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  • Netflix series 13 Reasons Why has been hit with this from the start, with many accusing its handling of the very sensitive subject of bullying and suicide among teenagers of being tone-deaf and even potentially dangerous. The central plot revolves around Hannah, who has died by suicide before the series starts and left a series of cassette tapes detailing her reasons for doing so and the people she blames for pushing her to her actions. This has been harshly criticized for implying that bullying and external factors are always the cause of suicide, with no mention given to mental illness, as well as implying that reaching out for help to adults is futile and overall sending a message that one's mental well-being is in others' hands, and that suicide is an effective way of getting revenge. Not helping is that Hannah has been criticized as overreacting to minor slights and generally getting stuff wrong, which can lead to another toxic line of thinking. Additionally, the finales of the first and second seasons came under fire for their graphic depictions of Hannah's bathtub suicide and a secondary male character being brutally beaten and raped, respectively, with detractors stating that the former scene could inspire copycat behavior. People generally believe the series may have done more harm than good for the cause of suicide awareness. Shortly before the third season's release, they edited out the scene showing Hannah's suicide on the advice of child psychologists, which started its own argument over whether they should have done it (since it's not like the scene actually makes the act look desirable in the slightest).
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  • It's next to impossible to talk about 24 without arguments over whether it glamorizes torture by suggesting that the Jack Bauer Interrogation Techniquenote  is an ethical and effective technique and/or if said depictions of it fall into Torture Porn, including late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia notoriously citing the series when arguing that it worked.
  • The 700 Club presents itself as a Christian news show, but is known less for its spiritual side and more for creator/host Pat Robertson's far-right political views and conspiracy theories made during the show and even outside it. Most notable claims made by Robertson are that tragedies such as 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina were the result of God taking revenge on people Robertson despises, including the LGBT community, feminists, liberals, some non-Christians, and even Christians that are slightly more liberal than him. Freeform, which airs the show, has no choice but to air it due to contractual obligations established when the network was called The Family Channel and was owned by Robertson; not only does Freeform refuse to promote 700, they air Content Warnings at the beginning and end of the show stating that Freeform does not endorse any of Robertson's views, which even end with them saying "Watch or don't watch. We're okay either way." Ironically, 700 also airs on TBN and on local stations, but Robertson refuses to let Freeform drop the show.
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  • The Africans was the most visible PBS program for the 1986-87 season primarily because of the controversy it garnered over its unfavorable portrayal of Americans. It got to the point where the National Endowment for the Humanities, which had sponsored the series, was permitted to take its name off the series in a rare exception to the rule that all sponsors should receive credit on PBS broadcasts, and PBS was forced to reevaluate how it approved its programming in the aftermath.
  • Amos 'n' Andy was a very popular comedy radio show from the 1940s and 1950s starring two white people playing stereotypical, dimwitted, jive-talking blacks. Its incarnation as a TV show (which cast two black men in the lead roles) was one of television's earliest flops; viewers found the jokes significantly less funny when actual black people were telling them. (What this says about the thought patterns of Americans in the '40s/'50s is up for debate.) Due to Values Dissonance, it hasn't been broadcast in ages and is probably better known for the racial offensiveness than the actual comedy.
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  • The rollout for the fifth season of Arrested Development has been largely overshadowed by questions about whether or not it was a good idea for the show to retain Jeffrey Tambor in the wake of allegations about his behavior in Transparent. Jason Bateman and David Cross made things worse with an interview in which they both vigorously defended Tambor, even as co-star Jessica Walter made claims that Tambor had verbally harassed her. This happened during a group interview, so they didn't just contradict Walter, they talked over her as she related her own experiences with Tambor, putting a very public face on the issue of how entertainment industry people talking about the abuse they've suffered are often dismissed in media.
  • Any discussions pertaining to the Netflix series Atypical will likely focus on its questionable depiction of people on the Autism Spectrum and the resulting allegations of ableism than the show itself.
  • Season 25 of The Bachelor was supposed to be known for the first season with an African-American Bachelor, Matt James, but ended up getting hit with a racism scandal after it was revealed that contestant Rachael Kirkconnell had once posed with the Confederate battle flag and had attended an Antebellum South-themed party. Kirkconnell did apologize, and James accepted it, but the biggest casualty of the scandal was Chris Harrison, who downplayed Kirkconnell's actions in an attempt to defend her, and wound up calling her the victim of the "woke police." Harrison's actions ended up causing a bigger backlash than Kirkconnell's, and Harrison subsequently apologized and announced he was taking a hiatus from the show (which ended up becoming permanent). As a result, the anti-PC crowd cried "cancel culture" and began harassing both James and Rachel Lindsay (the first African-American Bachelorette) on social media for defending Harrison's decision to leave, even though neither of them said they wanted him "cancelled," leading to Lindsay leaving social media.
