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    Heads of State and Politicians 
  • The ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten is a divisive and polarizing figure to many Egyptologists. Depending on who you ask, he was either a humanitarian visionary responsible for creating Atenism, one of the first monotheistic religions or an incompetent, selfish ruler who ignored his subjects and Egypt’s closest allies. Some argue that Akhenaten was history’s first totalitarian by noting that his actions bore many disturbing similarities to those displayed by modern dictators, such as censoring imagery dedicated to other gods, persecuting polytheists and framing Atenism around himself in a manner akin to a cult of personality. What everyone agrees on, however, is that Akhenaten’s radical reforms went a long way towards causing Egypt’s geopolitical influence in the Near East to decline while rousing resentment from nobles and commoners alike, who set about destroying records bearing Akhenaten’s name after his death.
  • Boris Yeltsin is most remembered internationally 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.
  • Even though he died millennia ago, the brutal legacy of the ancient Greek lawmaker and politician Draco still lives on through the English word "draconian", often used to describe very strict or harsh laws. A more than appropriate descriptor for his Draconian Constitution, the first laws codified in the city-state of Athens and applied equally to everyone, which were so extreme that even minor offenses like stealing food became punishable by death. Within twenty-five years after Draco’s legislation, Athens soon found itself on the verge of a civil war due to living conditions becoming so terrible for many impoverished Athenians due to the Draconian Constitution, which left the Athenian government no choice but to have the Constitution rewritten by fellow lawmaker Solon, who revised it into something more moderate.
  • Diarmait Mac Murchada, former king of Leinster, would’ve become an almost obscure figure in the medieval period of Ireland’s history... if it wasn’t for the fact that he sought aid from King Henry II of England to recover his kingdom, which kickstarted the Anglo-Normans’ successful invasion of Ireland. Centuries later, Diarmait’s remembered by the Irish by the unflattering nickname Diarmaid na nGall ("Irish for “The Foreigner Diarmait") as a traitor responsible for causing his people’s oppression and the destruction of their culture under eight hundred years of English rule.
  • The Popes:
    • Pope Alexander VI is more 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 or his portrayal by Jeremy Irons in The Borgias, 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 convicted child molester 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.
  • British Prime Minister Tony Blair's political legacy has been largely overshadowed by his highly unpopular foreign policy. Despite Blair's domestic accomplishments like reducing poverty with expanded welfare, refunding social programs that were previously gutted by Conservative Party, expanding LGBT rights, introducing a minimum wage and overseeing a peaceful end to The Troubles, his reputation took a massive hit following his unpopular hand-in-glove support for the American Government during The War on Terror. Blair's decision to deploy UK troops during the US-led Iraq War was especially controversial due to the war's rationale being discredited and the conflict further destabilizing the Middle East. To this day, many in both the Labour and Conservative parties vilify Blair as either a war criminal or a lapdog to internationals.
  • Several Presidents of the United States:
    • Warren G. Harding's relatively short presidency is best remembered for its heavy corruption, with many members of his inner circle being investigated for bribery and fraud. The most notorious incident, the Teapot Dome scandal, in which his Interior Secretary accepted an enormous bribe to sell government-owned oil deposits (previously reserved for the Navy) to a private oil company, is widely considered by historians to be the biggest American political scandal pre-Watergate and resulted in Harding's name becoming synonymous with political corruption for half a century. Beyond that was rampant corruption relating to Prohibition, the sale of government-owned military supplies to insiders at a huge discount, and America's first Red Scare.
    • 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.
    • Richard Nixon's reputation as president is almost entirely defined by the Watergate Scandal. The affair was regarded as the biggest American political scandal in US history (to the point where it named a trope), ended in Nixon becoming the only president to resign (once Republicans in Congress made it clear that he was about to be impeached and there weren't enough votes to keep him from being thrown out of office), and resulted in him being consistently rated as one of the nation's worst presidents. Like Harding, his name became synonymous with political corruption in the ensuing decades.
    • While his tenure was considered mostly unremarkable, Gerald Ford's legacy is heavily defined by his decision to pardon Nixon after his resignation. The decision was met with staunch criticism at the time and played a direct role in his re-election loss to Jimmy Carter in 1976, and if Ford isn't brought up today to joke about his clumsiness, usually it's to mention the Nixon pardon. That or the fact that he's to date the only president to hold office without winning an election (he was appointed as Vice President by Nixon to replace Spiro Agnew, who had resigned in the wake of an unrelated scandal, and per the U.S. Constitution automatically became president when Nixon resigned.)
