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  • Myanmar State Counsellor (equivalent to Prime Minister) Aung San Suu Kyi, once idolized by many for her activism when she was imprisoned by the then-oppressive government, has now had her reputation tarnished after her lack of response to the Rohingya humanitarian crisis of Myanmar in 2017. Many universities and colleges worldwide have removed her name from awards or merits, Bob Geldof returned an award he shared with her in protest, and petitions to impeach her and remove her Nobel Peace Prize have taken off.
  • Hirohito reigned as Emperor of Japan from Christmas of 1926 until his death one week into 1989, but he will always be most remembered and blamed for the atrocities committed in his name by the Imperial Army during World War II (including the Second Sino-Japanese War). To many people of that era from the Allied countries, especially China and Korea, he was a war criminal who escaped the justice they felt he deserved (General MacArthur in particular wanted to see him hanged, and never forgave President Truman for not only sparing Hirohito a Nuremberg Trial but allowing him to remain on the throne for what turned out to be several more decades). For instance, when the Emperor visited Europe in the 1970s, he was protested by people who had survived Japanese POW camps. Really, the only "punishment" he received was that he was forced to admit to the Japanese people that he was not semi-divine. The War completely overshadows his other achievements. For example, did you know he was a noteworthy research scientist who published scholarly papers about fish? Neither did anyone else.

    To this day, there is considerable debate amongst historians, especially in the West, as to just how much of a role Hirohito played in starting and executing the War (in fact, there's debate about whether the Emperors ever had any real power at all). It is generally accepted today that by the time shots were fired (against the United States, China is another matter entirely), his role was minimal at best, real power being exercised by Hideki Tojo and the military's top brass — the ones who did stand trial and were hanged — much of the more insane policies coming about as a result of the Imperial Army and Navy fighting their own internal turf war to gain favor. By the time Little Boy and Fat Man reduced Hiroshima and Nagasaki to ashes, Hirohito was at risk of becoming a war casualty himself; he had to record the Declaration of Surrender in secret and smuggle it out of the Palace because his own military would have killed him to keep it from being broadcast. For his part, Hirohito was remorseful about his role in the war particularly in the last years of his life.

    His legacy is still up in the air thanks to the existence of the Yasukuni Shrine, a war memorial which includes convicted war criminals among its names. Nationalist politicians like to pay their respects there, despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that doing so inevitably angers China and the Koreas. The fact that history classes in Japanese high schools either gloss over or ignore the War doesn't help either. note 
  • Boris Yeltsin is better remembered today for his very visible and embarrassing alcoholism problems during public appearances than for any of his policies as President of Russia, or even the fact that he was the first President of Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union. He is less fondly remembered in Russia, where under his term, Russia's GDP and life expectancy drastically fell, and his involvment of Russian forces in The Chechnya Wars remains controversial today.
  • Adolf Hitler, Nazism and extreme right-wing ideologies in general have been permanently discredited since the revelation of The Holocaust:
    • It remains highly controversial to discuss, say, aspects of Nazi Germany which were, if not normal, typical of any modern government (be it democratic, totalitarian, or anywhere in between). The fact that such policies as anti-smoking laws, implementation of television, legislation against animal cruelty, standardization of color film stock, rocket technology, public television, assault rifles as well as the development and co-existence of several major German brands (Adidas, Siemens, Deutsche Bank, Volkswagen, Porsche, Fanta, Bayer) started with Nazi Germany is either airbrushed from history or occasionally invoked via sheepish Old Shame, Hitler Ate Sugar and Godwin's Law.
    • What makes Hitler's case exceptional, in some respects, is that other conquerors from the past, such as Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Charlemagne, Genghis Khan and/or Napoléon Bonaparte have far less controversy attached to them. You can discuss their achievements in relatively neutral and/or positive terms since their legacies are not in living memory. One reason for this is that Genghis Khan was after all a descendant of a nomadic pre-modern civilization in a harsh environment rather than a democratically elected politician in a post-Enlightenment, industrialized and advanced Republic; Khan also reserved brutality for the combat fields, being a very open-minded and tolerant ruler overall. A historian can make a case that Temujin's brutal and violent conquests was an exceptional and special period in human development, and likewise meted out violence out of conquest rather than racial persecution. As for Charlemagne, Caesar, Alexander and Napoleon, they may have been megalomaniacs to some extent, but all of them developed legal, social and cultural reforms of genuine merit; in the case of Napoleon, he crusaded against anti-Semitism.note  Besides, unlike Hitler, their military and political successes could be directly attributed to their own skills, rather than blind luck or the vision of subordinate staff. Also, none of them attempted genocide.
    • The problem with discussing Hitler and Nazi Germany in positive terms, in any case, presupposes the existence of anything genuinely positive or redeemable in Nazi policy. Most of their successes in economics, infrastructure and military governance, were in truth 1) typical rather than exceptional 2) temporary rather than lasting, 3) reversed with total defeat with Germany occupied, partitioned and territory permanently granted to Poland. Indeed, historians note that the only reason the Nazis and World War II are subject to intense ideological discussions is because of The Holocaust, which is today regarded by historians as Hitler and Nazi Germany's central legacy, the only reason for history to remember them.
    • A famous advertisment by Brazilian newspaper Folha de S. Paulo tells on the feats of an art-loving man who helped rebuild his war-ravaged country before revealing it's Hitler, followed by "You can tell a lot of lies by only saying the truth".
    • A documentary called Hitler's Descendants showed how family members related to the man, either by blood or through marriage lived with the backlash of this. As a result, some family members changed their surnames, some women married Jewish men as a form of atonement, and some men died refusing to have children out of fear they'd create another Hitler.
    • To make a case of how influential Hitler was, you only need to go back to 1938 when a Belgian by the name of Hendrik De Man proposed a plan to reform the government in the times of the great depression. It was meant to oppress fascism thanks to the introduction of a social democracy of 5 classes controlled by technocrats. This man and his followers, who perpetrated a socialism that would reform the Belgian nation into a better one, called themselves national socialists. After World War II, they realized just how unfortunate it was as a name to have and they renamed themselves as demanists, after the creator of their ideology, to get rid of all the fascist and Nazi connotations they had.
  • Any country that was ruled by an infamously cruel and eccentric dictator during the 20th century will have a hard time escaping his reputation, particularly if the country was not particularly well-known prior to his rule. Examples from more notable countries would be Germany and Adolf Hitler, Russia and Josef Stalin, China and Mao Zedong, Italy and Benito Mussolini and Spain and Francisco Franco, while examples of initially lesser-known nations include Libya and Muammar Gaddafi, Cambodia and Pol Pot, Cuba and Fidel Castro, North Korea and the Kim family, Syria and Hafez and Bashar al-Assad, Afghanistan and the Taliban, Iran and Ayatollah Khomeini, Uganda and Idi Amin, Zimbabwe and Robert Mugabe, Zaire and Mobutu, Iraq and Saddam Hussein, Turkmenistan and Saparmurat Niyazov and the Philippines and Ferdinand Marcos. The fact that some of these dictators or their families are still in power right now (namely, al-Assad and the Kim, Castro and Marcos families) doesn't help. In the West, this reaction is averted with Japan, despite its crimes as part of the Axis Powers in World War II being second only to the Nazis' and the fact that modern Japan has many more Axis apologists than modern Germany and Italy do, including high-level politicians, Japan never really had a prominent face of its regime like Hilter and Mussolini were (except maybe Hideki Tojo, though he wasn't their leader), and their attack on Pearl Harbor without a declaration of war is their most widely remembered crime among Westerners. It's a very different story in Asia, where Imperial Japan is looked on with the same revulsion Nazi Germany is elsewhere and as a result Japan has extremely poor relationships with other Asian countries.
  • While the late South Korean president Chung-hee Park is still highly respected by many Koreans for practically rebuilding the nation from the ground up (after it spent 35 years under Japanese rule and another three at war with North Korea), his 18-year rule is remembered by just as many for the fact that he led one of the most oppressive and dictatorial regimes the country had ever seen after becoming convinced that he was the only person who could properly maintain his country. This became such a dark mark for him that when his daughter Geun-hye became president in 2013, she publicly apologized for the atrocities he committed while he was in office. The younger Park, always a divisive figure due to her parentage, was herself disgraced in October 2016 when she was forced to admit to a longstanding friendship with an infamous cult leader who may have influenced many of her decisions as President, and she was impeached that December.
  • Ferdinand Marcos is forever remembered for corruption charges and the human rights violations during his Martial Law era presidency. And yet, his widowed wife and children have been elected to political positions which makes a special case that the people who voted for them are either born after the EDSA revolution, believe that Marcos did some good things during his administration even before declaring Martial Law and that some of people tend to exaggerate that he's the worst president in Philippine history, that he and his family got Drunk with Power during the Martial Law era and the voters are willing to forgive them or that his Martial Law is beneficial to keep the peace in the entire country and the whole EDSA revolution is strictly for "Imperial Manila". When his son, a former senator who also ran for the Vice Presidency in the 2016 elections, was interviewed about his family name being a hindrance or a benefit to win the elections, he said with confidence that it's the latter. As expected, he earned a lot of backlash which doesn't help that he and his sister refused to apologize for their father's crimes. However, this doesn't stop him nearly winning the elections until his opponent Leni Robredo beat him in a near margin of votes.
    • Despite winning a senatorial seat at the 2019 midterm election, Marcos's daughter had her own controversies such lying about her educational credentials (e.g. her claims of being Princeton graduate despite not having records of her earning a degree there) and her role in the brutal torture and murder of activist Archimedes Trajeno back during the Martial Law era.
  • Hyperconservative revolutionary Haxhi Qamili is a reviled figure to many Albanians thanks to trying to overturn Albania’s independence by returning it under the Ottoman Empire’s yoke. Qamili demanded that Albania return to being a subject of the Ottomans and that the Albanian flag should get replaced by the Ottoman one. This was especially egregious because the Albanian flag flew on the day it declared independence in 1912, was the same flag that the Albanian national hero Skanderbeg raised in 1443 when he began the heroic resistance against the Ottoman Empire. Moreover, Qamili was so anti-Albanian that he wanted the Albanian language replaced by Ottoman Turkish and ordered his men to kill Albanian nationalist teachers for using the Latin alphabet. Worse still; Qamili was also an Islamic fanatic who hated Christians, stating that they were so vile that even God could not love them and subjected countless Christian Albanians to genocide. However, it would be misleading to depict Qamili’s rebellion as a Muslim vs Christian civil war within Albania, as most Muslims condemned Qamili’s movement, regarding it as archaic and fanatical. Thus, Muslims who supported Albanian independence also got targeted. To recap, Haxhi Qamili headed a revolt that wanted to destroy his country’s national identity, erase Skanderbeg’s heroics, and murdered his countrymen for practicing different religions or simply not being as hardline as him (something especially reviled in Albania, which prides itself on religious harmony and coexistence).
  • Nicolas Sarkozy, former President of France, has never been free of controversy, but after leaving office in 2012 he's become notorious for political and financial scandals. This was especially the case after 2018, when he was charged with illegally and covertly receiving money from Libya to fund his 2007 presidential campaign, which led to speculation that his pushing for aggression against the Gaddafi regime during the 2011 Libyan Civil War was partly motivated by wanting to cover up shady financial activities.
  • In 2016, three Republican governors — Michigan's Rick Snyder, North Carolina's Pat McCrory, and North Dakota's Jack Dalrymple — were thrust into the national spotlight due to outrage over Snyder's handling of the Flint Water Crisis, McCrory's support of House Bill 2, which forces transgender people to use bathrooms corresponding with their gender at birth, and Dalrymple's involvement in suppressing protests against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline over the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. These three scandals quickly tainted their reputations both in their respective states and on a national scale. McCrory lost re-election later that year, while Dalrymple choose not to run for re-election. It is unknown what the impact on Snyder might have been if not for term limits, but the Michigan governor’s seat flipped to Democratic control in 2018.
  • Former President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmedinejad was well known both at home and abroad for his Hair-Trigger Temper and is defined in popular culture by various audacious things he's said and done, such as expressing terrorist and Holocaust-denier sympathies and perhaps most infamously a 2005 statement that he'd like to see the entire country of Israel completely destroyed, which even Iran's spiritual head Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, himself no friend to Israel, thought was too much. By the end of his two terms in 2012 his own people were more than sick of him (which he helped very little with his violent crackdowns on protests) and swiftly elected a more genial and moderate successor.
  • Oliver Cromwell has had his legacy permanently stained by his actions after the Parliamentarian victory in the English Civil War. These actions include his forcible dissolution of the Rump Parliament, his imposition of a very moralistic and authoritarian regime known as the Protectorate, and especially the downright vicious and brutal measures that he took against Irish Catholics. While exactly how ruthless he was to the Irish and how much of the brutality against them he was responsible for are still being debated, many have nevertheless characterized his actions as borderline (if not outright) genocidal.
  • The Popes:
    • Pope Alexander VI is mostly remembered for allegedly admitting to fathering several children by his mistresses, his papacy being widely regarded as one of the worst of all time, and his family, the infamous Borgias, being the poster child for nepotism and libertinism, than the fact that he was a Pope at all.
    • Despite being venerated as a Saint in the mainstream Catholic Church, Pope John Paul II's name has been tainted by claims of negligence or cover-up during allegations of sex abuse by priests. While he declared it as a grave felony in Canon Law, he still is looked with suspicion due to his association with Marcial Maciel.
