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  • 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 and 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 Harry Truman for not only sparing Hirohito from the Nuremberg Trials 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. The closest thing to a "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, he was a noteworthy research scientist who published scholarly papers about fish. For his part, Hirohito was remorseful about his role in the war, particularly in the last years of his life.
    • 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, his role was minimal at best, with the 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 Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed, 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.
    • His legacy is still up in the air thanks to the existence of the Yasukuni Shrine, a war memorial that 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 involvement of Russian forces in The Chechnya Wars remains controversial today.
  • Adolf Hitler, Nazism, fascism and statist 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 were 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, while some of what they did would be considered war crimes by modern standards, 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 advertisement by Brazilian newspaper Folha de S. Paulo tells of 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 would 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 social democracy of 5 classes controlled by technocrats. This man and his followers, who perpetrated 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.
    • The words 'fascism' and 'fascist' are so closely linked with Hitler, Mussolini, and the Nazis that they have become pejorative, making it extremely difficult to discuss their meaning in political science outside of academic settings. Even in 2020, 75 years after Hitler, those two words are so tightly linked to Nazism that nearly anybody using them outside that context can be dismissed as bandying insults.
  • Any country that was ruled by an infamously cruel and/or insane dictator during the 20th century will have a hard time escaping his reputation, particularly if the country was not particularly well-known before 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 is 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. This probably has something to do with the fact that Japan never really had a prominent face of its regime like Hilter and Mussolini were in their countries (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 is a very different story in many parts of eastern Asia, where Imperial Japan is looked on with the same revulsion Nazi Germany is elsewhere and as a result, Japan has notably strained relations with some other East 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 had 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 widow Imelda (notorious for her enormous shoe collection, reportedly as a result of a foot fetish) 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 the 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".
  • Hyperconservative revolutionary Haxhi Qamili is a reviled figure to many Albanians because he tried 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. To add to the grievances; 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-Christian civil war within Albania, as most Muslims condemned Qamili’s movement, seeing 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 has 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.
  • 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 has said and done, such as expressing terrorist and Holocaust-denier sympathies and perhaps most infamously a 2005 statement that he would like to see the entire country of Israel destroyed, which even Iran's spiritual head Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, himself not friendly to Israel, thought was too much. By the end of his two terms in 2012, his own people were more than tired 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 tarnished 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. Most people are now familiar with him as the Big Bad of Assassin's Creed II if they're at all familiar with him, cementing how far his legacy has fallen.
    • 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 is still looked at with suspicion due to his association with Marcial Maciel. Not helping matters was his election of Theodore McCarrick as Cardinal given the allegations that he ignored warnings from Vatican and Church officials over McCarrick's history of sexual assault.
    • 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 isn'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.
  • Robert Mugabe had a role in Zimbabwe's independence from the United Kingdom in 1980 and afterward ruled the country until 2017 and was a 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, economic ruin, and even famine) were linked to his ruling, widely considered a dictatorship that brutalized supporters of his political opponents, persecuted the Ndebele people and LGBTQ citizens, and chased white farmers off their lands. His corrupt and authoritarian 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.
  • It is difficult to bring up the late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher without addressing how polarizing her ruling was. Her administration was responsible for several controversial economic policies, high unemployment rates, the Miners' Strike, The Falklands War, the significant disembowelment of the Trade Union movement, sidelining Britain's heavy industry sector, her handling of The Troubles (alongside her unflattering views of the Irish), siding with many of Britain's most famous Moral Guardians (including Mary Whitehouse), and privatizing many public assets. To this day, many parts of the United Kingdom such as the North and Scotland still utterly despise her and feel she irreparably ruined the country, with many celebrating the news of her death. It doesn't help that eventually her policies got so extreme and unpopular that her own Party forced her out of office after 11 years of her being Prime Minister. Despite being the first woman to become Prime Minister, she is largely despised by feminists and had unflattering views of them.
  • British Prime Minister Tony Blair has his legacy tainted by his unpopular international policies. While Blair had his share of domestic accomplishments like reducing poverty with expanded welfare, introducing a minimum wage, and overseeing a peaceful end to The Troubles, Blair's support for the US-led invasion of Iraq, which included deploying UK troops, tanked his popularity; it didn't help matters when subsequent investigations discredited the Iraq War's justification (that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and supported Al-Qaeda). Likewise, his pro-immigrant and pro-European Union stance caused much backlash among British nationalists, which lead to the Brexit referendum after he left public office. To this day, many Britons in both Labour and Conservative parties vilify Blair as either a war criminal or a lapdog to the internationals.
  • Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe is infamous for his affiliation with the revisionist and nationalist Nippon Kaigi group, which seeks to downplay the severity of Japan's atrocities from World War II and especially denies the role of government coercion in the recruitment of comfort women, which has resulted in strained relations with both China and South Korea. His support for rearming Japannote  and reclaiming coastal islands also worsened relations with China, Korea, and Russia.
  • Several Presidents of the United States have become examples of this:
    • For the duration of his life and for over a century afterward, 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 increased attention to some of the worst human rights abuses committed by an American president: Jackson was, more than any POTUS 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 is 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.
    • James Buchanan is known less for anything he did and more for something he didn't do: prevent a devastating rebellion. He was president during the lead-up to the American Civil War when tensions over slavery reached unprecedented heights. When several southern states seceded from the Union after Abraham Lincoln won the 1860 election, Buchanan refused to intervene, under the questionable legal logic that while secession was illegal, taking action to stop it was also illegal. By the end, he was only interested in holding off the now-inevitable shooting conflict long enough to pass the buck to Lincoln. Not helping matters was the fact that he'd previously ordered military action in Utah Territory to attack the Mormons and their Native American allies, leading to accusations of gross hypocrisy. While it's doubtful that he could have done much to defuse the tensions prior to the election, his failure to stop the secession or even protect federal property in the South from being seized by the nascent Confederate States of America meant he was the president most to blame for the subsequent civil war. Because of this, while Lincoln is universally considered one of America's best presidents for bringing the country back together, Buchanan is considered one of the worst, if not the worst, for letting it be divided in the first place.
    • Rutherford B. Hayes is relatively obscure today,note  and those who do know who he is know him first and foremost for the extremely controversial circumstances of his election to the presidency rather than anything he actually did while in office. Nominated as a compromise candidate and nicknamed the "Great Unknown" by the general public during the campaign due to him being a political cipher, the election proved extremely close and was marred by allegations of severe electoral misconduct by Democrats and Republicans alike. In the end, Hayes' ascendancy was secured in a backroom deal, and his detractors would refer to him as "Rutherfraud", a name that has stuck to this day.