    • Though Bill Clinton's presidency was marked by a myriad of both accomplishments and flash-in-the-pan scandals, the most notable element of his reputation is his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. The scandal surrounding it led Clinton to become only the second president ever to be impeached, and though he was acquitted and became more popular for a couple decades afterwards, it continues to be an elephant in the room in regards to his legacy. In the wake of #MeToo, the presidency of Donald Trump (who had been accused of similar, if not worse, sexual misconduct right before his election), and the increased scrutiny on his and Trump's ties to billionaire sex offender and procurer Jeffrey Epstein, this has become even more controversial.
    • George W. Bush's reputation as president is almost entirely defined by his poor handling of the Iraq War, largely due to the rationale behind it being debunked as false and due to the political turmoil it caused in the Middle East. Even in the face of other negative events during his tenure that led to a record-breakingly-low approval rating, his mishandling of Iraq continues to be the most defining element of his political legacy. He is now retroactively seen as at best a fool whose unfortunate combination of good intentions and lack of foresight led to disaster (and according to some people he was really a puppet for members of his administration like his even more unpopular Vice-President Dick Cheney), and at worst a vile war profiteer who destabilized a significant region of the world in the name of a quick buck for himself and various crooked friends.
  • 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 been held up as a shining example by right-wingers such as former UKIP Leader Nigel Farage, with "Enoch is Right" being a rallying cry among the far-right's aniti-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.
  • British MP 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, stand 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 where 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' lack of interest 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 religion other than the pagan one. For him, people who followed any religions other than the Roman religion should get persecuted outright. He had no fear of anyone except for his army, who could rebel against and depose him.
    • 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. 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 as 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 marrying a Vestal Virgin (sworn by Roman law to celibacy for 30 years), 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. Despite this, 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.
  • 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 re-election to Bill Clinton that November.
  • Most discussions in Irish politics about Irish republican Seán Russell inevitably concentrate less on Russell's tenure as commanding officer of the IRA until the Irish War of Independence ended and more on his collaboration with Nazi Germany in World War II, which has led to many arguments revolving around whether he was genuinely a Nazi sympathiser or simply using the Nazis to bankroll and arm the IRA. And as a testament to his polarising nature, Russell's statue in Fairview Park, Dublin, has gotten vandalised on a number of occasions by activists on both sides of the political spectrum.
  • 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.
  • Kwame Kilpatrick, regarded as a rising star in the Democratic Party in the mid-2000s, is nowadays reviled as one of the most ridiculously corrupt people in the history of U.S. politics. Elected mayor of Detroit on a promise of reform in 2002, Kilpatrick almost immediately became embroiled in scandal after scandal once in office. There was the wild party Kilpatrick reportedly held at the Manoogian Mansion (the official residence of the mayor) in which his wife allegedly assaulted an exotic dancer for giving him a lap dance; the dancer later died in an unsolved drive-by shooting. There was Kilpatrick carrying on an extramarital affair with his chief of staff using the city's official text-messaging system (and later committing perjury by denying it). There were the numerous instances of cronyism, with Kilpatrick placing unqualified acquaintances in important positions in his administration. After leaving office, Kilpatrick was sentenced to twenty-eight years in prison for fraud and racketeering, though his sentence was commuted by President Trump in January 2021.
  • French Minister of Defence Charles Hernu has had his career forever tainted by the sinking of the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior off the coast of New Zealand, which killed photographer Fernando Pereira - the ship was evacuated beforehand, but Pereira climbed back aboard for a forgotten camera without the evacuators noticing. He resigned in disgrace after it became clear that the French government was responsible, and to this day the first thing that comes to mind when anyone talks about him is the sinking.
  • 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.
  • UK Conservative Party MP 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 neighbour, 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 little (if anything) 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.
  • French general and politician Philippe Pétain is known solely for his collaboration with the Nazis after the Fall of France, with his earlier accomplishments (such as his success at the Battle of Verdun and his preventing a potential collapse of the French Army by negotiating with mutinous soldiers) being relegated to footnotes at best.
  • Gerry Studds, who represented Maine in the House of Representatives from 1973 until 1997, was America's first openly-gay Congressman, and a popular champion for the environment and civil rights who managed to be re-elected six times after being censured by Congress in 1983. Nowadays, however, the thing most people remember him for is the reason why he got censured - he confessed to having a consensual sexual affair with a Congressional page.
