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Role-Ending Misdemeanor

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A Role-Ending Misdemeanor refers to where a performer or creator who engages in bad behavior on or off the job is fired in order to protect a project's reputation — or, if independent, is forced to either reduce their public activity or outright leave the public scene because their image is too deeply tarnished.

This could be anything from a first-time offense to the latest in a long string of misdemeanors (or felonies). Creators with a reputation for being difficult can get the boot simply because no one will work with them any longer. Creating media is still a job, after all: you have to show up on time and perform competently or you'll be shown the door. If this person is a cast member on a long-running TV show, the character will probably be McLeaned. If they screw up badly enough or multiple times, word will spread that they're "unprofessional" or "difficult to work with" and it becomes much more difficult for them to find work in the industry, if at all. If they are integral to the show's foundation, it could end the project altogether.


If the person in question has a self-destructive habit (e.g., alcoholism), giving them the boot could be seen as a desperate gambit to force the rejected star into getting help. Results vary. But if they get their act together, it's not unheard of for a person like them to make a return appearance somewhere down the line.

In some cases, this trope is used when a person's reputation has suffered to the point that it attracts bad press to the project; a person who is Convicted by Public Opinion can seem like too great a liability, regardless if they did it. Or that perceived behind-the-scenes trouble is the excuse used and they are actually The Scapegoat for a more complicated problem.

Compare Creator Killer and Star-Derailing Role for when it relates to a fall from grace from a failed work. See also Actor Existence Limbo, Contractual Purity, and Overshadowed by Controversy. Contrast No Such Thing as Bad Publicity, Controversy-Proof Image, and The Tyson Zone, when the scandal doesn't affect their reputation, as well as Career Resurrection when they're able to restore it. See also Put on a Prison Bus for a fictional version.


There is a two-week waiting period (after the termination of a role) before an example can be added. This ensures the job loss actually sticks and avoids knee-jerk reactions.

Example subpages:

Alternative Title(s): Role Ending Misdemeanour