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  • Most people know 6ix9ine (real name Daniel Hernandez) for his public feuds with other celebrities, his aggressive and often violent behavior, and his convictions, for which he got all slaps on the wrists for, of using a child in a sexual performance, being involved in the activity of Nine Trey Gangsters (which included racketeering and conspiracy to commit a murder), and becoming a government snitch than the fact that he's even a musician at all. Perhaps disturbingly enough, he has been involved in a number of children's charities and even spent a day with a terminally ill eight-year old girl who wanted to see him; the reason why he wasn't flagged as a sex offender was a plea bargain he applied to lessen his sentence.
  • Absu was once a well-respected underground black/thrash metal stalwart, but lately they are more widely known for the 2020 controversy wherein Melissa "Vis Crom" Moore came out as a trans woman and was fired by founder Russ "Proscriptor McGovern" Givens for that reasonnote . Moore also revealed that she had written and recorded an entire Absu album that would never see the light of day as a result of her firing. To add insult to injury, Givens later announced that Absu would rebrand as Apsu, taking several shots at Moore in the process. Many metalheads did not take too kindly to this, as the announcement was met with a great deal of scorn over Givens' actions and mockery over his pretentious and unnecessarily flowery speaking style.
  • Although Ace of Base is still a respected name in dance music, they received a great deal of unwanted attention in the 90s when it was learned that band member Ulf Ekberg had dabbled in neo-Nazism in his youth. While Ekberg regrets this phase, it was still enough to get the entire band labeled as neo-Nazis and blacklisted from many radio stations.
  • Ryan Adams had racked up almost constant critical acclaim for his music, but he had always been better known for his erratic Jerkass behaviour, his hard drinking, and allegedly having No Sense of Humornote . However, this was nothing compared to 2019, when he was hit with numerous sexual abuse accusations, including from his ex-wife Mandy Moore. It was also alleged that his P.R. team had strong-armed an unidentified publication into cutting part of an interview with another accuser, folk singer Phoebe Bridgers, where she detailed the alleged abuse. Several radio stations immediately started dropping his work, a scheduled tour was cancelled, and plans to release four albums over the course of 2019 were shelved. While Adams would later resurface with a public apology and surprise released two of those planned albums from December 2020 onwards, nearly all major media outlets refused to touch them, indicating that the damage to his reputation still hadn't been undone.
  • While All That Remains has a devoted fanbase, they've also faced a lot of criticism for frontman Phil LaBonte's outspoken right-wing views and repeated feuds with other musicians.
  • AOA had once been a well-known girl group/band in the K-Pop industry, originally consisting of eight members in 2012, but have since gone down to four. However, their popularity took a hit in July 2020 when former member Mina, who left in 2019, made a series of Instagram posts detailing her experiences with being on the receiving end of bullying by one of the older members of the group for ten years, to the point of becoming suicidal, which influenced her decision to leave the group. Things escalated when Jimin, the main rapper and leader of the group, responded to the accusations by posting "Fiction" to her Instagram stories before deleting it, and Mina promptly exposed Jimin as the bully. The situation only worsened when Mina posted that she was visited by all the AOA members at her home, and Jimin had given her a very disingenuous apology to her. Finally, AOA's popularity took another major blow in the following month, when Mina was hospitalized twice after attempting suicide; the first one following her lashing out at others on Instagram and telling them they didn't know the extent of the bullying, and the second one following her posting pictures of the attempt and blaming the founder of FNC Entertainment, Jimin, and fellow member Seolhyun for driving her to her attempt. By then, the damage had been done, and Jimin quickly became a target of criticism from various fans before FNC Entertainment made her retire not just from the group, but from the K-pop industry as well, and it is highly unlikely that AOA will ever recover from the scandal.
  • American metalcore band As I Lay Dying was once one of the most successful acts in the American metal scene. Then frontman Tim Lambesis was arrested for attempting to hire a hitman to kill his wife, and their popularity evaporated overnight. While Lambesis has attempted to clean up his act after being paroled, it's doubtful that they'll ever reach the heights they did before his arrest.
  • Iggy Azalea is much better known for the controversy over her cultural appropriationnote  and making intolerant and homophobic remarks than she is for her music.
  • Movie composer Klaus Badelt was a rising star in the world of film scoring for a time, with his work on the soundtrack for Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl garnering him enormous praise. But then it was revealed that most of the work was actually done by his mentor Hans Zimmer, with Badelt simply claiming the credit. His reputation never recovered, and he now largely works on indies and straight-to-DVD movies.
  • Azealia Banks burst onto the music scene in 2011, when her debut single "212" earned critical raves and positioned her to be one of the next big things in hip hop. However, since then she's become far better known for her crass and confrontational behavior on social media and real-life violent incidents than she is for her music. Not helping is her defense of controversial individuals (such as accusing Bill Cosby's alleged rape victims of lying) and throwing homophobic and racist slurs at anyone she got into fights with (notably former One Direction member Zayn Malik, who is of Pakistani descent, whom she referred to as a "curry-scented bitch" and implicitly threatened with violence by making reference to smuggling firearms into the UK, which got her kicked off of a festival bill and earned her a lengthy suspension from Twitter). She's been kicked off at least three social media platforms, and her musical career has suffered as a result since no one wants to work with her or book her in concerts anymore.
  • Transgender DJ and model Munroe Bergdorf, already popular among the gay community for her music, had her popularity boosted when she became L'Oréal's first transgender model in 2016. Her career then took a huge hit when she made a long rant on Facebook referring to all white people as colonialists and racists, which many people found confusing due to her being biracial on her mother's side. This has cost her a large amount of respect from her fans and getting revoked from L'Oréal.
  • Christopher Nicholas Bertke, better known by his stage name "Pogo", rose to fame with his musical remixes of various sources of media, particularly early Disney films, on YouTube that consisted entirely of sound pieces from said media with little-to-no additional music or sound pieces added. However, his career took a hit in 2018 when a video from two years prior leaked of him stating that he hates gay people and praising the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting. After backlash and fan loss ensued, Pogo claimed in later statements that the video was a satirical piece lampooning the far right that was never intended for public release and taken out of context by the Internet, although he did admit to it being in bad taste.
  • Fans and non-fans of the Japanese Alt Idol genre group BiS remember the Take That! to mainstream idol theme that went too far. Some MV's and lyrics have loads of Nightmare Fuel, squicktastic and nearly pornographic premises, especially the infamous MV of "My Ixxx", which some idols perform almost naked in Aokigahara, a forest which is infamous for many suicide victims who hanged themselves. All of this, of course, led to the disbandment of this group.
  • While they're still relatively successful, British boy band Blue gained this reputation among Americans after an interview gone wrong. They were in New York City when they witnessed the World Trade Center attack on September 11, 2001, and the following month, the group was being interviewed by the British newspaper The Sun. When they were asked about it, singer Lee Ryan, trying not to relive what they'd seen, said something to the effect of, "We don't want to talk about New York. Let's talk about something else like the whales dying." However, he was (allegedly) misquoted as saying people were "blowing it out of proportion" and they should focus on saving the whales instead. Unsurprisingly, many Americans who supported The War on Terror saw the statement as insensitive to the victims of the attacks. Ryan apologized for his remarks and donated to charities designed to support the families of the victims, but that gaffe (along with some others he made in the years since) still gets brought up in the media from time to time.
  • Rapper Bo B was a pretty big name at the beginning of The New '10s thanks to hit songs such as "Nothin on You", "Magic", "Airplanes" and "Price Tag". However, by the middle of the decade, he became more known for espousing conspiracist and pseudoscientific beliefs and recording a diss track for Neil deGrasse Tyson which was overwhelmingly panned and ridiculed. His newer albums have had no impact whatsoever, and his earlier hits are now mostly associated with their featured artists such as Bruno Mars and Hayley Williams.
  • Although New Edition is regarded as a Cult Classic among the new jack swing genre, ask anyone outside the R&B fandom about member Bobby Brown and they will often bring up his turbulent marriage to Whitney Houston, which was plagued with cases of Domestic Abuse, as well as his extensive drug use and troubles with the law, and the many scandals surrounding his now-deceased daughter Bobbi Kristina.
  • In the mid-2000s, Chris Brown seemed like he was going to be the next big male Pop superstar, complete with having a dream relationship with Rihanna. Then he savagely beat her up before the two of them were supposed to perform at the 2009 Grammys. Since then, he is mostly known for beating his girlfriend (and not really taking any real responsibility for it) and not being able to stay out of trouble with law enforcement.
  • Jackson Browne has never quite lived down the allegation that he was physically abusive to his ex-girlfriend Daryl Hannah. While the claim has never been proven and no charges were ever filed, it still continues to hang over him to this day.
  • Anita Bryant was a moderately successful singer in the 1960s, with four top 40 hits. The only thing most people remember her for today is her Save Our Children campaign against gay rights in Florida in the late 1970s. Her crusade effectively killed what was left of her entertainment career, with her career and crusade becoming the butt of many jokes throughout the remainder of the decade and into the early 1980s.
  • The Norwegian music project Burzum, while remaining popular among black metal fans, is also known for the fact that its creator, Varg Vikernes, is an outspoken homophobe, church burner, and white supremacist who killed Mayhem band member Euronymous and claimed it was in self-defense, despite stabbing Euronymous twenty-three times.
  • To most people, The Chicks (previously the Dixie Chicks) are known more for their feud with Toby Keith, and for getting completely blacklisted by country radio after lead singer Natalie Maines criticized then-President George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq by saying she was ashamed to be from the same state as him, than most of their musical output. And even that is known mainly for the controversial "Goodbye Earl", interpreted by detractors as a glorification of murder, than by any of their actual hits.