  • Elbridge Gerry was a major figure in the early history of the United States, having signed both the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation, served in the inaugural US Congress, helped draft the Bill of Rights, been elected to Governor of Massachusetts, and ultimately becoming the fifth Vice-President. And yet today the only thing he is remembered for is being the namesake for the practice of Gerrymandering, or drawing up voting districts for partisan advantage, which is especially irksome for history buffs, as Gerry actually opposed the practice but was forced to sign off on the districting plan as Governor because there was little precedent at the time for Governors overruling a state legislature.

    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 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, she began stoking controversy on Twitter for making comments that many interpreted as bigoted, including saying that African-American diplomat Susan Rice has "swinging ape balls." In 2016, around the same time that ABC announced a revival of the Roseanne series, Barr expressed support for Donald Trump, and with ABC's blessing, integrated her pro-Trump views into the character of Roseanne Conner, even though said character was portrayed as a staunch liberal in the original show. Finally, Barr's reputation took a major blow when she made a tweet in which she called Valerie Jarrett, one of Barack Obama's former aides and 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 apparently making jokes at the expense of transgender people and the victims and survivors of the 2018 Parkland shooting. As a result, this killed off whatever respect the public (specifically his former fans) had left for him. He self-released his 2020 special Sincerely Louis C.K. to generally favorable reviews, but its eventual win for Best Comedy Album at the 2022 Grammy Awards led to strong controversynote , seemingly indicating that his reputation has yet to fully recover.
  • 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 has mostly been involved with conservative Christian-themed films— one of which, Saving Christmas, earned its own entry in the Live-Action Films section for this trope.
  • 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 was temporarily 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 extremely polarizing for her support of anti-mask and anti-vax movements during the COVID-19 Pandemic and conspiracy theories regarding the 2020 US presidential election. However, her already divisive reputation would be fractured even further after sharing an Instagram post comparing the perceived treatment of American conservatives to the persecution of Jewish people in Nazi Germany, which resulted in 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 nowadays the only work he gets is in direct-to-video movies.
  • Jeremy Clarkson, while famous for his former role as a presenter of Top Gear, is infamous for his unruly behavior and numerous accusations of bigotry both on and off-stage. His behavior resulted in him being expellednote  from the show in 2015 through an angry outburst where he physically assaulted a producer for serving him cold food.note 
  • 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 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. Further controversy erupted in 2021 when Cosby was released from prison on a technicality after he was originally convicted for his assault allegations.
  • 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 give her side of the story, 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.
  • 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 wrongdoing).
  • 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. The latter spun off into a defamation suit over Heard implying Depp abused her in an article for The Sun, costing Depp several roles in Hollywood; the ensuing legal battle (and additional allegations that Heard abused Depp) created a massive public stir, and Depp became more of a figurehead for issues related to domestic abuse than a noteworthy actor.
  • 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 cast members 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:
    • 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 cast members onset (which was already public knowledge, but previously treated as a joke) was thrown under much greater scrutiny, leading to Barrowman being dropped from the interactive theatre event Doctor Who: Time Fracture, and Big Finish Doctor Who releases featuring him being postponed.
  • 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.
    • And then, in 2021, Counting On was cancelled in the wake of Josh Duggar's arrest for possession of child pornography; he would be convicted in December of that year. It is safe to say that TLC has severed all ties with the Duggar family after that.
  • 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 POWs "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 had by the mid-2000s his film career taking a backseat to his chaotic personal life, most infamously the incident where he went on an anti-Semitic rant while being arrested for drunk driving. As Moviebob put it, this made Lethal Weapon and Mad Max not go along in the 80s nostalgia wave, and the latter's successful revival in Mad Max: Fury Road went out of its way in the promotion to show Gibson wasn't involved.
  • 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.
  • English television personality Stuart Hall, best known for presenting It's a Knockout, had his reputation tarnished forever in 2014 when he was convicted of child sexual abuse as part of Operation Yewtree.
  • 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 his other 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's career was overshadowed in the late 2010s and early 2020s when she first accused ex-husband Johnny Depp of domestic abuse, then was accused by Depp of physically abusing him, with recorded conversations of her physically threatening him leaked to the tabloids. This led to a massive controversy about who was to blame in this dispute, and any discussion of Heard's acting will inevitably attract debates about her alleged abuse. Depp later sued Heard for defamation and took her to court in Virginia, United States, where the jury found Heard liable for defamation and evidence of her abusing Depp.