    • Woodrow Wilson is best known for his foreign policy work, working to keep the United States out of World War One until it was no longer possible, then building up a vast military and economy to support it, bringing the United States fully onto the world stage. After the war, he worked to prevent the next one by supporting the League of Nations and continued to push for the US to maintain a strong presence in world affairs. He is widely admired for his idealism (even if it didn't all go according to his design), but his domestic policies were much less positive. Wilson was a racist even by standards of the daynote , had The Birth of a Nation (1915) as the first motion picture screened in the White House (though he did have a lower opinion of it than popular culture would have you believe, correctly worrying that the film would make incidents of racial violence worse than ever before), and talked about how African-Americans were better cared for under slavery. As President of Princeton University, he encouraged historical revisionism of the American Civil War toward a pro-Southern perspective, consequently being credited with popularizing the "Lost Cause" myth of the Confederacynote , and was the only scholar quoted in Birth of a Nation. He also introduced photo identification into the Federal Civil Service to make it easier to make sure that higher jobs went to people of the "right" color. In more recent years, this racist legacy has overshadowed his foreign-policy achievements, leading to memorials and buildings being renamed. In wonderful irony, Woodrow Wilson Hall at Monmouth Universitynote  is to be renamed for its co-designer Julian Abele, considered the first professional African-American architect.
    • 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, the War on Poverty (which, unlike the War on Drugs, was explicitly meant to benefit impoverished and otherwise lower-class Americans), and the creation of Medicare, among other major domestic accomplishments.
    • Richard Nixon's presidency has been overshadowed by the Watergate scandal, which led to him being the only President to resign. 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.
    • Gerald Ford managed to lead the nation out of the shadow of Watergate, and he even managed to bring the nation into a very brief economic boom. But Ford's leadership was completely blotted out by his pardoning of Richard Nixon for his involvement in Watergate, an overwhelmingly loathed decision that played a crucial role in costing Ford the White House to Jimmy Carter in 1976. Many people felt that Nixon should've faced criminal charges and that Ford was normalizing government corruption by pardoning Nixon. Also not helping is how Ford failed to publicly explain at the time why he pardoned Nixon, which in turn lead to accusations that there was a corrupt deal in which Ford would become president in exchange for the pardon.
    • 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). However, Clinton is also most remembered for his sex scandal with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, which led him to be 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 (especially since Newt Gingrich, who helped spearhead it, was known to have had extramarital affairs himself) — 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 possible 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 the deceased billionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein certainly haven't helped. His economic policies have also become more controversial as of late, with many on both the left and right identifying him as part of the "neoliberal" school of thought that they blame for outsourcing jobs, stagnating wages, and allowing unrestricted corporate growth, which in turn was credited with leading to the 21st century's major recessions.
    • 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. Also, 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, with Bush's approval ratings in particular eventually going from the highest ever recorded to the lowest ever recorded. Even after historians came to the consensus that Bush was more of a figurehead under Vice President Dick Cheney (generally considered the real ringleader as a result of the sheer power he held), Bush still bears the brunt of the blame for his administration's failures among the general public to this day.
  • 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.
  • Bulgarian prime minister Boyko Borisov has had his reputation overshadowed by allegations of corruption and electoral fraud, by increasing judicial threats and attacks against journalists, and for making comments that were widely seen as insinuating that Turks and Romani people in Bulgaria were "bad human material".
  • Anthony Weiner is far better known for his sexting scandals, one of which resulted in him being convicted of sex offenses than he is for any of his work as a politician.
  • 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.
  • 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 1930s. 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 doesn't help that he has held up as a shining example by noted British bigots such as UKIP Leader Nigel Farage, with "Enoch is Right" being a rallying cry among the far-right's anti-immigration stance.
  • The career of UN Secretary-General and Austrian president Kurt Waldheim will forever be eclipsed by the 1986 revelations that he had lied about his military record and may have participated in Nazi war crimes. While nothing was ever proven, the scandal effectively made him persona non grata on an official or informal basis in nearly all foreign countries outside the Arab world.
  • 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 people 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, and he would eventually die in disgrace in March 2016.
  • 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 add to the grievances, 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 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 Obama won the 2008 presidential election.
  • 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 favorite pastime.
    • Not many reliable accounts of Caligula's reign exist. Even if the many, many stories surrounding him are made up, he would have to be pretty unpopular to generate that kind of slander in the first place. According to those 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 them executed—both those close to him or dissenting him. 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, 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 worshiping along with large-scale purges.
    • Hadrian is the Roman Emperor associated with the longest period of peace and often labeled 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 theorize 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 characterizing 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, nobody believed him at all, so he started an old-fashioned 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 traveled 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 is 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 favors on male courtiers, prostituting himself in the Imperial Palace, and sacrificing young children to his namesake, Elagabal, a local sun god from the Syrian town of Emesa. His behavior alienated the Praetorian Guard, Senate, and ordinary people alike, leading to his assassination. The original Modern Major-General would later take great pride in "[quoting] in elegiacs all the crimes of Elagabalus", among other basic and/or irrelevant achievements on his resume.
    • Maximinus Thrax was the very first auxilium (a non-Roman legionary) to become an Emperor and never to set foot in Rome. Though, modern historians mostly know Thrax for consolidating power by resorting to violence; assassinating political rivals or advisors, and thrusting Rome into a warring era 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.
  • 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. These days, Museveni is mostly 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. Many people however know him for the allegations that he is 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." Then there was Buchanan's infamous "culture war" speech relating to the Los Angeles riots at the 1992 Republican National Convention, which many saw as thinly-veiled racism, and was seen as a decisive factor in George H. W. Bush losing his re-election chances to Bill Clinton that November.
  • Canadian MP David Stupich is mostly known for being the central figure of the Bingogate scandal, where he ran kickback schemes in which donations to charities were refunded to the Nanaimo Commonwealth Holding Society, an organization he established to raise money for the New Democratic Party. The scandal caused the resignation of the then-Premier of British Columbia Mike Harcourt, even though he had no personal involvement in it.
  • 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:
    • Chief Justice Roger Taney is remembered most for his decision in the Dred Scott v. Sanford case, in which he declared that blacks had no rights under the Constitution and Dred Scott was a slave. His decision in the case caused an associate justice to resign after intense criticism and bolstered the anti-slavery Republican Party, which won in the 1860 election against Taney's preferred candidate John Breckenridge.
    • While Hugo Black was one of the longest-serving SCOTUS justices in history and one of the most influential of the 20th century, it is 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. His confirmation galvanized the feminist movement and resulted in Republican losses in the next election.