  • Batman (1966): The two-parter "An Egg Grows in Gotham"/"The Yegg Foes in Gotham" introduced recurring villain Egghead, but it's hard to talk about the episodes without discussing Egghead's accomplice: the very stereotypical Native American antagonist Chief Screaming Chicken, whose portrayal got the episodes banned from airing on the Hub when it was showing the series in reruns. note 
  • The short-lived Irish revival of Blind Date was struck twice with controversy. It was first struck when it turned out that one of its contestants was a criminal who had previously served jail time in Australia for assault on a civilian. The second time was when host Al Porter was accused of sexual harassment by two male colleagues, which caused the show to immediately be binned by TV3 (now Virgin Media 1).
  • The one thing everybody remembers about Richard Bacon's brief stint on the legendary British children's show Blue Peter in 1997-1998 is that he was fired from the show for cocaine abuse. For his part, the man himself will Never Live It Down even 20 years later and with his television career fully recovered from the incident. Even Amazon Alexa wanted to tell the tale to Bacon's children, much to his embarrassment.
  • The CBS series Bull was accused by guest star Eliza Dushku of fostering a highly toxic misogynist environment, mostly perpetrated by lead star Michael Weatherly who was constantly harassing her with jokes about rape, shortly after she'd gone public about having been sexually abused at age 12. The network execs also attempted to cover it up by offering her a lucrative NDA, though she managed to game the process so that she got the money and was still legally able to talk about it. The show was still renewed for another season after the story broke to much controversy, though Steven Spielberg cut all ties with it.
  • CN Real was a commercial dud, and you probably don't remember much about the actual shows themselves. You probably do remember the backlash it got for being a block of live-action reality and game shows on Cartoon Network, a channel associated with anything but live action. It doesn't help that the block came out after Out of Jimmy's Head, another ill-regarded attempt by the network to branch out into live action.
  • It's pretty difficult to talk about the Community episode "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons" today without mentioning the fact that Netflix pulled it from streaming due to complaints about the scene where Chang appears in what looks like blackface when trying to cosplay as a Drow Elf. This also started a conversation on the Drow themselves and if they are acceptable or should be altered to prevent incidents like this.
  • The Cosby Show, a once beloved African-American family sitcom, has likely had its merits overshadowed by Bill Cosby's sexual assaults against multiple women coming to light in the latter half of The New '10s (the impact on Cosby himself is covered in more detail on the Real Life page).
  • Discovery Channel and its associated networks have been particularly prone to this, especially in later years as they've moved away from a pure documentary format.
    • Clash of the Dinosaurs was one of the first Discovery Channel series to generate significant controversy, when it was revealed that one of the show's consultants, sauropod researcher Matthew Wedel, had been quote-mined by the production company to make it sound like he was saying the opposite of what he actually was.note 
    • Mermaids: The Body Found was a decent Speculative Documentary about how aquatic hominids might actually evolve, but today it's mostly remembered for tricking thousands of viewers into believing that mermaids were real. The only indication that it was a work of fiction was a very small disclaimer visible briefly during the opening, which many people watching it missed.
  • Doctor Who has been hit by this on a number of occasions over the years:
    • The 1966 story "The Celestial Toymaker" would generally be remembered as a middle-of-the-road Missing Episode once previously upheld as a classic thanks to faulty reviewers, if not for the fact that it contains a scene where a minor villain, played by a white actor, utters the n-word during a game of "eeny meeny miney moe." The BBC have had to go out of their way to censor the offending word in official releases of the story's surviving audio recording, but despite this the slur still dominates it, in part because while the Classic Series is no stranger to Values Dissonance, this is by and large considered the most blatant example by both fans and analysts.
    • The 1977 story "The Talons of Weng-Chiang" was considered by received fandom opinion for years to be one of the greatest ever, but starting from the beginning of the 21st century it became far more notorious for its Yellow Peril content, some of which is subverted or possibly ironic, but some of which is played very straight; the main Chinese character being played by a white actor in Yellowface doesn't help. As a result, practically any public mention of it nowadays will start a Flame War about whether it is racist or not, and whether the racist content outweighs the good things about the story to the point that it shouldn't be praised or recommended any more.