  • 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.
  • 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 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 showing no remorse for his actions 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).
  • John Landis is the director of several influential comedy movies, such as Animal House, The Blues Brothers and Trading Places, but his reputation has been tarnished by the helicopter accident on the set of a segment of Twilight Zone: The Movie that resulted in the deaths of Vic Morrow and two Vietnamese children. He actually directed many other famous movies after the incident, such as Spies Like Us, ¡Three Amigos!, Coming to America, and Beverly Hills Cop III, but after his career started to decline, the helicopter crash came to overshadow his career.
  • 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 underage 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 underage 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.
  • The aforementioned Rose McGowan 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 former Charmed co-star Alyssa Milano (the woman most credited with sparking the #MeToo movement) 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 a maid for $700 an hour she would probably be working as a maid for $7 an hour.
  • 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 firing 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.
  • Bart de Pauw was a rather notable Flemish actor and TV producer, who (among other things) is known for writing the script of The Loft, as well as for (co-)creating series like Buiten De Zone, Schalkse Ruiters, Het Geslacht De Pauw, Willy's en Marjetten, Quiz Me Quick and for his contributions to The Mole. Nowadays, however, he's best known for the court case named after him, in which he's accused of sexually harassing (and stalking) at least a dozen of his female colleagues / employees. The case, which started in 2018, meant the (provisional) end of de Pauw's media career (and nearly led to the bankruptcy of his production company, Koeken Troef!). It has also cast a shadow over several of the series he produced, as both Maaike Cafmeyer (who played de Pauw's wife on Het Geslacht De Pauw) and Liesa Naert (the only main female castmember of Willy's en Marjetten) were amongst the victims spearheading the case against him in court.
  • 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.
  • Vanessa Redgrave is revered as one of the greatest actresses of the 20th and 21st centuries. She is equally known for her pro-Palestinian activism, including support of the PLO. When accepting her Academy Award for Julia, Redgrave gave a speech decrying "a small bunch of Zionist hoodlums whose behavior is an insult to the stature of Jews all over the world." Three years later, Redgrave was cast as Holocaust survivor Fania Fenelon in the TV movie Playing For Time, which brought more outcry, including from Fenelon herself.
  • 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 before taking his own life in January 2022.
  • 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. It goes to the point that despite its fame, many online film reviewers (such as James A. Janisse of Dead Meat) have refused to review Jeepers Creepers due to Salva's crimes, as long as he's still alive to profit off them.
  • Actor, author, and filmmaker Derek Savage is 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 all saw his reputation go from an incompetent but harmless and somewhat endearing figure to a jackass and (ironically) a bully 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 career of Chris Savino, creator of The Loud House and a longtime artist on other shows, has been overshadowed by his history of blackmailing coworkers and his firing from Nickelodeon in 2017.
  • The longtime career of TV producer Dan Schneider has been overshadowed by multiple accusations of him engaging in sexually predatory behavior (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 verbally abusing several of the child actors in his shows.
  • Rob Schneider is notable 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.
  • Ricky Schroder of Silver Spoons and NYPD Blue fame has had his acting career overshadowed since the late 2010s by a string of controversies that have included getting arrested twice on charges of domestic violence, his role in bailing Kenosha unrest shooting perpetrator Kyle Rittenhouse out of prison, and his public anti-mask rants during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 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 with his character uncerimoniously killed off 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 have all tarnished his reputation.
  • 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.
  • Juliane Snekkestad, Norwegian model was previously an uncontroversial figure, but due to her statement in 2019-2020 of "I'm actually a boy in a female model's body" which had people questioning if she was really transgender due to how she said it especially due to her Girly Girl behavior, with many questioning if it was a Publicity Stunt to boost talkability and her image. However, in some countries, it becomes the first thing she's known for, and has tarnished her reputation in some circles.
  • 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 fundamentalist Christian views, alleged anti-Semitism, embracing of conspiracy theories, and willingness to star in far-right and/or fundamentalist Christian 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.
  • Model Chrissy Teigen is well-known for authoring two cookbooks, co-hosting Lip Sync Battles, marrying John Legend, and for being outspoken on social media. However, in May 2021, several old tweets of hers resurfaced as she was accused of viciously cyberbullying Courtney Stodden, a media personality and singer, back in 2011, during their marriage as a 16-year-old to Doug Hutchinson, who was 51 at the time. The controversy only worsened when more of her questionable tweets from 2011 resurfaced, where she'd targeted people such as Lindsay Lohan and Teen Mom star Farrah Abraham. While she gave an apology to Stodden following the reveal (which many regarded as insincere), the ensuing controversy resulted in Teigen's cookbooks and cookware line being dropped by Macy's, Target, and Bloomingdale's, and Teigen wound up stepping down from a planned voice role in Never Have I Ever in the wake of the controversy. Time will only tell if Teigen will ever truly move forward from the backlash she has gotten over cyberbullying a minor.