    • Pope Benedict XVI, having a short pontificate sandwiched between John Paul II and Francis, probably wouldn't have been remembered for much in any case, but he had the bad luck to be on the throne when decades of child sexual abuse by priests were exposed, which also implicated him in a massive cover-up to save the Church's reputation (though there's some evidence that John Paul was complicit as well). He's also known as the Pope Who Quit, i.e. abdicating his seat while still alive (not unprecedented but extremely rare; the previous most recent Pope to do it of his own free will was Celestine V in 1294), paving the way for his successor. References to him in popular culture that aren't to the scandal or his uncanny resemblance to Darth Sidious are few and far between. His membership in the Hitler Youth also got some attention, though it was downplayed as it was mandatory for German boys of his age and he reportedly took pains to be as little involved as possible.
  • Vladimir Putin is the man who returned Russia to world power status after the disasters of the 1990's. Unfortunately, his authorizing invasions of Chechnya and Georgia under justifications that remain murky, the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula (which most of the world refuses to recognize de jure), the pro-Russian paramilitary factions in Ukraine, his mismanagement of Russia's AIDS crisis (while the number of AIDS cases has been dropping around the world since the 1990's, it increased under Putin), Russia's anti-LGBT laws, accusations by American intelligence agencies of personally ordering the Russian interference in the 2016 US elections to boost Donald Trump's campaign, and his reputation as a petty authoritarian with a lack of tolerance for political opposition (with some even describing him as neo-Stalinist in his authoritarianism and cult of personality) have given him many detractors, inside and outside of Russia.
  • Robert Mugabe had a role in Zimbabwe's independence from the United Kingdom in 1980 and afterwards ruled the country until 2017 and was prominent member of the anti-Apartheid movement. However, he is little remembered for anything but the fact that many of Zimbabwe's economic problems (particularly huge debts, hyperinflation, mass poverty, and economic ruin) were linked to his ruling, widely considered a dictatorship that brutalized supporters of his political opponents and persecuted the Ndebele people and LGBTQ citizens, and chased white farmers off their lands. His corrupt leadership drew condemnation from his former anti-Apartheid allies Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela, which in turn led to Mugabe hurling petty insults at them.
  • Former President of South Africa Jacob Zuma is best known for his corrupt administration, the accusations of nepotism he received after giving one of his daughters a ministry postiion, alleged abuses committed by his bodyguards, singing "Shoot the Boer" at the ANC Centennial 2012 celebrations, and threatening legal action against an art gallery exhibiting a painting satirizing him (which backfired hard).
  • It is difficult to bring up the late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher without addressing how polarizing her ruling was. Her administration featured, among other things, controversial economic policies, high unemployment rates, the Miners' Strike, The Falklands War, a significant disembowelment of the Trade Union movement, the sidelining of Britain's heavy industry sector, her unflattering views of the Irish during The Troubles, siding with many of Britain's most famous Moral Guardians (including Mary Whitehouse), and privatization of public assets.
  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe is infamous for his affiliation with the revisionist and nationalist Nippon Kaigi group and denying the role of government coercion in the recruitment of comfort women during World War II, which has resulted in strained relations with South Korea. His support for rearming Japan and reclaiming coastal islands also infuriated China and Russia.
  • Several Presidents of the United States have become examples of this:
    • For the duration of his life and for over a century afterwards, seventh President Andrew Jackson was a much-beloved leader, presiding over an era of massive economic and territorial expansion for the country. His reputation has taken a significant hit in modern times, however, due to the very large human cost of that expansion: Jackson was, more than any President before or since, notoriously brutal toward Native Americans, with his policies including the infamous "Trail of Tears," in which the Amerindian nations known as the Five Civilized Tribes were forced under threat of violence to migrate on foot from their traditional homes in the Southeast to a reservation in what is now Oklahoma, resulting in thousands of preventable deaths. So fierce and deadly were Jackson's anti-Native American policies that they've been retroactively classified by some modern historians as acts of genocide. Also frequently brought up are the fact that Jackson killed two people in duels and bragged about it, and that he made one of the largest power-grabs in Presidential history by overruling a Supreme Court decision (something explicitly prohibited in the Constitution and which earned him a great deal of criticism even at the time). Today, even most historians who think he was a successful President will typically add the caveat that he was among the morally worst holders of the office.
    • Herbert Hoover's reputation was irreconcilably tainted by The Great Depression beginning on his watch and the perception of him being unable to properly address it, which in turn led to him ultimately losing badly in his re-election attempt in 1932. Nowadays, he is largely only remembered as the one term president that badly mishandled the Great Depression.
    • Lyndon B. Johnson is better remembered by many today as the man who ramped up America's involvement in the very controversial Vietnam War, later being forced to give up his initial bid to seek re-election because of it. This despite his hand in such major accomplishments as the civil and voting rights acts, creation of Medicare, among other major domestic accomplishments.
    • Richard Nixon's presidency has been overshadowed by the Watergate scandal. Other memorable events during his administration, even good ones like him opening relationships with China, have been forgotten except for history buffs. Watergate is an especially interesting case in that it blotted out not only the positive aspects of Nixon's presidency, but also earlier controversies and scandals related to him, as well. Few people discuss, for instance, his close association with Southern racists and rolling back of civil rights gains made under Kennedy and Johnson, nor his support for authoritarian regimes in Latin America due to seeing them as necessary buffers against communism.
    • Bill Clinton oversaw the largest economic expansion since the end of the postwar period (even if a lot of the .com stuff was a speculative bubble), signed a far-reaching trade deal with America's then-largest trading partners Canada and Mexico, helped negotiate the Good Friday Agreement which all but ended The Troubles, oversaw the Oslo Accords that led to direct Palestinian control over some the disputed territories with Israel, and became the first American president in at least a century to balance the federal budget (and the last). So what is he most remembered for? His sex scandal with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, which led him to being only the second president in American history to be impeached. Note, however, that this did not hurt his popularity at the time; in fact, it backfired on his opponents, as many people saw the impeachment as a nakedly partisan power-grab — Clinton's approval rating increased during the hearings, and he left office as one of the most popular presidents of the modern era. Unfortunately for Clinton, he lost much of his support for good in the late '10s when he was among the many powerful men accused of sexual misconduct in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal (see below), with even the Lewinsky scandal being revisited as sexual abuse because of the vast power imbalance between a president and an intern, something that even Lewinsky herself began to question. His connections with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein certainly haven't helped.
    • George W. Bush's presidency is almost exclusively associated with his poor handling of the Second Gulf Warnote  and Hurricane Katrina, and to a lesser extent the financial collapse and ensuing Great Recession that happened on his watch. In addition, there are still conspiracy theories floating around alleging that his people somehow masterminded the September 11th attacks (usually framed as an excuse for the aforementioned Gulf War 2.0). What had at the end of 2001 been a highly-regarded presidency had become, by the end of 2008, one of the worst-regarded in American history.
  • King Leopold II of Belgium had the longest reign of any Belgian monarch and was heavily involved in many construction projects both private and public. But he is undoubtedly best known for establishing and ruling over Congo Free State. His administration of the colony (which was ruled by him personally, rather than the Belgian government) was designed first and foremost for his own enrichment through the production of rubber, and was characterized by horrific atrocities. While he enjoyed a Historical Hero Upgrade in his native Belgium for a time (due to what historians have called a "great forgetting" that emphasized his legacy as a "builder king"), he was still considered an embodiment of the worst of colonialism in other countries, and his reputation in Belgium has also seen serious damage in recent years.
  • Former attorney and presidential candidate Micheal Avenatti was once famed for being President Donald Trump’s most vocal critic along with representing Julie Swetnick during the Brett Kavanaugh scandal and pornstar Stormy Daniels in a case involving hush-money payments over her alleged affair with Trump. However, Avenatti’s career and character got annihilated beyond repair after being found guilty of multiple financial crimes, including fraud, embezzlement and extortion thanks to a failed attempt at trying to extort millions of dollars from Nike through threats of negative publicity.
  • Rahm Emanuel served as Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama at the height of the latter's popularity, and he rode that popularity to be elected mayor of his hometown, Chicago Illinois, in 2011 and again in 2015. Once in office, however, he proved a disappointment with many of his constituents, failing to deliver on many campaign promises, doing little for the city's poor, and generally having policies further to the political right than his former boss. His reputation was finished off for good shortly after he was re-elected, when evidence emerged that he, along with various other notables in the city and state governments, were complicit in covering up the Vigilante Execution of a teenage African-American suspect by a white police officer the previous year. People across the city were enraged at Emanuel, sparking massive protests on a scale not seen in the city since the 1968 Democratic Convention, and ultimately several careers and lives were ruined, including the officer in question, who went to jail; the police chief, who was forced to resign; a State's Attorney believed to have also been complicit in the coverup, who was defeated for re-election in 2016; and Emanuel himself, who, while he did not bow to pressure to resign, still withdrew from the next election in 2019, in which Lori Lightfoot, an African-American lesbian, was elected to replace him. And as something of a belated Earn Your Happy Ending for another person involved in the case, Emanuel's 2015 opponent Jesús "Chuy" García, who analysts believe would have soundly defeated him had the coverup been known prior to the election, ran for the House of Representatives in 2018 and won.
  • UK Labour politician Jeremy Corbyn would almost certainly be a contentious figure due to his sympathies with Irish Republicans, Islamists and authoritarian-leftist governments (once infamously stating that he felt history would eventually forgive Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez) and support for republicanism (small-r, as in abolishing the monarchy), regardless of anything else he's said or done. His socialist policies also alienated many of the more liberal-leaning politicians inside the Labour Party. But even his political ideology is overshadowed by accusations that he holds anti-Semitic views, some of which stem from his support of Palestine and criticisms of the Israeli government. While Corbyn repeatedly denied any dislike of Jews on his part, there are still large numbers of people who at least suspect he failed to condemn anti-Semitism among his supporters.
  • Roy Moore, former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme court, was always a contentious figure due to his far-right political views and his past ties to white nationalist and neo-Confederate groups. But in November 2017, during his special election campaign for the Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions after he was named Attorney General of the United States, he became even more controversial after multiple women accused him of having sexually assaulted them. This likely played a significant role in his opponent Doug Jones defeating him in the election, which made him the first Democrat since 1992 (when the state’s other current senator Richard Shelby won his second term before switching parties two years later) to win a U.S. Senate seat in Alabama.
  • Xi Jinping, China's current paramount leader, is a very contentious figure for a number of reasons. These reasons include him detaining Uyghurs in re-education camps in Xinjiang in response to a series of terrorist incidents, waging a severe and systematic persecution of Christians and Muslims (up to and including referring to Islam as an "ideological illness"), abolishing term limits for the president and vice president, instituting the infamous Social Credit System,note  pursuing an increasingly aggressive foreign policy (especially when it comes to Southeast Asia, including the unilateral claiming international waters by constructing artificial islands), unveiling the Belt and Road initiative (which has been widely accused of being neocolonialist), significantly stepping up censorship in China (most notoriously blocking Winnie-the-Pooh on Chinese social media following the spread of Internet memes comparing Xi to the title character)note  and for presiding over China's militaristic response to the 2019 Hong Kong protests. Despite these, Xi remain popular among certain sections of the mainland Chinese populace for his political campaigns against supposedly corrupt officials and businessmen.
  • John Edwards, former U. S. Senator from North Carolina and two-time candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, is best known for committing political suicide by having an extramarital affair with Rielle Hunter (a filmmaker hired to work for his 2008 presidential campaign) and fathering an illegitimate child with her. While adulterous politicians are nothing new, the fact that this happened while his wife Elizabeth was dying of breast cancer turned him into a pariah.
  • Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is probably best known for his administration's persecution of the Gülen movement, allegations that he holds anti-Semitic views, his alliance with the far-right ultraconservative Nationalist Movement Party, and his government being accused of corruption and democratic backsliding.
  • Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie was once one of the most widely respected politicians in America. He was highly popular and effective after his 2009 election to the governorship, and cruised to re-election in 2013. Many political wonks considered him one of the best potential Republican presidential candidates in 2012 (to the point that some were disappointed by his refusal to run), and he was an early favorite for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016. However, after being implicated in the Bridgegate scandal, his image was heavily tainted, to the point he ended up one of the first candidates to drop out of the running, and (at least according to Christie himself) this is also why Donald Trump didn't select him as a running mate or cabinet selection, despite throwing support behind Trump almost immediately after suspending his own campaign. After this, he spent the remainder of his term of office only growing more and more unpopular with his constituents (such as when he publicly attended a beach closed to the public during a government shutdown). By the time he left office, he was consistently polling as the least popular governor in the entire country, and merely being associated with him caused his Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno to lose the subsequent election in a landslide to Phil Murphy (who otherwise could have been dragged down by his ties to Goldman Sachs and Christie’s predecessor Jon Corzine).
  • Enoch Powell was a respected MP and academic for some time. Then in 1968, he made the infamous Rivers of Blood speech, where he strongly criticized mass immigration to the United Kingdom (especially from the Commonwealth) and a proposed anti-discrimination bill. In this speech, he compared Great Britain letting in large numbers of immigrants to "a nation... heaping up its own funeral pyre" and likened journalists who supported the bill to pro-fascist journos of the 1930's. Ever since, the conversation about Powell has been dominated by the speech, and whether or not he should be considered racist and/or xenophobic because of it.
  • It's difficult to talk about comedian-turned-senator Al Franken without bringing up the sexual misconduct allegations that forced him to resign from the Senate in January 2018. It was at first speculated that the initial accusation may have been an exaggeration or outright falsehood motivated by politics, as the accuser was a female right-wing pundit and the story broke shortly before the Senate was due to vote on a major tax reform bill opposed by Franken and most other Democrats; plus the allegations broke after sexual assault allegations against Roy Moore (whose run for the senate was approved by, among others, Donald Trump) broke. But then several more accusers came forward, sealing his fate. Many Democrats felt they had no choice but to push Franken out of the Senate in order to make the case against Moore without being viewed as hypocrites. For his part, Franken was very supportive of any investigations, and ultimately resigned gracefully and on his own accord, but a little over a year later, he broke his silence and admitted that he made a mistake and believes he should never have resigned.
