria Bitter", a notorious con artist in the The Lord of the Rings fandom who swindled thousands of dollars out of dozens of people by claiming he would use it to organize a convention where fans could meet actors from the films.
  • Stockholm is mostly known for three things: The fact that it was written by the notorious Lily Orchard, its depiction of Rainbow Dash as an ephebophile, and Orchard's subsequent attempts to remove the story and deny that it was pro-pedophilia. This despite the story including a graphic sex scene between a 14 year old and a 44 year old.
  • The Star Trek fan film Prelude to Axanar and its sequel Star Trek: Axanar are infamous due to the actions of its creator Alec Peters, which included stealing from donor money, using the name and image of actor Tony Todd to promote the film months after the actor had officially quit the project, and essentially using the Star Trek brand name to buy his way into being legitimate. The latter resulted in a lawsuit from CBS/Paramount that led to the companies imposing severe restrictions on the content and production values of future fan productions (which itself is a different can of worms), further tarnishing his reputation.
  • I Will Survive, a Zootopia comic, is mostly known for the infamy surrounding it. The comic featured Judy Hopps finding out that she's pregnant with Nick's child but decides she doesn't want the baby. Nick, on the other hand, objects and tries to convince Judy to keep the baby, which leads to a violent argument between the two and eventually their breakup. It quickly became a laughingstock among people for how blatantly out-of-character it portrays the two and being over-the-top with the melodrama. Borba intended to show how even a One True Pairing like WildeHopps can fall apart. However, because he chose an unwanted pregnancy as the reason for their breakup and that Judy wanted to terminate it, the comic drew hordes of pro-life and pro-choice commentators who cared little for the characters and focused obsessively on the potential abortion, even though the comic tried to avoid taking a side. As such he is prominently remembered as the guy who wrote the "Zootopia abortion comic" even though he has done a lot of other things besides it.
  • The Grim Edventures of Ed, Edd n Eddy is still a relatively popular fanfic series, but it's hard not to bring up the Hollow. The character debuted not long after author Technomaru had an apparently nasty breakup with fellow fan fiction writer Emma Iveli, and her introductory chapter opens with an author's note insulting her and a scene in which her in-story avatar is killed off and the Author Avatar brushes it off with little thought. The Hollow is all but outright stated to be Emma, her character can best be described as a loser who obsessively watches CSI (a show the author hates), she's called "evil" and "ugly" by the protagonists, and the fic itself seems to allude to events preceding the breakup. Given the implications of it all, fan outrage was probably inevitable. In Technomaru's defense, he eventually patched things up with Emma, brought the Hollow back to life, introduced a character named after Emma who eventually joins the heroes, and has made it clear that he considers this character an Old Shame.
  • ThisCrispyKat is a prolific fan artist in several furry fandoms on DeviantArt, especially the My Little Pony and Care Bears franchises. However, every conversation involving her has since come down to the fact that much of her art features Nazi themes and characters. To this day, nobody can tell if that's supposed to be satirical or not.
  • If I Was Your Nazi is a piece of Kingdom Hearts fan fiction written by an author who was relatively unknown until then. The reviews it received overwhelmingly panned it, with many saying that it had boring narration, offensively used the real life tragedy of the Holocaust as little more than cheap shock value, and reduced a potentially interesting premise (Organization XIII as Nazis) into an unoriginal Roxas x Axel Slash Fic that treated life in Nazi Germany as if it were High School. The author then proceeded to openly insult her critics, calling them overly sensitive and essentially writing them off as whiners. As a result, her already poor standing in the fandom just got even worse, and she gained a reputation as being unable to handle any criticism towards her amateur writing.
  • Sonic X: Dark Chaos is mostly known for the author's open hatred of religion, and the way it influences the depiction of the Angel Federation, particularly its Islamic faction.
  • The Power Rangers fanfiction Agony in Pink was already notorious due to its extremely graphic content, but its infamy skyrocketed after it single-handedly got the newsgroup it was originally posted on banned in Australia. Even today, it is difficult to talk about the fic without bringing up that little tidbit.