  • 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.
  • These days, Josh Trank is known less for his aspirations to become the “next Steven Spielberg” and more for his egotistical, brash and volatile (if not outright unstable) personality. This is primarily thanks to Fantastic Four (2015)’s hellish production, which saw Trank turn into an abusive Prima Donna Director who clashed with his cast and crew on set or detractors online. After Fant4stic’s release, Trank found himself becoming a pariah within Hollywood as a result of getting imprisoned in Movie Jail due to the film's poor financial performance and overwhelmingly negative critical reception, which led him to drop out of/get fired from a Boba Fett-centric Star Wars spin-off project. Trank made something of a comeback with Tom Hardy vehicle Capone, which received lukewarm reviews at best.
  • 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.
  • David Verbeeck, a moderately successful Flemish actor and drama teacher, known for voicing Timon in The Lion King (1994) (and its spin-offs) and for his role as Vincent in Wat nu weer?!, is nowadays best known for getting a 30 month suspended jail sentence (on the condition that he gets specialized help) for acquisition and distribution of child pornography, as well as for several anti-semitic acts and Nazi worshipping. The case came to light in 2015, when several of his (adult) students found naked pictures of a fourteen-year-old on his phone, as well as a naked picture of Verbeeck doing the Hitler salute. The students informed the police, who found evidence of child porn distribution, as well as photographic and videographic evidence of Verbeeck fanatically commiting anti-semitic acts. Verbeeck's explanation for the transgressions was that he was preparing for a role and, therefore, method acting that he was a pedophile and a Nazi-sympathizer. Since his arrest, he has proclaimed his deep regret and shame for his behaviour, which worked in his favor during the court case. Nevertheless, he has all but been erased from Flemish television, with Timon being dubbed by another voice actor from The Lion Guard onwards (Verbeeck still voiced Timon in the series pilot) and all of the Wat nu weer?! episodes starring him getting scrapped from the rerun rotation.
  • 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.
  • Robert Wagner has had an acting career spanning 70 years, but him being considered a person of interest in the mysterious drowning death of his wife Natalie Wood has cast a heavy pall over his personal and professional reputation.
  • Bilal Wahib was a rather successful Dutch actor, rapper, presenter and vlogger, who even won the "Shooting Star" award at a film festival in Berlin, until he was arrested on suspicion of acquiring child pornography online. The story goes that one night, Bilal and his friend Oussama Ahammoud dared a twelve-year-old boy to show his private parts during a livestream on Instagram for 17000 €. When the boy exposed himself during the livestream, Bilal and his friend turned the entire thing into one big joke (making their request sound like a play on words), before removing the (now embarrassed) boy from their livestream. Videos of the livestream subsequently went viral, causing a massive outcry of disgust throughout the Netherlands, as well as TopNotch (his record label) and BNNVARA (the broadcasting station he was working for) to drop him like hot garbage. Any attempts to salvage his career (such as an interview on talk show Beau) were met with fierce resistance, as the general public deemed that he had not been punished enough (by a long shot), causing Bilal to cancel the interview shortly before the start of the show. At this moment in time, any chances of a career resurrection seem incredibly slim, as this controversy becomes the focal point as soon as his name is even mentioned.
  • Canadian swimmer and actress Estella Warren got a big push to her acting career in the early 2000s. However, after her momentum stalled, she became more well-known for her tabloid antics and criminal behavior (including domestic violence allegations and an incident where she assaulted a cop and tried to escape from police custody after being arrested for a DUI hit-and-run).
  • 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 individuals - some of whom are also on this page - 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. Nevertheless, most were pleased with the outcome, with fellow Weinstein victim Mira Sorvino admitting that she was at least grateful that justice was finally served.