  • Dominique Strauss-Kahn, a French politician and the former managing director of the International Monetary Fund, is infamous for his involvement in several financial and sexual scandals. The most well-known of these scandals was an incident in 2011 where a hotel maid accused him of trying to rape her while he was staying at the Sofitel New York Hotel. While the charges were dismissed, there are still many who believe him to be a sexual predator.
  • Late Toronto mayor Rob Ford earned international notoriety for his multiple substance addictions and incidents of being intoxicated in public, especially after a video of him smoking crack while discussing politics with three alleged gang members was revealed to exist. The resulting scandal saw his powers as mayor significantly reduced by the city council, eventually dying in disgrace in March 2016.
  • It's safe to say that British politician John Profumo will forever be known for a sex scandal known as the Profumo affair. In the early 1960s, Profumo, at the time Harold Macmillan's Secretary of State for War, was engaged in a sexual relationship with a 19-year-old would-be model named Christine Keeler. To make matters worse, Keeler was simultaneously involved with a Soviet naval attaché named Yevgeny Ivanov, which meant there was a possible security risk involved. When the scandal broke in 1963, Profumo resigned from the government and from Parliament. The repercussions of the scandal were a contributing factor to Macmillan's resignation later that year and to the Conservative Party being defeated by Labour in the 1964 general election.
  • Rod Blagojevich, former Governor of Illinois, is best known to the general public for being corrupt even by the standards of Illinois politics, which culminated in an attempt to sell Barack Obama's soon-to-be vacant Senate seat after his election to the presidency.
  • Many of Rome's Emperors have become subject to this trope thanks to developing reputations for being decadent tyrants, totalitarian warmongers and sadistic egomaniacs incapable of, or uninterested in, their governing responsibilities. This lot, however, stands tall among the rest for being the worst of the worst:
    • Tiberius was the first Emperor to succeed Augustus, but he did not want to do the job he inherited. He let the Senate rule in his absence only to return from his villa in Capri to try and execute those he accused of being traitors or opponents. It is said that in his villa in Capri he held constant orgies, he trained little boys to swim under his thighs and bite him. Even in his late life, having sex with young boys was his favourite pastime.
    • Not many reliable accounts of Caligula's reign exist. Even if the many, many stories surrounding him are made up, he'd have to be pretty unpopular to generate that kind of slander in the first place. According to those said records, Caligula was cruel, indulged in weird sexual indulgences that offended his people, and would murder anyone who disagreed with him. Caligula's insanity went even further than that as he proclaimed himself as a god and demanded that people worship him as such. Small wonder that his own Praetorian Guard would later murder him.
    • Nero's very name has become synonymous with profligacy, paranoia and decadence of an extreme nature. He distrusted anyone near him and had—either those close to him or dissenting him—them executed. Many Romans believed that he started the Great Fire of Rome to build the Domus Aurea for himself, and blamed the fire on Christians. These acts angered the citizens so much so that they started to revolt against him. Unrest spread throughout the Roman Empire and turned the tables on Nero. Facing being reviled as a public enemy who was about to be executed, the Emperor took his own life.
    • Domitian is notorious for his cruelty to ensure his power-base and spearheading one of the most brutal attempts to purge both Christianity and Judaism in history. He revoked the legal rights of Christians and Jews, encouraging citizens back to traditional worship of the old Greco-Roman gods. His rule saw the razing of churches and synagogues, destruction of religious texts and prohibition of Christians or Jews from worshipping along with large-scale purges.
    • Hadrian is the Roman Emperor associated with the longest period of peace and often labelled as one of the "Five Good Emperors". Although it is nevertheless true that his reign witnessed the brutal Bar-Kokhba Revolt in Judea, which resulted in over half a million victims and the majority of Judea's Jewish population getting killed, exiled, or enslaved, while Hadrian forbade Jews or Christians from entering Jerusalem and changed Judea's name to Syria-Palestina to erase any relationship between Jews and their homeland. Some view Haridan's actions as so brutal that they should get classified as genocide and theorise that Hadrian became the prototypical antisemitic "Evil King" in Jewish lore and rabbinic teachings, which often mention Hadrian with the epitaph "may his bones be crushed".
    • Even before Joaquin Phoenix portrayed him in Gladiator, Commodus was already infamous as a psychopath unable to hold the Empire's reins. Many historians deem his reign as a significant cause of the Roman Empire's steady decline, and Cassius Dio marked Commodus' rule as to when Rome went from a "kingdom of gold to one of iron and rust." These sentiments stem from Commodus' disinterest in expansionism while characterising his unstable tenure with hedonism, corruption, bankruptcy, despising the Senate, selling public offices to make money and imagining himself as Hercules' reincarnation.
    • Septimius Severus' rule saw a significant number of Christian and Jewish executions in the Roman Empire occur, rising from 1,000 to 3,000. Septimius saw the Roman law in a draconian light, which tolerated no other religion than the pagan one. For him, people who followed any other religions than the Roman religion should get persecuted outright. He had no fear of everyone except for his army, who could rebel against and depose him.
    • Unlike Caligula, Caracalla was not insane but spiteful and sadistic because he started his reign by killing his brother, Geta and lying to the Senate that Geta wanted him dead. Of course, no-one believed him at all, so he started an old fashion purge targeting most of his brother's supporters. According to Cassio Dio, the citizens of Alexandria, Egypt, ridiculed his actions with a public play. When Caracalla found out about it, he travelled there with an army ordered to perform the systematic slaughtering, plundering and raping of Alexandrians.
    • Even if Elagabalus' name doesn't ring any bells, it's still worth knowing why he was terrible as his predecessors. Elagabalus became Emperor at only 14 years old, kicking off a reign remembered only for sex scandals, religious controversy and devaluing the Roman currency—not what you'd expect from someone still in puberty. Elagabalus' many antics included lavishing sexual favours on male courtiers, prostituting himself in the Imperial Palace and sacrificing young children to his namesake, the Mesopotamian moon god Aglibol. His behaviour alienated the Praetorian Guard, Senate, and ordinary people alike, leading to his assassination.
    • Maximinus Thrax was the first non-Roman legionary to become an Emperor and never to set foot in Rome. Though, modern historians know him best for consolidating power by resorting to violence: assassinating political rivals or advisors and thrusting Rome into an era of constant warfare that led to social instability. As a result, Maximinus doubled the pay of legionaries while raising taxes to the point that tax collectors had to use violence when collecting taxes, making Maximinus unpopular amongst overtaxed subjects and the Senate, leading him to undertake an ill-fated march on Rome that ended in his death.
    • Diocletian has a place in Christianity's beginnings, as a persecutor of the Early Church due to masterminding the Diocletianic Persecution, the culmination of nine previous attempts to purge Christians from Roman society. While Christianity existed during the start of Diocletian's reign, the Diocletianic Persecution occurred in the Emperor's twilight years and spread across the Empire with bloody violence for eight years. Instead of destroying Christianity, however, the persecution served to strengthen the Church even more.
  • Nicolás Maduro, current president of Venezuela, is best known for his increasing authoritarianism and violent repression of dissenters. His brutal and repressive regime led the Organization of American States (OAS) to determine that he is guilty of crimes against humanity.
  • Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni was once a celebrated figure in the Western world for his promotion of women's rights and running a very successful campaign against AIDS, among other reasons. But today, he's more well known for helping institute a series of extremely homophobic laws, most notably one making homosexuality a crime punishable by the death penalty.
  • Pat Buchanan is a paleoconservative politician and commentator who worked in three presidential administrations, ran for POTUS three times, founded The American Conservative magazine and was a commentator on MSNBC for a decade. But most people know him for the allegations that he's an anti-Semite who denies the Holocaust (especially since many of these allegations have come from fellow American right-wingers like Charles Krauthammer and William F. Buckley Jr. which causes them to have greater perceived legitimacy as more than just typical political mudslinging), as well as his decision to title a chapter in his book Suicide of a Superpower "The End of White America."
  • Kevin H. White served four terms as the Mayor of Boston and many historians credit him with revitalizing several of the city's key districts, but more often than not, he's remembered for the corruption investigations into his administration that resulted in more than 20 city employees being indicted for various crimes, including perjury, bribery, and extortion. While White himself was never charged with anything, the scandal caused him to not seek a fifth term and he never really escaped the perception that his administration was rife with corruption.
  • The Supreme Court of the United States has had plenty of controversial justices. Here are some of them:
    • Hugo Black was one of the longest-serving SCOTUS justices in history, and one of the most influential of the 20th century. But it's hard to talk about him without bringing up the racist and anti-Catholic views he held as well as his membership in the Ku Klux Klan. While he did quit the Klan in 1925 — over ten years before he took the bench — he still supported racism and religious intolerance to a degree, writing the majority opinion in Korematsu v. United States which upheld the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. To his credit, however, Black made efforts to move past his prejudices later on.
    • Clarence Thomas is probably best known for his bitter confirmation hearings, where Anita Hill — one of his former employees from his time as chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission — accused him of sexually harassing her while she was working for him.
    • Similarly to Thomas, Brett Kavanaugh was also accused of sexual misconduct during his confirmation hearings. These hearings were, if anything, even more bitter than Thomas's, and resulted in an FBI investigation into his past and the allegations against him. Both men's confirmations galvanized the feminist movement and resulted in Republican losses in the next election.
  • Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic National Committee chair from 2011 to 2016, was appointed largely as a concession to her former boss, Hillary Clinton, and once there, became known for giving terrible television appearances and reflexively accusing critics of misogyny and Antisemitism. However, what truly tarnished her legacy was the 2016 primary season, in which she did everything possible to make sure that Hillary Clinton became the Democratic nominee over Bernie Sanders. When a document leak revealed the extent to which she'd filled the DNC with staffers who openly favored Clinton and opposed Sanders, Wasserman Schultz was forced to resign.
  • Roland Burris became the first African-American elected to statewide office in Illinois when he was elected Illinois Comptroller in 1978, and in 1990, he became the second African-American ever to be elected State Attorney General anywhere in the United States. Had he stopped there, those achievements would have been all he was remembered for. However, Burris repeatedly sought a higher office, and after several failed campaigns to become Governor of Illinois and Mayor of Chicago, he finally got appointed to the United States Senate to replace Barack Obama in 2009 after Obama became President. Unfortunately for Burris, this appointment came from then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who at the time was under investigation for selling cushy political appointments for money, and thus Burris was strongly suspected of having bought his seat, a charge to which Burris lent credence when he admitted that Blagojevich had solicited him for fundraising help prior to his appointment. Wiretaps from Blagojevich's phone proved even more damning, with tapes revealing that Burris had offered to write a personal check. While Burris managed to narrowly avoid any criminal charges, his reputation never recovered and he resigned a year later.

    Actors, Filmmakers and Presenters 
  • Many feel uncomfortable watching the works of Woody Allen due to allegations that he abused his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow, in the early 1990s when she was aged 6.note  To make things even worse, in 1997, Allen married Soon-Yi Previn, another adoptive daughter of his ex-girlfriend Mia Farrow. While he had never legally adopted Soon-Yi, Allen had known her since she was seven and had played a fatherly role to her. Many feel this places Allen's frequent casting of women much younger than himself as his characters' love interestsnote  in a quite disturbing light. And then Allen's son Ronan Farrow, possibly inspired by what his (now-estranged) father had done to his family, became one of the architects of the #MeToo movement, which led to the allegations against Allen to be taken more seriously than ever before, causing several people involved in Allen's more recent films to apologize for being involved in them, and Amazon Studios to end their distribution contract with Allen.
  • Silent movie comedian Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle's legacy has been tainted by his involvement in an party/orgy where a young girl died, with tabloid press accusing him of having raped the girl to death. Even though his name was eventually cleared, the affair destroyed his career and public image. He was given the chance for a comeback, but died the day after signing a new deal. Nowadays, if he is remembered at all, it's more for this public image than any of his films.
  • Asia Argento fell victim to scandal when Jimmy Bennett accused her of sexually assaulting him when he was 17note  and revealed she agreed to pay him to keep him silent. Argento had a falling out with fellow #MeToo activist Rose McGowan and was fired from her position as judge of Italy's X Factor, appearing in the seven earlier episodes of the ongoing season before being replaced afterwards.
  • Actress and comedienne Roseanne Barr is as well-known for her unruly behavior as her history-making (it was her show which first replaced The Cosby Show as the #1 show on US TV) career. This included her controversial performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner" during a Padres game in 1990, which caused an immense backlash from many, including then-President George H. W. Bush, not to mention, reports of prima-donna behavior on the set of Roseanne, and her tumultuous marriage to Tom Arnold. In recent years, Barr has become known for her extremely defensive stance regarding her Jewish heritage, to the point of creating a Holocaust-themed cooking photoshoot with Barr dressed as Adolf Hitler which many found insensitive. After a failed run for President of the United States in 2012 (which some believed was a publicity stunt), she began stoking controversy on Twitter for making comments that many interpreted as bigoted, including saying that African-American diplomat Susan Rice has "swinging ape balls." In 2016, around the same time that ABC announced a revival of the Roseanne series, Barr expressed support for Donald Trump, and with ABC's blessing, integrated her pro-Trump views into the character of Roseanne Conner, even though said character was portrayed as a staunch liberal in the original show. Finally, Barr's reputation took a major blow when she made a tweet in which she called Valerie Jarrett, one of Barack Obama's former aides and of African-American descent, the baby of the Muslim Brotherhood and Planet of the Apes. ABC subsequently fired Barr from her own show, killed Roseanne Conner off and renamed the series The Conners.