  • Eric Clapton's reputation has been tarnished due to an incident at a 1976 concert in Birmingham, England, where he became drunk, made several racist and xenophobic comments, and praised far-right anti-immigrant Parliament member Enoch Powell, who was infamous for his extremely racist "Rivers of Blood" speech. Since Clapton was drunk when he made those comments, it's widely accepted that he doesn't actually advocate what he said, but Clapton neglecting to publicly denounce his comments even after four decades is more difficult to ignore. Finally in 2017, he appeared to express regret for his drunken outburst, but many refused to forgive him since his squarely blaming alcoholism for his outburst in Birmingham came off as Never My Fault.
  • In his heyday, Spade Cooley was known as "the King of Western Swing". But today, he's more known for killing his second wife, Ella Mae Evans.
  • Corelia was once a respected Progressive Metal/Post-Hardcore band thanks to their 2011 debut album, Nostalgia, which was extremely well-received by most of those who listened to it. However, starting in 2015, and especially between 2016 and 2020, they became better known for their Indiegogo campaign, which raised over $30,000 for their next album, only for them to seemingly vanish, leading their fans to debate whether the album was stuck in Development Hell, and if the band had just scammed them. The last the public heard of them for nearly four years was them denying the scam allegations in October of 2016. Afterwards, it was radio silence until April 2020, when an unrelated producer impersonated a member of the band, claiming that he'd release the album later in the month. This finally forced the remaining band members to come out of hiding and issue an apology, while also explaining the reason why the album was delayed for so long (severe mental health issues and the departure of a member). A rough demo version of the album, New Wilderness, was finally released in May of 2020, and partial refunds were given to Indiegogo backers, which helped put this drama to rest. Still, for several years between the crowdfunding campaign and the album's release, it was nearly impossible to talk about Corelia's music without starting a debate about whether or not they were scammers.
  • "Bogus" Ben Covington is known for how he got his nickname. To elaborate, he used to be known as "Blind" Ben Covington until it was revealed he was only pretending to be blind — an act he started during his days as a busker in an attempt to get more money.
  • Tommy "Vext" Cummings was once a respected hard rock and metal singer who was noteworthy for being one of the most famous black men in otherwise extremely white genres, and had become a mainstream face when Bad Wolves took off, but he is now known far more for his outspoken support of now-former President Donald Trump, his public espousing of conspiracy theories regarding Black Lives Matter and claims that racism was "manufactured", and his extremely acrimonious departure from Bad Wolves at the beginning of 2021 (where he claimed that the other members conspired with management to fire him and steal rights to the band and their song catalog that he allegedly owned due to his political beliefs), as well as his repeated attempts to create public spats with the remaining members of Bad Wolves and particularly Doc Coyle, who has maintained that Cummings' firing was a long time coming for many reasons, and that what most of what he has publicly said is an outright lienote .
  • Plácido Domingo, a Spanish opera singer and conductor, as well as one of the Three Tenors, had been one of the most prestigious and acclaimed operatic tenors of the 20th century with a wide and extensive repertoire to his credit, and with significant success as a crossover artist as well. He was also well-known for his efforts to help young opera singers, including starting and running Operalia, an international singing competition that has helped launch the careers of several opera singers. However, his career was damaged severely in August 2019, when multiple women came forward with accusations of sexual harassment that spanned three decades from the late 1980s. Today, Domingo's reputation has been tarnished, and it is highly unlikely that he will ever know the same recognition he once did decades ago.
  • Jason Donovan used to be famous for his music back when he was a young heartthrob singer, but then in 1992, he sued a magazine for spreading gossip about his sexuality. While he did win and he was right that the rumors are not true, many people have bashed him due to thinking that he was homophobic, thus causing his further music to not fare well like it used to. Fortunately, this has calmed down over time, and he didn't alienate all of his fans, but the damage was still done and some people still hate him for this to this day, but it's very obscure nowadays.
    • Some people also know him more for the drug binges he used to do back in the 1990s than his music or acting.
  • Producer Dr. Luke is much better known for the accusations of sexually assaulting Kesha, and the ensuing legal battle with her, than for the music he produced. On the other hand, Dr. Luke also gets hit with the flipside of this trope: his music is deliberately So Okay, It's Average, so it's not like there's anything one could remember about it. His preference for over-simplified pop is showcased not only by the clients that remained under his control — Katy Perry, Jessie J, and Miley Cyrus amongst others (though Kim Petras, of whom he has worked with, has garnered praise) — but by how Kesha's sound matured dramatically after Sony Music removed her from his oversight.
  • If Country Music singer Holly Dunn is remembered for anything other than her Signature Song "Daddy's Hands", then it's probably for her 1990 single "Maybe I Mean Yes". The song was the subject of controversy due to some Moral Guardians misconstruing its lyrics as condoning date rape ("When I say no I mean maybe, or maybe I mean yes") despite the song having nothing to do with such a subject. Dunn withdrew the song, but the damage to her career had already been done.
  • Eagles of Death Metal were already notable for being at the center of the terrorist Bataclan massacre in 2015, but nowadays are more infamous for bassist Jesse Hughes' rant against the March for Our Lives student protests where he accused them of using the tragedy to seek attention. This hurt the band's popularity dearly and made Hughes widely hated outside of right-wing circles. He also accused the Bataclan security team of conspiring in the attack, and though he quickly apologized was hit with a lifetime ban when the club reopened a year later.
  • While The Faceless had managed to hide some of their behind-the-scenes struggles with their rising success in the late 2000s and early 2010s, the band gradually began to have a harder and harder time hiding their dysfunction that culminated in literally the entire band save for mainman Michael Keene leaving around the end of 2014. Over the next few years, the band became infamous for their out-of-control turnover, many tour cancellations, and constant and very public drama with former members (including a public spat between Keene and former drummer Chason Westmoreland after the latter Rage Quit right before Summer Slaughter 2017 that forced the band to get a fill-in with less than a day's notice, and infamously got Keene's own mother to join in on a public Facebook fight to defend her son). 2018 wound up being the true nadir of their career, as Keene lost another full lineup and was publicly castigated by former guitarist Justin McKinney, who tore into him for his out-of-control drug issues and refusal to take responsibility or get help, along with his pathological laziness and ingratitude, all of which was echoed by ex-vocalist Ken Sorceron. This was followed by a "performance" at a festival that June where the band showed up hours after they were supposed to, took another hour to set up, and played an atrocious set for only twenty minutes despite being slotted for an hour, followed by a poorly-attended summer headlining tour (including at least one date where they played to less than thirty people by the time they hit the stage). While they took some steps to restore their image over the next year, the image of The Faceless by the turn of the decade was still largely that of a band that embarrassed itself at every opportunity.
  • If you've ever heard of the American Nu Metal band Flaw, chances are it's not because of their music, but for these two separate events:
    • After the release of Because of the Brave in 2019, it was discovered that "Wake Up" was plagiarized from an instrumental posted by You Tube musician Douglas Patrick. Eventually, it turned out that a good portion from the songs of this album were lifted from other musicians, and that band had gone as far as to actually buy a song by another YouTuber named Riff Master T and rework it into "Conquer This Climb" without credit. Singer Chris Volz posted a statement addressing the situation, but then, guitarist Tommy Gibbons accidentally outed himself has the main culprit. Even though he apologized, the band parted ways with him, probably as a means of damage control. And despite Chris Volz promising compensation to the affected artists, nothing seems to have been done yet...
    • Chris Volz himself got in hot water after he used the N-word onstage during a concert in Chicago in early 2021. His since-privated apology didn't make things better, as he claimed that the slur he used was not racist, and he also blamed "cancel culture" for the reaction it caused. This incident nonetheless became a case of Role-Ending Misdemeanor thanks to Noble Steed Music halting distribution of Volz's solo album and the two albums of his other band Five.Main.Bolt.
  • DJ Alan Freed played a major role in popularizing rock and roll music and even gave the genre its name. But it's hard to talk about him without bringing up his involvement in the payola scandals of the early 1960s, which destroyed his career.
  • Back in The '90s, Wyclef Jean and Lauryn Hill broke out onto the hip hop scene as members of The Fugees and eventually broke away from the band to pursue promising solo careers. However, neither artist is known these days for their music. Jean became a pariah after he was accused of misappropriating charitable donations meant for earthquake victims in his native Haiti, while Hill's musical output has been hampered by a Creator Breakdown and short stint in prison for tax evasion.

  • Renaissance composer Carlo Gesualdo is better known for brutally killing his first wife and her lover after catching them in flagrante delicto than he is for his music.
  • Russian composer Alexander Glazunov enjoyed a mostly good reputation throughout his lifetime, and in recent years people have started paying attention to his music again, but he is still more known today for his alcoholism than for his music. His reputation as an alcoholic was solidified when he conducted the disastrous 1897 première of Symphony No. 1 in D Minor by Sergei Rachmaninoff that led to the latter falling into depression from the scathing reviews (the Symphony has since been Vindicated by History), where he was accused of being full-on drunk while conducting, not helped by the orchestra being pitifully under-rehearsed for the performance. Dmitri Shostakovich would later say that Glazunov regularly sipped a bottle of alcohol while teaching him. It has never been confirmed if Glazunov really was drunk that day he premièred Rachmaninoff's First Symphony, and an under-rehearsed orchestra premièring a full-scale symphony would be enough to guarantee disaster, but the accusation stuck and has dogged his posthumous reputation ever since.
  • Gary Glitter was once a famed glam rocker in the 1970s, with his mostly instrumental song "Rock and Roll, Part 2" being played as a popular cheering song at American sporting events for several decades. Nowadays, however, he is perhaps known only by the fact that he was arrested in 1997 for possession of child pornography, which was then followed by multiple scandals involving him sexually abusing minors. Not helped was his friendship with the disgraced Jimmy Savile, also infamous for similar reasons.
  • Good English had once been an up-and-coming girl band in the indie scene of Dayton, Ohio. Today, they are best remembered for their drummer, Leslie Rasmussen, writing a very victim-blaming letter to judge Aaron Persky about her childhood friend, the convicted rapist Brock Turner, who got a ridiculously lenient sentence despite having sexually assaulted an unconscious woman. The backlash from the letter was enough to get them dropped from several festivals and engagements, and the likelihood of the band making a successful comeback today is highly unlikely.