  • Joss Whedon's storied career as a "nerd icon" and reputation as an outspoken feminist creative became tarnished in this starting in 2017, first from a leaked script he wrote in the 2000s for an unmade Wonder Woman movie that received backlash for coming off like it was infantilizing the character (among other problems), his ex-wife Kai Cole accusing him of cheating on her repeatedly during their marriage and calling him a hypocrite using feminism as a shield for his abuse of power, and his part in the critical and financial failure of the 2017 theatrical cut of the Justice League movie (which itself has been mired in controversy due to its many behind-the-scenes issues). The latter caused further trouble in 2020 when stars Ray Fisher and Gal Gadot accused Whedon of abusive and toxic behavior on the Justice League set, which in turn led to multiple actors from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel (most notably Charisma Carpenter) and other writers he'd worked with (such as Jose Molina) to speak up about their own negative experiences of working with him. As a result, reevaluations of Whedon's work and legacy have sprung up, with several outlets expressing a general feeling of disappointment and betrayal at how shows like Buffy have become much more difficult to watch and enjoy with that knowledge in mind. Whedon himself didn't help matters in January 2022 when he did an interview with New York Magazine that drew backlash from former fans and colleagues alike due to his apparent inability to genuinely own up to and apologize for his actions.
  • James Woods' once-respected career as an actor in Hollywood has been damaged in recent years by his embrace of far-right politics and conspiracy theories, making him 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 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).
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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 was the author of Journey to the End of the Night, one of the most acclaimed novels of the 20th century. He was also 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 their eponymous founder created the Nazi uniforms.
      • Thea von Harbou was the second wife of pioneering German film director Fritz Lang, and worked on several screenplays, most famously Lang's Metropolis. All this was overshadowed when Hitler came to power. Lang, seeing where things were going, fled to the United States, where he developed a successful career in Hollywood before returning to Germany in the 1950s. Von Harbou, however, agreed to work for Nazi film productions, leading Lang to divorce her.
      • British historian David Irving was once well-respected for his work on Nazi Germany until he published his infamous best-selling book Hitler's War, which proposed a controversial theory that Adolf Hitler knew nothing of the Holocaust and later flat-out denied that the Nazis had systematically exterminated Jews in gas chambers during the Holocaust. These actions have unsurprisingly sparked colossal outrage amongst his colleagues and the general public, who wasted no time at all in labelling Irving as an anti-Semite, Holocaust denier and Nazi sympathiser. More than a few Western nations have even gone so far as to regard Irving as person non-grata, thanks to his radical views and defeats in multiple defamation suits, which has all but destroyed his reputation as a military historian.
    • This extends to authors who expressed racist and sexist stereotypes in their works, which in their day might have been typical or exceptional, or even Fair for Its Day, but thanks to 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 one of the most popular and well-read authors of his day and regarded as anti-racist, an embarrassment for many 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 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. His strong support for Marion Zimmer Bradley's daughter when she revealed the extent of her parents' sexual abuse seems less to have been inspired by Everyone Has Standards than by his hatred against gays and lesbians. Suffice it to say, he is considered one of the most despised 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 many of 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 skeptical Christians decrying Camping's apocalyptic messaging as nothing more than 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.
  • John Osborne is generally viewed as one of the most important British playwrights of The '50s, with his 1956 play Look Back in Anger revolutionizing British theatre. However, he is very controversial due to his sexist and misogynistic views and the fact he was frequently abusive towards his wives, mistresses and children. Backlash against him increased when he published his autobiography A Better Class of Person in 1981, where he celebrated his fourth wife's suicide in one chapter.
  • 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 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, who in 1954, at the age of fifteen, was convicted in the murder of her friend's mother, Honorah Rieper.note  This came 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. The documentary film Interiors reveals (as in this review) that she remains in a state of desperate pathological denial.
  • Anne Rice, known for her gothic, religious, and erotic fiction, such as Interview with the Vampire and its sequels, was just as notorious for her dismissive responses to criticism (one of which spawned the meme "You are interrogating the text from the wrong perspective") and for her hardline stance against fanfiction to the point of taking legal action against anyone who wrote fanfic based on her work.
  • 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, ensuring that he will never work on the show again. His reputation has further declined due to his tweeting support for racist and offensive causes.
  • 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 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 incredibly important figure in the genre, a mentor to dozens if not hundreds of aspiring authors, 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. Also, many notable science fiction creators publicly supported Breen and refused to believe he was a molester. After Bradley 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, actually procuring for him numerous times, 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 right-wing extremism.
  • Graham Linehan, once best known for creating the sitcoms Father Ted and The IT Crowd, has had his reputation tainted by his virulent anti-transgender views, including comparing trans activists to Nazis and trying to have a £500,000 grant for the trans support charity Mermaids UK revoked. His anti-trans views resulted in the permanent suspension of his Twitter account and his wife divorcing him.