  • Jessica Biel had her potential Career Resurrection after her highly popular Adam Westing role in BoJack Horseman come to an abrupt end when she lobbied against a bill to limit exemptions from vaccines in California. With the anti-vax movement in many people’s crosshairs after they caused a massive measles outbreak, many vaccine activists condemned the move, and for her own part Biel insisted she wasn’t against vaccines, but didn’t help herself much with her long-winded Insane Troll Logic about why she was against the bill.
  • Robert Blake's long, distinguished acting career (including his starring role in Baretta) has been eclipsed in the public consciousness by his arrest on charges of murdering his second wife, Bonnie Lee Bakley. In an uncanny echo of the O.J. Simpson case, he was acquitted of murder in criminal court but found liable in civil court for her wrongful death.
  • Louis C.K.'s longtime career as a comedian and actor took quite a toll in November 2017, when he got caught in the "Me Too" movement after numerous women accused him of sexual misconduct, which he eventually admitted to. He tried to make a comeback afterwards, but in December 2018, leaked audio from a Long Island stand-up set revealed him mocking racial minorities, transgender people, and the victims and survivors of the 2018 Parkland shooting in an attempt to appeal to conservative audiences. Unfortunately for him, most of his previous supporters weren't conservatives, and even a good amount of his conservative supporters were disgusted at these jokes. As a result, this killed off whatever respect the public had left for him.
  • Kirk Cameron became famous for his role as Mike Seaver on the popular Dom Com Growing Pains. But during his time on the show, he became a particularly hardline born-again Christian and argued with the producers and writers over the show's scripts, going so far as to accuse them of being "pornographers". This caused him to be far better known for his contentious religious views than for his acting. Not helping matters is how public he is about his views, as well as the fact that since Growing Pains ended, he's mostly been involved with conservative Christian themed films.
  • Naomi Campbell has earned significant notoriety for outbursts of anger that rival Bob Knight's infamous episodes. She's been convicted of assault on four occasions, and former rival Tyra Banks has admitted to being terrified of her even after the two buried the hatchet.
  • Chevy Chase is nowadays known less for his comedy chops and more for his volatile attitude and his reputation for burning bridges, enough that over the years, the only work he gets are in direct-to-video movies.
  • Nowadays, any discussion of former 7th Heaven star Stephen Collins will inevitably turn to him being recorded on tape admitting to having molested children.
  • The long, successful, historically significant, and inspirational career of Bill Cosby has forever been overshadowed by the fact he was eventually accused of sexual assault by many women, and would later be convicted of three counts of aggravated indecent assault. note  NBC and Netflix dropped projects they had with Cosby like hot potatoes and he was all but erased from popular culture à la Jimmy Savile. One of the things that has been cited in terms of the public backlash against Cosby is his long standing Holier Than Thou image as a straight edge comic and social critic.note  As such, he set himself up for a greater fall from grace than more "edgy" and "eccentric" figures accused of sexual misconduct such as Woody Allen and Roman Polanski.
  • Joan Crawford's long career in Hollywood, which spanned several decades and included several award-winning movies (including What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?) has been largely overshadowed by the accusations laid out in Mommie Dearest that she was a mad alcoholic who abused her oldest adopted daughter Christina. That the book was released after Joan's death, leaving her unable to refute it, didn't help, nor did the fact that the book was adapted into a movie that became a Cult Classic for being So Bad, It's Good in 1981.
  • Johnny Depp has been best-known in the second half of the 2010s less for his acting and more for his erratic behavior, excessive drinking, and messy divorce from Amber Heard; not to mention accusations of Depp physically abusing Heard, which led to Depp suing Heard for defamation and accusing her of being the abusive one. In 2020, recorded conversations between them were leaked in which Heard told Depp that she couldn't promise not getting physical again and that she hit him and threw pots and pans at him. Another recorded conversation had her admitting to smashing a door into his head and punching him in the face.
  • English comedian Jim Davidson's career has been dogged by numerous controversies, from accusations of bigotry (both onstage and off), his turbulent love life, accusations of Domestic Abuse, drug addiction, bankruptcy and being arrested as part of Operation Yewtree (though he was eventually cleared of any wrong-doing).
  • Stand-up comedian Andy Dick is best known for his substance abuse, getting Phil Hartman's wife Brynn re-addicted to cocaine after she'd previously managed to kick the habit, resulting in her murdering Phil while high before later taking her own life, making jokes about it, getting into physical alterations with Jon Lovitz over it, and frequent counts of sexual harassment, which led to him getting fired from two separate projects in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.
  • Walt Disney's legacy as the godfather of American animation has been damaged in subsequent years due to persistent rumors that he held racist, sexist and anti-Semitic views. That, and another rumor that he cryogenically froze himself.
  • Scott Freeman had his career overshadowed when he was arrested and convicted of eight counts of possession of child pornography, resulting in Funimation severing all ties with him.
  • Mel Gibson is less known for his film career than his chaotic personal life, most infamously the incident where he went on an anti-Semitic rant while being arrested for drunk driving.
  • Kathy Griffin, no stranger to controversy herself, got herself in even bigger hot water in May 2017 when a picture of her holding up a "bloody" mask of President Donald Trump's head surfaced on Twitter. Griffin claimed in a caption below the picture that it was a reference to Trump's putdown of one of his detractors, Megyn Kelly, where he said that "blood was coming out of her eyes, out of her 'wherever,'" which was widely seen as sexist, but the general public, unaware of the context, took it as a call for Trump to be assassinated. Griffin lost her co-hosting duties on CNN's annual New Year's special as a result. The right-wing media's continued attempts to portray her as symbolic of everything wrong with Hollywood (which is located in a blue state) has helped contribute to her losing more jobs; in particular Debra Messing, a very staunch Trump critic, vowed never to speak to her again, let alone work with her.
  • Illich Guardiola is best remembered for being accused of abusing and having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old female student of his in 2014. Even though the charges were dropped, this scandal effectively destroyed his voice acting career.
  • While Butch Hartman's brand of humor and style of writing are divisive, the man himself was generally respected and he still had a strong fanbase for a long time. However, beginning in 2016, Hartman became involved in numerous controversies that tainted his once respected legacy:
    • He began alienating some fans via his YouTube channel due to his overuse of clickbait, grandiose attitude, his very conservative Christian views, meme pandering, and apparent inability to take criticism.
    • In June 2018, Hartman launched a kickstarter titled "OAXIS Entertainment", which he initially stated was to start his own family based entertainment service. Many fans doubted this would be successful, but in July of that year, a leaked video seemed to show that he was actually selling OAXIS Entertainment as a network to convert children into Christianity. Once this was made public, Hartman was the subject of severe backlash, and was painted as a liar and manipulator in the eyes of many longtime fans. Even fellow Christians and people who don't mind religion were angry with him.
    • Around the same time, numerous other revelations about Hartman started coming to light, such as a poor taste "joke" he made on his podcast stating that Mary Kay Bergman committed suicide because of Tara Strong,note  several comments that mocked a fan with Lets See YOU Do Better, alleged transphobia, and liking videos promoting pro alt-right themes. All these factors combined with the above controversies quickly turned Hartman from being one of the most beloved animators in the industry to one of the most hated. While he released a letter on Twitter stating that he did not intend to make OAXIS Entertainment to be religious propaganda and apologized to DuelingDuelistDrew for mocking him on Stream, he already lost the respect of many.
  • Charlton Heston got hit by this when he became President of the National Rifle Association (NRA) in The '90s, turning one of the most beloved actors in Hollywood to one of the most divisive political figures, especially after the Columbine massacre brought the issue of gun control back into the public consciousness. For a time, it was unsurprising for the NRA to be mentioned just as much as his acting career any time Heston was brought up, and even after he died in 2008, his anti-gun control activism remains a particularly polarizing issue in regards to his legacy.
  • Scarlett Johansson has attracted quite a bit of criticism for her willingness to play characters and even real people who are different races and even gender identities than herself (one example being playing Major Motoko Kusanagi in Ghost in the Shell), leading to accusations of her taking away jobs from actors who actually fit the roles and have a much harder time finding work. Some thought this tendency would stop when she stepped away from playing a real life trans mannote  Dante "Tex" Gill, but then made a statement in 2019 saying that she should be allowed to play "any person, or any tree, or any animal" she wants. She quickly accused the quote of being taken out of context for clickbait, which just raised questions about what an appropriate context could be. That was then followed by her defending Woody Allen even after resurfaced allegations of abuse towards his adopted daughter; many stated that her defense of Allen came as hypocritical and tone-deaf given her outspoken support of the #MeToo movement.
  • Jeffrey Jones has seen his reputation permanently tarnished by his conviction of soliciting an underage boy to pose for nude photographs, especially since he was required to register as a sex offender. Not helping matters is the fact that after said conviction, he was twice arrested for failing to update his sex offenders status. Ever since it happened, it's been very hard to talk about him without bringing up his legal troubles.
  • Any discussion of Klaus Kinski will pretty much inevitably turn to his prima-donna behavior, his insanity and sociopathy, or his daughters' claims that he molested them. Usually all three.
  • Full House co-star and former Hallmark Channel regular Lori Loughlin has had her reputation tainted by being one of the many people accused of using their wealth and fame to bribe prestigious colleges to accept their children despite their low SAT scores, in one of the biggest college admission scandals. Hallmark subsequently terminated their contract with her, plus Loughlin and her husband/collaborator, Mossimo Gianulli, might face jail time. This is especially shocking considering Loughlin being identified with playing the sweet, loveable Aunt Becky. Loughlin's daughter Olivia Jade Gianulli also found herself thrust into being the public face of all the recipients of the scam, due to her highly popular beauty tip vlogs, in which she'd earlier stated that she didn't even take her classes seriously at all. She and her sister quickly dropped out of the University of Southern California without even waiting for a decision on whether they could stay, and she is now estranged from her parents in the wake of the permanent damage to her reputation.
  • It's difficult to talk about Rob Lowe without bringing up an infamous 1988 sex tape that showed him having sex with a 16-year-old girl he'd met in an Atlanta nightclub the night before that year's Democratic National Convention. While he was never charged with any crime (since the age of consent in Georgia was 14 at the time), the resulting scandal seriously damaged his reputation and career, and still remains one of the most well-known things about him. His reputation was further damaged in 2019, when he tweeted a joke about Democratic senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren's alleged Native American ancestry. He did delete the tweet after backlash, but his follow-up statements (which lacked an apology and complained about people buying into the political divide and not being able to laugh at it) didn't absolve him.
  • Former actress and Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle has become a very polarizing figure since her engagement and subsequent marriage to Prince Harry, due to things like her very diverse background, her extremely strained relationship with her sister and father, and her progressive views. Many royalists often argue that these make her unsuitable to be part of the royal family, but this hasn't stopped her from being very popular with the media.
  • Jenny McCarthy has become infamous for her staunch support of the anti-vaccination movement, which has gained her a great deal of criticism.
  • The aforementioned Rose McGowan also falls under this, not just for being, alongside her Charmed co-star Alyssa Milano, the woman most credited with sparking the #MeToo movement, but also for her controversial statement on trans women on the podcast What's the Tee? and her subsequent public altercation when a trans woman questioned her at a Barnes & Noble publicity event. Many trans-positive feminists have since disavowed her, though she did eventually apologize.
  • Golden Age actress Hattie McDaniel, the first African American to win an Academy Award, was dogged for much of her life by accusations of selfishly perpetuating harmful stereotypes to advance her own career, as she usually played submissive servant characters such as Mammy in Gone with the Wind, the role that landed her a Best Supporting Actress Oscar. McDaniel for her part saw no shame in it, famously quipping that if she wasn't playing maids she'd probably be one.
  • Vic Mignogna's long and prestigious voice acting career got eclipsed in 2019 by unconfirmed accusations of homophobia, rude and predatory behaviour with underage con-goers, resulting in Rooster Teeth sacking him, Funimation blacklisting him, and his numerous appearances at anime conventions getting cancelled. However, Mignogna's case became so polarising (in part because of his extensive presence in the anime industry and Funimation removed credits for Mignonna's previous roles right after firing him) that it ended up subjecting many of his most vocal critics and accusers to this trope for engaging in questionable conduct. Many other Fumimation voice actors opposing Mignogna and his supporters have also gained infamy for similar reasons like Jamie Marchi tweeting a graphic death threat to Mignogna along with Sean Schemmel and Sonny Strait joking about Mignogna being a paedophile who molested young boys in a now-infamous video from 2014.
  • Even among people otherwise sympathetic to his politics, Michael Moore has long been criticized for seemingly not being entirely honest in his documentaries (with Fahrenheit 9/11 in particular garnering many controversies over its accuracy), apparent sympathy for Cuba's communist government, and allegedly not practicing what he preaches.
  • British actor and comedian Arthur Mullard's reputation was soured after his death in 1995 when it was revealed that not only was he physically abusive to his wife (who was later Driven to Suicide following poor physical and mental health), but that he sexually abused his own daughter.
  • Gwyneth Paltrow has become more infamous over the years for Goop, her line of female health care products, that have been decried as pseudoscience by legit science professionals, including "magic healing stickers," "leech facials," "coffee enemas," crystals, and jade eggs that are meant to be inserted into vaginas. All these things have led to her becoming a late-night talk show punchline, not that Paltrow minds the bad publicity.