  • While David Gonterman considers it an Old Shame now, most discussion of Sailor Moon: American Kitsune still revolves around two things: revealing Usagi's and the Author Avatar's relationship as incestuous (and having them stay together post-reveal) for shock value, and the infamous encounter with Zoisite that, without getting graphic, was tinged with such homophobia that it was considered repugnant and hateful by the standards of the late '90s.
  • The Pokémon fic The Longest Road is best known for the original version of Chapter 28, where Ash gets his revenge on Erika (who's been subjected to Ron the Death Eater) by outing her as a lesbian, causing her to be fired from her job as Celadon City's Gym Leadernote ... and is portrayed as in the right for doing so. After receiving a storm of criticism, the author rewrote the chapter to remove this event, instead having Erika get in trouble for refusing challengers because they didn't like the perfumes her shop sold. Nevertheless, the damage was done, and it's hard to find any discussion of this fic that doesn't cover Erika getting stripped of her gym leader position for her sexuality.
  • DeviantArt artist Alex Smyth, alias AleximusPrime, best known for his My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanart since early in the show's run, as well as providing the voice of Discord in the My Little Portal fan series, has become much more infamous for expressing extreme right-wing political opinions, among other things making a controversial rant comparing liberals to Nazis, as well as reports several of his art pieces being sexualized images of characters who count as underaged in the main show, which resulted in his account getting temporarily suspended. While he still has some fans and continues to work in the My Little Portal videos, he is a much more polarizing figure now, to the point that some artists he was once friends with have since cut ties with him.

    Film — Animation 
  • Abominable is remembered for a scene which had a map with the nine-dash-line on it which resulted in the movie being banned in countries in Southeast Asia; the protests in Hong Kong that were happening at the same time when the movie came out didn't help matters as well. Despite this, the film was still a success at least.
  • The one thing most people remember about Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theaters, aside from the music by Mastodon, is the Viral Marketing campaign involving LED signs displaying the Mooninites Flipping the Bird. One of the signs was mistaken for an IED, which resulted in the Boston Bomb Scare. This incident led to Jim Samples stepping down as the head of Cartoon Network.
  • Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker is remembered for two controversial scenes: the Bonk vs. The Joker scene in which the latter kills the former with the "Bang!" Flag Gun, and the entire flashback scene, with the very noteworthy part near the end in which Robin does the same thing to the Joker. Even before the film was released to video and DVD in 2000, movie companies were coming under heavy criticism for violence in films during the fallout of the Columbine shootings that had happened over a year ago, and WB felt pressured and afraid that Moral Guardians and Media Watchdogs would object that the movie would be a repeat of Columbine. As a result, the original release date (Halloween 2000) was postponed, and the film heavily edited and toned down for release on December 12. But even then, the Bowdlerised version (especially with the Joker's death scene changed to death by electrocution) didn't help matters, but only caused unrest among many Batman fans that lasted for over a year. That unrest thankfully quelled down when the film developers still retained the original version in shelves and eventually released it on DVD as "the original, uncut version" under the PG-13 rating on April 23, 2002 (just three days after the third anniversary of the Columbine tragedy) following an online petition to have it released. The same uncut version would be digitally remastered and released on Blu-Ray nine years later.
  • Batman: The Killing Joke ran right into this. The original Killing Joke comic had the Joker paralyzing Barbara Gordon as its inciting incident, with little statement of who she actually was in the story itself. The Animated Adaptation attempted to correct this by expanding Barbara's role in the story, but it was done in a way that comes off with more problems: namely the sexual tension between Batgirl and Batman.note  This culminates in the two having sex which Squicked out a good portion of the audience, especially those who have seen Batman as more of a paternal mentor to Batgirl in other media. And that's not even getting into the debates on whether the first half of the movie, which set Barbara up as a character, should've even been made in a movie called "The Killing Joke".
  • Coonskin, Ralph Bakshi's satirical Blaxploitation re-imagining of the Uncle Remus tales. Al Sharpton famously criticized the film without even seeing it, saying, "I don't got to see shit; I can smell shit!" This gave the film some very bad publicity. Since then, professional critics and black audiences have praised it for being the complete opposite of being racist. Even Spike Lee is a fan.