  • Jim Gordon, one of the most prolific and well-regarded session drummers of the 1960s and 70s, is unfortunately also known for murdering his mother and subsequently being diagnosed with schizophrenia. Gordon was sentenced to 16 years to life in prison.
  • Great White was a well-known hard rock band in the 80s with multiple hit songs. However, during Jack Russell's 2003 tour (where he performed with a backing band named "Jack Russell's Great White", performing both Great White's songs and some of Jack's original work), his tour manager (or Jack and the band themselves, depending on the source) was caught at several venues igniting pyrotechnics during "Desert Moon" without permission of the venue owners. His recklessness with pyrotechnics for the song ended up resulting in disaster when on February 20, 2003 at a show at The Station in West Warwick, Rhode Island the pyrotechnics ignited non-fireproof soundproofing material on the walls around the stage, causing a fire that burnt down the venue and killed 100 people, including the touring band's lead guitarist Ty Longley and WHJY Providence DJ Mike "The Doctor" Gonsalves. The band later split in two several years later - while Jack Russell and his version of Great White (once again called "Jack Russell's Great White", this time for legal reasons) has had a mostly clean record, the Mark Kendall-led "official" lineup would garner additional controversy in 2020 when they performed at an outdoor music festival in Dickinson, North Dakota that had no COVID-19 safety protocols whatsoever (at a time when COVID-19 safety protocols were Serious Business).
  • Previously one of the most iconic bands of the late '80s "Madchester" movement, Happy Mondays is nowadays primarily known for the chaotic, fund-bleeding production of 1992's Yes Please!, the massive critical and commercial failure of which was enough to both bankrupt Factory Records (not helped by labelmates New Order suffering heavy delays in finishing Republic) and singlehandedly annihilate the entire Madchester scene just a few years after it began.
  • Australian musician Rolf Harris was very popular in both his native Australia and the United Kingdom, and had a career spanning sixty years. Said career came to an end in 2013, when he was arrested by the British police as part of Operation Yewtree. The next year, he was convicted of sexual assault against four underage girls and sentenced to five years in prison. With his honors rescinded and his reputation in tatters, it's almost a certainty that he will be remembered as a sexual predator first and foremost.
  • 25 ta Life is still a respected name in hardcore and most likely always will be, but the same cannot be said for Rick Healey, better known as "Rick ta Life". Never a particularly well-liked figure in the scene, he nonetheless earned some grudging respect for his work with the band. By the mid-2000s, however, Healey had become known for his unstable and erratic behavior and staggering array of scene beefs that he always seemed to be adding to, as well as being the reason why 25 ta Life had become a particularly extreme example of a Revolving Door Band. By the 2010s, Healey's work with 25 ta Life had long since been overshadowed by his behavior on social media; "Rick ta Life Memes" had become a legitimate and constantly-growing page on Facebook that also served to chronicle his beefs, and by the middle of the decade, he had two particularly major sources of infamy to his name: a live video where he played without a drummer to a crowd that was in the single digits, and associating with known boneheads and white supremacists, namely Tommy Dice and Josh "Hatchet" Steever. Furthermore, Healey had apparently formed a new band with members of multiple known far-right hardcore acts (including the aforementioned Steever of Empire Falls), which further ruined his name. While 25 ta Life has managed to restore their good name by drafting James "Stikman" Ismean (Fury of Five), Healey's own accomplishments have long since been buried, and while he is clearly mentally unwell and has been for some time, the amount of ridiculous drama that he has caused has erased whatever sympathy people may have been able to muster for him.
  • Composer Natalie Holt is a huge name in orchestral scoring, handling such projects as Journey's End and Loki. However, she is best known among the general public, at least in her native England, for throwing eggs at Simon Cowell in the 2013 final of Britain's Got Talent in protest of what she called his "dreadful influence on the music business".
  • The 1980s Heavy Metal band Iced Earth has seen their image take a huge blow in the wake of its founder, rhythm guitarist and principal songwriter Jon Schaffer's immersion in far-right anarchist political beliefs, conspiracy theories, and support for anti-government extremist groups since the mid-2000s, which reached its peak when he was discovered to have participated in the 2021 U.S. Capitol attack trying to overturn Joe Biden's electoral victory over Donald Trump, which resulted in five deaths and over 140 injuries. Schaffer was arrested and currently awaiting sentencing for his participation in the attack, the band was dropped by longtime record label Century Media, and all remaining band members (save for drummer Brent Smedley) quit in protest of Schaffer's behavior, leaving it uncertain if Iced Earth will ever recover.
  • Ja Rule is likely better known these days for his top-level involvement in the notorious Fyre Festival than any of his music, and continuing to insist he had nothing to do with the massive fraud that got his partner Billy McFarland sent to prison, despite footage being unearthed of his participation in meetings where the fraud was openly discussed, including a nonsensical statement that it wasn't fraud but "false advertising".
  • Michael Jackson's career went through an interesting loop with this. From 1993 until his death, his reputation was eclipsed by allegations of child molestation. His public image improved slightly after being acquitted in court on a second charge in 2005note , and after his death in 2009, he was praised again as an innovative and trendsetting musician. However, the allegations still lurked in the background, culminating in a new wave of claims in the 2019 documentary Leaving Neverland, which created a massive divide regarding their veracity.
  • Though it faded out after frontman Ian Curtis' death, Manchester Post-Punk band Joy Division were primarily known in their time for the controversy that surrounded their choice of name, which came from the prostitution wings in Nazi concentration campsnote . The band had to constantly clarify that they were anti-fascist and allegedly had to fight off actual neo-Nazis who attended their concerts as a result of the controversy, as depicted in 24-Hour Party People.
  • Even people who aren't fans of R. Kelly know about his brief marriage to Aaliyah (who was fifteen at the time) and his arrest for urinating on an underage girl, and his subsequent acquittal despite the existence of video evidence, which many found to be a disgusting example of Screw the Rules, I Have Money!. While Kelly's career was slowly going down by the late 2010s,note  the bottom eventually fell out in 2019 following the release of the Lifetime documentary series Surviving R. Kelly, which showed evidence and accusations of him running a sex cult, his attempts to cover up his sexual abuse allegations, the backstory behind the trial, and having sexual affairs with women who tended to be underage. The success of the documentary saw Kelly lose virtually all of his remaining fans, with many of Kelly's collaborators (such as Lady Gaga, Jay-Z, and Céline Dion), and many of those formerly close to him (his ex-wife Drea Lee and Sparkle) backing up the documentary and regretting working with him publicly, a search warrant was issued for his manager in Georgia, and RCA Records dropped him publicly. Ultimately, Kelly ended up being charged with 28 accounts of sexual abuse and has been in jail awaiting trial since July 2019. He also didn’t help things by going on a violent, hyperbolic rant in the middle of being interviewed by Gayle King (and at the same time made King a Memetic Badass for just calmly sitting there and not appearing the slightest bit flustered).
  • Jonathan King had a long varied career as a singer-songwriter, music producer, entrepreneur, and television presenter. Then in 2001, he was accused of diddling underage boys and served three and a half years in prison. Further accusations arose, yet he continues to protest his innocence.
  • Death Row Records executive Suge Knight is undoubtedly most well-known for his Ax-Crazy behavior, his alleged ties to the infamous Bloods street gang, his involvement in the Rampart scandal, theories that he was involved in the murders of Tupac Shakur and/or The Notorious B.I.G., and his repeated legal troubles which culminated in a 2018 conviction for voluntary manslaughter.
  • Britpop band Kula Shaker is better remembered for the controversy that destroyed their career than their music. Already unpopular with critics for their style and the suspicion that they owed their career to their lead singer Crispian Mills being the son of Hayley Mills, things went completely pear-shaped when Mills enthusiastically discussed his hope that the swastika would be reclaimed for its positive mystical meanings during an interview. It was then discovered that Mills' previous band, The Objects of Desire, had included a former member of the National Front, who was Mills' mother's boyfriend at the time, and had played at a conspiracy theory conference in London that had also featured notorious Holocaust deniers and anti-Semites among the speakers. Although Mills apologized for his comments and denied supporting Neo-Nazism, the damage had been done and the band wound up disbanding.
  • While Rod Lauren is remembered for his One-Hit Wonder "If I Had a Girl" and for his role in The Crawling Hand, in the Philippines, he is far more remembered for the suspected murder of his wife Nida Blanca in 2001.
  • Tracy Lawrence had several entanglements over the years that shaped his career for better or worse. Before his debut album dropped in fall 1991, he survived getting shot four times in an attempted robbery at a Nashville hotel; this incident gave him tons of publicity right out of the gate, and was likely instrumental in the massive success of his debut single "Sticks and Stones". In 1994, he was charged with reckless endangerment after allegedly opening fire on some teenagers who chased him down a freeway, but the charges were later dropped when most of the allegations were proven to be exaggerated, and the impact on his career was negligible. But the final straw came in 1997 when he was charged with beating his then-wife after a concert in Las Vegas, which proved to be a Creator Killer: his then-current single took a nose-dive on the charts, he was ordered to pay $500 to a women's shelter, and Atlantic Records supposedly put a temporary recording ban on him (although Lawrence denied this), and he was absent from the charts for nearly two years. He had a few brief comebacks since then but never returned to his former status.
  • Led Zeppelin is at least as known for its litigiousness as it is for being a hard rock pioneer, to the point where prominent independent film directors Brian de Palma, Penelope Spheeris, and Abel Ferrara have nothing nice to say about the band.
  • Conductor and pianist James Levine had a long and storied career, spending forty years as the music director of the Metropolitan Opera, and also holding leadership positions with the Ravinia Festival, the Munich Philharmonic, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. But his reputation was tarnished in late 2017 after four men came forward claiming he had sexually abused them.