  • It's impossible to discuss Roman Polanski's filmography without mentioning his childhood as a Holocaust survivor, the horrific death of his wife Sharon Tate at the hands of Charles Manson and his conviction for statutory rape of an underage girl, and his subsequent flight to France after the judge gave indications that he intended to cancel the plea bargain.note  Polanski's arrest in 2009 is also an example of a controversy resurfacing after staying dormant (much like Woody Allen's). He had many several films after Chinatown and he won the Oscar for Best Director for The Pianistnote  and more importantly he had traveled back-and-forth between France, Poland and Switzerland for several years without any arrest or fear of prosecution. In 2017, Polanski's name made headlines again when, in the wake of #MeToo, at least four more accusers came forward, alleging that they were also molested by Polanski while underage. To make matters worse, he began claiming that his 2019 film, An Officer and a Spy (about the Dreyfus Affair) was an allegory for him being the victim of a "witch hunt" (as in the #MeToo movement).
  • Randy Quaid is nowadays less known for his acting performances than for the fact that he is a Cloudcuckoolander conspiracy theorist who attempted to flee to Canada with his wife because he was convinced that assassins were out to kill him.
  • Brett Ratner's career and reputation have been tarnished by allegations of sexual misconduct from at least six women. In response to the allegations, Warner Bros. cut ties with him and his production company RatPac Entertainment, resulting in the company folding.
  • While his career has recovered somewhat, it's still hard to talk about Paul Reubens without bringing up his arrest for masturbating in a porno theater, as well as his 2002 arrest for possession of child pornography (though said "child pornography" turned out to be teen bodybuilding magazines and the aforementioned Rob Lowe's sex tape).
  • Today, Michael Richards is best known for two things: playing Kramer on Seinfeld, and a 2006 performance at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood where he responded to being heckled by a group of black audience members by going on a racist rant. He attempted to apologize for the incident multiple times, but his outburst still haunts him.
  • Leni Riefenstahl (of Olympia and Triumph of the Will fame) is highly credited in cinematography for her development of numerous filming techniques used to this day and her visual effects, most of which have become commonplace in filmmaking today. However, it's extremely difficult not to mention the fact that most of her work was commissioned by the Nazis. While she was cleared of being a Nazi after the war, her career took a huge spiral in the fact that she was shunned out of the film industry for the rest of her life, although she managed to find some success in photographing Sudanese tribes.
  • Peter Robbins was the first person to voice Charlie Brown from the long-running comic strip Peanuts and voiced the character from the early Ford Falcon commercials in the 1960s to It Was a Short Summer, Charlie Brown in 1969. Nowadays, he's known for stalking an ex-girlfriend and various mental disturbances; his stalking incidents led him to be incarcerated as of this writing.
  • The career of filmmaker Victor Salva, best known as the director of the Jeepers Creepers series of horror films, has been eclipsed by his convictions for multiple child pornography offenses and for molesting the then-12 year old actor Nathan Forrest Winters while they were making Clownhouse.
  • During his lifetime, Jimmy Savile was quite popular as a host and fundraiser for humanitarian causes, even being knighted for his goodwill. He died as a celebrated entertainer and philanthropist with people gathering to watch his funeral procession in the streets. Only a year after his death, an episode of the documentary series Exposure contained accusations that he had molested hundreds of young people, both male and female, many of them only children. This led to an outcry, and other accusations soon came pouring out. All of this culminated in a police investigation dubbed Operation Yewtree, which declared him guilty of all charges. As a result, Savile's name became so tainted that virtually all memorials, tributes and statues to him have been removed and destroyed. Even archive footage of him, or downright references to him in comedy shows, have been removed from the BBC site, making him effectively an Unperson at this point. It seems unlikely that his name or image can ever be shown again without creating controversy, as was the case of one rebroadcast of a Tweenies episode from the early 2000s on Cbeebies that featured one of the characters dressing up as Saville. The controversy would go on to engulf the entire BBC after it came out that many higher-ups at the station knew all about the allegations against Savile but kept silent about them to save the network's reputation.
  • The longtime career of TV producer Dan Schneider has been overshadowed by multiple accusations that he was a pedophile (not helped by his soliciting pictures of underage girls' feet) and that he abused several of the child actors in his shows.
  • Rob Schneider will be remembered not only for being a lowest common denominator comedian (with almost all his films, particularly Norm of the North, being negatively received), but also for his inability to take criticism, anti-vaccination campaign, bigoted comments, and blocking Seth Rogen from his Twitter account for no given reason.
  • Steven Seagal has always been polarizing as an actor (with many criticizing his prima-donna behavior and calling his acting wooden), but as he has aged he's become far more notable for his scandal-ridden personal life than his film career. He has been accused of sex crimes dozens of times, up to and including patronizing sex-slavery rings, and is also well-known for defending world leaders generally regarded as dictators, such as Fidel Castro and in particular Vladimir Putin, with whom he is a personal friend. Seagal even defended Russia's 2014 invasion of Ukraine, an action condemned by the international community.
  • Charlie Sheen's legal troubles have greatly overshadowed his acting, to the point where he became a punchline. Drug abuse, Domestic Abuse allegations, sex addiction, hookers, a public meltdown that led to him getting fired from Two and a Half Men and being both an anti-vaxxer and a 9/11 truther.
  • Director Bryan Singer has long been trailed by accusations of rape and sexual abuse towards underage boys throughout his career despite being attached to lucrative successes like the X-Men Film Series, The Usual Suspects and Bohemian Rhapsody. His career would begin to truly stall and become overshadowed by his personal failings in the New Tens when his accusers sued him and he attempted to bury them, which only drew attention to it. The final straw would come towards the end of the decade, when he was fired from Bohemian Rhapsody for hostile and unprofessional behavior despite retaining credit. An explosive article detailing old and new accusations against Singer was released in the wake of the film’s success and awards season tour, which also revealed Singer’s unprofessional habits had been around for his entire career. This caused Singer’s reputation to become radioactive and resulted in Millennium Films (itself no stranger to controversy) to can a Red Sonja film with Singer attached after intense scrutiny.
  • Wesley Snipes is infamous for his prima-donna behaviour on the set of Blade: Trinity and for spending three years in prison for tax evasion.
  • Actor Kevin Sorbo, star of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Andromeda, is nowadays better known for his extreme Christian views and starring in controversial far-right and/or religious propaganda films such as God's Not Dead than for his acting, effectively rendering him Persona Non Grata among the sci-fi/fantasy community.
  • The career of actor Kevin Spacey has been affected by the sexual misconduct allegation against him by actor Anthony Rapp in late 2017, who said that Spacey made a drunken sexual advance towards him when he was 14. Following the allegation, Spacey revealed that he was gay, which led to many criticizing him for how he addressed both matters. The allegations worsened when Spacey's brother revealed that he spent years denying the fact that he was gay and continued to ignore his brother's mail, using his stage name to hide behind his troubled childhood, and only got worse when it was discovered that eight of Spacey's crew members from House of Cards, which Spacey was instantly dropped from, and the King of Norway's former son-in-law had made allegations against him. In addition, he uploaded a video to his YouTube channel in December 2018, in which he denied the allegations while in character as Frank Underwood from House of Cards, which caused many celebrities to mock him on Twitter, particularly since it came in the wake of his being accused of sexually assaulting a journalist's son (the charge was eventually dropped in July 2019).
  • English comedian Freddie Starr was notorious for being the subject of an urban legend that he ate a hamster and for having accusations of inappropriate behaviour thrown at him in the wake of Operation Yewtree.
  • Oliver Stone has made several well-received films, but he is also infamous for a large number of incidents in his personal life, including his belief in various conspiracy theories, his support for Fidel Castro, Hugo Chávez and Vladimir Putin, making statements accused of being anti-Semitic, and allegations of sexual harassment.
  • Jim Sturgess is a difficult actor to discuss without mentioning his taking on, and loudly defending his decision to take on, not one but two roles deemed extremely offensive by the Asian community, specifically 21, where he plays a heavily fictionalized version of a person who was Asian in real life, and Cloud Atlas, where his character appears in Yellowface.
  • Elizabeth Taylor, while still remembered for her acting, and for her activism to fight AIDS in the later years of her life, is probably known even more for her scandalous personal life and her frequent marriages (eight overall, twice to the same person). Her most notable relationships were with singer Eddie Fisher (father of Carrie Fisher), which led to him divorcing Debbie Reynolds and marrying Taylor. Then, on the set of Cleopatra, Taylor began a passionate affair with Richard Burton, which led to her divorcing Eddie Fisher and marrying Burton. Taylor and Burton made 10 films and a TV movie together, divorced in 1972, remarried in 1974, and divorced again in 1976.
  • It is almost impossible to bring up Tila Tequila without addressing her support of Neo-Nazism and Adolf Hitler (which many people find strange, considering she is of Vietnamese heritage), which subsequently got her banned from Twitter. She is far better known for this than for her acting career and television roles.
  • Actor Jon Voight, following his Star Derailing Roles as the villains in Baby Geniuses 2 and Bratz, has become more of a presence in the media for his far-right political views and the resulting family feud with his daughter and ideological opposite Angelina Jolie than his acting.
  • As the head of Miramax Films and The Weinstein Company, Harvey Weinstein oversaw the production of some of the most acclaimed films since the '90s like Pulp Fiction and Shakespeare in Love. While there were some earlier controversies surrounding him,note  these were overshadowed when allegations of his history of sexually harassing women such as Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan came to light in a October 2017 article in The New Yorker and The New York Times. The article encouraged a number of women to come forward with similar allegations against him, including Léa Seydoux, Cara Delevingne, Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow.note  Then a New Yorker article by Ronan Farrow (ironically, the son of Woody Allen, who's also been hit with sexual misconduct allegations) had a number of actresses, including Asia Argento, accuse him of rape, alongside an audio recording of him admitting to groping women. Soon, a number of Weinstein's friends and clients began siding with the victims and refused to associate with him any further; he was fired from his own company by a board of directors that included his own brother, Bob Weinstein, who later described Harvey as "a sick man" and "a world-class liar" (Bob would later be accused of sex offenses, albeit much lesser than Harvey's, himself); his wife announced that she was leaving him; TWC began scrubbing his name away from any further projects and was sold to Lantern Capital and renamed Lantern Entertainment. The fallout also led to a wave of accusations against other celebrities and powerful men, which became known as the Weinstein effect or the "Me Too" movement. In 2020, he was finally found guilty on two counts of rape and sexual assault and was sentenced to 23 years in prison, but was found not guilty on counts of predatory sexual assault, which would have led to a life-sentence. Despite that, a number of people were pleased with the outcome, with fellow Weinstein victim Mira Sorvino admitting that she was at least grateful that justice was served.
  • It's hard to talk about Joss Whedon without bringing up the fact that his ex-wife Kai Cole accused him of cheating on her and using his feminist ideals as a shield for his misuse of power in August 2017.
  • James Woods' once respected career as an actor in the Hollywood industry was ruined in recent years upon embracing far-right politics and conspiracy theories, making Woods a pariah to most outside that realm. His name also was brought up in reference to the #MeToo movement, with Amber Tamblyn accusing Woods of hitting on underage girls (ironically, after he criticized the age gap of the couple in Call Me by Your Name), and actress Elizabeth Perkins accusing Woods of sexually assaulting her in the past.
  • Sean Young is probably known less for her acting and more for her serious mental issues, which has led to frequent run-ins with the law, as well as her infamous publicity stunt to get her cast as Catwoman in Batman Returns.
  • Billy Zane saw the majority of his career dry up after he chose to appear in Valley Of The Wolves, a Turkish anti-American propaganda film during The War on Terror, and loudly defended his decision to do so. He's had few notable film roles since (with one such role being a cameo in the universally panned Holmes & Watson), and even lost his gig as the dub voice of Kingdom Hearts archvillain Ansem a.k.a Xehanort to voice actor Richard Epcar.
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    Other Creators 
  • Artists who support controversial political regimes and ideologies often face this:
    • Bertolt Brecht, Sergei Eisenstein, Paul Robeson and several other artists who supported or sympathized with the Soviet Union, even under Stalin, saw their reputations decline, at least briefly, during the Cold War, and they faced further backlash in their homeland during De-stalinization and the Khrushchev thaw. The phrase "useful idiot", misattributed to Lenin, is often used by historians to tag any artist or intellectual who supported or sympathized with Red October and used, retroactively, to justify such instances as The Hollywood Blacklist.
    • Still, being a fellow traveler to Communism is seen as misguided and naive, but sympathetic, idealism. Supporting Nazism and Fascism on the other hand is an absolute deal breaker: Louis-Ferdinand Céline, author of Journey to the End of the Night, one of the most acclaimed novels of the 20th century. He was grotesquely antisemitic and supported Vichy France and never repented. This makes it difficult for people to praise him as an author, especially given that during the war, another collaborationist writer, Robert Brasillach, was actually shot by firing squad in the post-war trials. The same applies to modernist poet Ezra Pound, an American who wrote and broadcast Fascist Propaganda for Mussolini during World War II, and was imprisoned for treason several years afterwards. Also Leni Riefenstahl's Nazi propaganda and the degree to which they qualify as legitimate works of art.
    • Fashion designer Coco Chanel is a legend in the fashion world, but she is not without controversy throughout her career; the most infamous and well-known controversy is that, allegedly, she was a collaborator with the Nazis during World War II, even dating one of them. Then there is Hugo Boss: famous for their luxury suits and perfumes for men, infamous for its eponymous founder's creation of Nazi uniforms.
    • This extends to authors who expressed racist and sexist stereotypes in their works, which in their day might have been typical or exceptional but thanks to Society Marches On and later political developments, their legacy gets tarnished. Richard Wagner is universally considered a genius composer, but his open anti-Semitism and the Nazi party's promotion of his music and writings has tarnished his legacy. Modern readers of books by William Shakespeare, Voltaire, Charles Dickens, Fyodor Dostoevsky and many others are often difficult to read for the open anti-Semitism, sexism and other stereotypes present in the content. Rudyard Kipling's promotion of Mighty Whitey and White Man's Burden made him, formerly the most popular and well-read author of his day, an embarassment for literary critics in the wake of decolonization.