    • The entirety of the Sixth Doctor's run (1984-1986) is generally considered the absolute nadir of the show from a qualitative standpoint, but is far better known for the chaotic behind-the-scenes atmosphere during this period, marked by copious staff dysfunction and Creative Differences that led to Colin Baker becoming the only actor to be fired from the role of the Doctor and directly contributed to the show's eventual cancellation in 1989. To this day, the Sixth Doctor's tenure stands as a cautionary tale for later showrunners and British television producers as a whole, and among both Whovians and laypeople it's difficult to discuss seasons 22 and 23 without touching upon just how turbulent their production was.
    • In terms of specific material from Six's era, the non-canon special "A Fix With Sontarans", created as a crossover with the then-popular Jim'll Fix It, was previously remembered as a hokey one-off story done to appease the wishes of a young Whovian who was eager to appear on Doctor Who, but since 2012 has become primarily known for the close involvement of Jim'll Fix It presenter Jimmy Savile, revealed after his death to be one of the most prolific celebrity child predators in British history. The revelations motivated the BBC to ban the episode from re-releases, with later DVD releases of "The Two Doctors" excluding it (the original 2003 DVD having thrown it on as a special feature).
    • The 2014 Revival Series episode "Kill the Moon" is remembered less for its content or its status as a linchpin in the Doctor and Clara's character dynamic, and more for the huge Flame War that ensued among American fans and analysts over whether or not its premise was supposed to be an allegory for the abortion debate, which had picked up renewed steam around the time of the episode's airing, whether or not the story was "pro-life" or "pro-choice," and how well it seemed to handle its message. The show's staff denied any intentional connections to the abortion debate, and the controversy never quite hit the European side of the show's fanbase (due to the debate being nowhere as heated over there), but among US viewers the Accidental Aesop remains a defining element of the episode's perception.
    • The first series with Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteen Doctor, the first female Doctor, have been overshadowed by the backlash caused by the casting (similarly to how many female fans protested the casting of Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor back in the day, when it was expected that the Twelfth Doctor would be female). The second series caused even more fan arguments due to the major retcons made to the mythos and backstory of the Doctor, most notably the Doctor's new and world-changing origin story and how it contradicted and invalidated what came before in the eyes of many fans. The showrunner during Whittaker's tenure, Chris Chibnall, while initially welcomed when he was first announced as showrunner following the success of his previous show Broadchurch (which also featured Whittaker), soon became a very controversial figure in the Who fandom after it was unearthed that he had written earlier Who episodes that had been criticized for their less-than-stellar writing, alongside the first season of Torchwood.
  • Duck Dynasty has become far better known for the antics of its stars, most notoriously family patriarch Phil Robertson, who is known for his extreme far-right views. His most infamous manifestations thereof are of his two rants on the subject of atheism and homosexuality, and suggesting that African-Americans were happier as slaves, which caused many networks to take the show off their rotation, and at one point actually caused production to be temporarily suspended.
  • It's impossible to discuss The Dukes of Hazzard without bringing up the Confederate battle flag on the roof of "General Lee", the protagonists' car. The flag controversy really came to light after the 2015 Charleston church shooting, prompting TV Land to pull the show from its lineup and Warner Bros. to pull merchandise bearing the flag, including "General Lee" miniatures.
  • Empire got hit badly with this in February 2019 when one of the main actors, Jussie Smollett, was apparently attacked by a pair of Donald Trump supporters in a racist and homophobic hate crime. There was a huge outpouring of support for the actor from the entertainment industry and even politicians who decried the attack. Then the case took a turn for the bizarre when, two weeks later, the attackers were discovered to have been a pair of immigrants from Nigeria who worked as extras on the show and said Smollett paid them to pretend to attack him, resulting in a swift and angry backlash from former supporters. This hit the show's (already declining) ratings hard, and ultimately it was announced that the sixth season would be the last one. See the Music page for how this has affected Smollett himself.
  • The short-lived 1993 game show Family Secrets is best remembered for a "family" of contestants consisting of a father-daughter pair and a live-in girlfriend who posed as the father's wife. When the daughter's real mother found out about this, she got in touch with NBC and got the episode pulled before its broadcast date. The father and girlfriend did not receive their cash or their grand prize which would have been a cruise (although the daughter got to keep her prizes: a camera and a CD player). Already not helping its case, Family Secrets was eventually cancelled because not enough contestants were meeting eligibility requirements. It's also remembered as being one of NBC's last daytime game shows with the network giving them up for good one year later.
  • Ghostwatch, the one-off Halloween Special drama shown on BBC 1 in 1992, is better known for the controversy caused when a sizable chunk of the viewing audience thought it was real and the ensuing argument over whether this was the creators' desired effect than the fact that it's a damn fine ghost story. It makes frequent appearances on 'Underrated Horror Films' listicles as a result.