  • UK Conservative Party politician Peter Griffiths is best known for his unexpected victory over then-Shadow Foreign Secretary Patrick Gordon Walker in the 1964 general election. However, this is less for the upset itself, and more for the accusations that his victory was largely due to racist and xenophobic sentiment in the area. Local Tories were even accused of using the slogan "If you want a nigger for a neighbor, vote Liberal or Labour". While Griffiths didn't coin the phrase or use it in his campaign, he refused to condemn it, and his reputation has been extremely polarizing ever since.
  • 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 before 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 ultimately decided not to run for a full term in the 2010 election.
  • Spanish politician Luis Bárcenas is known less for any accomplishments he made as a senator or as party treasurer for Partido Popular and more for using an illegal slush fund to make under-the-table payments, a crime for which he received a 33-year prison sentence and a €44 million fine.
  • Former Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány is best known for the infamous "Őszöd speech", a private speech where he told his colleagues in the Hungarian Socialist Party that they had lied to the people about the state of Hungary to win the elections, how they had done pretty much nothing in the previous four years, and how they "fucked up" and needed to get themselves together to make things work again. When the speech leaked out to the general public, it sparked massive protests, and the resulting fallout was one of the main reasons the Hungarian Socialist Party lost more than 130 seats in the subsequent parliamentary elections, even though Gyurcsány had already resigned as Prime Minister by that point.
  • Priti Patel was the first non-white woman to hold the post of Home Secretary in th United Kingdom. However she quickly gained a reputation as a particularly nasty piece of work among a Government that was far-right and borderline xenophobic. This included her introducing legislation against immigrants so harsh her parents wouldn't have been able to enter the country under these standards. She also went on a tirade about human rights, seeming positively gleeful at the idea of getting rid of them. She also gained a reputation for being a personally unpleasant person, bullying her staff badly and even forcing her Permanent Secretary to resign. In response the Telegraph argued that she couldn't really be a bully on the grounds she was short while some of the civil servants were taller then her. When the Prime Minister, the also controversial and notoriously bigoted and anti-immigrant Boris Johnson backed her he forced his Senior Adviser on the Ministerial Code to resign in protest over this.

    Actors, Filmmakers, and Presenters 
  • Woody Allen's reputation as a witty yet serious filmmaker has been affected in recent years by allegations that he molested his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow, in the early 1990s when she was aged 7.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 his son Ronan Farrow, possibly inspired by all the controversy, 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 his 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 a party/orgy where a young girl named Virginia Rappe died, with the tabloid press accusing him of having raped said girl to death. Even though there was never solid evidence to support this and 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 is 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 afterward.
  • Actress and comedienne Roseanne Barr is as well-known for her unruly behavior as her history-making career (it was her show which first replaced The Cosby Show as the #1 show on US TV). 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 more 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 Hitler which many found insensitive at best. 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 the 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 a woman of partial African-American descent, the baby of the Muslim Brotherhood and Planet of the Apes. Barr tried to defend herself by claiming she didn't know about Jarrett's ancestry, but many refused to believe her, citing her earlier comments about Susan Rice. ABC subsequently fired Barr from her own show, killed Roseanne Conner off, and renamed the series The Conners.
  • Alia Bhatt was a fairly well-liked Bollywood actress, till she claimed to be unaware of Sushant Singh Rajput on the Talk Show "Coffee with Karan". This caused her to be one of the actresses hit the hardest by the Bollywood Nepotism controversy (See Film — Live-Action for more details), that had started after the latter committed suicide in 2020.
  • 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.
  • Rhea Chakraborty was another actress who found herself at the center of the Sushant Singh Rajput controversy, due to being in a relationship with him at the time of his death. The hate against her was so intense that she was labelled as a murderer (she had been accused of driving him to suicide) and she had to be placed under house arrest for her own safety.
  • Louis C.K.'s longtime career as a comedian and actor took quite a toll in November 2017, when he got caught in the #MeToo movement after numerous women accused him of sexual misconduct, which he eventually admitted to. He tried to make a comeback afterward, 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. Even after he self-released his 2020 special Sincerely Louis C.K. to generally favorable reviews, it's still too early to tell if the public will be ready to give C.K. a chance at a full career comeback.
  • 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, Cameron is 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. Campbell has 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.
  • Nick Cannon's resume has been eclipsed in the popular consciousness by a podcast he made with Professor Griff where he endorsed anti-Semitic conspiracy theories (saying Jews were in control of world finance and had stolen the identity of black people as "true Hebrews"), called white people inherently evil savages who were "closer to animals", and promoted the Afrocentric and pseudoscientific melanin theory. ViacomCBS swiftly fired him from his own TV series, Wild 'N Out. That being said, Cannon became ashamed of what he said since then, and has since taken steps to make amends (this allowed him to keep his job on The Masked Singer and resume hosting Wild 'N Out).
  • Gina Carano has become a polarizing figure for her support of anti-mask and anti-vax conspiracy theories and the "Open America" movement during the COVID-19 Pandemic. This would eventually lead to her losing her role in The Mandalorian.
  • 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 is in direct-to-video movies.
  • Whenever Iron Eyes Cody is brought up, the first thing that comes to most peoples' minds is the fact that he was a man of Italian and Sicilian heritage who falsely claimed to be a Native American.
  • 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 that he was eventually accused of sexual assault by many women, and would later be convicted of three counts of aggravated indecent assault. 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 have 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, Cosby 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.
  • Comedian Chris D'Elia has had his reputation tarnished by accusations of rape and grooming underage girls, which led to him getting dropped by his agent and caused all of his scenes in Zack Snyder's Army of the Dead to be reshot with Tig Notaro.
  • 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 (as well as The Sun, which published the allegations) for defamation and accusing her of being the abusive one.
  • English comedian Jim Davidson's career has been tarnished 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).
  • Andy Dick is best known for his substance abuse, getting Phil Hartman's wife Brynn re-addicted to cocaine after she had 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 altercations with Hartman's friend Jon Lovitz over it, and frequency 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, and finally, another rumor that he cryogenically froze himself.
  • Three male castmembers of the first season of the revived series of Doctor Who have been hit by scandals that dog their work on the show and beyond, with many suspecting that it might have led Christopher Eccelstone to depart after one season.
    • Bruno Langley (Adam Mitchell) was accused of sexual harassment in 2017, which led to him being dropped from Coronation Street.
    • Noel Clarke was accused by twenty women of sexual harassment, inappropriate behaviour and bullying which tarnished his reputation as a leading talent in the British film and television industry.
    • Following Clarke's scandal, John Barrowman's habit of exposing his penis to castmembers onset (which was an open secret and treated as a joke) became made public.