  • The 2019 Spanish animated feature Elcano & Magellan: The First Voyage Around the World, based on the voyage of the Portuguese explorers of the same name (culminating in the Battle of Mactan), prompted major backlash in The Philippines, largely due to the poster showing Lapulapu (a native chief who participated in the battle and is widely revered as an anticolonialist hero in the Phillpines) in a decidedly villainous light. The backlash was to the point that many even petitioned to ban the movie in the country. The studio in charge seems to have gotten the hint, as they released a redesigned version of the poster where Lapulapu is replaced with an original Portuguese character named Yago. As it turns out, the original poster was rather inaccurate, as Yago is the main antagonist of the movie and Lapulapu is little more than a glorified background character. In a review of the movie, a Rappler columnist bluntly pointed out a Double Standard in criticism of such historical dramas, where he noted how the producers of the 2013 religious historical drama Pedro Calungsod: Batang Martir had no qualms about portraying the Chamorro people as barbaric savages who slayed Calungsod for his missionary work—the film was universally praised in the Philippines, and was unsurprisingly panned by the Chamorros in Guam.
  • The Magic Roundabout is better known for being given a Same Language Gag Dub by The Weinstein Company for the North American release under the title Doogal, which became infamous for its over-emphasis on pop culture references when the original didn't have as many. Today it's very much regarded as an Old Shame for everyone who's worked on it.
  • Olaf's Frozen Adventure became known soon after its release less because of anything related to the film itself and more because of the circumstances behind said release: It was originally meant for a television special before being put as the opener for the Pixar film Coco, and the fact that its length was meant for television and not as an opener for a Pixar film upset many of the moviegoers who went just to see Coco. It went to the point that most Mexican movie theaters outright removed the short from their showings of Coco (as Coco prominently features Mexican culture as its backdrop) before Disney officially pulled it from all future screenings of Coco beginning on December 8, 2017. While Disney has not given an official reason why Toy Story 4 is set to be the first Pixar film since Toy Story to not have a short subject attached to its theatrical release, the scuttlebug is that Olaf's Frozen Adventure had a lot to do with it.
  • The South Korean Fractured Fairy Tale film Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs probably would have flown completely under the radar had it not been for controversy over the marketing, which showed the two forms its main character would apparently take in the film (one a chubby young woman, one a more "traditional" princess look) and implied that the chubby form was ugly, drawing accusations of body shaming. The few who have seen the movie were quick to point out that this was a case of heavily Misaimed Marketingnote .
  • Sausage Party is better known for its Troubled Production, particularly director Greg Tiernan's severe mistreatment of the staff working on the film.
  • Skydance Animation serves as one of the newly added divisions of film studio Skydance Media. Formed in 2017 through a multi-year partnership with Ilion Animation Studios, the new division gained recognition as a potential contender for producing future high quality animated films. However, they came under immediate fire in January 2019, when it was announced that Pixar founder and former Disney executive John Lasseter was made head of the division. As Lasseter was struck with multiple accusations of sexual misconduct and sexist behavior less than two years prior, Skydance was met with heavy criticism for being willing to work with him, let alone having him be head of one of their divisions. As a result, both the division and Skydance Media as a whole lost a lot of support from most of the public. This also cost them Emma Thompson, who'd been set to star in one of the films placed under Lasseter's supervision and then quit over his hiring even before she'd been announced to be in the film, leading to even more attention being placed on the issue. And then she published an open letter condemning them for forcing all their employees into a choice between working with a person they may find morally reprehensible or losing their jobs.
  • The Thief and the Cobbler is mostly well known for its decades-long stint in Development Hell, director Richard Williams being removed from his own pet project by the completion bond company brought on to complete it, being finished in a vastly different form in Australia and South Africa under the title The Princess and the Cobbler, and receiving an edited and partially re-dubbed North American release by Miramax Films under the title Arabian Knight.

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

  • Ex-Bally/Williams pinball designer John Popadiuk is overshadowed by the Development Hell of games produced by his company, Zidwarenote . With millions of dollars in pre-order money collected and little results since 2011, he has been accused of defrauding customers.