  • Growing Pains will forever be known for its Troubled Production, where its star Kirk Cameron demanded that the show be clean of everything even remotely obscene, including having series regular Julie McCullough fired for appearing in Playboy, after becoming a born-again Christian. This behind-the-scenes drama permanently tarnished his reputation; not even an apology could repair it. Since then, Cameron has become far more famous for his extreme views on religion, starring in the infamous Left Behind film series, and being the lead star, producer, and co-writer of the equally infamous Saving Christmas.
  • The single thing to be talked about Heathers is what many consider to be the offensive undertones of the Heathers' casting as a fat girl, a gender-queer, and biracial, while casting Veronica and JD as white, conventionally attractive and cisgender, which was widely criticized for giving the series the appearance of being a paranoid alt-right fantasy and which many saw as completely missing the point of the original film. In fact, no online review of the show goes by without mentioning it and no site featuring it is without this debate. Making matters worse was the show's glorified portrayal of school gun violence in an era where mass shootings were rampant across the United States. The Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, made this premise rather tasteless, forcing Paramount Network to delay the premiere of the series — which itself got cancelled after another high-profile high school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, and permanently got the series dropped from the network. Paramount ultimately reversed course and it was shown in an edited form almost half a year later — just days before a white nationalist stormed into a synagogue in Pittsburgh and killed eleven worshippers, forcing Paramount to make even more edits.
  • House of Cards was irreparably tarnished by its executive producer and lead star Kevin Spacey's sexual misconduct allegations in 2017. Not helping was Netflix's questionable response to it, shutting down production while still leaving the door open on finishing it, and also keeping the option for continuing the series without Spacey on the table. And then no fewer than eight crew members came forward stating that they had complained to the crew about Spacey making advances on them, only to be brushed off.
  • The The IT Crowd episode "The Speech" is mostly known for its negative portrayal of a trans woman, which Graham Linehan defended and refused to accept criticism of. Many feel that the backlash the episode received resulted in Linehan becoming a virulent anti-trans activist, resulting in Channel 4 banning the episode from syndication. Linehan's actions have also tainted the legacy of his earlier series, Father Ted, and to a lesser extent Black Books (as he only worked on the first series).
  • Insatiable was overshadowed by the controversy surrounding its premise, in which a fat girl (played by average-sized actress Debby Ryan in a fat suit) experiences dramatic weight loss after a case of Bully Brutality results in her jaw being wired shut, and carries out a plan to get revenge on her bullies. The series was accused of promoting dangerous myths about weight loss and a petition to cancel it gathered 120,000 signatures before the series even aired. And once the reviewers actually got to see the series, it was panned even further for its tone-deaf handling of the subject matter.
  • Jeopardy!:
    • The October 12, 2009 episode was the third game for 5-time champion Terry Linwood. However, one of his opponents was Jeff Kirby, who violated eligibility requirements as he had already competed on the show in 1999. The producers hadn't realized this until someone on the show's message board pointed out that he was wearing the same tie he had worn in his 1999 appearance. Because of him, this episode has been banned from reruns.
    • The "Kids' Week" games, which started in the late '90s, gradually fell victim to this. On July 31, 2013, a player on Kids' Week absolutely owned the game to the tune of $66,600. What do people best remember about this episode? One of his opponents was penalized for misspelling "Emancipation Proclamation" for his Final Jeopardy! response. In the days that followed, angry posts flooded the show's Facebook page, claiming that since children were playing the game, the judges should have been more lenient. Journalists and news websites also chimed in on the issue, with the contestant claiming he was robbed because of his spelling error. Never mind that he would've gotten only second place regardless and the controversy over the misspelling completely overshadowed the winner's huge haul. They tried another Kids' Week in December 2014, but a Stage Mom caused a stir with host Alex Trebek when she demanded that an act be re-shot. It didn't help that the latter fiasco happened around the same time Sony got hacked. Because of this, Jeopardy! hasn't done a Kids' Week since, and the series has all but distanced itself from them. However, it isn't immune to the occasional reference.
  • It's practically impossible to talk about Joy Junction nowadays — a Christian puppet show that aired during the 1990's — without mentioning the fact that series puppeteer and cast member Ronald Brown was sentenced to 20 years in jail in 2013 for not only possession of child pornography, but also planning to cannibalize a child.
  • The Kevin James sitcom Kevin Can Wait is probably best known for the ill-fated retool of the show in its second season, thanks to CBS' decision to fire Erinn Hayes, who played Kevin's wife on the show, and replacing her with James' King of Queens co-star Leah Remini in an attempt to sell it as a Spiritual Sequel to the earlier show. Hayes' character was subsequently killed off, and any attempt to address her death was poorly handled, with it only being mentioned in passing at the beginning of the season two premiere episode. The subsequent backlash gave the show some very negative publicity and may have played a factor in the show not getting renewed for a third season.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • The lead actor of Kamen Rider Super-1, Shunsuke Takasugi, who popularized the title role, basically ended his career when he scammed 50 million yen (about US $450,000) from his fans and didn't pay them back, and had to sell his Super-1 henshin belt prop to some Yakuza to earn some money. He failed to appear in court and has been missing and on the run ever since.