  • 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. Nowadays, however, his reputation is primarily defined by accusations of cheating after evidence emerged suggesting that his records were fabricated.
  • 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 for it to be revealed 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 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". Less known, is her trip to China to join the Cultural Revolution, where she denounced a fellow student who sought her help to defect to the West.
  • 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 commonly cited, 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.
  • Although Markus "Notch" Persson is known for founding Mojang and creating Minecraft, the best-selling video game of all time, he's become notorious for supporting alt-right conspiracy theories and making transphobic remarks on Twitter. This 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 Hatsune Miku) became a widespread meme applied to other IPs with controversial creators (perhaps the most famous example being claiming that Daniel Radcliffe was the "real" author of Harry Potter) 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.
  • In Australia and New Zealand, making controversial statements about ANZAC Day, a national day of remembrance that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders who served and died in all wars and armed conflicts can lead to this.
    • In 2015 Scott McIntyre, who was a sports reporter for the state-financed public broadcaster SBS tweeted about it, including calling the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki "the largest terrorist attack in history" and made generalized statements about the day being built around "poorly-read white nationalist gamblers and drinks". He was immediately sacked by the conservative government, so he had moved to Tokyo with his Japanese wife in 2015 and kept working as a sports reporter. He found himself in the spotlight again in 2019 when the breakdown of his marriage resulted in their children being kept away from McIntyre, and during his attempts to find them, he entered an apartment building illegally (but non-violently) for two minutes. He was reported to the police and later found guilty and being jailed for trespass.
    • Sudanese-born media commentator Yassmin Abdel-Magied became known for her heated clash with Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie over interpretations of Sharia law and suggesting that ANZAC Day should honor Muslim asylum seekers held in Australian detention facilities. The latter act sparked outrage from conservative media, who deemed it to be disrespectful and anti-Australian, with some even demanding for Magied to get fired from her position at the other state-financed public broadcaster, the ABC, and "self-deport". As a result of death threats, Magied fled Australia and moved to London permanently.
  • 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 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. Since 2019, her reputation has been soured by her support of transphobes and her criticisms to trans rights, which has led to her being condemned by many of the film's actors.
  • 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 chef 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 Leigh had done hard time in The '70s for abusing their adopted children.
  • Aaron Fechter of Rock-afire Explosion and Whac-A-Mole fame has been hit hard, due to allegations of him saying the N-word coming out.
  • Richard Brittain (the Countdown contestant, not the Scottish footballer) was once respected as the champion of the 2006 Countdown season. However, from the 2010s onwards, he has become better known for becoming obsessed with and stalking university student Ella Durant for over three years, reducing her from a sociable woman to an emotional wreck from the trauma. He's also well-known for travelling hundreds of miles to an ASDA store to physically assault another young woman named Paige Rolland by smashing a wine bottle over her head—having used Facebook to find out where she worked—all because she had posted a negative review of his novel The World Rose. Rolland had to be rushed to hospital, both of these incidents resulted in Brittain getting arrested, and he's now known as a stalker and assaulter first and a Countdown champion second.
  • Hilaria Baldwin, wife of Alec Baldwin and yoga influencer, started receiving backlash at the end of 2020 when video footage surfaced of her slipping out of her Spanish accent while trying to pronounce "cucumber." As a result, people were quick to accuse her of pretending to be Spanish, which resulted in her losing sponsorship deals with other companies. These days, her reputation is mostly defined by the accusations of her faking her heritage.
  • Jennifer Diane Reitz (Chatoyance) had a rather storied computer programming career in the mid-1990s working with companies such as Interplay as well as founding Happy Puppy, a gaming website that at one time was the most visited gaming website on the Internet. Nowadays, if you mention her name, the first thing that comes to mind is her Chatoverse TCB stories, their extreme misanthropy and her vitriolic response to any criticism of her setting. Outside of her stories, she is also infamous for her radical transgender and feminist viewpoints.
  • The first thing that comes to the mind of the average Pokémon fanfic writer when they hear the name Farla, is not that she is the author of Lucki and several other fics, but her yearly January review storm where she proceeds to go Caustic Critic on all new Pokémon stories posted in that time frame. And of those reviews, she is most infamous for her insistence that Pokémon names and the word itself not be capitalized.