  • Jerry Lee Lewis, known for "Great Balls of Fire" among other songs, was considered a serious competitor to Elvis Presley at his peak. Nowadays, he's probably best remembered for taking his thirteen-year-old cousin as his third wife, allegations that he murdered his fifth wife, and a persistent rumor that he tried to settle his rivalry with Elvis by hiring a guy to kill him.
  • Around The '50s and The '60s, Liberace was once a famed pianist whose popularity played in part with his Camp status, being The Moral Substitute to rock 'n' roll, and a teen idol. Today, he is known less for his music and instead is mostly mocked, including by the LGBT community, for adamantly denying that he was gay. This included several libel suits and him keeping his terminal HIV diagnosis private and not seeking treatment, which he ultimately passed away from.
  • American experimental Black Metal band Liturgy are well known for their bizarre and somewhat divisive sound, but probably even more well known for frontwoman Hunter Hunt-Hendrix's bizarre manifesto for the band, which basically posits the band as a philosophical opposite to normal black metal and uses a ton of Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness to do so, which got the band a ton of backlash from black metal fans as being a bunch of pretentious hipsters.
  • Claudine Longet, singer and ex-wife of Andy Williams, is perhaps best known for her being responsible for the shooting death of her lover, professional skiier Vladimir "Spider" Sabich, in an Aspen chalet, and the sensational trial that ensued.
  • If you're not a devoted fan of Lostprophets, most likely the only thing you know about the band is that its lead singer Ian Watkins was convicted for child molestation and attempted rape of two infants.
  • While Courtney Love has had a legitimately impressive music career and was a trailblazer for many future artists, it's not easy to discuss her without bringing up her extremely troubled relationship with Kurt Cobain. Some Nirvana fans have even gone so far as to say she was one of the reasons he killed himself, with others going even further and claiming she murdered him and made it look like a suicide.

  • Malevolent Creation is still a reasonably big name in death metal, but while many people believe that they have been treading water musically for a while, the general consensus as to why they're not a bigger name even after all these years (aside from some label issues that genuinely were not their fault) is the fact that Phil Fasciana and Jason Blachowicz have both become infamous for racist and homophobic comments (and, in Phil's case, a story where he claimed to have foiled a robbery while going to buy chocolate milk and accidentally killed a dude that was quickly proven to be Blatant Lies by Fort Lauderdale police even as he still vehemently insisted that it happened) and general jerkass behavior. While they have multiple albums that are still regarded as classics, most metal fans know them less for the music and more for the drama and generally idiotic and childish behavior that has surrounded them for a while now.
  • Notorious criminal Charles Manson and his cult, the Manson Family, have caused some songs to gain unwanted notoriety. For instance, numerous songs of The White Album by The Beatles inspired him and his cult to go killing under the belief many of these songs were advocating a race war. They even wrote the song titles on the walls, smeared with the blood of their victims. Similarly the track "Never Learn Not to Love" from The Beach Boys' 20/20 has gained notoriety because it was written by Manson only a couple of months before he was arrested. The fact that Manson himself used to be a hippie folk musician before starting the cult is usually forgotten about aside from history buffs.
  • Marilyn Manson was one of the most controversial artists in the 1990s, and their music and stage act resulted in everything from protests at concerts to being blamed for the Columbine massacre. Even rock stations were hesitant to play their music at the height of their popularity. Nowadays, outside of their fanbase, more people know the group for the reputation than for any of their actual music. Manson himself tends to have a revolving door of musicians due to being very publicly difficult to work with (ranging from Twiggy’s first time leaving the band due to refusing to change his hair to pulling a knife on Tyler Bates while on tour), although he has acknowledged his own faults and admitted to his generally poor mental health. Despite this, some of his more public fights, like Rob Zombie and Tyler Bates, have maintained relationships with him despite their conflicts, Zombie touring with him for several more years after their first co-headlining tour led to them fighting both backstage and Zombie raging against him on stage. After several years of quiet, the band once again made headlines in the late 2010s when bassist Twiggy Ramirez was implicated in a scandal as part of the #MeToo movement (with Ramirez leaving the band), which was made worse when Manson himself was exposed by ex-fiancée Evan Rachel Wood and several other women as being abusive towards them, resulting in a public backlash towards Manson that resulted in him being dropped from his record label and agency.
  • The black metal band Mayhem is difficult to discuss without bringing up how their lead singer Dead would often cut himself during live performances and his eventual suicide, the reaction by their lead guitarist Euronymous to finding Dead's body, which was to take pictures of him and make a necklace out of Dead's skull fragments, the aforementioned murder of Euronymous by Burzum's Varg Vikernes, and drummer Jan Axel Blomberg's staunch homophobia.
  • The career of Country Music singer Mindy McCready, best known for the 1996 hit "Guys Do It All the Time", seems to have been overshadowed by her rather troubled personal life. This includes her many attempts at suicide, arrests, an alleged underaged affair with baseball player Roger Clemens, and successfully committing suicide in 2013.
  • British Record Producer Joe Meek was the inventor of many modern bits of studio equipment which are still used today in almost their original forms and is widely considered an electronic music pioneer. Nevertheless, any conversations about him will almost inevitably be dominated by his declining mental health, which culminated in him shooting his landlady dead before turning the gun on himself in 1967.
  • Milli Vanilli were once one of the most popular bands in the world. However, their career was obliterated by the revelation that frontmen Rob Pilatus and Fabrice Morvan didn't sing a note on any of their songs and instead, their music was sung by a group of American singers (Charles Shaw, Brad Howell, and John Davis), who were also working with Farian. The resulting scandal made their music forgotten about or airbrushed out of the media, and they're now regarded as a joke at worst.
  • Morrissey of The Smiths (who are otherwise considered one of the best '80s Indie Pop bands) is far better known for his viewpoints (particularly his strict vegetarianism and views on race and nationality, alongside his polarizing opinions about musicians) than his music, in part because said viewpoints frequently make their way into his music (most notoriously on the Smiths' "Meat is Murder" and his solo song "Bengali in Platforms"). This has made him a very polarizing figure, even among fans of the Smiths.
  • Mötley Crüe (who are otherwise considered Hair Metal legends and were a gateway band for many metalheads) are far better known among the general public and younger metalheads for their many, many controversies, including celebrity sex tape scandals involving Tommy Lee and Vince Neil, Tommy Lee's marriages to Heather Locklear and Pamela Anderson, the drunk driving accident Vince Neil was involved in that killed Hanoi Rocks drummer Razzle, disputes with other bands such as Steel Panther, and Vince Neil losing his ability to sing in later years (take note that David Lee Roth and Meat Loaf have suffered similar problems to Vince in later years as well, but why metalheads decided to focus on Vince's deteriorating ability and make memes out of it is anybody's guess).
  • Negativland are recognised for their pioneering work in sound collage, but much more recognised for pranking the media into believing that one of their tracks had been implicated in a murdernote , and the legal battles over their 1991 "U2" singlenote .
  • Anna Netrebko, a Russian operatic soprano, is one of the most famous stars in the opera world, having performed at many prominent opera houses around the world, notably with the Metropolitan Opera, and is well-known for her progress from lyric and coloratura roles into more heavier, dramatic roles over the years. However, in recent years, she has seen some controversy over her insensitive remarks about sexual assault (said in the aftermath of the James Levine scandal) that were seen as victim-blaming by many people. Another incident that's been seen as rather controversial is her being cast in the title role of the Met Opera's now-cancelled new production of Verdi's Aida in the 2020-21 season; for context, Aida is an Ethiopian princess, and Netrebko, a white Russian, has stated that she won't perform the role without blackface. This has been completely normal for non-black singers playing Aida for well over a century,note  and Netrebko has done it in the past; but it is one of the operatic traditions now being questioned as cultural sensibilities have changed. While she still has her fans, and her career is still going strong, she has now become a rather polarizing figure in the opera world, no thanks to these views of hers.
  • Noir Désir, one of the most successful French rock bands of the nineties, is now mostly known for lead singer Bertrand Cantat killing his girlfriend, well-known actress Marie Trintignant, serving only four years in jail for manslaughter, and then trying to make a comeback as if nothing had happened.
  • Ted Nugent is probably one of the best-known classic rock artists, notable for songs such as "Cat Scratch Fever", often ranked among the greatest classic rock tracks, and "Stranglehold", which Guitar World has ranked as having one of the greatest guitar solos of all time. However, you'll be hard-pressed to find a discussion about his music on the internet that doesn't eventually turn into an argument about his far-right political views (especially his rabid advocacy of gun rights and his virulent racism) and his sexual pursuits of underage girls.
  • Within the west, Sinéad O'Connor is best known for ripping up a picture of the Pope during her Saturday Night Live performance in 1992 while shouting "fight the real enemy!". The incident caused her much backlash and was a Creator Killer moment for her, with the NBC receiving over 900 calls about the performance, before the many allegations of child sexual abuse committed by members of the Catholic Church became commonly known and tarnished its image. Even to this day, the performance is one of the first things that comes to mind when discussing her.
  • Yoko Ono has been the subject of hate and derision by many Beatle fans for supposedly causing the split of The Beatles and turning John Lennon's music into too many unenjoyable experimental, pointless, too politically heavy-handed, and/or Yoko obsessive songs. And that's not mentioning her incomprehensible avant-garde art, let alone her bizarre One-Woman Wail singing. All these aspects have made her perhaps the most recognizable Avant-garde Music artist of all time, but not the most popular by any length. In old age, she is getting a bit more recognition for her work (which has undergone a critical re-evaluation since the 90s), but the controversy stays.
  • Lou Pearlman managed some very successful boy bands, such as N Sync and the Backstreet Boys. But most people know him for running one of the largest and longest-running Ponzi schemes in history. To a somewhat lesser extent, he's also known for allegations that he attempted to molest multiple singers. On another note, while N Sync and the Backstreet Boys have mostly avoided having the same stigma as Lou's other ventures, his other boy bands, such as O-Town, Natural and Take Five, have been doomed to obscurity thanks to being associated with Lou's Ponzi schemes and molestation accusations.