    • Tetsuo Kurata, main lead of Kamen Rider BLACK and its sequel RX, received similar allegations of making money off his Kamen Rider popularity by scamming fans and blocking them, only to later turn a 180 and state in his livestream podcast that he wouldn't talk about Kamen Rider anymore, around the time of its 50th anniversary no less.
  • The reality show Kid Nation is more well-known for accusations of child endangerment and being an Immoral Reality Show than the actual content of the episodes. While the only onscreen injuries were some minor bruises and burns, JonTron's interview with former contestant Jimmy revealed that the controversies and issues the detractors had weren't exactly unfounded. Additionally, the same interview revealed that there were several offscreen injuries that caused the producers to call an ambulance, such as some of the kids unintentionally drinking bleach and needing to get their stomachs pumped, and another one burning her face while trying to cook.
  • The second season of Lethal Weapon was undermined by reports about the constant dysfunction behind the scenes, with Damon Wayans and Clayne Crawford being at each other's throats and Fox being overly hesitant to rein in its stars' behavior. In the end, Crawford was fired, his character was killed off, and Seann William Scott was brought in to replace him in the third season. Unfortunately, said season was also its last.
  • Canadian teen sitcom Life with Derek is less known for the merits of the show itself than for the popular fan theory that lead characters Derek and Casey are in love with each other despite being stepsiblings, thus leading to tons of Incest Yay Shipping amongst its fandom.
  • During its run, Live PD was accused of sensationalizing low-level crimes, particularly ones committed by minorities, and glorifying the use of excessive police force. This resulted in A&E canceling the show in June 2020 shortly after the infamous death of George Floyd, the immediate aftermath of which also caused the more popular COPS to go on a hiatus. Not helping was the revelation that the show had destroyed a tape showing a black man being killed in police custody after being arrested for a broken headlight.
  • The Man in the High Castle was one of Amazon Prime Video's earliest successes, running for 4 seasons from 2015 to 2019 and receiving tons of critical acclaim. However, it will always be remembered for a P.R. mishap wherein an entire New York City Subway car was covered with Nazi and Imperial Japanese imagery as part of its advertising campaign.
  • Maude ran for six seasons, and was a ratings hit throughout its run, but today it is remembered for the abortion episode and little else. This was very evident when Bea Arthur died, and reporters mentioned virtually nothing else about the show.
  • Megan Wants a Millionaire was a very short-lived reality show, in which a former Rock of Love contestant had seventeen wealthy men compete for her love. If the show is remembered at all today, it's for the fact that one of the finalists turned out to be a suspected murderer, which caused VH1 to suspend and then cancel the show.
  • Million Dollar Extreme Presents: World Peace became overshadowed by the fact that the comedy troupe that created the show have been accused of having ties to white supremacist and alt-right groups. As a result, a number of Adult Swim employees threatened to quit unless the show was cancelled, which it ultimately was.
  • A couple Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes have this attached:
    • The Sidehackers was selected early in the second season, before anyone on the crew thought it might be important to make sure the films would be suitable for television. The film's first half with its goofy motorcycle races and cheesy romance scenes got them to commit to using it, only to discover that after the point no one had watched past, the hero's girlfriend is graphically raped and murdered, with the film shifting into a gritty revenge flick from then forward. The scene was awkwardly cut from the episode, and from then on they made sure to always know a movie from beginning to end before deciding to use it.
    • The villain of The Brute Man is played by Rondo Hatton, who suffered from acromegaly which disfigured him and eventually killed him a few years after the film was made. Many fans (and Mary Jo Pehl, who considers this episode an Old Shame) felt uncomfortable that the show was inviting them to laugh at his condition.
    • The show's fan base is also notorious for one of the biggest and nastiest flame wars from the early days of the World Wide Web, over the change in host from Joel to Mike. It was so devastating to the online community that the topic was banned almost everywhere until several years after the show ended.
    • The show being made at a time when homosexuality and other related issues were largely considered Acceptable Targets for comedy naturally has resulted in quite a few jokes that suffer from serious Values Dissonance now. The biggest offender is the short Mr. B Natural, in which the title character is played by a woman whose sexiness is very much played up, resulting in many, many lines that can now come off as transphobic. It didn't help at all that the short became one of the most popular things the show ever did thanks to just how bizarre it is, and Mr. B even became an occasional drop-in character, causing it to maintain a very high profile among fans and likely one of the first things a new viewer will check out.
