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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 nasty confrontation with cast or crew, discovering a bad drug habit, off-set incidents making the rounds on the news or the latest in a long string of misdemeanors (or felonies) catching up to them. 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 killed off. 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.

In the absolute worst cases - typically a conviction for murder or sexual crimes - the matter becomes a Career-Vaporizing Felony, with all their work pulled from the circulation, any awards they received revoked and they are effectively erased from popular culture history. Of course, this view isn't universal: while few would defend a creator who is guilty of heinous crimes absent some form of Creator Worship, many also believe that the art itself should not be conflated with the artist and condemned by association.

Compare Creator Killer and Star-Derailing Role for when a career is harmed just by the reception of their 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 is accurately reported, actually sticks and avoids knee-jerk reactions.

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Alternative Title(s): Role Ending Misdemeanour