  • Kim Petras is a transgender singer-songwriter who has amassed a large following in the LGBT community due to her addicting pop hooks and her story of transitioning at a young age. However, you'll be hard-pressed to find a discussion about her music on the internet that doesn't eventually turn into an argument about Dr. Luke, who co-writes and produces nearly all of her music.
  • John Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas is best known for being posthumously accused by his daughter Mackenzie of having an incestuous relationship that lasted for ten years.
  • Édith Piaf, once one of the most beloved entertainers in the world, suffered a career slump after World War II, with many former fans refusing to forgive her willingness to perform for the Nazis during their occupation of France. She is also known for having suffered from exceptionally destructive alcoholism which contributed to her death at 47.
  • While Ariel Pink has been a critically acclaimed and influential lo-fi pop musician, in recent years, he has become better known for making provocative remarks widely seen as racist, homophobic, and misogynistic, being accused of domestic abuse by his ex-girlfriend and bandmate Charlotte Ercoli Coe, and expressing support for far-right conspiracy theories.
  • The Russian Shock Rock girl group Pussy Riot was virtually unknown in the West until two of its members were imprisoned on a vaguely-defined "hooliganism" charge and were reportedly treated quite badly inside; many felt the true motive behind the arrest was an attempt by the government to silence their gay rights activism.
  • Shabba Ranks emerged in the early 1990s as the most popular musician to come out of Jamaica since Bob Marley, with several international hits. Unfortunately, Shabba was also a virulent homophobe who sang numbers where he advocated crucifying and murdering gay people. Interviews also showed he was dead serious about the matter, including a U.K. television appearance on Channel 4's The Word, where Mark Lamarr famously told him "That's absolute crap and you know it." These days, he's far better known for his bigotry than his music, at least outside his native Jamaica.
  • Rings of Saturn is a fairly big name in deathcore, but they are more known for their extremely lengthy history of drama and public spats between mainman Lucas Mann and other members, particularly the "half-speed controversy"note , Lucas' refusal to tour with the band between the summer of 2017 and mid-2019 (allegedly due to his need to testify in court after he was jumped at a show sometime before that), an extremely acrimonious split with Miles Baker and Aaron Stechauner in 2018, a spat with Jared Dines in 2019 after the latter accused him of backtracking his guitar and not actually playing live, and the band getting thrown off of Nuclear Blast Records and losing vocalist Ian Bearer within weeks of each other in 2021 due to a dispute Lucas had with the label. While the band still has its fans, most of the fanbase has grown increasingly less able to defend Lucas with each incident.

  • Mamoru Samuragochi, once a renowned composer known as "Japan's Beethoven", had his reputation ruined once it came out that he wasn't actually deaf and that most of his compositions were in fact by his orchestrator Takashi Niigaki. If there's anything else Samuragochi is remembered for outside Japan, is his composition of the Resident Evil Director's Cut "Mansion Basement" theme, considered by many fans to be So Bad, It's Good.
  • Lee Seung-hyun, widely known as Seungri, had once been the youngest member of Big Bang, the most influential boy band in the K-pop industry. He was also known as "Korea's Great Gatsby" for his extravagant lifestyle (which he had frequently flaunted through lavish parties) and business ventures, which included the Burning Sun, a high-class night club in the Gangnam district of Seoul, which had opened up in February 2018. However, in January 2019, his reputation took a major blow after it came out that he was involved in the Burning Sun scandal, a major sex scandal involving some of K-pop's top stars and crimes taking place at the nightclub. More specifically, he was indicted on charges including prostitution, habitual gambling, and illegal foreign currency trade. In fact, Seungri's playboy party lifestyle became much Harsher in Hindsight when it was discovered that he'd allegedly solicited prostitutes for Japanese investors at his "Gatsby" Christmas party in 2015, and that he had also hired prostitutes for his birthday party in the Philippines in 2017. He ended up leaving both Big Bang and the K-pop industry in the wake of the scandal, and it's highly unlikely that he will ever return to the industry again.
    • An additional casualty of the Burning Sun scandal was Jung Joon-young, who was previously a high-profile figure as a television presenter and the frontman of the popular rock group Drug Restaurant. After the scandal broke out, Joon-young was arrested and later confessed to multiple sex crimes, including rape and secretly filming himself having sex with women, and was sentenced to six years in prison. Since then, he has become known primarily for his crimes and is highly unlikely to ever return to the industry.
  • Sex Pistols:
    • The band as a whole is mostly known for trying to play "God Save the Queen" from a barge during the Queen's Jubilee after being prohibited from playing the song on British soil. Much of the bad press was intentional. As was the bad press they received for "Belsen Was a Gas", which was more of the offensive variety.
    • For individual members, there was Sid Vicious, who is more well-known both back then and today for his rebellious attitude, his severe drug dependency, his many run-ins with the law (most infamously the alleged murder of his girlfriend Nancy Spungen), and his death from a drug overdose at the age of 21.
    • Also controversial is frontman John Lydon. Long notorious for his provocative behavior, his affinity for stirring the pot would turn against his reputation in the 21st century when he made a number of right-wing populist statements that contrasted the predominantly left-wing politics of the Pistols' output and fanbase, most notoriously walking back on prior anti-Trump and anti-Brexit statements when both won and embracing them. Since then, discussion on him will typically lapse into arguments about whether or not those statements were sincere.
  • Skrewdriver started off as a non-political punk band that had a lot of influence on later Oi! groups. When they broke up in 1979, it seemed like it would be remembered in the same light as other British Punk Rock groups of the time period. But in the early 1980s, former frontman Ian Stuart Donaldson became a neo-Nazi, and reformed Skrewdriver as a far-right white power band with a different lineup (since — understandably — most of the band's other original members weren't interested in promoting such a hateful ideology). This new version of Skrewdriver openly promoted right-wing extremist groups like the National Front and raised funds for them. It was also heavily involved in the racist and anti-Semitic Rock Against Communism movement. Nowadays, hardly anybody remembers that Skrewdriver used to be a non-racist band.
  • Sia came under a lot of backlash for her response to criticisms about her movie Music (mentioned in the Live-Action Films page). The first official trailer was met with critical backlash and public outcry from the autistic community due to the casting of her muse Maddie Ziegler, a neurotypical actress, playing the role of the autistic title character. Despite Sia's defense that the reason for not choosing an autistic actress to play the role was because she had been working with Ziegler for so long, critics and activists pointed to how the representation of autism was misguided and harmfully stereotypical, in addition to the film being sponsored by Autism Speaks. note  Sia's frustrated outbursts with people criticizing the movie also tarnished her image.
  • Frank Sinatra's career was dogged by his rumoured ties to the Mafia, something he always denied, though he was associated with underworld figures.
  • Sister Souljah is a rapper and songwriter who was a frequent collaborator with Public Enemy — and even a member of the group for a time. But most people know her for suggesting African-Americans "have a week and kill white people" in the aftermath of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, as well as saying "If there are any good white people, I haven't met them" in the music video of her song "The Final Solution: Slavery's back in Effect". It certainly doesn't help that Bill Clinton's famous repudiation of these comments during his 1992 presidential campaign inspired a bit of political terminology.
  • The Thai Boy Band Slur is regarded as a pretty average boy band back home. Ask any Westerner that's even aware of their existence on the other hand and what springs to mind for them would be "the boy band that dressed up as Adolf Hitler in a music video". Nazi imagery isn't seen as taboo in Thailand since students aren't usually taught about the Holocaust.
    John Oliver: That is misjudged just from a marketing standpoint. How are teenage girls supposed to pick a favorite boy band member if all of them are the bad boy?!
  • Indie rock group the Smith Westerns are solely known for being the band that was performing during the 2011 Pukkelpop festival when it was hit by a severe thunderstorm that toppled the tent the band was performing in and caused five deaths.
  • Jussie Smollett of Empire fame is best known for allegedly staging a racist and Homophobic Hate Crime against himself due to a salary dispute with the show's producers, leading to his subsequent arrest in Chicago. The fact that Smollett claimed that the two people who attacked him were Trump supporters didn't help matters, leading to outright condemnation from both Trump supporters for smearing them all by association and Trump detractors for casting doubt on actual hate crimes. Although Smollett and some of his family and friends continue to insist that he is innocent and that the Chicago Police Department is lying, even the anti-Trump crowd who were most sympathetic to him at first have long conceded that the hate crime was almost certainly faked, and while Smollett could be able to continue his career, it is unknown if he could recover from the controversy surrounding him.
  • Sneaker Pimps are primarily known for two things: their popular album Becoming X (which spawned two hit singles, most notably "6 Underground"), and the controversial decision to replace lead singer Kelli Ali with guitarist Chris Corner.
  • Rapper Soulja Boy is known for two things: his One-Hit Wonder "Crank That", and how he tried to start his foray into video games by selling his own game consoles in late 2018, which are basically cheap Chinese consoles with pirated games sold at a more expensive price. Nintendo were quick to notice Soulja Boy's piracy and sent him a warning letter, and he nearly got jail time for selling pirated games on overpriced versions of cheap Chinese consoles.
  • Britney Spears absolutely dominated the music charts in the late '90s and early '00s and is even starting to see a bit of a renaissance in the late '10s. However, any discussion of her will be dominated by her very public breakdown from 2007–08 that was so bad, she lost custody of her children and is officially under the conservatorship of her father, meaning all business and financial matters go through him.
  • Producer and songwriter Phil Spector is less known nowadays for his influencial contributions to the music industry than for his history of erratic, violent behavior and the fact that he was convicted for the 2003 murder of actress Lana Clarkson in 2009. So heavily did the latter come to overshadow him that when Spector died in 2021, news outlets described him as a convicted murderer first and a record producer second.