  • Reality show personality Josh Duggar of 19 Kids and Counting had his reputation tainted by the revelation that he molested four of his sisters as well as their babysitter. Consequently, TLC fired Duggar and re-tooled 19 Kids as Counting On.
  • While Jane Fonda has had a respectable film career, many people, still remember her for her photo-op in North Vietnam in protest of the war, as well as her press conference at the Hanoi Hilton, in which she called American POW's "opportunistic liars" when they described the torture they were put through in the Vietnamese prison camps. Not helping matters was the feud she had with Joan Baez over Baez's criticisms of communist Vietnam's human rights abuses. To this day, many supporters of the U.S. military consider her a traitor.
  • 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 trouble 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 city) 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, although they have since reconciled.
  • Bill Grundy is almost exclusively known for a notorious 1976 interview with the Sex Pistols, where he contemptuously encouraged a barrage of profanity from the Pistols, not-so-subtly hit on Siouxsie Sioux, and was allegedly drunk throughout the whole thing. While the interview significantly raised the Pistols' profile, it resulted in Grundy's show being canceled and effectively destroyed his career.
  • Voice actor 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 is divisive, Hartman himself was generally respected and he still had a dedicated 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, with even Christians joining in the backlash. The possible nadir of his staunch Christian beliefs was an event he attended, hosted by his wife, promoting the ideas that Christian prayer can cure diseases, even including autism as one of those diseases. His close friendship with controversial televangelist Andrew Wommack didn't help matters, either.
    • 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 Let's 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.
  • Amber Heard would wind up on the receiving end of this trope when, in early 2020, recorded conversations between her and Johnny Depp were leaked to the tabloids. In the recordings, according to the Daily Mail, Heard told Depp that she couldn't promise not getting physical again, and admitting that she hit Depp and threw pots and pans at him and to smashing a door into his head and punching him in the face. Heard insists that whatever she did to Depp was done in self-defense. She ended up drawing more ire in early 2021 when word got out that she allegedly withheld millions of dollars intended to be donated to a children's hospital for herself.
  • 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.
  • Actress and comedienne Victoria Jackson is now known less for her work as a performer and more for her ultraconservative Christian views, spreading conspiracy theories about politicians (most notably Barack Obama), and for making statements widely regarded as faithist and homophobic.
  • Scarlett Johansson has attracted quite a bit of criticism for her willingness to play characters and even real people who are of 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 the 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 Dylan Farrow; 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 offender status. Ever since it happened, it's been very hard to talk about him without bringing up his legal troubles.
  • Salman Khan is one of Bollywood's most successful actors with a career that spans over thirty years. However, he's as well-known for the numerous controversies of his personal life as much as he is for his filmography. His controversies include a hit-and-run case that killed one person and injured three others in September 2002, accusations of harassing Aishwarya Rai after their break-up in 2002, and an infamous poaching incident in 1998 when he poached a blackbuck deer in the forests near Jodhpur while filming Hum Saath-Saath Hain. While he still remains a popular actor in Bollywood with plenty of fans, he is still a rather polarizing figure in the entire industry, no thanks to these controversies.
  • 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.
  • 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 ephebophilia and sexual misconduct that surfaced in March 2018.
  • While Stanley Kubrick is still widely praised among cinephiles and film historians as one of the greatest and most innovative directors in the history of the cinema of the Western hemisphere, he's also just as well known for his manipulative Control Freak tendencies that escalated to the point of being emotionally abusive towards some of his actors and never apologizing about it to the day he died. His treatment of Shelley Duvall on the set of The Shining is a particular subject of attention for the fact that he allegedly traumatized her to the point of giving her the lasting mental instability that led her to an early retirement and reclusion from Hollywood (an allegation that, for what it's worth, Duvall herself largely dispelled).
  • Ex-porn star Traci Lords was once one of the most popular adult film stars in the mid 1980s. However, her reputation was soon eclipsed when it was discovered that she was actually underaged and had used forged documents, a revelation that came just three weeks after her 18th birthday. The revelation ended her career in porn and got all but one of her films banned. While Lords has since become a mainstream actress, any discussion of her will inevitably mention her being an underaged porn actress.
  • 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 was previously 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 had 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 done to her reputation.
  • It is 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 had 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 remains one of the most well-known things about him.
  • Actress Allison Mack has been eclipsed by her involvement in NXIVM, a multi-level marketing company that was later discovered to be the front for a sex-trafficking cult.
  • Japanese actor Mitsuyasu Maeno is best known for his far-right and ultranationalistic politics, and for killing himself in a failed suicide attack on political power broker and Yakuza boss Yoshio Kodama. This attack was motivated by Maeno's belief that Yoshio's involvement in the Lockheed bribery scandals brought shame to Japan.
  • Actor Jenny McCarthy is primarily known today for her staunch support of the anti-vaccination movement, being credited with using her fame to bring the fringe ideology to mainstream prominence, which in turn was credited with causing new outbreaks of preventable diseases that were previously on their way to being eradicated in the United States. Not only was her support lambasted as anti-science (not to mention potentially lethal in light of the aforementioned outbreaks), but with the neurodivergent community growing in prominence during the 2000s and 2010s, countless autistic rights advocates have condemned McCarthy's statements as ableist thanks to her most prominently pushing the disproven claim that vaccines cause autism and advocating New Age-based "treatments" that the neurodivergent community recognizes as abusive (including food deprivation, applied behavioral analysis, and electric shocks).
  • The aforementioned Rose McGowan, who along with her Charmed co-star Alyssa Milano, the woman most credited with sparking the #MeToo movement, also falls under this for her controversial statement on trans women and public feuds. On the podcast What's the Tee?, she questioned whether trans women count as real women, which resulted in a 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. Lately, she's been known for public feuds with other Hollywood figures, including Meryl Streep, Oprah Winfrey, and even her former Charmed co-star Alyssa Milano for being insufficiently feminist. She even turned against journalist Ronan Farrow (a vocal critic against enabling celebrity sexual abusers, given the controversy surrounding his own father, Woody Allen) who helped break her story about Weinstein's rape simply because he called her personal memoir "dark".
  • 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 would probably be one.
  • Vic Mignogna's long voice acting career got eclipsed in 2019 by accusations of homophobia and rude and predatory behavior with underage con-goers, resulting in Rooster Teeth sacking him, Funimation blacklisting him, and his numerous appearances at anime conventions getting canceled. However, Mignogna's case became so polarizing (in part because of his extensive presence in the anime industry and the fact Funimation removed credits for Mignogna's previous roles right after firing him) that it ended up creating a significant divide as to whether or not the accusations are true. Mignogna's own controversial statements making light of the COVID-19 Pandemic in 2020 only threw more fuel to the fire.