  • Even supposedly family-friendly shows such as Canadian "tween" drama The Next Step (and by extension, its Spin-Off Lost and Found Music Studios) are not exempt from this. The actress Jordan Clark (who some people watch the show for — she is considered a Ms. Fanservice) caused controversy with her slightly raunchy act in Dancing with the Stars, which caused no end of ire with Moral Guardians and Think of the Children!-type groups. Word of God is she did it to avoid Contractual Purity.
  • Nickelodeon's Nick Studio 10 block is better known for the fact that it randomly interrupted the middle of a show, causing viewers to miss part of the episode, than for anything else about it.
  • Amongst British fans of Noddy's Toyland Adventures, The Noddy Shop is remembered for taking the stories from Toyland Adventures and putting them in an unrelated show with humans and puppets.
  • Palace has attracted controversy because notorious plagiarist Yu Zheng wrote it. Tong Hua, author of the novel adapted into Scarlet Heart, accused him of plagiarising some of her work for Palace — which makes the comparisons between the two series Harsher in Hindsight.
  • The most remembered facet of The Pat Sajak Show, other than the fact that Americans got to see the host of Wheel of Fortune cut his teeth in the talk show industry, was the March 30, 1990 episode. At this point, the show was employing guest hosts on Fridays, and Rush Limbaugh happened to be the guest host that night. He entered the audience to gauge feedback on an anti-abortion bill in Idaho, causing him to get heckled for several minutes, to the point that he had to cut to commercial and conduct his interview with the next guest in another studio. He then began to speak on affirmative action in the next segment, but once again had to cut to commercial due to further heckling, and conducted the final segment with the audience cleared out. Limbaugh later claimed that the hecklers were planted as a publicity stunt. The show also ended up being cancelled while Sajak was on vacation overseas.
  • If people don't remember Press Your Luck for the Whammy, then they remember it for Michael Larson's infamous memorization of the Big Board's light patterns, resulting in him getting a huge haul.
  • Terry Kneiss' perfect bid during the December 16, 2008 episode of The Price Is Right will forever be tainted by accusations of cheating by the production staff and Drew Carey before they decided Kneiss should keep the prizes.
  • Dennis James' controversial incident with the Cliff Hangers game during a nighttime syndicated episode of The Price Is Right in 1976, when he shouted out "There goes Fritz!" when the contestant lost the game and the mountain climber fell over the cliff, unaware that Janice Pennington's husband, whose name was also Fritz, had vanished while mountain climbing in Afghanistan. Janice ran off and remained backstage crying for the rest of the episode.
  • The quiz show scandals of the 1950s mean that multiple game shows of the decade have had their reputations permanently tarnished due to revelations of behind-the-scenes rigging. 21 was particularly hit by this, since the scandals started when former contestant Herb Stempel revealed that he'd allowed his opponent Charles Van Doren to win at the request of producer Dan Enright.
  • Netflix series The Ranch was affected by this when the company seemed to be in no hurry to remove Danny Masterson after multiple rape accusations. This came to a head with a jaw-dropping moment from former Netflix executive Andy Yeatman, who was questioned about it by a woman at a soccer game and blithely replied the company didn't believe the accusations, only for her to reveal that she was one of the accusers. This is why Yeatman is now a former Netflix executive. The upshot was the number of people just plain confused at how you can possibly say anything to that question beyond "Legal has advised us not to talk about it." Masterson himself would be written out, with Dax Shepard being hired to replace him as a new character.
  • NBC's Rise (2018) was nominally based on a non-fiction book about a gay man (albeit closeted at the time) who revolutionized a high school theater department. His equivalent in the show is straight, which wasn't helped at all by producer Jason Katims making what he later regretted as an extremely poor choice of words when he said he wanted to "tell my own story," which many LGBTQ advocates took as him saying he couldn't possibly relate to a sexuality outside of his own, when in fact he was just commenting on how the original book was just a jumping off point for the show's fictional story (enough that Katims has a "created by" credit rather than "developed by"). The show did feature several prominent non-straight characters and got the blessing of GLAAD for their positive portrayal, but many had a hard time getting past that initial impression.