  • Outside of the Pop Punk community, the band The Story So Far are solely known for an incident at a 2016 Toronto gig wherein lead singer Parker Cannon dropkicked a stage crasher who was taking a selfie. The incident sparked outrage on social media (keep in mind this was before the selfie trend largely fell out of public approval, mostly in the wake of injuries and deaths that occurred during the taking of "dangerous selfies") and led to the band being banned from the Mod Club (where the gig took place).
  • Sugarland's music career has been obscured by the fact that they were the band that was set to perform at the 2011 Indiana State Fair on August 13, 2011 when the stage collapsed, killing seven people and injuring 58 others, and causing the duo to be named in 44 lawsuits relating to the incident.
  • 1990s country music singer Doug Supernaw has two controversies that overshadow most of his career. First was his 1993 single "Reno", which got pushback from listeners in and around Reno, Nevada due to it using the city as a negative metaphor for an ex-lover. Second was his 1995 cover of the Dennis Linde composition "What'll You Do About Me": some stations balked at its Stalker with a Crush lyrics due to the then-ongoing O. J. Simpson murder trials, and not even a lyrical change in the radio edit helped, so his label instead pulled promotion of the song and dropped him.
  • Rapper and songwriter Tay-K achieved mainstream success with his song "The Race". Unfortunately for him, on the same day the song was released, the long arm of the law caught up with him. As it turned out, he'd been involved in a home invasion in Texas where a drug dealer was fatally shot and had been on the lam after escaping from house arrest. He was convicted in 2018 and sentenced to 55 years in prison. To make matters worse, he was indicted in 2019 on a second murder charge, strongly indicating that he'll forever be known as a murderer first and a musician second.
  • Lithuanian House Music DJ Ten Walls gained popularity for his song "Walking With Elephants", which peaked at #6 on the UK charts, and seemed to be poised to become a well-received DJ in his own right... only to then shoot himself in the foot with a homophobic post on his Facebook page where he equated homosexuality to pedophilia and called LGBT people "a different breed". Aside from the blatant bigotry, the post was especially (and ironically) problematic due to Electronic Music's long history of being one of the most LGBT-friendly music genres. Festivals that previously booked him dropped him like a hot potato, his agency fired him, and Walls' name became mud thanks to the controversy. Since then, he's apologized for the post and came out with a new album (featuring a transgender singer on some of the songs), but to say Walls has an uphill climb ahead of him would be an understatement at the least.
  • Robin Thicke's musical career has been obscured by his 2013 One-Hit Wonder "Blurred Lines" coming off as condoning rape (a Tumblr post featured rape survivors holding up cards with their rapists' quotes on them that eerily echoed the song's lyrics). It only got worse when stories began to emerge that Thicke's Handsome Lech persona wasn't entirely an act and his wife, actress Paula Patton, left him after pictures of him groping a girl in an elevator surfaced, and then he was sued by Marvin Gaye's estate for copying one of Gaye's songs for "Blurred Lines", with Gaye's estate winning the lawsuit. Since then, Thicke's many attempts to get his career back up off the ground have been utter flops and his name is more synonymous with "that rapey song" than anything else.
  • Aside from their one major hit song "Headstrong", Trapt has become infamous for frontman Chris Taylor Brown's numerous racist and homophobic social media comments, as well as his outspoken (sometimes to the point of vitriolic) support of Donald Trump and the Blue Lives Matter movement, and frequent insults towards his critics. This all came into a head in March of 2020, when he went on a lengthy spree of controversial posts and attacks on others via Twitter, before being suspended in early December 2020 when he appeared to defend statutory rape.
  • Ike Turner was once famous for being one of the pioneers of rock and roll (his early 1950s tune "Rocket 88" is widely considered to be one of the first singles in the genre) and was well known for his string of 1960s hit songs with his wife Tina Turner. However, his career was tarnished in the 1970s when Tina divorced him and revealed that he had been frequently violent towards her, earning him a permanent reputation as a wife-beater. When Tina's biopic What's Love Got to Do with It was released, it only made Ike, who was finishing his prison sentence, a complete pariah among the music community. Nowadays, while Tina has gone onto being one of the most acclaimed singers of her time, it is unlikely that Ike's solo career will ever be associated with anything but his treatment of Tina.
  • Richard Wagner: Another example of a composer who is widely seen as important, innovative, and influential, yet also notorious for his anti-Semitism. His case isn't helped by the fact that so many Nazi members, including Adolf Hitler, adored his operas. This is the main reason why his work is banned from being performed in Israel.
  • As of the beginning of 2021, Country Music singer Morgan Wallen — despite beginning the year with a month-long run at the top of the albums charts with his then-newly released Dangerous: The Double Album — had multiple controversies hanging over him. First was a drunk and disorderly charge in May 2020 at a Nashville bar owned by Kid Rock. Second was footage of him hosting a party in Alabama that flagrantly violated COVID-19 social distancing laws. The latter led to him getting booted off a musical gig on Saturday Night Live, although said post was later reinstated and his performance was even predated by a skit where he made fun of himself for his decision. But the third strike came in February 2021, when TMZ acquired footage of him drunkenly shouting racial slurs at a neighbor. This incident led to country radio and even streaming services dropping his music overnight (which would later be subverted by summertime), his record label suspending him, and the Academy of Country Music withdrawing him from consideration for any awards that year. While Wallen later apologised for his actions on video and on Good Morning America and stated that he had talked to various organizations, but this incident helped open the floodgates on a much wider discussion regarding the treatment of race in country music, and immediately placed Wallen at the forefront of such discussions.
  • Though Kanye West's reputation was never exactly spotless, in early-to-mid 2018, he attracted backlash after posting several pro-Trump tweets. This was a deep problem as Trump is overwhelmingly unpopular among the African-American community, which also makes up a large chunk of rap and hip-hop artists. To make matters worse, he then made comments implying that he considered slavery a choice, suggested the abolishment of the 13th amendment, which abolished slavery, met with Trump in the Oval Office, and made an announcement that he plans on running for president in either 2020 or 2024note  (though said announcement predated the aforementioned events). This caused even those who tolerated West to turn their backs on him. He has sometimes gone back on his Trump support and related comments, and it's unknown how much of his behavior is genuine, a possible result of bipolar disorder or another mental disorder, or just him trying to get a rise out of people, but it's still a major turn-off for many.
  • Yellowcard soured their reputation in 2019 when they not only sued Juice Wrld for allegedly copying the melody of their 2006 song "Holly Wood Died" for his breakout hit "Lucid Dreams," but moved forward with their lawsuit after his death in December, which received a huge backlash and even a #FuckYellowcard hashtag on Twitter to criticize their behavior. Even though they eventually ended the lawsuit in July 2020, Googling "yellowcard" still immediately brings up "yellowcard lawsuit" as a suggestion and the YouTube video for "Holly Wood Died" has a staggering amount of dislikes.
  • Steve Yoo Seung-jun was one of South Korea’s highest selling artists in the late 90s and early 00s, selling over 5 million albums. In 2002, the singer renounced his South Korean citizenship to become a US citizen. This was allegedly done to dodge military service, even though he had repeatedly pledged to carry out the duty. The move sparked a public uproar, and the government banned him from entering the country. To this day, (South) Koreans still hate him with a passion and he is mostly known and remembered for his career-ending scandal.



  • The One-Hit Wonder song "867-5309/Jenny" by Tommy Tutone became best known for having wreaked havoc on people who actually had that phone number, enduring endless prank calls until many opted to have their numbers changed.
  • The Black Crowes' 1994 album Amorica garnered significant controversy for its cover - a woman's bikini-clad crotch taken from the 1976 bicentennial issue of the pornography magazine Hustler. The band anticipated controversy with the cover, due to the American Flag Bikini, but were flabbergasted that the pubic hair visible in the image was what people and retailers (like Kmart and Walmart) were offended by. The band relented by issuing an alternate cover featuring the American flag bikini against a black background. The album is now known mostly for the cover controversy than for the music on it.
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  • The 1944 song "Baby, It's Cold Outside", written by Frank Loesser in 1944, was a holiday favorite for several decades. Over time, however, it has suffered severe Values Dissonance, as changes in the social landscape make it sound more like it's about date rape — the line "Hey, what's in this drink?" (initially just referring to alcohol) becomes especially troubling.note  In 2018, a radio station in Cleveland agreed to stop playing the song entirely after a massive letter-writing campaign. This soon expanded into a nationwide conversation with numerous other stations holding polls about whether they should also stop playing the song. The majority of them ended up being against the ban. A year later, John Legend and Kelly Clarkson released a version with updated lyrics stressing the woman's choice to stay or go, which was widely mocked on both sides of the issue for being overly PC when most people were content to just ignore the song if they objected to it.note 
  • Chely Wright's "The Bumper of My SUV" is known mainly for the controversy over members of her fan club calling in requests for the song, and posing as friends and family of military members in doing so.
  • Fear of this was what caused Ice-T to remove "Cop Killer" from Body Count's debut album, Body Count, as he felt that the controversy over its lyrical content had eclipsed its musical merits.
  • Sia's music videos for "Chandelier" and especially "Elastic Heart" tend to be remembered mostly for showing Maddie Ziegler (who was twelve years old at the time) doing interpretive dances in a flesh-toned leotard. The latter in particular also received controversy for having Shia LaBeouf in a cage with Ziegler, with the former only wearing light-toned shorts, which many interpreted as pedophilic. Sia apologized for the videos and clarified that the two are supposed to represent her self-states fighting each other.
  • Jethro Tull's Crest of a Knave is mostly remembered for its surprise nomination and win for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance at the 1989 Grammys, a move that shocked even the band themselves (who were absent at the award ceremony due to a suggestion made by their manager) and was met with plenty of outrage from viewers who felt neither the album or the band were even "hard rock" and didn't fit on a category that featured AC/DC, Iggy Pop, Jane's Addiction, and Metallica as nominations. In response to the controversy, the Academy discontinued the category in favor of seperate awards for hard rock and metal performances for next year's ceremony.
  • The Eels album Daisies of the Galaxy is known among the general public solely for the fact that George W. Bush tried to get the album banned because he believed it was peddling obscenities to children, due to its childlike cover art and the song "It's a Motherfucker".