    • Philosopher and author Friedrich Nietzsche, much like Richard Wagner, is now best known for the promulgation of his work by the Nazis rather than its actual content. Saying you agree with Nietzsche's philosophy on anything will get you accusations of being a racist, fascist, and/or Social Darwinist, and it's "Common Knowledge" that the man himself was all these things and more.note 
  • 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 the occupation of France. She also suffered from exceptionally destructive alcoholism which contributed to her death at 47.
  • Australian philosopher and professor Peter Singer is widely regarded as a leader in the animal rights and utilitarian movements, but his numerous viewpoints that conflict with conventional morality have gotten him resoundly criticized by many other groups, and he has been called "the most dangerous man in philosophy" and similar epithets by many publications. He is particularly infamous in the disabled community for his advocation that the severely disabled should have fewer rights than other people, and that medical money spent on treating them would be better spent on fixing temporary ailments of people who are otherwise healthy; he has been frequently been labeled a eugenicist due to these beliefs. He has also campaigned for nonhuman animals being granted the same rights as humans (apart from in cases where the rights would be literally impossible for the animal to exercise, like voting), which has gotten him roasted by activists for civil rights, women's rights, and others who advocate that the well-being of marginalized human groups should take priority, and has even insinuated that he is uncomfortable with the existence of things such as music and art, finding them wasteful when many people around the world still lack basic necessities.
  • German philosopher Martin Heidegger is better known for his membership in the Nazi Party and the debate over how much his Nazi affiliations affected his views than said views themselves.
  • Etcetera Group is one of the most prolific dubbing studios in Venezuela and Latin America in general. They are famous for dubbing several popular animated shows, including SpongeBob SquarePants, Steven Universe and Animaniacs, as well as nearly every animated adaptation of DC Comics since Batman: The Animated Series. It's hard not to talk about the company without bringing up the fact Rubén Leon, who dubbed The Joker for about 25 years, announced that he would stop working with the company in late 2017, citing payment issues.
  • Judy Blume is one of the most beloved young adult writers of the 20th century...and also one of the most frequently challenged and banned, due to her frank portrayal of puberty and everything that comes with it, with her first person main characters freely discussing things like budding sexual feelings, menstruation, breast size, and masturbation.
  • The works of French author Louis-Ferdinand Celine (such as Journey to the End of the Night) have been overshadowed by his history as a Nazi sympathizer.
  • Vox Day (Theodore Beale) may have made some interesting work, but he is by far more known for his almost cartoonish bigotry, particularly his support for white supremacy (to the point that some publications have described him as being part of the alt-right), and organizing the Rabid Puppies campaign, a partially successful attempt to sabotage the most popular Science Fiction/Fantasy award (the Hugo). Said attempted sabotage being in theory a protest against the award's perceived left-wing bias (citing If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love as an example), but very likely also a form of petty revenge against SFWA (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America) for having been expelled from the association due to his racist remarks against fellow fantasy writer N. K. Jemisin. Suffice to say, he is considered the most hated writer in the SF/F community for a reason (unrelated to his writing).
  • Harlan Ellison was widely acclaimed for his science fiction writing, but was also infamous for his Hair-Trigger Temper, frequently suing and threatening to sue people, trademarking his own name and a bizarre 2006 award show appearance where he sucked on a microphone like a lollipop and groped a woman's breast.
  • Terry Goodkind has long been a divisive figure in the fantasy culture for his adoration of Ayn Rand and turning his books into treatises on her Objectivism philosophy without a shred of irony (most infamously, one book has the main protagonist slaughtering a bunch of peaceful and unarmed protesters), plus his insistence against all sanity that his work shouldn't be considered fantasy but "deep philosophical work." In 2018, he finally burned a lot of bridges for good by publicly insulting the cover for Shroud of Eternity and even holding a contest for the best insult toward it, much to the confusion of the general public who couldn't at all see what was supposed to be so bad about it. He quickly apologized in the face of the massive backlash, but the cover artist Bastien Lecouffe-Deharme refused to forgive him and ended their long working relationship.
  • John Harvey Kellogg is well-known for founding Kellogg's with his brother Will Keith and his career as a doctor, particularly his contributions to the clean living movement. However, he is perhaps much better known for his staunch anti-masturbation activismnote  and his collaborations with the euguenics movement.
  • H. P. Lovecraft is generally regarded as one of the most influential figures in the horror genre, but his legacy in modern times suffers greatly because of his racism and anti-Semitism (even though his own wife was Jewish), which by all accounts was extreme even by the standards of his day,note  and bled into some of his work, with demonic creatures being used as allegories for non-Aryans.
  • Anne Perry was a very popular mystery writer for years, before being exposed as none other than notorious New Zealand murderer Juliet Hulme after the film adaptation of the story Heavenly Creatures reignited interest in the case and what became of the people involved. She's continued her writing career with some measure of success, but the stigma has unavoidably clung to her since.
  • Anne Rice, known for her gothic, religious, and erotic fiction, such as Interview with the Vampire and its sequels, is just as famous for her inability to take criticism of any kind and frequent Dear Negative Reader screeds, one of which spawned the popular internet meme "You are interrogating the text from the wrong perspective." She's also notable and/or notorious as one of the few authors of fiction to have completely banned Fan Works for her books.
  • Sci-fi author Karen Traviss is notorious for her outspoken Muggles Do It Better views when writing for settings that include both mundane and supernatural characters, most prominently Star Wars, views that many fans find uncomfortably similar to real-world bigotry. Like Rice, she's also well known for colorful screeds directed at critics, including comparing them to the Taliban.
  • John C. Wright is despised for being an accomplice to Vox Day's above-mentioned attempted sabotage of the Hugo award; his savage, homophobic disparagement of The Legend of Korra creators for daring to end the series by having the main character start a relationship with another woman, and comparing Terry Pratchett to Adolf Hitler because of the former's endorsement of voluntary euthanasia.
  • Fantasy writer Marion Zimmer Bradley was considered an important figure in the genre and something of a feminist icon among fans even though rumors about her husband Walter Breen's sexual molestation of minors during their marriage had popped up now and then since the 1960s. It generally hadn't affected her personal reputation as many assumed Breen's actions had taken place without her knowledge and she had divorced him when he'd been arrested. After her death in 1999, evidence came forward that not only had she known about and tolerated Breen's abuse of children throughout their marriage, she'd helped in covering it up, which tarnished her name but generally left her literary legacy intact. Finally, her reputation took a fatal blow in 2014 when her daughter stated that Bradley had not only been complicit in Breen's acts, she was a pedophile in her own right, having abused, along with other unknown victims, her own children.
  • Novelist Orson Scott Card is probably better known nowadays for his virulent anti-gay beliefs (to the extent that it was starting to show up in some of his writing), ultimately leading to a boycott of the film version of Ender's Game and relegating him to becoming the sci-fi/fantasy community's equivalent of Anita Bryant.
  • While L. Ron Hubbard was an author of fantasy and science fiction, it's hard for most people to name a single work of fiction written by him. You might run into somebody who knows about Battlefield Earth, but chances are that's due to the infamy of its movie adaptation. No, Hubbard's undoubtedly most famous for his role as the founder of the Church of Scientology, which is probably one of the most controversial new religious movements in the world.
  • Gavin McInnes was once a pretty widely popular journalist and comedian who was best known for his public image as an eccentric hipster. His many humorous articles and essays helped turn Vice Media (which he co-founded) into a major force in the world of online journalism, and his comedic memoir How to Piss in Public sold decently well after being published by Scribner. Then in 2016, he founded "The Proud Boys"—a highly controversial conservative/right-wing populist social organization that's been labelled alt-right, associated with numerous incidents of violence, reportedly has ties to neo-Nazis, and is currently classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Though McInnes has since cut ties with the Proud Boys, his role in founding the group has cast a long shadow over everything else in his career, and he's now best known for his dabbling in what many consider to be right-wing extremism.
  • Graham Linehan, best known for creating Father Ted and The IT Crowd, has had his famous creations tainted by his virulent anti-transgender views, including calling the anti-trans protesters at London Pride heroes and trans activists Nazis, as well as trying to have a 500,000 pound grant for the trans support charity Mermaids UK revoked.
  • Billy Mitchell was once a respected video game player for his multiple records in the Donkey Kong arcade games and being credited as the first person to achieve a perfect score in Pac-Man. These claims to fame fell under increasing scrutiny, especially after evidence emerged that he achieved at least some of his Donkey Kong records on emulated hardware, and his scores were removed by both Twin Galaxies and Guinness in April 2018. His threats of legal action (including against Cartoon Network because an antagonist on Regular Show named Garrett Bobby Ferguson aka GBF who cheats at video games was a parody of him) have only further sullied his reputation.
  • Terry Richardson's body of work as a photographer and music video director is less well known among the general public than allegations that he's used his influence in the fashion industry to sexually assault and exploit models during photo shoots.
  • Stephen Glass is a paralegal and author who had a successful journalism career with The New Republic, only to be discovered that most of his stories were partially or completely made up, for which he will probably be known for the rest of his life. The fact that the scandal got a movie just sealed his fate.
  • Bill O'Reilly, host of The O'Reilly Factor, gained significant notoriety for the persistent sexual harassment allegations made against him. These allegations eventually got him fired from the Fox News Channel in 2017 (though contrary to popular belief, this wasn't because of the #MeToo movement; his firing happened in April 2017, months before the sexual abuse accusations against Harvey Weinstein in October of that year that gave birth to #MeToo).
  • Sean Hannity, another Fox News personality, has always been rather contentious even by the standards of pundits because of his hardline political views and allegations that he promotes conspiracy theories. But during Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, he developed a close relationship with him, one that's only gotten even closer after his subsequent election. This has led to some very pro-Trump coverage, which even other Republicans have criticized him for. But even Hannity's feuds with multiple anti-Trump conservatives were eclipsed by the April 2018 revelations that he shared a lawyer — the infamous Michael Cohen — with Trump. In a serious breach of journalistic ethics, Hannity had been defending Cohen and criticizing those who investigated him without disclosing their working relationship.
  • Former Fox News personality Megyn Kelly became infamous in the later years of her run on the network for making racist attacks against black people playing Santa Claus during the Holiday season, saying that they shouldn't be allowed to dress up as a "white" character. That itself became overshadowed by her criticisms of then-Presidential candidate Donald Trump leading to Trump belittling her with sexist comments, saying that she had "blood coming out of her eyes, out of her 'wherever,'" which was widely seen as saying that she was on her period when she criticized him. Kelly subsequently started gaining sympathy, even amongst the left, enough for the earlier "Black Santa" attacks to be forgotten. She ultimately left Fox News for a more lucrative job at NBC News, where she got her own news program Megyn Kelly Today in the fall of 2017. A year later, she got into controversy when she made comments defending blackface on her show, which played a part in Megyn Kelly Today getting cancelled (low ratings were another factor). Shortly after NBC fired Kelly, her "Black Santa" rant resurfaced, which helped paint her as a hypocrite, that somehow to her Black Santas were unacceptable, but blackface wasn't.
  • It's pretty much impossible to talk about NBC News journalist Brian Williams without mentioning the multiple occasions he misrepresented his professional history. The most infamous of these tall tales was his false claim that a military helicopter he'd been riding in while covering the 2003 invasion of Iraq was forced down by RPG fire. NBC suspended and later demoted him after this lie was exposed in 2015.
  • Walter Duranty is undoubtedly best known for writing multiple articles he wrote denying the Holodomor, for which he won a Pulitzer Prize. Needless to say, his work is a major Old Shame for The New York Times (which published his articles), and there have been multiple calls for his Pulitzer to be revoked.
  • John Kricfalusi's achievements in the field of animation, though impressive, are eclipsed in the popular consciousness by his extremely opinionated nature, his caustic personality, his reputation for burning bridges and being difficult to work with, claims that he hasn't been entirely honest, the Troubled Production of Cans Without Labels, and allegations of pedophilia and sexual misconduct that surfaced in March 2018.
  • Celebrity chef and TV personality Paula Deen had long been criticized for cooking unhealthy food and encouraging people to eat diets high in fat and sugar. But starting in 2013, these criticisms were eclipsed by accusations of racism. In June of that year, a woman named Lisa Jackson sued Deen for racial discrimination. Jackson also claimed that Deen had used derogatory language about African-Americans and mused about throwing a "Southern plantation" themed wedding with black male servers, only rejecting the idea because she thought it would be bad optics. The lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice, but Jackson's claims seriously hurt her image nevertheless. Not helping matters was a Halloween picture of her son Bobby dressed as Ricky Ricardo — and wearing brownface.
  • Many, many artists accused of plagiarism (especially comedians) have become known first and foremost for those accusations. Denis Leary, Carlos Mencia and Dane Cook are three of the most commonly cited examples, at least in the world of stand-up comedy.
  • Genaud, SA de CV / New Art Dub (originally known as Grabaciones & Doblajes, SA until 2004, Grabaciones y Doblajes Internacionales, SA de CV until 2007, and colloquially known as Estrellita) is one of the most prolific dubbing studios in Mexico, was the first professional recording studio used by Disney for their Spanish dubs and continued to work with them until 1999, and was founded by Edmundo Santos, considered one of the pioneers of the industry and a prolific Disney collaborator in his own right. It's become far more famous for its attempts to hire non union voice actors, the conflict with ANDA that resulted from it, and the mass recasts on the current projects that followed that.
  • Whatever respect Matt Lauer may have had as an NBC News anchor has long been overshadowed by his possible role in getting Ann Curry fired as his co-anchor on the Today show, which NBC denies. But this is nothing compared to his history of sexually harrassing his fellow co-workers during his time at the network, which came to light once the #MeToo movement started taking off, leading to his eventual firing from NBC. Even more allegations came to light in 2019 in #MeToo co-architect Ronan Farrow's book Catch and Kill where he alleges that Lauer raped an NBC News employee in Sochi, where he was covering the 2014 Winter Olympics.