  • 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 and Planet of the Humans, which he produced, getting criticized as being outdated and misleading), 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.
  • John Nathan-Turner was Doctor Who's longest-serving producer in The '80s and was known for his showmanship, colourful fashion sense, campy nature, open relationship with the fandom and sometimes questionable creative decisions. Years after his death, the book The Life and Scandalous Times of John Nathan-Turner contained not only accusations of unprofessional behaviour towards colleagues, but also contained revelations that he and his partner, production manager Gary Downie, preyed on young male fans of the show.
  • Gwyneth Paltrow has become more infamous over the years for Goop, her line of female health care products, that have been decried as pseudoscience and quackery by legitimate 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.
  • Any discussion of Roman Polański has been eclipsed by 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).
  • Actor Randy Quaid is better known for the fact that he is an eccentric conspiracy theorist who attempted to flee to Canada with his wife because he was convinced that assassins were out to kill him.
  • Actor/comedian Steve Rannazzisi of The League fame has had his reputation tarnished by the revelation that he lied about having escaped from the South Tower of the World Trade Center on 9/11, a story that he had told several times as the moment that led him to pursue stand-up comedy. Even worse, many people were willing to hire Rannazzisi for projects in part because of his story. Naturally, this led to a huge backlash, with Pete Davidson, who lost his own father on 9/11, calling out Rannazzisi (though the two later reconciled). Although he still acts and performs stand-up, Rannazzisi has kept a low profile since then.
  • 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 member of the Nazis 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.
  • 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 spend the second half of the 2010s in prison, only being released on parole in 2019.
  • 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.
  • Actor, author, and filmmaker Derek Savage is now known less for the content of his output and more for his heavy-handed responses to anybody criticizing or parodying Cool Cat Saves the Kids, one of the movies he made. Taking down web reviews of the movie, getting into fights with his detractors on Twitter, impersonating a nonexistent law firm to intimidate people, threatening to have somebody who made a YouTube Poop of it murdered by terrorists and generally harassing anybody who mocks or pans his movie in any way has seen his reputation go from an incompetent but harmless and even somewhat endearing figure to a bullying jackass with an overinflated opinion of himself and his work.
  • 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 2001 on Cbeebies that featured one of the characters dressing up as Saville. The controversy would go on to engulf the entire BBC when it was revealed 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 the infamous tweet from the Sam & Cat account that asked the largely-underage fanbase to send in pictures of their feet with a hashtag written on the soles) 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 has 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. He 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 bizarre behavior and 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, being both an anti-vaxxer and a 9/11 truther and Corey Feldman accusing him of raping an underage Corey Haim on the set of Lucas.
  • 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 cancel a planned Red Sonja film with Singer attached after intense scrutiny.
  • Wesley Snipes is infamous for his prima-donna behavior 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, alleged anti-Semitism, embracing of conspiracy theories, and willingness to star in far-right and/or religious propaganda films than for his acting, effectively rendering him Persona Non Grata among the mainstream sci-fi/fantasy community.
  • The career of actor Kevin Spacey has been thoroughly 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. Also, 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 behavior 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 authoritarian leaders like 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 (himself already married to Sybil Christopher at the time), 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.
  • At least some of Shirley Temple's films veer into this largely due to Values Dissonance over her interactions with grown men in the films (for starters, it's more or less impossible to discuss Bright Eyes without the now-infamous "Good Ship Lollipop" scene), and the various abuses she witnessed on- and off-set like in Baby Burlesks where misbehaving child actors were locked up in a cupboard with a big block of ice and left to freeze, and an incident where an errant MGM producer exposed his penis in front of the then-twelve-year-old Temple, the latter unaware of the obscene act being done in front of her. In fairness, she did fare better than the likes of Lindsay Lohan and other former child actors after retiring from acting, but the creepiness factor with her films did put off some modern audiences who were uncomfortable about the things the actress went through during her childhood.
  • 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 and expelled from Celebrity Big Brother. She is far better known for this than for her acting career and television roles.
  • Comedian James Veitch had a promising career, having given three popular TED talks about his interactions with various unsolicited e-mails. These would prove popular enough that he was given the series Scamalot which was all about him making fools out of online scammers. Veitch also made many appearances on Conan as a stand-up, and he even got a stand-up special on HBO Max. However, in September 2020 he was accused by many of his classmates at Sarah Lawrence College of rape and sexual assault from his time there. This has resulted in most distributors that produced Veitch's videos taking them down and cutting ties with him.
  • 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 some earlier controversies were 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 an October 2017 article in The New Yorker and The New York Times. The article encouraged several 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 has also been hit with sexual misconduct allegations) had many actresses, including Asia Argento, accuse him of rape, alongside an audio recording of him admitting to groping women. Soon, many 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 himself, albeit much less severe than Harvey's); 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, several people were pleased with the outcome, with fellow Weinstein victim Mira Sorvino admitting that she was at least grateful that justice was finally 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. He was also accused of racist, toxic, and abusive behavior on the sets of many of his projects, with Ray Fisher, Charisma Carpenter, Amber Benson, and Michelle Trachtenberg in particular accusing him of misconduct.
  • 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 about 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 try and get herself 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 has had few notable film roles since (with one such role being a cameo in the universally panned Holmes & Watson). He 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, especially if that included its time under Stalin, saw their reputations decline, at least briefly, during the Cold War. As for artists who actually worked under Stalin, 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 in some cases used, retroactively, to justify such instances as The Hollywood Blacklist.
    • Supporting fascism and especially Nazism is, however, usually seen as far worse than supporting communism, and numerous individuals who were involved with the ideologies have seen their reputations be destroyed or overshadowed:
      • 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 has made it difficult for people to praise him as an author.
      • During the war, another collaborationist writer, newspaper editor 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 afterward.
    • 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 the (false) claim that its eponymous founder's created the 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 often find them 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 embarrassment 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 is "Common Knowledge" that the man himself was all these things and more.note 
  • 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 resoundingly 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 otherwise healthy people; 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 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.
  • 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 one of the most hated writers in the SF/F community for a reason (unrelated to his writing).
  • Harold Camping's final years of life and as CEO of Family Radio (one of the largest Christian radio broadcasters in America) has become irreversibly tainted after he "predicted" that the Biblical Rapture would occur on May 21, 2011. A multi-million dollar, America-wide advertising campaign launched by Family Radio sowed fear into the hearts of Camping's loyal followers, making them quit their jobs, take on debt and sell prized possessions online. However, this prophecy would also spark fierce opposition from an unlikely alliance of atheists and sceptical Christians decrying Camping's apocalyptic messaging as nothing more fearmongering. Tellingly enough, after Camping's death in 2013, Family Radio went to great lengths to distance itself from Camping, as his antics had caused significant damage to the company's finances and public image.