  • A shadow hangs over pinball designer John Trudeau's games, including Ghostbusters, after he was charged with alleged possession of child pornography and the sexual abuse of a minor. Stern Pinball announced his firing, removed all mention of his name, and has refused to identify what projects he was working on as lead designer. Comments from the artist Zombie Yeti subsequently revealed that he was the original designer of Deadpool prior to his arrest, and his work was thrown out entirely (with the final game being designed by George Gomez).
  • Kevin Kulek, the founder of boutique manufacturer Skit-B Pinball, is more known for allegations of defrauding customers with a Predator game that was never licensed by 20th Century Fox (who shut down the project).

  • Shock Jock Don Imus had fifty years of experience in the radio business. However, most people know him for a 2007 incident where he referred to the Rutgers University women's basketball team (which included nine black players) as "nappy-headed hos". His apology and CBS Radio's decision to suspend him (and subsequently cancel his show, Imus in the Morning, which moved to Citadel Media a few months later) ignited further controversy, with some saying he earned forgiveness with his apology, and others saying a strong stand needed to be taken.
  • Shock Jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem has held an active career in radio since 1986. However, his professional life has since taken a back seat to the revelation that he was the one who filmed the Hulk Hogan sex tape that led to Hogan's 2015 suspension from the WWE for racist language in the tape and Hogan suing Gawker Media, who publicized the tape, into bankruptcy for invasion of privacy the following year. Clem later apologized to Hogan after the suit, but remains best known among the general public for his involvement in the scandal.
  • Big Finish Doctor Who cast actor James Dreyfus as an early incarnation of The Master, making his debut in The Destination Wars. However, between this and his second story, The Home Guard, it came to light that Dreyfus had made some transphobic comments, and Big Finish would put out a statement of equality and diversity. Big Finish played down Dreyfus's involvement in subsequent stories, and after releasing the final audio recorded that featured Dreyfus's Master, The Psychic Circus, the company has not cast him in any future Master stories.
  • KEGL in Dallas, Texas is mostly known for a prank by their evening drive shock jocks Kramer and Twitch wherein they claimed that Britney Spears was killed in a car accident. The hoax led to hundreds of calls to local law enforcement agencies and a massive internet firestorm, which ended in Kramer and Twitch being shown the door by KEGL owners Clear Channel.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Vampire: The Masquerade was scheduled for a much-hyped relaunch into the world of Tabletop Role-Playing Games during their Renaissance during the late New Tens. Things were looking up for the owners at White Wolf, with a launch that could rival Dungeons and Dragons in popularity. Then people discovered some unfortunate ties to alt-right ideology in the test material and Quickstart guide. White Wolf was slow to address the storm of anger brewing on internet, and the article's writer claimed to have been contacted by White Wolf's attorneys with a threat of lawsuits if the article wasn't taken down. This went as well as could be expected. Soon the TTRPG community associated Fifth Edition with alt-right ideology, and White Wolf rushed out an apology, claimed the whole thing was a coincidence, and included a denunciation of the alt-right in the main rulebook.
  • If White Wolf mortally wounded their brand with the Quickstart guide, they would kill it when they dropped the Camarilla Sourcebook. The book treated the still-ongoing terror campaign against homosexuals in Chechnya as a plot point for vampire shenanigans. The Chechen Government threatened to sue White Wolf, claiming the concentration camps where journalists have documented the torture and murders are still taking place are actually completely normal prisons and there couldn't be a gay pogrom because "there are no gay people in Chechnya!" This was the final straw for White Wolf and ultimately resulted in it being folded into their parent company, Paradox Interactive.

  • Among William Shakespeare's works, the most polarizing in modern times are The Taming of the Shrew and The Merchant of Venice, which are well known for their notoriously unflattering depictions of women and Jews, respectively. Modern productions of both typically add some sort of twist to reduce the uncomfortableness, up to and including staging the plays, originally intended to be comedies, as tragedies with the female and Jewish characters as Doomed Moral Victors. Even within Shakespeare's own lifetime, there was a Take That! play called The Woman's Prize, or the Tamer Tamed where Katherine's abuser Petruchio gets a taste of his own medicine from his next wife Maria. Titus Andronicus is also well-known for being an extremely dark and violent Evil vs. Evil revenge tragedy very much unlike any of the Bard's other works, including the only rape scene he ever wrote and even cannibalism.