  • Obscure fantasy author Robert Stanek is more famous for the deceptive tactics he used to promote his books and his attempts to silence critics than the books themselves.
  • Gloria Tesch is the author of the obscure Maradonia Saga. However, she's more known for the notorious "Team Tesch", which used Sock Puppets to promote her books and tried to silence critics. It doesn't help that the film adaptation (in which she played a main character) had a Troubled Production, and its director Gerry Tesch (Gloria's father) tried to screw over his business partners.
  • Artist Edgar Degas was one of the founders of Impressionism. But among those who've heard of him, he's more well known for his outspoken anti-Semitism than his art.
  • Markus "Notch" Persson, is less known for creating Minecraft and founding Mojang, but more for allegations of him being an alt-right sympathizer, which has led to Microsoft, the owners of Minecraft, refusing to acknowledge his existence.
  • Most Australians remember media commentator Yassmin Abdel-Magied for her heated clash with Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambi where she defended Sharia Law by claiming that Islam was "feminist" and suggesting that ANZAC Daynote  should honour Muslim asylum seekers held in Australian detention facilities. The latter act sparked collective outrage from the public, who deemed it to be disrespectful at best or anti-Australian at worst, with some even demanding for Magied to get fired from her position at the ABC and "self-deport". Magied's half-hearted apology did little to temper the situation by implying that her critics were "racists" and "Islamophobes", making it all the easier for conservatives to brand her as an Islamist sympathiser with no respect for the culture or customs of a country that she grew up in.
  • Since the early 2000s, French stand-up comedian Dieudonné M'bala M'bala has been extremely controversial for his open anti-Semitism. This was especially true after he made a 2015 Facebook post seemingly identifying himself with Amedy Coulibaly, an ISIL-affiliated Islamic terrorist who murdered four Jews while holding a Kosher supermarket hostage.
  • Yukio Mishima was a Japanese author, playwright and poet who dabbled in acting, directing and modeling. His body of work was well-regarded at the time (and today, at least to an extent), and there was even talk of him being nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature before he turned forty. But Mishima had ultranationalist views, which caused him to attempt a coup to restore the power of the emperor. When this failed, he killed himself. Nowadays, he's at least as well known for this as he is for his literary and film output.
  • Competitive gamer Todd Rogers spent decades as the respected "Mr. Activision", due in large part to holding many record-breaking high scores, his best-known one being beating Dragster in 5.51 seconds, for which he won a Guinness World Record. However, starting in the 2010s, many of his records were viewed with increasing suspicion due to lack of independent evidence, especially after some of them were found to be literally impossible to obtain in normal play. In January 2018, Twin Galaxies removed his scores from their leaderboards and banned him for life, and Guinness followed suit by stripping him of all his records.
  • J. K. Rowling created a generational pop-culture phenomenon with the Harry Potter franchise. However, she started losing favors with sections of the fandom following her defense of the casting of Johnny Depp in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald due to allegations of domestic violence made against him, the mixed reactions to the creative decisions taken in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, the contentious casting choices and character development of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child note , and accusations of poor research, racism, as well as cultural appropriation regarding her treatment of the non-British wizarding world in the information released via the Pottermore website. The least of the Pottermore controversies involved her informing the readers of how wizards handled bathroom matters before plumbing. Outside of her writing, she has liked transphobic tweets for years before finally publicly tweeting in support of a vocal TERFnote . This alienated many of her trans fans as well as their allies, if they hadn't already been driven away by the previous controversies.

    Events 
  • November 22, 1963: Any American capable of cognitive thought can tell you what happened on this day. But wasn't there something else? Something that was at least notable in the business world? Notable to Detroit Lions fans? Yes, it was the day that William Clay Ford, Sr., son of Edsel Ford, and member of board of directors of the Ford Motor Company, purchased the Lions and became majority owner. Had it not been for the terrible tragedy that day in Dallas, it's safe to say that while not necessarily front page news, it would have made at least some waves. Not only did Kennedy die that day, but so did authors Aldous Huxley and C. S. Lewis.note 
  • The 1968 Democratic National Convention is best known for counterculture and anti-war protest activity that degenerated into rioting. Many historians have suggested that the fallout from the events was severe enough to be one of the main reasons Nixon won that year.
  • Academy Awards:
    • The 87th and 88th Academy Awards honoring the achievements of 2014 and 2015 gained more attention for the troubles over the issue of racial diversity amongst the acting nominees, as they were all white, and online protests and planned boycotts that ensued in response than the actual nominations. All of this ended up becoming the butt of many, many jokes by the latter ceremony's host, Chris Rock. On the bright side, at least Leonardo DiCaprio got an Oscar.
    • The 89th Academy Awards honoring the achievements of 2016 attracted several notable controversies:
      • Casey Affleck's Best Actor win for Manchester by the Sea was controversial due to being revealed weeks before the ceremony that Affleck had been sued for sexual harassment in 2010;note  to the point that several attendees of the awards, up and including the actress who presented him the award, the previous year's Best Actress winner Brie Larson, refused to applaud him on his win. Affleck went on to decline the traditional presentation of the Best Actress award the following year, knowing full well the reaction it would get.
      • The Iranian film The Salesman, which won Best Foreign Language Film, became better known for the fact that its director Asghar Farhadi boycotted the ceremony in protest of President Donald Trump's controversial executive order temporarily suspending immigration from his and six other Muslim-majority countries, which he compared the situation to the hard-liners In Iran. Iranian-American astronaut Anousheh Ansari picked up the award for him.
      • The last and biggest controversy came at the ceremony's end, when Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway erroneously announced that La La Land won Best Picture instead of Moonlight, the actual winner, the first time this mistake had been made in the Awards' history. The error, resulting from Beatty being mistakenly handed the Best Actress envelope, which La La Land had in fact won, rapidly became the defining moment of the ceremony in pop culture. They were invited back to announce the following year's Best Picture winner to show there were no hard feelings, as everyone agreed pretty much immediately that they were in no way at fault.
    • The 91st Academy Awards fell under controversy before it even started:
      • Kevin Hart, who was set to host, stepped down after a series of homophobic tweets from 2010 and 2011 were unearthed. Such tweets included Hart using the terms "gay" and "fag" in a derogatory manner, and threatening to smash a dollhouse over his son's head if he was caught playing with one. He was also criticized for not apologizing until the day after the tweets were discovered. Though some people did support Hart, including lesbian Ellen DeGeneres, he ultimately stuck with his initial decision. Even worse, Hart was a last-ditch choice by the Academy, a sign of desperation on its part, especially after the whole #OscarsSoWhite debacle. Viewers immediately brought up the spectre of what happened the last time the Oscars didn't have a host — to wit, that show opened with a disastrous musical number that ruined the careers of everyone involved — and declared the ceremony cursed from the start.
      • In order to shorten the ceremony's broadcasting hours, the Academy decided to have four categories (Best Cinematography, Best Short Live-Action Film, Best Film Editing and Best Make-Up and Hairstyling) presented during commercial breaks and streamed online, with their acceptance speeches replayed during the broadcast. The Oscar nominees under these affected categories and other filmmakers were infuriated with this decision. The president of the American Society of Cinematographers expressed disappointment, explaining that film-making is a collaborative effort and that not acknowledging these categories feels like a separation from the film-making process. The Academy bowed to the pressure after a few days and agreed to fully air all the awards.
      • The Academy also toyed with creating a "Best Popular Film" category, which was roundly criticized throughout the industry as a condescending fake award to let them pander to more populist leanings and get the awards' ratings to stop slipping. This view was pretty much cemented when the Academy were unable to give a straight answer as to what exactly would constitute inclusion in the category, as opposed to Best Picture. In the end, the category was not instituted, and the one flick which (everyone agreed) would have received a nomination for it, Black Panther, stayed in Best Picture.
  • The 2007 Anime Friends convention, the biggest anime and manga event in Brazil, was overshadowed by three female cosplayers wearing towels and one of them being a teenager. They claimed to be Love Hina cosplayers. The photos quickly spread through Internet, specially the ones with them flashing their panties. The rumors that they were asking for money to flash their panties only worsened it. As such, the event was criticized for allowing it to happen, with some even accusing the event of supporting prostitution of minors. Luckily enough, the controversy stayed only on Internet and as result, since 2008 this type of cosplay is forbidden.
  • The 2015 Miss Universe pageant was overshadowed by host Steve Harvey accidentally announcing the wrong name as the winner and later by a vehicular incident that injured dozens of pedestrians (and killed one) outside the venue.
  • The 2016 Miss Teen USA pageant was supposed to be seen as a huge step in distancing beauty contests from their allegedly sexist pasts, as it was the first such pageant since the organization cut ties with Donald Trump. Instead, it drew more attention over concerns of racism, as its finalists were all blonde white women. Furthermore, the eventual winner had used the "n-word" in several past tweets.
  • The German ECHO music awards were hit in April 2018 with a wave of protest for its Best Hip-Hop/Urban album of that year. The winners were Farid Bang and Kollegah, whose album Jung, Brutal, Gutaussehend 3 (Young, Brutal, Good-Looking 3) had songs in which they mocked Jews and concentration camps, and were heavily criticized to be anti-Semitic. This has led to several well-known, previous winners of the ECHO award returning their awards in disgust and distancing themselves from it. As a result, the ECHO award has been discontinued.
  • The EVO note  2018 Smash 4 tournament is almost entirely remembered for its Grand Finals between two players both using Bayonetta, a Tier-Induced Scrappy on the very top of the tier list in that game. The crowd had been openly hostile to both players (both on social media and in-person) by booing throughout the entire tournament, but when they both got to Grand Finals, the booing became intense. The players intentionally played badly in response to all the abuse, wasting time by barely putting in any offense, one intentionally giving a "Homie Stock" note , and especially standing still at one point for two minutes. The tourney organizers were forced to intervene and told both the crowd and the players to knock it off. It became a low point of the entire tournament and EVO history, and was a black mark on the Smash community.
  • The E3 2019 convention accidentally doxxed over 2,000 journalists and gamers with their website leaving their personal information available with just a single link click. They didn't help themselves at all by calling it a "website flaw," as if it was only some arcane loophole that let people access the page rather than a link openly displayed on the main page. A class action lawsuit was quickly put together, and it was put in serious question whether E3 had been completely killed by the incident, as it certainly seems unlikely anyone would ever be willing to hand over their information again.
  • George W. Bush's December 14, 2008 press conference in Iraq, where he explained how the withdrawal of all U.S. combat forces would proceed, was overshadowed by an angry Iraqi journalist that threw his shoes at him, which Bush hastily dodged.

    Others 
  • The swastika. Originally used in an almost exclusively positive manner, it is completely associated with Nazi Germany now. Even if you are yourself a Jew, Romani, etc. — and in fact, trying to use the Grandfather Clause or N-Word Privileges on this point will likely only stir up greater resentment against you. The exception is if you are a Buddhist or a Jain, both religions that used the symbol in its original context for centuries.
  • In December 2014, Dave Grohl got his first solo Rolling Stone magazine cover. Sadly, that moment has been completely overshadowed by the "A Rape on Campus" article in the magazine. That story, wherein a student claimed she was sexually assaulted multiple times and her school covered it up, sparked a wave of protests, but turned out to be so poorly researched – no attempt was ever made by the author to talk with any of the boys accused or the police to corroborate her allegations, and independent fact-checkers quickly discovered the student had lied about everything – that the magazine was forced to retract it and blackball the author. The University of Virginia, where the nonexistent rapes occurred, has considered suing for defamation.
  • In 2014, a story about a man from Virginia claiming an unclaimed empty desert territory between Egypt and Sudan went viral. He wanted to establish a "kingdom" so that his daughter could become a real life princess. It was a heartwarming story of a father's loyalty for his daughter. Things, however, took a turn for the ugly when Morgan Spurlock bought the movie rights to it, and Disney was to distribute it. This announcement brought the story back into the spotlight and immediately brought connections to the highly illustrious Disney Princess franchise. The whole debacle drew plenty of criticism, as this was about a white girl becoming a princess in Africa — a continent strongly associated with anything but whites, and the colonialism aspect reminded people of another rather controversial entry in the franchise, Pocahontas.
  • Malaysia Airlines is best known outside its home country for two disasters that happened to its planes in 2014, the disappearance of Flight 370 in the Indian Ocean and shooting down of Flight 17 over the Russia-Ukraine border. Before those, it was actually considered one of the world's safest airlines.
  • Alex Tizon was a respected journalist and author for much of his career, but his earlier work has largely been overshadowed by his final story, "My Family's Slave", in which he confesses that his parents kept a slave for 56 years. The piece was published by The Atlantic shortly after his death, and had an extremely polarizing reaction, earning praise for its honesty and showcasing Tizon's deep guilt in his adulthood over her treatment, but also criticism for revealing that Tizon never really did much to help her after he became a journalist and that he did not reveal her slave status to the obituary writer at the newspaper he worked at, resulting her story not being told until seven years after her death. Whatever one's reaction to the piece was, it's pretty much the only thing anyone remembers from Tizon's Pulitzer Prize-winning career.