  • 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 logic and reason 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 eugenics 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. While the idea that his various monsters were allegories for non-Aryans is debatable, what's not is the fact that many real ethnic groups were frequently subject to demonization in his stories.note 
  • 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 has 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 is also notable and/or notorious as one of the few authors of fiction to have completely banned Fan Works for her books.
  • Gareth Roberts, best known for his work on the modern series of Doctor Who (and its expanded universe) killed his standing with the fandom due to his transphobic beliefs, enusing that he will never work on the show again.
  • 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 Awards; his savage, homophobic disparagement of The Legend of Korra creators for ending the series by having the main character start a relationship with another woman, and comparing renowned author Terry Pratchett to Adolf Hitler because of how the former endorsed 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 that she had divorced him when he had been arrested. After she died in 1999, evidence came forward that not only had she known about and tolerated Breen's abuse of children throughout their marriage, she had 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, putting a huge dent in fans' use of the "separating art from the artist" defense), 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 has been labeled alt-right, associated with numerous incidents of violence, reportedly has ties to neo-Nazi groups and is currently classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and is considered a terrorist group within Canada. 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 is now best known for his dabbling in what many consider to be far-right 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 his support of the TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) movement, calling the anti-trans protesters at London Pride "heroes" and trans activists "Nazis", as well as trying to have a £500,000 grant for the trans support charity Mermaids UK revoked. This, along with the rest of his bigotry, resulted in the permanent suspension of his Twitter account. His frequent mockery of transgender people eventually culminated in him setting up a profile on a lesbian dating site, where he portrayed an extremely unflattering caricature of a trans woman and acted like a predator toward the site's patrons; in other words, doing exactly himself what he repeatedly accused trans women of.
  • 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 "GBF" Bobby Ferguson, who cheats at video games, was a parody of him) have only further sullied his reputation. Finally, in late 2020, the new owner of Twin Galaxies sued Mitchell and his former business partner Walter Day, showing evidence that Mitchell had faked all of his records, had lied about being the first person to perform a perfect game of Pac-Man, and in general had used his position as co-owner of Twin Galaxies — along with Day — to attack and defame anyone who came up with records better than his own fabrications, completing his spectacular fall from grace. Mitchell will likely go down in gaming history as one of the biggest frauds professional gaming has ever seen.
  • 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 has 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 ended up getting 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 a controversy when she made comments defending blackface on her show, which played a part in Megyn Kelly Today getting canceled (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 were his false claim that a military helicopter he had 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 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.
  • Canadian journalist Jan Wong is best known for "Get under the desk", an article she wrote for The Globe and Mail that many found inflammatory. She claimed in the article that there was a link between three school shootings in Quebec and purported alienation brought on by Quebec's linguistic struggle, even going so far as to accuse Quebecois culture of being overly concerned with "racial purity". There was an enormous backlash against her article and her as a person, leading her to be dismissed from the Globe, and her subsequent work has been haunted by the specter of "Get under the desk".
  • 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. The studio was founded by Edmundo Santos, considered one of the pioneers of the industry and a prolific Disney collaborator in his own right. It has 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 harassing his 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 have heard of him, he is more well known for his outspoken anti-Semitism than his art; his involvement in the Dreyfus Affair is at least as well known as his ballet-themed paintings.
  • Markus "Notch" Persson is less known for creating Minecraft and founding Mojang, but more for making various volatile statements regarding feminism, gay pride, race relations, recognition of social privilege, and the transgender community on Twitter, which resulted in him being accused of sympathizing with the alt-right and ultimately led to him being un-personed by Mojang, Microsoft, and the wider Minecraft community. The fact that the latter's rejection of Persson (by jokingly attributing the creation of Minecraft to, of all figures, Hatsune Miku) became a widespread meme applied to other IPs with controversial creators only cemented the controversy's status as the defining element of his reputation.
  • Roger Ailes, late former chair and CEO of Fox News, Fox Television Stations, and 20th Television, is best known for the allegations of sexual harassment on his part that tarnished his reputation and forced him to resign from his position in July 2016.
  • 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", close ties with the Islamist terror group Hizb ut-Tahrir, and suggesting that ANZAC Daynote  should honor 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 sympathizer 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 ultra-nationalist 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 (particularly the Dragster one) 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; to this day, his name is only ever invoked in discussions about his cheating and how long he got away with it.
  • Charlie Rose was once respected as a talk show host and journalist with a career that spanned decades. Then in 2017, he was one of the many celebrities accused of sexual misconduct in the aftermath of the Harvey Weinstein allegations breaking, being said to have sexually harassed at least eight women. The day after the article documenting the allegations was released, he was fired by CBS, PBS, and Bloomberg. 27 more women came forward with accusations in May 2018, bringing his total number of accusers to 35.
  • J. K. Rowling created a generational pop-culture phenomenon with the Harry Potter franchise. However, from the mid-2010s onward, she started losing favour with sections of the fandom, following her defence of the casting of Johnny Depp in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald while allegations of domestic violence were being 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. Outside of her writing, she had liked transphobic tweets for years before finally publicly tweeting in support of Maya Forstater, a vocal TERFnote  in 2019. This alienated many of her trans fans as well as their allies. Further open demonstration of Rowling's transphobia, as well as anti-autism ableism,note  caused multiple celebrities to speak out against her prejudices, including Daniel Radcliffe (Harry's movie actor), who responded with an essay for the Trevor Project. It got to the point that, when a Wizarding World series was announced for HBO Max, people on social media complained because it would mean Rowling would financially benefit from it.
  • Helen Thomas is now known less for her journalism career and more for saying things that many accused of being antisemitic, then defending herself by denying it was even possible for her to be antisemitic by pointing to her Lebanese ancestry to claim that she was a Semitenote  herself.
  • Entrepreneur Peter Thiel's role in co-founding PayPal has become overshadowed by his bankrolling of Hulk Hogan's successful lawsuit against Gawker Media— which ended up bankrupting Gawker— as an act of revenge against Gawker for outing him as a gay man. He's also achieved controversy for his considerable ties to very polarizing political figures, including Donald Trump, and for founding Palantir Technologies, a tech firm that has been repeatedly accused of facilitating corporate and government surveillance.
  • British TV chief Jamie Oliver is controversial because of his Moral Guardian activism including his 2005 school dinners campaign and campaign for a sugar tax. He was also criticized by climate activists for partnering with fossil fuel company Shell in 2019.