  • The mid-Victorian play Our American Cousin would forever be remembered for the Lincoln assassination instead of the witty characters like Lord Dundreary. The fatal shot was actually timed to what was famously the play's funniest moment, in the hope that the roar of laughter would cover the noise of the gunshot. In addition, John Wilkes Booth was a well known and critically acclaimed stage actor at the time. Nowadays, he's only remembered, obviously not without reason, as one of the most notorious criminals in American history. On top of all that Ford Theater is now known only as the place where Lincoln was shot, to the point that one may get the impression it was built solely so Honest Abe could be shot in it.
  • While The Rite of Spring is cherished for its avant-garde music and choreography, its premiere night in 1913 sparked a near-riot inside the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris when the audience turned against each other on whether it was groundbreaking or sheer crap, with the latter throwing stuff at the orchestra and the dancers. It didn't help that inside the curtain, the composer and lead choreographer Vaslav Nijinsky had cooperation issues during the production. You might say that the premiere night had been a near-literal Broken Base.
  • Nord-Ost, a Russian musical, is better remembered as the target of the 2002 Moscow theater hostage crisis than as a work in itself.
  • Theater director Julie Taymor won the Best Musical Tony for her adaptation of The Lion King, has adapted Shakespeare and Greek tragedies, made a foray into film with the Cult Classic Beatles tribute Across the Universe, and throughout all her work has received acclaim for her use of elaborate costumes and puppets. What's she best known for these days? Her major mishandling of her Spider-Man adaptation Turn Off the Dark, which was plagued by, in addition to bad writing and prima donna antics by Taymor herself, numerous accidents involving the aforementioned elaborate props and costumes, some of which even resulted in serious injuries. In the end, she was unceremoniously given the boot from her own show and has done little of note since.
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber's Love Never Dies, the twenty-years-later follow-up to his smash hit The Phantom of the Opera, was never able to rise above the stigma of being a sequel that nobody but Lloyd Webber himself really wanted. It was based on a poorly regarded Fan Sequel novel called The Phantom of Manhattan and contained cliches that have appeared in fan works of dubious quality for decades, including Christine giving birth to the Phantom's illegitimate child after a one-night stand and deciding he was her true love after all, and her kindly love interest Raoul having become a neglectful drunkard who's blown his fortune at the gambling table. All of this resulted in considerable fan opposition before it even came out (including a Twitter campaign called #LoveShouldDie) and a general sense that the show was Lloyd Webber's terrible Draco in Leather Pants fanfic that he forced onto the stage with his piles of money, and despite having the Phantom name and Lloyd Webber's own behind it, the initial run received mediocre reviews and closed at a loss— though the show later picked up a cult following in Australia, where a more polished production was staged and filmed.
  • Aaron Sorkin's stage adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird was sued months before its debut by Harper Lee's estate, who accused it of straying too far from the source material against Lee's instructions from her will. This includes some already controversial elements from Go Set a Watchman like Atticus having some racist leanings, and with Sorkin himself already being such a polarizing figure, the show has quite a hole to dig itself out of.
  • While Carousel has several individual songs that have become classics, such as "If I Loved You" and "You'll Never Walk Alone", if you haven't seen it yourself, most likely the only thing you know about the actual plot is its extreme level of Values Dissonance: the main character is a sympathetically-portrayed wife-beater, and the play includes a scene where his wife defends his actions.
  • Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues is still a very popular play, but the vignette "The Little Coochie Snorcher That Could" is best known for its highly controversial depiction of an underaged girl's sexual encounter with an adult woman. The segment has become rather infamous for driving many theatre groups to rework it to avoid alienating the audience; some productions change the narrator's age from 13 to 16, others have omitted the controversial line "If it was rape, it was a good rape", and still others have elected to cut the entire segment.