  • Kesha's 2012 song "Die Young" is today primarily remembered for the fact that it was released shortly before the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Because of this, several radio stations temporarily pulled the song from rotation because they feared the title would remind listeners of the twenty children who "died young" that day, despite the fact that the song wasn't even ''about'' dying young, as well as the fact that the song was already past its airplay cycle before said school shooting.
  • The music video for Lady Gaga's "Do What U Want" is noted for its violent and sexual content, which would ordinarily be par the course for Gaga's repertoire... were it not for the fact that the video guest-starred R. Kelly and was directed by fashion photographer Terry Richardson, both of whom have been accused of sex crimes, and includes a scene where Kelly's character gropes Gaga's. Their involvement was overwhelmingly criticized as being in poor taste, especially as Gaga is known for her activism for gay rights and rape victims, causing many to label her a hypocrite for being willing to work with Kelly and Richardson; the video was eventually scrapped, but not before footage of it was leaked via TMZ. Lady Gaga herself regards the song as an Old Shame, calling it an example of how "explicitly twisted" her mind was at the time and vowed to have the song removed from iTunes and all other streaming services following the release of Surviving R. Kelly, a documentary detailing the allegations against Kelly.
  • The Pogues' Christmas hit "Fairytale Of New York" has become better known in recent years for its offensive lyrical content, particularly the terms "old slut on junk" and "faggot", and the debate about whether or not the song should be censored for radio play.
  • Paul Simon's album Graceland tends to be discussed less for its artistic merits as a production and more for the fact that Simon visited South Africa to produce it, at a time when a cultural boycott was being held against the nation to protest Apartheid. In his own defence, Simon stated that many of the South African musicians he worked with were opposed to Apartheid, and that his visit was not approved by the South African government, but the controversy remains.
  • Though it was a No. 1 hit in the US, Jennifer Lopez's 2001 single "I'm Real" doesn't go discussed without bringing up the dispute with Mariah Carey over the rights to a sample of Yellow Magic Orchestra's 1978 cover of the Martin Denny song "Firecracker". Specifically, Carey had been cleared to use the sample for her own single "Loverboy", but following her acrimonious divorce from Sony Music executive Tommy Mottola and departure from Columbia Records, her old label instead gave the sample to Lopez for "I'm Real". Carey was thus forced to use a sample from the song "Candy" by Cameo instead, and the "Firecracker" version ultimately went unreleased until 2020, by which point Carey was back on a Sony-owned label. As a result of just how ugly the whole situation with the sample was, discussion of "I'm Real" is typically eclipsed by the "Firecracker" spat (said incident also tends to define talk about "Loverboy" as well, but "I'm Real" tends to be hit harder as a result of it being released with the YMO sample first).
  • Mungo Jerry's 1970 song "In the Summertime" was a massive hit at the time, peaking at over 30 million copies sold which makes it the third best-selling physical single of all time to this daynote . However, it has become difficult to talk about the song without acknowledging that its lyrics use the words "Have a drink, have a drive", which is rife with Unfortunate Implications/Values Dissonancenote . Famously, the song was featured in a 1992 advert for the Drinking and Driving Wrecks Lives campaign that ended with the song slowing down disturbingly before showing a fatal car accident caused by drinking and driving.
  • The remix of "Karate Chop" by Future and Lil Wayne, while managing to top the charts, is better known for a controversial line in the song that uses Emmett Till note  as a metaphor for "beating [a] pussy up".
  • The 1980 song "Kill the Poor" by Dead Kennedys is a scathing satire of those among the elite who would rather resolve poverty by killing poor people instead of giving them the education needed to make a living. The song is considered a classic, but it is also well-known for attracting a Periphery Demographic of neo-Nazis to Dead Kennedys' concerts back in The '80s—who had missed the song's satirical nature, thought the band members were actually advocating killing the poor, and were offering their support for that reason—much to the anger of both fans and the band members, who penned the song "Nazi Punks Fuck Off" to let the world know that neo-Nazis are not welcome at their concerts. Taking "Kill the Poor" at face value is still a major Fandom-Enraging Misconception to this day.
  • It's difficult to bring up Elvis Costello's "Oliver's Army"—considered to be one of his greatest songs—without acknowledging that its lyrics use the words "white [n-word]". The song was inspired by The Troubles and is critical of the socioeconomic components of war, but is still embroiled in controversy over the aforementioned lyrics. Costello's usage of [n-word] during a drunken rant in 1979—the same year "Oliver's Army" was released—doesn't help matters. Costello fans and critics will defend the use of the word as part of the song's "anti-racism" message to no end, but the controversy has largely overshadowed the song.
  • The song "Omae wa Mou" by artist Deadman 死人translation  became a huge hit on YouTube when it was first released in 2017 and eventually made its way onto Spotify to top its charts. However, in 2019, it became far more known for the controversy it started in regards to the content it used and the artist himself. The song used a sample of the track called "Tiny Little Adiantum" from Toho Bossa Nova 2 by Shibayan Records, which became the main point of contention for copyright infringement and led to the eventual takedown of the song shortly after. However, it's revealed that the takedown was caused by a misunderstanding over the flawed content ID system, and after some diplomacy, the song was eventually put back on Spotify. The incident generated a debate over what constitutes as a remix or straight-up plagiarism, especially within the Touhou Project fanbase where Shibayan Records is more well-known.
  • The Pet Shop Boys' album Release is best remembered among people who aren't Pet Shop Boys fans for the song "The Night I Fell in Love", which depicts a homosexual encounter between the narrator of the song and his rap music idol, who is implied to be Eminem, after a concert. While everybody interpreted it as a Take That! to Eminem for allegations of homophobic lyrics, Neil Tennant denied it was and claimed it was actually inspired by Eminem's claims that the homophobic lyrics were actually from the point-of-view of his alter-egos and not him. Nevertheless, Eminem responded with the answer song "Can-I-Bitch", wherein he and Dr. Dre run the Pet Shop Boys over.
  • "Return to Innocence" was Enigma's most successful international single, but it's hard to talk about without bringing up the legal battle resulting from it sampling "Elders' Drinking Song" by Difang and Igay Duana, a Taiwanese aboriginal performing couple. In Enigma's defense, producer Michael Cretu incorrectly believed the Duanas' recording was in the public domain, but the controversy remains.
  • The Rite of Spring by Igor Stravinsky is universally praised for being a milestone in classical music and music in general. Yet the infamous story of the riots during its premier will forever remain associated with the piece.
  • It's difficult to bring up "Rock N Roll Nigger" by Patti Smith, despite being one of her most known hits, due to its problematic title and the fact that the song's subject revolves around the word being another word for "rebel" or "outsider".
  • Henry Gross's song "Shannon", despite reaching number six on Billboard's Hot 100, is today best remembered for being requested by a man from Cincinnati as a Long-Distance Dedication to his dead dog Snuggles on the September 14, 1985 edition of America's Top 40. Said Long-Distance Dedication came right after "Dare Me" by The Pointer Sisters, and Casey Kasem was unhappy about it, to say the least.
  • Pretty much all discussion about the 2014 U2 album Songs of Innocence revolved around its distribution method, in which it was automatically added to all Apple users' libraries — and thus, for owners who have automatic downloads switched on, immediately downloaded to their devices without their consent. To this day, you'd be hard-pressed to find an opinion on the album's musical quality from anyone other than professional reviewers, with most people instead arguing whether it was creepy for Apple to tamper with their customers' music libraries, or whether complaining about receiving a free album is the epitome of First World Problems.
  • After The Cheetah Girls broke up, Kiely Williams released her debut single "Spectacular", which is about a woman binge drinking, having unprotected sex with a stranger and loving it. It quickly became controversial for portraying these behaviours in a positive light, and it didn't help that it's easy to interpret the lyrics as a celebration of rape — the protagonist was so drunk that her consent was questionable at best, and a few lines suggest that the guy intentionally got her that drunk and possibly drugged her. Eventually, Williams had to respond to the criticism, claiming the song was actually intended to bring attention to the issue of women getting intoxicated and having unprotected sex, but because it didn't exactly go out of its way to show the negative consequences, many people didn't buy it. Since then she hasn't released any music (ignoring the 2018 leak of her unreleased single "Make Me a Drink", which was expected to be her solo debut).
  • In hindsight, it's become rather difficult to discuss much of David Bowie's 1976 album Station to Station without bringing up two major things surrounding it. The first is the gigantic Creator Breakdown Bowie suffered during its production; his cocaine addiction, which had been worsening at an exponential rate throughout the first half of the 1970s, had reached its peak at that point, resulting in a psychotic breakdown and Bowie having zero memory of the album's recording. The second element that's become tough to ignore is the album's central character, the Thin White Duke, specifically the fact that Bowie became Lost in Character while touring to support Station to Station and ended up making multiple pro-fascist statements — the exact opposite of his actual beliefs — on live television. The events shocked Bowie so much that they directly motivated him to head to Berlin to rehabilitate and refrain from adopting any more stage personas. Surprisingly enough, critics, fans, and the general public all forgive him and agree Bowie was Lost in Character, rather than actually meaning his positive statements on fascism. The large amount of circumstantial evidence supporting the former interpretation (much of which is discussed on the main page for the album) probably helps in this case. But even though Bowie himself recovered from the controversy, Station to Station has not, and most likely never will.
  • "Sugar Walls" by Sheena Easton (which was originally written by Prince) is best known for being placed at No 2. on the "Filthy Fifteen" (behind "Darling Nikki", another Prince song), a list created by the Parents Music Resource Center, the group that would be responsible for the Explicit Content label. The reason? Its sexually explicit lyrics (which is not surprising, considering that much of Prince's work is sexually explicit in nature).