  • Fans of fantasy author David Eddings were blindsided by revelations in 2020 that both him and his wife/co-author Judith had done hard time in The '70s for abusing their adopted children.

    Events 
  • While November 22, 1963 is widely known for the assassination of John F. Kennedy, fans of the Detroit Lions also remember the date due to the fact that William Clay Ford Sr., the son of Edsel Ford and member of the board of directors of the Ford Motor Company, purchased the Lions to become the majority owner. Had it not been for the tragedy that day in Dallas, it is safe to say that while not necessarily front-page news, it would have made at least some waves. Not only was Kennedy assassinated on that day, Aldous Huxley and C. S. Lewis also died as well.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.
  • It's safe to say that the May 1985 G7 summit in Bonn is known among the general public solely for US President Ronald Reagan and West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl making a ceremonial visit at a military cemetary in Bitburg to lay a wreath. When it became known that 49 members of the Waffen SS were buried there, a massive backlash against the planned visit occured among Americans, causing a strain in American-West German relations.
  • 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, the show opened with a disastrous musical number that ruined the careers of everyone involved — and declared the ceremony cursed from the start.
      • 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 was 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 shared through the Internet, especially 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 the prostitution of minors. Luckily enough, the controversy stayed only on the Internet and as a 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 to 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 Evolution Fighting Game Tournament is the most prestigious fighting game tournament on the planet, where people come from around the world to compete, and it's seen as the event of the year for the Fighting Game Community. However, at EVO 2018, the Smash 4 tournament ended up 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 standing still 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 Western 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.
  • Rainfurrest was a Furry Fandom convention formerly held in Seattle, Washington. It was created in 2007 to give the Pacific Northwest a new furry con after the demise of Conifur Northwest. However, the 2015 incarnation quickly became known throughout the fandom and even outside it for extreme misconduct. Attendees and even some of the event staff were caught abusing drugs and vandalizing the hotel, and other attendees were found to be wandering around the con and public spaces in the Hilton hotel wearing fetish gear (with some even spotted wearing used adult diapers). Two staffers were charged with assault (one sexual, the other regular), and the whole con was nearly ended prematurely when a guest tampered with a smoke detector to hotbox their room. In the end, the Hilton SeaTac sent the con organizers letters announcing that they would no longer host Rainfurrest, and other regional hotels filed suit. The organizers tried to move Rainfurrest to another hotel for the 2016 incarnation, but the reputation of the 2015 incidents caused the con to terminate for good and its staff to disperse. Nowadays, both inside and outside the fandom, the legacy of Rainfurrest seems to be limited entirely to the misdeeds of its last installment.
  • Light is Hope, a project in which a flag was illuminated on the Matterhorn in Switzerland to support a country that was affected by the COVID-19 virus, ended very poorly when the current Iranian flag was illuminated. While it was praised inside Iran, it was criticized by detractors of the current Iranian government for bringing the message to the current Iranian government (which they criticized as corrupt).
  • The BlizzCon 2018 convention is mostly remembered for the intense fan backlash to the revelation that the then-latest game in the Diablo franchise, Diablo Immortal, was to be mobile-exclusive after teasing fans of a new Diablo game being in the works for a while, thereby leading fans to naturally believe they were working on a Diablo IV (which has since been announced as of BlizzCon 2019), their decision to announce it as The Climax to a convention aimed at Blizzard's most dedicated fanbase which is almost exclusively comprised of PC players, who had paid $200 each to attend the event, and Blizzard designer Wyatt Cheng's tone-deaf response to the crowd's booing when he confirmed there were no plans for a PC port, "Do you guys not have phones?", which rapidly became a meme representing corporate insensitivity to their customers' requests.

    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 before Hitler co-opted it.
  • 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 to 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 the shoot-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 afterward 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 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 (largely for its football program) 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.
  • 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. Despite having been severely mutilated from his torture, Till was given an open-casket funeral specifically so people would see how brutally he was killed; photographs of his corpse were widely disseminated in the press afterwards, boosting the profile of his murder to unprecedented levels for a black civilian. His killers were subsequently acquitted by a clearly biased judge and jury despite overwhelming evidence against them, then went on to publicly brag about murdering Till in a magazine interview now that they were protected by double jeopardy. The highly-publicized 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 and a vivid microcosm of the true face of anti-black racism in America, 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 behavior. This has contributed to Wikipedia deprecating 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 Fascists in the 1930s, most infamously with the banner headline "Hurrah for the Blackshirts!", openly advocated an alliance with Adolf Hitler against the communists before 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".
  • The Sun, much like the Daily Mail, has also become known for running sensationalist and false headlines after its purchase by Rupert Murdoch, which has also led to it being deprecated by Wikipedia. Most infamously, their coverage of the Hillsborough football stadium disaster falsely accused Liverpool FC fans of pickpocketing victims and attacking emergency services. Since then, many stores in Liverpool outright refuse to sell the paper.
  • 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 widely interpreted as being 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.
  • 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 with 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 it 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. Tellingly, they were evidently worried their far-right past might catch up with them in light of the #BlackLivesMatter movement exploding like it never had before in mid-2020, because while Amazon and Microsoft suspended business ties with the police until they get their acts together nationwide, IBM went a step further by cutting ties with the police permanently.
  • 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 it would no longer donate money to these anti-gay groups. The last time they said they would end their donations took place years earlier, but 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, the Ethiopian Derg, and the Khmer Rouge of Cambodia/Kampuchea. While communism hasn't been discredited in the way fascism and related ideologies have, it is still a very contentious school of thought, even among left-wingers, to the point where China became the Trope Namer for People's Republic of Tyranny.
  • It is 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.
    • Also, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act was passed to combat mob influence in labor unions. Investigations by prosecutors in the 1980s revealed how entrenched the mob was in labor racketeering, and the crimes they committed such as stealing from benefit plans, giving "no-show" jobs to mafiosi so they could have a legit income, and forcing contractors to hire only mob-controlled workers. In some cases, they even gained entire control over a union's board. In New York City, most construction projects could not be performed without mob approval. In the freight industry, mobsters would steal valuable items after bribing union workers and fence the stolen merchandise on the black market.
  • Gawker Media was certainly never free of controversy, at least partially due to several 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 had forced out of the closet. Not helping was former Gawker editor AJ Daulerio implying he would have been willing to post sex tapes involving prepubescent children during cross-examination.note 
  • 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 it 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, founding the automaker that bears his name and being the chief developer of the assembly line technique of mass production, which converted the automobile from an expensive curiosity into an accessible conveyance that profoundly impacted the landscape of the 20th century. But his promotion of anti-Semitism (to the point of buying his own newspaper to publish his views)note  and his staunch opposition against labor unions has left a dark stain on his legacy that's very hard to ignore.