  • The only real impact left by the play All in a Row is the outrage it caused for having an autistic character portrayed by a creepy puppet contrasting a cast full of humans.
  • Annie Get Your Gun is another one now known almost entirely for its Values Dissonance. It was created at the end of World War II specifically to encourage women who'd joined the workforce while their husbands were fighting the Axis to go back and Stay in the Kitchen, and thus reworks the true story of sharpshooter Annie Oakley to have her future husband Frank Butler refuse to be with a woman who's a better shot than him, so she ends up throwing a contest between them and retiring, when in real life it was actually Butler who gave up his sharpshooting career to support hers. It also features some horrific portrayals of Native Americans, with the reveal that they're not just mindless savages intended to be played for surprise laughs, and the song "I'm an Indian, Too" which brutally mocks their naming style. A 1999 revival heavily revised it to fit contemporary attitudes, cutting the insulting Native material and having Butler catch on to what Annie's doing and throw his own shots to end the contest with a tie.
  • The Death of Klinghoffer, an opera about the murder of Leon Klinghoffer by Palestinian terrorists who hijacked the Italian passenger liner MS Achille Lauro, is better known for accusations of being anti-Semitic and/or too sympathetic to the hijackers than for its actual content.

    Theme Parks 
  • It's impossible to talk about the infamous New Jersey theme park Action Park without mentioning its numerous safety hazards, which resulted in hundreds of injuries and six deaths. Problems included poorly designed and maintained rides, untrained teenage employees, terrible communication with its (often non-English speaking) visitors, lax safety rules, and high levels of drunkenness among both staff and riders. Its abysmal safety record led to the park gaining the nicknames "Traction Park", "Accident Park", and "Class Action Park". Case in point: Action Park's most notorious ride was Cannonball Loop, a water slide with a complete vertical loop built into it. Crash test dummies sent down the slide supposedly came out the other end decapitated and dismembered. Nevertheless, the slide remained operational for a whole month.
  • It's become very difficult to discuss anything pertaining to SeaWorld due to the massive controversy surrounding the orcas and the Blackfish documentary that only worsened said controversy. Things have gotten slightly better following SeaWorld announcing the termination of the orca breeding programs, but some grievances still remain.
  • Marineland is a marine mammal park similar to SeaWorld owned by the Holer family in Niagara Falls, known for its advertising jingles played throughout Southern Ontario and Western New York. However, thanks to a Toronto Star exposé published in 2012, it's now infamous for allegations of severe animal cruelty against several of their captive species. Even before the exposé, animal rights activists had protested against the park's treatment of its animals, but this controversy caused attendance to the park to drop and the Holer family to file a lawsuit against the Toronto Star for defamation. Since the death of founder John Holer in 2018, the park has shifted their focus from the animal exhibits to the rides. The Walrus and the Whistleblower, a CBC documentary released in 2020, elaborated upon this controversy, telling the story of how former Marineland trainer Phil Demers chronicled all the animal abuse that happened in the park.
  • The Schlitterbahn water park chain experienced controversy in August 2016 after the death of a ten-year-old boy (the son of a local politician) on the tallest waterslide in the world (called "Verrückt") at its Kansas City location, thus leading to the permanent shutdown of the slide. But it got worse after an indictment of park higher-ups was released in 2018. It implied that the slide's designer had no official engineering degree, the ride was known to be dangerous well before the fatality happened, and it was intentionally kept that way so the park could chase money from TV networks regarding their record-breaking attraction. Time will tell if the chain sees decreased attendance from this.
  • The Smiler at Alton Towers holds the world record for the most inversions in a rollercoaster, a staggering 14, but is more remembered for a devastating crash that happened in 2015 which led to multiple injuries and two leg amputations as a result— even when the ride reopened the next year, with far more safety checks in place to make sure another crash wouldn't occur, many kept on referencing the crash when discussing the rollercoaster.