  • Released at a time when its singer was already in hot water, Michael Jackson's 1996 song "They Don't Care About Us" is best known for the media scrutiny around the lyrics "Jew me, sue me, everybody do me/ Kick me, kike me, don't you black or white me". These lines were accused of expressing anti-Semitic sentiment, which Jackson denied was his intention. Jackson would ultimately be forced to censor the offending lines with synthesized drum hits, with this version appearing in both music videos and most releases of the song's parent album.
  • Outside of his fanbase, Neil Young's 1988 album This Note's for You is solely remembered for the music video for the titular track, a Black Comedy satire of several pop stars, including Michael Jackson. A battle of egos between Young and Jackson over the video happened when MTV banned the video from airplay after legal threats from Michael Jackson's attorneys, then worsened when Canadian channel MuchMusic continued running it to fulfill CanCon requirements, leading MTV to reconsider their decision and put it into heavy rotation, and giving it the MTV Video Music Award for Best Video of the Year for 1989. Not helping is that the video ended up being Harsher in Hindsight following Jackson's death.
  • John Lennon and Yoko Ono's debut album, Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins, caused a great deal of scandal upon its 1968 release because it featured them both fully frontal naked on the album cover. This aspect completely overshadowed the actual content of the record, which is basically experimental noise. Even today it is far better known for the nudity on the cover than the recording itself.
  • Rocko's hit song "U.O.E.N.O.", featuring Future and Rick Ross, is probably better known for the line sung by Ross that was believed to condone date rape ("Put molly all in her champagne/She ain't even know it/I took her home and enjoyed that/she didn't even know it"). This caused the dismissal of Ross as a Reebok spokesperson, the cancellation of concerts, and the censorship of this line on most formats.
  • Scorpions' 1976 album Virgin Killer became more known for the original album cover (featuring a naked young girl in a sexual pose with her genitalia covered by shattered glass) that then-guitarist Uli Jon Roth looks back at as an Old Shame than the actual music on it. Even when the band ended up recalling it and replacing it with a portrait of themselves, the controversy surrounding the original cover has obscured any of the album's musical merits. The album also put Wikipedia in hot water when the UK-based Internet Watch Foundation blacklisted the image as child pornography, but said ban only served to pique the curiosity of those who risked their reputation just to know what all the fuss was about. The IWF lifted the ban three days later, likely as the image was used for scholarly purposes to comment on the controversy rather than to attract paedophiles or condone the practice of erotica involving minors (Wikipedia does have images of naked minors such as that one infamous photograph of a pregnant little girl, but while said imagery is there for the aforementioned scholarly commentary rather than as an act of gross exploitation towards children, the practice of hosting them gained some controversy when co-founder Larry Sanger expressed concern over the hosting of potentially obscene images of children or illustrations depicting children, which Jimmy Wales promptly deleted albeit controversially as it was carried out without community consensus).
  • Brad Paisley's 2013 album Wheelhouse reached #1 on Top Country Albums and produced two big country hits in "Southern Comfort Zone" and "Beat This Summer". But the general public remembers it solely for the album cut "Accidental Racist", a duet with LL Cool J that bore a misguided message about black vs. white struggles, and was critically panned for its ham-fisted and offensive lyrics.
  • Taylor Swift's 2019 single "You Need to Calm Down" is about shutting down haters in general, but the parts that reference the LGBT community (its official lyrics spell "glad" like GLAAD, a prominent LGBT rights organization, a brief stanza shutting down anti-gay protesters, and promoting a pro-LGBT petition) and the music video's use of many LGBT celebrities have caused discussion about the song to mainly be about its LGBT themes, especially since it dropped in June, the official LGBT pride month. This discussion mostly revolves around whether Swift's activism is genuine or if she's cheapening the cause by relating it to the hate she gets as a celebrity.
  • Dire Straits' song "Money for Nothing", despite being one of the most recognizable hits of the MTV generation, has fallen victim to this trope in recent years for it's use of the homophobic slur "faggot", and the debate about whether or not the song should be censored for radio play. Mark Knopfler has tried to justify the use of the word by saying that the song was sung in character and was meant to be a mocking portrait of someone who would be ignorant and prejudiced enough to use that kind of language. Nevertheless, Knopfler has performed an alternate version on occasion that uses the word "queenie" instead.


  • Any concert that becomes the site of a serious accident or acts of violence tends to be best remembered for said event, regardless of how famous the music artists playing were (occasionally, the music artists playing will be best remembered for performing at said event as well). Notable examples include The Who in Cincinnati in 1979, Guns N' Roses at the Riverport Amphitheatre, Limp Bizkit at Woodstock '99, Great White at the Station nightclub in 2003, Sugarland at the Indiana State Fair, the Smith Westerns at Pukkelpop 2011, Goodbye to Gravity at the Colectiv nightclub in 2015, Eagles of Death Metal during the November 2015 Paris terrorist attacks, Ariana Grande at the Manchester Arena, and Jason Aldean at the October 2017 Las Vegas country music festival shooting.
  • The Rolling Stones' performance at Altamont in 1969 is better known for one concertgoer being stabbed to death by a member of the Hells Angels (who were acting as security) while the Stones were playing (immortalized in the climactic penultimate verse of American Pie) than for anything else that the Stones did at the concert — or indeed, anything else that happened there. It goes to the point that not only do some accounts imply that the Stones were the sole band at the concert when actually there were various acts,note  but also that there were three additional deaths (albeit accidental ones).note 
  • Smash Mouth's performance at the 2015 Taste of Fort Collins festival in Colorado is now remembered solely for an incident where some audience members threw bread at the stage where the band was playing, which lead singer Steve Harwell responded to by breaking from his set and going into a three-minute angry and profanity-filled tirade where he threatened to beat whoever was responsible. While Harwell later apologized for overreacting, it's safe to say that his rage is all that particular festival is remembered for.
  • The 2009 MTV VMAs are almost solely known for Kanye West interrupting Taylor Swift's acceptance speech for Best Music Video by a Female Artist and saying Beyoncé should have won instead.
  • This was one of the bigger factors in Kevin Lyman's decision to end the Warped Tour. While a festival tour of that magnitude is going to have problems here and there, the increasingly young and female nature of the audience, coupled with the culture of the emo and especially the scene era of the tour, had given rise to many musicians who had members who used their position to sexually exploit young fans, and by the early 2010s, jokes and comments about the Warped Tour being a haven for predators were commonplace, and it was not uncommon for at least one or two allegations against a performer on the tour to be made per year. This all came to a head in 2015 when Lyman's waffling on the presence of Front Porch Step (the solo pseudonym of Jake McElfresh) and Youtuber Austin Jones (both of whom were mired in controversy for systematically grooming and exploiting young fans, and, in the case of McElfresh, sexually assaulting them) attracted an incredible amount of bad press (up to the point where Hayley Williams even tweeted about her misgivings with the tour due to the amount of controversy surrounding that year and the uptick in incidents as a whole); while both were eventually thrown off the tour, the damage was done, and "Warped Tour" had largely become synonymous with "diddler paradise" in the cultural consciousness. While Lyman never publicly admitted it, the final few years (particularly 2017 and 2018) had numerous acts that tended to attract older audiences, and the word in the industry was that he was so tired of controversy and bad PR that he was willing to skew towards older audiences and potentially lower turnouts if it meant not having to deal with another year like 2015.


  • Black Metal is mostly associated with crimes committed by a few of its members. This was not helped by said members exaggerating their own acts. As noted by the book Lords of Chaos in reference to an article in Kerrang! magazine:
    Like it or not, however, the Kerrang! article was what brought Norwegian Black Metal to the rest of the world's attention. It probably meant the crimes would eternally overshadow the music, but it was undoubtedly the best piece of international P.R. the scene would ever receive.
  • The Jamaican music genre of Dancehall tends to be better known for the fact that many songs within the genre have massive homophobic lyrics,note  thanks to the severe Values Dissonance between Jamaica and most Western countries over LGBT rights, than the artists and the music itself.
  • Katy Perry's first episode as a regular judge in the American Idol revival was overshadowed by the moment she kissed a 19-year-old male hopeful, who was quite uncomfortable after that.
  • Larrikin Records held a pretty clean record from its foundation in 1974 to the end of the 2000s, but that all changed in 2009 when managing director Norm Lurie decided to sue the Australian rock band Men at Work for their 1981 hit "Down Under" containing a flute riff that sounds suspiciously similar to "Kookaburra", written in 1932 by Marion Sinclair and still under copyright note . Lurie made the decision to sue after the ABC quiz show Spicks and Specks asked a music trivia question, "Which children's song appeared in the song "Down Under"?" with "Kookaburra" being confirmed as the correct answer. The lawsuit was seen as completely unfair to the public and especially to Australians where "Kookaburra" is an important modern folk song. Much of the general public had believed the song was Public Domain, and Sinclair had never enforced its copyright, not even while "Down Under" was a hit (she died in 1988). Nevertheless, the court ultimately ruled in Larrikin's favour and ordered the band members pay 5% royalties backdating to 2002 and from all future earnings to them. Greg Ham, who had played the flute riff in "Down Under", felt devastated for getting the band members in financial difficulties and slipped into depression. In 2012, he was found dead, with his close friend Colin Hay confirming he was still suffering from stress from the court case. Larrikin Records is now almost always associated with pursuing profits above all else at best, and at worst are accused of manslaughter.
  • The K-Pop genre has developed a negative reputation among certain areas of the public due to the antics of many K-Pop artists/groups' fans, chief among them being the spamming of "fancam" tweets on trending hashtags and their rowdy online behavior (for example: shaming the NBC station WMAQ-TV in Chicago for mistakenly using footage of BTS when reporting the death of SHINee member JongHyun, and sending death threats to rapper Cupcakke after she made a sexual comment about BTS member Jungkook).
  • Many Viking Metal bands and other musicians inspired by Norse Mythology have had to deal with the fact that their music inevitably attracts a Periphery Demographic of Neo-Nazis, homophobes and other racists, usually to the band members' great irritation and alienating music fans. This can even extend to the band members themselves being this demographic.


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