  • 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 was the founder and namesake for the Rhodes Scholarship).
  • This applies to several flags around the world:
    • 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 as emblematic of his white-supremacist beliefs. Similar to the swastika, it has been banned from sale on sites such as eBay. In 2020, in light of the resurgence of Black Lives Matter, the state of Mississippi announced they would be removing the symbol from their state flag. Not helping matters is that some European neo-Nazis have since adopted the flag as a replacement for the swastika since the latter symbol is illegal in some of these territories.
    • The Charleston shooter also embraced the former Apartheid flag of South Africa and the former flag of Rhodesia, both of which were used by racist, repressive white minority governments and were quickly adopted by white supremacists after those governments fell.
    • Then there is the Rising Sun flag, which people closely identify with Imperial Japan. The flag is actually still officially in use by Japan's navy, while a more stylized version is used by the Japanese Self-Defense Forces. While the flag isn't particularly controversial in the West compared to the Nazi flag, that is decidedly not the case in Asia, especially in China and Korea, thanks to the horrific atrocities carried out by the Japanese under that banner during their colonization of the continent.
  • 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. While the virus that caused the COVID-19 Pandemic was deliberately not named after the location where the outbreak originated in an attempt to avoid a similar stigma developing (after the World Health Organization established a guideline in 2015 specifically with that end), the city of Wuhan will likely fall into this trope (at least outside of China), and the trend of geographic-based names resulted in people maliciously giving COVID various Chinese-based nicknames anyway, themselves criticized as xenophobic.
  • 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 widespread Hepatitis A outbreak at several of their restaurants in late 2003. 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 closed down 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.
  • The reputation of Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria has 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 some 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 somebody "Jared" as a reference to 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.
  • Brazilian-American preacher Josué Yrion would probably just be an unknown outside of U.S. and Latin American evangelical and fundamentalist sects, if it weren't for a series of sermons he did in the late 1990s accusing video games, Disney films, and Pokémon (among others) of being "satanic" using false and/or manipulated "evidence" (most infamously using Yu-Gi-Oh! cards claiming they were Pokémon ones and making up demonic and even sexual meanings for them), which went viral beginning in the late 2000s among the Spanish-speaking world and later became a Memetic Mutation thanks to two short parodies in which Yrion's voice is edited to sound like he's singing about the evils of video games (or "Nintendos", as he called them) and Pokémon (or "Pokimons", as he pronounces it). It seems Yrion is well-aware of this, as he has all but distanced himself from those sermons, and is quite likely he knows what he said on them were lies intended to scam money out of his followers (the sermons were released on video and later DVD and sold on his website). As such, Yrion will forever be seen as a laughingstock a la Jack Thompson and a fraud among those outside of fringe sects.
  • The thin blue line has become a controversial symbol in recent years. The line originally stood for police solidarity, representing police officers separating good from evil. However, the line took off in the mainstream after various cases of police brutality against African Americans in the early/mid-2010s led to the flag being co-opted by critics of the then-upstart Black Lives Matter movement. Backlash against it really took off after the Unite the Right rally in 2017, where thin blue line flags were seen flying alongside Confederate battle flags by right-wing extremists. Ever since then, the blue line flags have been seen in some circles as representing opposition to police accountability or even as emblems of far-right politics and/or white supremacy.
  • Ayds was a brand of appetite-suppressant candy that saw strong sales in the 1970s and 1980s, but nowadays is only known for the controversy surrounding its name, pronounced the same as "AIDS." It didn't help that weight loss is an effect of both the disease and the candy. As AIDS rose to prominence in the late 1980s, the company's sales plummeted, and they tried to distance themselves from the epidemic by changing their name to "Aydslim" in Britain and "Diet Ayds" in the States, before ultimately being discontinued, with its only legacy being its retrospectively awkward advertising campaign.
  • The bootleg videotape distribution company Video Bancorp would have faded into complete obscurity after their 1990 closing had they not gotten into controversy in 1993 when a mother discovered thirty minutes of pornographic content was left at the end of a Popeye tape she bought for her daughter. The few sources that discuss Video Bancorp always mention that incident.
  • Molenbeek-Saint-Jean (more commonly known as just "Molenbeek") is one of 19 municipalities in Brussels-Capital Region, Belgium. Outside of Belgium, this municipality gained international attention as the base of Islamist terrorists during the mid-2010s. Most notably, it was linked to the Brussels ISIS terror cell who carried out large-scale terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015 (130 killed) and Brussels in March 2016 (32 killed). Additionally, Molenbeek is one of Europe's most infamous 'no-go zones'.
  • Boeing's reputation has taken a hit in recent years as their entire 737-MAX series jets had to be grounded for months worldwide due to two crashes killing 346 people. The problems have continued to accumulate for the company, as their 777 series has seen several jets be grounded and the 787 series having additional problems as well.
  • The English village of Piltdown would be almost entirely unknown if not for the Piltdown Man, one of the most infamous paleontological hoaxes in history. Few people know anything else about the town, including what county it's in.
  • Robert Barker co-printed (with John Norton) the King James Bible of 1611, one of the most important and influential books in the history of the English language. Barker's reputation was completely tarnished in 1631 when he co-printed (with Martin Lucas) the infamous "Wicked Bible", named after a crucial typographical error in the Ten Commandments that omitted the word "not" from "Thou shalt not commit adultery", turning it into "Thou shalt commit adultery". This unfortunate blunder was seen in 1631 as a very serious crime; almost all copies of the edition were recalled and burned by order of King Charles I (it is believed that less than twelve copies exist today, and as you can imagine they sell for outrageous prices), and both Barker and Lucas were fined £300 (equivalent to approximately £62,960 in 2021) and had their printing licenses revoked. Four years later, Barker was imprisoned for debt, where he remained until his death in 1643.
  • Bob Jones University, a private Evangelical Christian college in Greenville, South Carolina, has become associated with their racist treatment of African-Americans; they didn't allow them to become students until 1971, and even then, they were not allowed to be in relationships with the white students. This ultimately got Bob Jones into war with the IRS, who wanted the college defunded due to their racist policies, leading to a decades-long court battle that ended with the courts siding in Bob Jones' favor in 1983. This war between church and state is arguably seen as the beginning of the politicization of religion in America, influencing the rise of the Christian Right movement and the Republican Party turning the abortion debate into a wedge issue. Although Bob Jones did eventually get rid of their anti-miscegnation policy, they only did so in 2007, making the university's racist past still fresh in the minds of the public.

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