  • Disney Theme Parks:
    • For a very long time, Disneyland Paris (or "Euro Disney" as it was originally known) was, unfortunately, most known in and outside of the Disney fandom for having an absolutely disastrous opening year to the point of directly affecting almost all of Disney's other theme park plans for the next two decades, as well as being absolutely despised by the French people at first for a number of reasons, mainly strongly opposing its poor (by French standards) working conditions and viewing it as an example of American cultural imperialism. The resort has been steadily recovering ever since the addition of Space Mountain: De La Terre A La Lune in 1995, but had only just recently been able to turn a consistent profit after the Walt Disney Company made some adjustments to its management after buying back all of their shares in it. Regardless of how well the resort does in the future, it's doubtful that mainstream pop culture will be willing to let Disney forget about those troubled first years any time soon, especially after being the subject of many jokes at Disney's expense.
    • A big part of why Stitch's Great Escape! got so much backlash was because it controversially replaced the much-beloved Cult Classic ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter. Even now, discussions of the ride are often focused on that fact.
    • It is impossible to discuss the Disneyland attraction America Sings without bringing up the death of 18-year-old hostess Deborah Gail Stone. Nine days after it opened in 1974, Stone was caught between a rotating wall and stationary wall and was crushed. The attraction was temporarily closed to be modified to prevent further accidents. America Sings would continue to operate without major incident until it was permanently closed in 1988, but a shroud of morbidity still hangs over it to this day.
  • Now-defunct Christian theme park Heritage USA, which was built and owned by televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, is now known largely for two things: that time Jerry Falwell went down one of its water slides while wearing a suit, and the fact that some of the money used to build it was collected from members of the Bakkers' audience under the pretense of funding overseas missions.

  • My Friend Cayla, and by extension, Internet of Things toys in general, had their reputation suffered when security experts pointed out on the toys' glaring flaws, i.e. absolutely no thought was given with its security. With no pairing codes or any safeguards in place, a malicious party could commandeer a Cayla—itself essentially a Bluetooth speaker in the form of a doll—and make her say nasty things or listen in on children's conversations. The manufacturers were quick to defend that no such hacking incidents have taken place outside of proof-of-concept demonstrations, and it involves people with the know-how to do so (not that a determined creep can't do it, at least hypothetically), but even then, the audio advertising and data collection by the dolls especially in this day and age where paranoia over privacy after Snowden's NSA exposé is quite common, is certainly alarming.
  • Sky Dancers were popular dolls, but they were well-known for causing injuries when used improperly, which resulted in the toys being recalled 5 years after their release. When Play Along re-released the toys four years later, safety instructions were printed on the box to prevent any similar incidents from occuring.

  • Ctrl+Alt+Del:
    • The webcomic is more well known for the "Loss" (or "CADbortion") arc which is legendary for its Memetic Mutation and Mood Whiplash and writer Tim Buckley's online behavior than anything else. What really makes this moment awful is that Buckley used a similar traumatic experience that an ex-girlfriend suffered as the basis for "Loss", all while showing her no compassion and calling her "toxic". Accusations of being a Penny Arcade knockoff haven't helped and likely played a part in the comic's Retool.
    • It is also known for an incident in which Buckley had a fan animation taken down, made a response that outright insulted the creator, and threatened to sue them, despite previously saying he was okay with fan works. This move was widely criticized, especially after the ill-regarded Animated Adaptation. Not helping matters was Buckley's frequent use of copyrighted characters.
  • While Sonichu was already considered a terrible webcomic to begin with, it is best known for is the bizarre actions and the personal life of its author, Chris-chan, and the extensive trolling and harassment she received during the comic's earlier years.
  • The Sonic webcomic Other M, once extremely popular, now is mostly remembered for being written by future Archie Sonic writer Ian Flynn, and for having one of the villains be Knuckles, who is portrayed as an Absolute Xenophobe. This move received much scorn and has literally overshadowed every other plot element, including the fact that it takes place in an Alternate Universe, and that Knuckles being this kind of villain was intended as a sign of things being very wrong with said universe. The basic premise was revisited in Archie Sonic's Dark Mobius arc, where it was better received.