  • Ronan Farrow Today managed to get hit with controversy twice in just its first few weeks on the air in 2014. First, he was overshadowed by his sister Dylan publicly reiterating her allegations that she'd been molested by their estranged father Woody Allen, reigniting the scandal it caused when they first went public in the '90s. Then, three days after his show premiered, he was awarded the Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism and Exploration. While the award was unrelated to his work on his show (Farrow had previously worked for years in a variety of roles that might justify his getting the award) the fact that the award came so soon after the premiere of his show made him look like an over-privileged celebrity scion, an image that he wasn't able to shake, particularly not after someone released a memo to the press declaring that Farrow would not take "off-topic" questions during the pressers for the Cronkite Award ceremony. Incidentally, his show suffered from chronic low ratings and lasted only a year. In a happier note for Farrow, he would be lauded years later for his Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting of the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse scandal, which in turn led to the #MeToo movement (which itself got the allegations against Allen taken much more seriously by the public). By 2019, Farrow was one of the most respected journalists in the United States, with Ronan Farrow Today barely being remembered, so it seems that he was ultimately able to shake off the fallout from it.
  • Afton Williamson quit The Rookie (2018) after one season, accusing the show runner of completely ignoring her complaints about the racism she was subjected to by crew members, and sexual harassment from an unnamed recurring guest star until he outright tried to assault her.
  • Roseanne had the distinction of having this happening both during its original run and its revival:
    • The series' original run is more famous for how gimmicky its last season was, before the twist of the series finale, where it was revealed that the entire series itself is actually a story written by the title character about her life, and the whole final season was outright invented by her to cope with the death of her husband, who died between seasons. It says something that the revival completely undid said reveal. Even before the last season, the show was no stranger to controversy, thanks to a Sweeps Week Lesbian Kiss and a widely condemned rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" by the show's star Roseanne Barr at a baseball game, something the show lampshaded more than once afterward.
    • Its revival is more known for Barr's tweet directed at Obama administration advisor Valerie Jarrett, in which she compared her to a character from Planet of the Apes, and her subsequent firing. This led to the cancellation of the revival and the creation of an After Show, The Conners.
  • Seinfeld got in major hot water with the Puerto Rican community when "The Puerto Rican Day" featured Kramer burning the Puerto Rican flag, despite it being an accident. The DVD set features interviews of everyone lamenting how the joke was blown out of proportion, and cast such a pall over the show right as it was ending.
  • The Secret Government: The Constitution in Crisis, a Bill Moyers documentary, was the subject of a very serious controversy to the point where it painted a bright red target on PBS's back even well into the '90s, with Republicans using the documentary as an excuse to call for zeroing out funding for the network.
  • The Shakespeare Plays is best known for its Troubled Production, which saw two changes in producers and several delays, reshoots, and edits. Among the individual plays:
    • Romeo and Juliet, the series premiere (and the third episode to be broadcast in North America), attracted some unwanted attention when female lead Rebecca Saire was banned from being interviewed over harsh comments about director Alvin Rakoff.
    • The Taming of the Shrew, in addition to the controversy mentioned in the Theatre section, has the distinction of the character of Petruchio being altered from a slapstick character to more of a psychological Puritan type at the insistence of male lead John Cleese, and being a production perfect for the coming of the neoconservative '80s, something which was not lost on critics.
    • The Merchant of Venice, with the baggage mentioned in the Theatre section, attracted a lot of protest from Jewish groups in the United States, including the Anti-Defamation League. Some even went so far as to try to pressure PBS to pull the broadcast from its schedule. It didn't work; using lessons learned from the Death of a Princess controversy the year before, PBS went ahead with the broadcast, citing a need for both sides of the issue to be heard and also pointing out that both producer Jonathan Miller and the actor playing Shylock, Warren Mitchell, just so happened to be Jewish themselves.
    • Othello is best known as the episode that was delayed because producer Cedric Messina had tried to cast African-American actor James Earl Jones in the title role, resulting in the threat of union action. It took two seasons before Messina's replacement, Miller, was able to produce the play with a different actor in the role; curiously, the casting of a white man as Othello wasn't met with as much controversy as the uninitiated would expect. One thing about the final product that did attract controversy, at least in the United States, was allegations of a bad sound mix triggered by a conversation between Honest Iago and Cassio.
    • Titus Andronicus is best known for being broadcast well after the rest of Series 7 due to union action. The fact that it's Bloodier and Gorier than the rest of Shakespeare's ouvre naturally led to rumours that the BBC got a little squeamish about its ultra-violent content and got into disagreements with producer Shaun Sutton about censorship.
  • Allison Mack's involvement in a sex cult within the multi-level marketing company NXIVM brought a lot of controversy to the series Smallville. As a result, many people have either been turned off of the series or can no longer see Mack's character, Chloe Sullivan, as an adorable or well-intentioned girl.