  • Jade Goody, mentioned in the Western Animation section, was once a rather famous British women's gossip icon in the early 2000s, thanks to her role in the third season of Big Brother. However, things took an ugly turn in her re-appearance in the fifth season of the spinoff show Celebrity Big Brother, where she and two other female contestants racially insulted Indian actress Shilpa Shetty (who would later go on to win the season) many times over her incorrect usage of cooking with stock cubes. The incident led to the highest number of complaints ever recorded to OFCOM and caused Goody to quickly be voted off the show. Celebrity Big Brother lost many of its sponsorships as a result and went on a one-year hiatus after the season ended. She eventually became the butt of many jokes afterwards until her death from cervical cancer in 2009. Even though her reputation has slightly improved after her death, her name has still become synonymous with the event. Jo O'Meara and Danielle Lloyd, the other two contestants involved in the incident, also faced blowback, though not as severe as Goody's.
  • Despite a long career that spans four decades, ten books, and countless exhibitions, photographer Sally Mann's career has largely been overshadowed by the controversy that arose over her third book, Immediate Family, which features a lot of nude (though not sexually explicit) photos of her children.
  • While Christopher Columbus wasn't the first to discover America, his voyages did lead to a greater contact with the Old and New Worlds, (hence the term Columbian exchange) and kick-started the colonization of the Continent by European powers. However, it also led to the mistreatment and death of several indigenous peoples, which Columbus himself allegedly had a direct part in. As a result, a significant portion of the population in the Americas has opposed the celebration of Columbus Day,note  with some countries having outright changed the name of the day to "Indigenous Peoples Day", "Respect for Cultural Diversity Day" or other similar names in direct reference to said mistreatment.
  • Celebrity chef Mario Batali took a major hit to his popularity in December 2017 when he was faced with no less than twelve sexual harassment accusations in the fallout from the aforementioned Harvey Weinstein scandal. He lost his hosting gig on the cooking talk show The Chew, reruns of his older show Molto Mario were pulled from Food Network, and Target announced they would be no longer stocking his cookbooks after they received a petition with over 7,000 signatures.
  • The Mandalay Bay Hotel is now primarily known for being the location where a mentally deranged man shot 58 people dead and injured 500 others at a country music festival. The hotel, however, was one of the most iconic resorts in Las Vegas before the shooting, so it's well-known enough to avoid being known exclusively for the shooting, even if that is still its primary claim to fame.
  • Most people outside of Ohio primarily know of Kent State University due to the national guard shootings of students protesting the bombing of neutral Cambodia during The Vietnam War.
  • Columbine High School in Colorado, Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida (and by extension, the towns of Newtown and Parkland, where the latter two are locatednote ) are all primarily known for being the sites of deadly mass shootings. Virginia Tech, however, is a massive university that's well-known enough to avoid being known exclusively for the shooting, even if that is still its primary claim to fame. Most other school shootings have been all but forgotten today and tend to avoid this reputation. In fact, Columbine's reputation had become so unshakeable that, 20 years after the shooting took place, there have been talks about tearing down the school.
  • The University of Virginia is very well-known, but its hometown of Charlottesville is nowadays far less known for housing the university than for being the site of the first major American white supremacist rally in decades, which included the cold-blooded murder of a counter-protester and spawned enormous political fallout.
  • Few people who live outside of the St. Louis area know anything about the suburb of Ferguson outside of being the city where racial riots erupted after a black man was shot to death by a white police officer.
  • The small town of Money, Mississippi would likely be almost completely unknown to anyone outside its immediate vicinity if not for the fact that it carries the unfortunate distinction of playing host to one of American history's most notoriously gruesome murders, when in 1955 black teenager Emmett Till was kidnapped and tortured to death by two grown white men. The two were subsequently acquitted by a clearly biased judge and jury despite overwhelming evidence against them. The brutality of the crime and the perpetrators' escape of punishment became one of the first major rallying cries for the new Civil Rights Movement, and it lingers in the American consciousness to this day as one of the go-to examples of a Miscarriage of Justice, drowning out everything else about the town and anything done by anyone else from it.
  • The Daily Mail is known for its controversial viewpoints, but more so for its ridiculously sensationalist moral guardian behaviour. This has contributed to Wikipedia's ban on using it as a legitimate source. And going back way further, quite a few people will never let anyone forget that the paper acted as a mouthpiece for the British Union of Facists in the 1930s, most infamously with the banner headline "Hurrah for the Blackshirts!", openly advocated an alliance with Adolf Hitler against the communists prior to World War II, and dismissed reports of mistreatment of German Jews as exaggerations, further calling Jews seeking refuge in Britain nothing more than economic migrants taking advantage of Britain's lax generosity, all which led to the common nickname "The Daily Heil".
  • Billy Bush, a relative of the Bush political family, was the longtime host of Access Hollywood who later took on hosting duties on NBC's Today show. But to most people, he will forever be known for being the man who Donald Trump was talking to when he made comments about how he could sexually assault women without being punished. Once the tape was leaked during Trump's presidential campaign, Bush was fired by NBC and Trump's political ambitions almost came crashing down, and would've been kaput then and there if not for a second October surprise which worked in his favor.
  • International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) is one of the foremost names in information technology, but the company's history is difficult to discuss without mentioning their close association was Nazi Germany during World War II. While many foreign companies did business with the Nazis, most retracted their support once the Nazis rose to power; IBM has a particular infamy for the fact that not only did do business with the Nazis, but they were intimately involved with The Holocaust (inventing some of the world's first computers to help keep track of victims) and are, to date, the only one of these collaborating corporations that has never apologized.
  • Chick-fil-A is probably best known now for its ties to anti-gay organizations, including those that practice "conversion therapy," which has long been discredited. As such, it's not uncommon for gay rights activists to boycott Chick-fil-A every time they open a new store. In November 2019, the restaurant announced that they would no longer donate money to these anti-gay groups, though the last time they said they would years earlier, they ultimately reneged on that promise.
  • Any discussion of communism will inevitably have numerous people bring up the many atrocities committed in its name, particularly those committed by the Soviet Union, the People's Republic of China, and the Khmer Rouge. While communism hasn't been discredited in the way fascism and related ideologies have, it's still a very contentious school of thought, even among left-wingers.
  • It's difficult to talk about the International Brotherhood of Teamsters without bringing up the many years they were connected with The Mafia, especially under the leadership of the notorious Jimmy Hoffa.
  • Gawker Media was certainly never free of controversy, at least partially due to a number of very shady and sleazy things they did (coming up with a feature to track celebrities called Gawker Stalker Maps, outing people as gay without their permission, etc.). But most people know the company for the circumstances of its demise: after posting a sex tape of Hulk Hogan and ignoring a court order to take it down, Hogan sued them into bankruptcy, receiving significant financial assistance in his suit from venture capitalist Peter Thiel, one of the people Gawker Forced Out of the Closet. Not helping was former Gawker editor AJ Daulerio implying he'd have been willing to post sex tapes involving prepubescent children during cross-examinationnote .
  • The now-defunct company AmericaStar Books, formerly PublishAmerica, was primarily well-known for accusations of being a vanity press, which were put to the test when a group of science fiction and fantasy authors, upon the company sniping at the genres they wrote in two articles, decided to collaborate on a book, Atlanta Nights, with the goal to make the book as bad as possible, and see if PublishAmerica would actually sell it; Atlanta Nights was approved, with the authors happynote  to confirm the hoax when it was announced, with PublishAmerica immediately stating they weren't going to publish the book until after further review, but the entire fiasco confirmed the suspicions of the company being a vanity press. They also faced criticism for not paying the people whose works AmericaStar published, and even continued to sell their work despite their ownership having expired, which likely played a part in the company's eventual closing in 2018.
  • At least in the United States, the Australian real estate company LJ Hooker is known almost entirely for its ill-fated attempt into building shopping malls. Most notorious is Forest Fair Mall, an overly-large, sprawling upscale megamall that was doomed from the start. Promising an upscale shopping experience, LJ Hooker bought stakes in four upmarket department stores to force them into the mall — a move seen as risky not only due to the blue-collar demographics and existing retail nearby, but also due to all four stores being new to the market. The mall was pretty much DOA, combining with other failed retail venues across the States which drove LJ Hooker to bankruptcy in 1989, taking down three of the four department stores with it. Forest Fair Mall itself saw a few short-lived revival attempts, including a briefly successful run under the Mills Corporation (bought out by Simon Property Group, the largest mall company in the US, in 2007), but the initial controversy always hung over it. Its reputation, combined with new retail developments to the north, has left it as a nearly vacant white elephant for most of the 21st century. Meanwhile developer George Herscu, who oversaw the ill-fated US expansion and was fired for it, continued to be the target of other financial controversies in real estate back in Australia, and was described by multiple sources as "disgraced" at the time of his 2013 death.
  • TBN is an evangelical Christian network that holds the record of being the largest religious broadcaster in the world. But most people know it best for two major controversial elements: its advocacy of the "prosperity gospel", which claims that God will reward people with material blessings if they donate money to the network (which has been criticized for contradicting the anti-materialistic leanings in the New Testament and caused detractors to dub TBN "The Blasphemy Network"); and the various conflicts (some of them legal in nature) between members of the Crouch family that owns it.
  • Henry Ford was and remains an iconic engineer, industrialist and philanthropist. But his promotion of anti-Semitism has left a dark stain on his legacy that's very hard to ignore. Though if one source is to be believed, Ford was reportedly so horrified by the atrocities of the war that "he collapsed with a stroke – his last and most serious" after being shown newsreel footage of the aftermath of The Holocaust.
  • Dr. Laura Schlessinger is probably best known less for her self-help advice and more for her condemnation of homosexuality (citing her religious beliefs as an excuse), a nude photo scandal, and her complaining to a black woman and asking why she was offended by the word "nigger" when "black people say it all the time."
  • It's hard to talk about Cecil Rhodes without discussing his racist and pro-imperialist views, as well as the debate over whether it's appropriate for universities to pay tribute to him (as he's the founder and namesake for the Rhodes Scholarship).
  • The Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia, often mistakenly thought to be "the Confederate Flag", has become a very divisive symbol among Americans in recent years, with some viewing it as an essentially apolitical symbol of Southern heritage and others seeing it as an emblem of treason and white supremacy. The backlash against it really took off in 2015 after a white supremacist murdered nine parishioners inside a historically-black church in Charleston, South Carolina, and blog posts revealed he embraced the flag for white supremacist reasons.
  • The village of Skokie, Illinois will probably be best known for their attempts to prevent a neo-Nazi rally from happening in 1977 (they had a majority-Jewish population at the time, including some who survived the Holocaust). Skokie lost the case on First Amendment grounds, but the rally ultimately never happened. The controversy ultimately inspired the "Illinois Nazis" in The Blues Brothers.
  • Whenever a new disease is named after the place it originated, and that disease later rises to widespread prominence, the place it was named after will inevitably be hit by this trope. Examples of such places include Lyme, Connecticut, the Ebola River in the Congo, and the Zika Forest in Uganda.
  • If you know the defunct Mexican restaurant chain Chi-Chi's for anything other than its licensed Mexican food products which are still sold in grocery stores, then that would most likely be the massive Hepatitis A outbreak at several of their restaurants in 2004. The outbreak, the largest in U.S. history, was traced back to a location at a mall in Pennsylvania. Already taxed by overexpansion and increased competition, Chi-Chi's could not recover from this debacle and quickly shuttered all of its U.S. locations.
  • A particular style of shoe sold by C. & J. Clark, one of the largest shoe manufacturing firms in the UK, became this when an angry mother made a rant not just about how shoddy the "Dolly Babe" Mary Jane school shoes were, but the shoes' name itself being "sexist" and "promoting gender stereotypes." Serious Business ensued, and as a result Clarks issued an apology, stating that it wasn't their intention to offend, pulling out the shoes in question from sale.note  They would later commit to designing and selling "gender-neutral" school shoes, which presumably also had a side-effect of being more acceptable in certain schools where dress codes are stringently observed.
  • Marjory Stoneman Douglas was a renowned environmentalist, women's rights advocate, and journalist who was best known for her efforts to preserve the Everglades, and she had been alive for 108 years before her death in 1998. What is she best known for nowadays? Being the namesake of a high school in Parkland, Florida, that was the site of a deadly mass shooting in February 2018.
  • The reputation of Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria have been overshadowed by his death in a murder-suicide pact alongside his lover, Baroness Mary Vetsera, in what became known as the Mayerling incident, which started a chain of events that led to World War I. Before that, he was known as a Renaissance Man: a respected ornithologistnote  with an interest in minerals and rock formations.note  He wrote anonymous political articles that were strongly liberal and remarkably prescient,note  published a travelogue, initiated and wrote for an encyclopedia of regional studies of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and was awarded two honorary doctorates from the Universities of Budapest and Vienna. He was an artist as well.note  In society and at court, he was considered an excellent conversationalist, charming enough to win the affections of Queen Victoria.note 
  • Pizzeria maverick "Papa" John Schnatter courted controversy in 2018 when he terminated Papa John's sponsorship of the NFL due to the "kneeling" issue, which prompted neo-Nazis to proclaim him as their hero and urging other white supremacists to buy Papa John's pizza. Then an audio recording of Schnatter making racist comments emerged, which served as the final straw for Papa John's other board members, who subsequently ousted him from the company. Ironically, the comments were intended to prevent controversy, as the quote was him actually talking about how other corporations get away with saying such words.
  • Marcial Maciel was a Mexican Catholic priest who founded the Legion of Christ, and throughout most of his career, he was respected within the church as a prolific fundraiser and recruiter of new seminarians. Later in his life, however, Maciel was accused to have, for a long time, sexually abused many boys and young men in his care, accusations that the legion later acknowledged as factual after his death.note  This ascended him to infamy in Latin America and abroad, with his name becoming in his native Mexico in particular a byword for Pedophile Priest. To give one example: When in Deadpool the title character calls another one "Jared," after Jared Fogle, the former Subway spokesman and convicted child molester, in the Latin American Spanish dub (done in Mexico), since Fogle is little known in Latin America, he calls him "Father Maciel" instead.

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