  • Pepe the Frog, a character from the comic Boy's Club, became a widespread meme after his debut in 2005. However, the usage of Pepe as a meme turned awry in mid-2016 when many members of the alt-right used him as a symbol to express racist and anti-Semitic sentiments around the time of the 2016 U.S. election.note  The damage had been done by the time the Anti-Defamation League classified Pepe as a hate symbol.note  Matt Furie, the creator of Pepe, was so angry over this that he attempted a "Save Pepe" campaign in order to rescue the character. However, in May 2017, Furie decided to kill off Pepe in his comic. Over time, the Pepe meme has become more and more ingrained as a symbol of the far-right as a whole, due to media insistence, to the point where fast food chain Wendy's was criticized for tweeting a non-racist image of Pepe dressed as their mascot, and clothing store Zara was forced to pull a skirt with an image of a frog that vaguely resembled Pepe. Furie did succeed in enforcing his copyright in certain cases, such as forcing InfoWars's Alex Jones to pay $15,000 in a lawsuit for selling merchandise with Pepe on it, but the reputation as a political meme is very hard to erase.
  • Sinfest was initially known for its raunchy, dark comedy and its lighthearted parodies of religious tropes, but it is now more often remembered for 2011's Sisterhood/Patriarchy arc, where the comic suddenly became an Author Tract reflecting the author's trans-exclusionary radical feminist values, complete with significant changes to the personality of several characters.
  • When Dave Cheung's name is brought up, it tends to be in the context of one or more of the following topics: a very clumsy attempt to tell people to stop demanding explicit material in Chugworth Academy, drawing an incredibly demeaning comic about Jade Raymond (which he yelled at the DeviantART mods over when they yanked it), or the entirety of US Angel Corps' first iteration, a murder-porn comic infamous for its deeply misogynistic overtones, graphic gory violence, and fetishization of rape, necrophilia, and suffering in general; while it was done primarily on commission, it was still Cheung's idea to begin with.
  • Leasebound, a webcomic about two strangers who accidentally become roommates, has been overshadowed by the controversy that erupted after the release of its fourth chapter in February 2019, which contained three characters whose treatment in the webcomic raised allegations of transphobia.
  • DAR! A Super Girly Top Secret Comic Diary and the NSFW sex toy / sex education site Oh Joy Sex Toy aren't respected by a lot of people due to controversial statements from artist Erika Moen. The most cited examples from the former are the "L.U.G." comic, where Erika describes herself as a "lesbian with an exception"note  and depicts her boyfriend casually using the word "dyke" and him and Erika expressing sexual desires towards a visibly displeased woman, and a comic where Erika openly admits to fetishizing trans men. While Erika has presumably changed her mind since DAR as Oh Joy tries very hard to be inclusive, the latter's features on certain controversial fetishes have made it a subject of disgust or mockery to many, especially the infamous comic on the cuckolding fetish.
  • Once a hallmark of late 2000's/early 2010's Black Comedy webcomics, pictures for sad children is now better-known for the massive Creator Breakdown of its author, Janet Harbinger, who in 2014 forfeited on a Kickstarter intended to publish a print run of the series, uploaded a video of her burning copies of the print volumes (with threats to burn more if she continued to receive emails asking about the Kickstarter's rewards), shutting down the comic's website, and filing DMCA notices against anyone who tries to re-upload strips from the series. This literal Torch the Franchise and Run approach became such a defining element of the webcomic's reputation that its article on Know Your Meme (which, fair warning, was written before Harbinger came out as trans and consequently uses her former name) features a still from the book burning video as its icon.
  • Ask anyone who knows about Draconia Chronicles, and one of the first things they'll likely bring up is how the first chapter of the story revolved around an Earth Dragon named Gaia suffering a brutal Trauma Conga Line before being unceremoniously killed off in a fight between Scyde and Elektra's groups. While Anyone Can Die is in full effect in this series, the sheer senselessness and cynicism of Gaia's death tainted the comic for many, especially after a rumor began circulating that she had been based off the author's ex-girlfriend he had a messy breakup with (though this was never actually proven).
  • If you've heard of El Goonish Shive outside of TV Tropes, it's probably in connection with the continued debate over whether or not its creator Dan Shive is biphobic.


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