  • Star Trek: Discovery:
    • Most discussions about the series are destined to be overshadowed by CBS' highly unpopular decision to make it exclusive to their paid streaming service CBS All Access, meaning that Star Trek fans have to pay a monthly subscription fee to watch it, even though CBS is a broadcast network. It doesn't help that the network aired the pilot episode on regular TV to entice viewers, only to end it with a cliffhanger; prior to that first episode, most trailers for the show downplayed the fact that it could only be watched online, leading many viewers to feel cheated.
    • After the show actually started airing, it developed a reputation for killing off minority characters. Especially notorious was Michelle Yeoh's Captain Georgiou being killed in the opening two-parter, after the network themselves had spent months patting themselves on the back for having a badass female Asian captain in the show, as well as one half of the franchise's first confirmed gay relationship, Dr. Hugh Culber. While both characters actually came Back from the Dead in various ways, several people had already lost their jobs — including someone who tried to handle the Bury Your Gays element by spoiling the fact that Culber would return.
  • The Made-for-TV Movie Tears and Laughter: The Joan and Melissa Rivers Story is remembered primarily for its controversial premise - a dramatic re-enactment of Joan Rivers and her daughter Melissa's struggles to come to grips with the suicide of Edgar Rosenberg, Rivers' husband and Melissa's father - with the lead roles being played by Joan and Melissa themselves. While Joan argued that the film was her and Melissa's way of coping with their grief and rebuilding their relationship, critics saw it as a ghoulish attempt to wring publicity out of a very personal tragedy.
  • As of 2021, the 2018 Korean drama 'Time' is becoming more known for the on-set mistreatment of lead actress Seohyun by male lead Kim Jung-hyun during the filming than the drama itself, such as refusing to scene romantic scenes with Seohyun, as well as using wet tissues after touching Seohyun in scenes, which caused her to cry. The scandal was further complicated when Dispatch revealed that Seo Ye-ji, Kim Jung-hyun's then-girlfriend, may have been the reason for his behaviour on the set of Time.
  • Even non-fans of Top Gear are familiar with the many accusations of misogyny and racism in the show, particularly at the hands of former host Jeremy Clarkson.
  • The BBC's pop music showcase Top of the Pops ran from 1964-2006 (with annual Christmas specials continuing to this day), and its performances (both "live" and recorded) included numerous cultural landmark moments. Unfortunately, it's nearly impossible to talk about the series today without mentioning that its most frequent presenter, Jimmy Savile, was revealed after his death to be one of the most prolific sexual predators in British history, and that at least 19 of the incidents of which he was accused happened during taping of Top of the Pops; Dave Lee Travis, a regular presenter in the 1970s and 1980s, was likewise hit with multiple accusations of sexual assault, one of which led to a conviction. All episodes presented by Savile and/or Travis have been permanently pulled from reruns, and numerous TV critics continue to question the sensitivity of airing even the episodes with other presenters.
  • Donald Trump's remarks about Mexican immigrants in his opening campaign speech for the 2016 presidential election led to such backlash that it resulted in both the Miss Universe pageant and his show The Apprentice taken off of NBC. His continued remarks, controversial views, unexpectedly successful election as the President of the United States in 2016, scandal-ridden career, campaign, and presidency, in which he became the first President to be impeached twice, once after he had left office due to a failed coup after losing re-election, has resulted in the programs that were once his largest direct contribution to pop culture becoming just mild footnotes in his story.
  • Two and a Half Men was already a divisive show amongst viewers, but it will likely forever be linked to the often bizarre and sometimes even dangerous personal behavior of its star Charlie Sheen, including but not limited to numerous drug and alcohol-induced tirades, his views on 9/11, and allegations of Domestic Abuse and rape. He eventually proved so difficult to work with that he was unceremoniously fired and his character killed off and replaced by Ashton Kutcher.
  • The 1980s sitcom Valerie will forever be known for its controversial firing of lead Valerie Harper after season two (she later sued NBC and the producers for wrongful firing and won), leading to her character getting killed off and replaced by Sandy Duncan, subsequently leading to the show being retitled Valerie's Family and later The Hogan Family. The show managed to last four seasons without Harper, producing enough episodes for reruns, but has otherwise been unsuccessful in syndication. The controversy even overshadows the fact that the series was a Star-Making Role for Jason Bateman, who played one of Harper's sons.
  • Takalani Sesame, the South African version of Sesame Street, is best known for featuring Kami, a HIV-positive character. This makes sense, since HIV is a major issue in South Africa, but it was unfortunately misinterpreted by some people as the character being added to the American Sesame Street, which sparked outrage from homophobic Moral Guardians who associate HIV and AIDS with homosexuality. If it weren't for this controversy, it's unlikely many people outside of South Africa would even know this show exists.


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