  • Odd Nerdrum is the Norwegian painter whose philosophy spawned the Kitsch movement, but people who aren't into art probably remember him for The Murder of Andreas Baader, which portrays the violent left-wing extremist as a martyr, and the infamous Self Portrait in Golden Cape where he painted himself showing off an erection.
  • While Paolo Roberto, a Swedish entrepreneur, restauranteur, showrunner and professional boxer began his career in controversy as he was known for getting into physical fights and had ties to the biggest robbery in Swedish history when he got into acting and boxing, reception gradually warmed up to him and many considered him to be a "redeemed delinquent" of sorts. But this good will waned over time as he began self-identifying as a "militant opposer to feminism", and came to a head in May 2020 when he was arrested for purchasing sex, and doubled down by describing it as "an act of self-harm".note 
  • English artist Eric Gill was infamous for depicting sex in his works, but was still praised as one of the greatest craftsmen of the 20th century. However, in 1989, several decades after his death in 1940, it was revealed that he was a sex offender who committed rape, incest, paedophilia and bestiality, with his two eldest daughters among his victims, causing his work to be highly contested. The fact that a statue of his depicting a child is still outside BBC Television Centre is still a sore spot for many people.

    Events 
  • While November 22, 1963 is widely known for the assassination of John F. Kennedy, fans of the Detroit Lions also remember the date because 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 cemetery 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 occurred among Americans, causing a strain in American-West German relations. As an attempt at damage control, during the wreath-laying ceremony, Reagan carefully and deliberately turned his back on the Nazi graves, but this wasn't enough to prevent the affair from damaging his reputation.
  • Academy Awards:
    • The 45th Academy Awardsnote  are remembered first and foremost for Marlon Brando boycotting the ceremony to draw attention to the Wounded Knee standoff, sending Native American actress Sacheen Littlefeather to represent him.
    • The 46th Academy Awardsnote  are infamously known for a man streaking across the stage, and host David Niven's hilarious off-the-cuff response.
    • The 61st Academy Awardsnote  are mostly remembered for an infamous opening sequence featuring Disney's version of Snow White. Since this version of Snow White was used without permission from Disney, they promptly sued the Academy over it.
    • For many years, the 65th Academy Awardsnote  were infamous for the rumors that Marisa Tomei winning the award for Best Supporting Actress in My Cousin Vinny was a mistake made by presenter Jack Palance, with the Academy denying the allegations, saying that they would've immediately intervened if it was wrong. These allegations were finally put to rest after the Best Picture mixup at the 89th Academy Awards ceremony.
    • The 75th Academy Award Ceremonynote  was the one where Roman Polanski won Best Director for The Pianist, but the #MeToo Movement fifteen years later led many to view it as one of the Academy's worst mistakes; Polanski is a convicted sex offender and is regarded as one of the go-to examples of fans forgiving serious crimes if they're committed by a celebrity they like.
    • The 78th Academy Awardsnote  are remembered for the controversial awarding of Best Picture to Crash instead of Brokeback Mountain, with critics accusing the Academy voters of getting cold feet from awarding an LGBT-themed film. (Jack Nicholson, who presented the award, was visibly flustered as he announced that Crash had won.)
    • The 87th and 88th Academy Awardsnote  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 Awardsnote  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 to 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, in 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 immediately agreed that they were in no way at fault.
    • The 91st Academy Awardsnote  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. (sadly, four years later the Academy actually went through with removing eight categories from the broadcast, to similar outcry and not managing to significantly shorten the ceremony)
      • 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 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 93rd Academy Awardsnote  received massive criticism for its conclusion, where it was decided to announce the "Best Actor" winner after the "Best Picture" winner. It was clear that the Academy was banking on Chadwick Boseman winning posthumously for Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, but the award went to Anthony Hopkins instead for his role in The Father. Not only did the Academy's attempt at Pandering to the Base fail to pay off, but Hopkins' absence meant that the ceremony came to an abrupt and anticlimactic conclusion after his victory was announced.
    • The 94th Academy Awardsnote  is known far more for a physical altercation than for the recipients. Presenter Chris Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith, comparing her shaved head (the result of alopecia areata) to Demi Moore in G.I. Jane. Jada's husband Will Smith took exception, climbed up on the stage and slapped Rock across the face. Smith later received the Best Actor award for King Richard, and apologized to the audience, but not to Rock. Rock declined to file a police report, and Smith resigned from the Academy and later apologized to Rock. Smith was also banned from the Academy Awards ceremony for ten years.
  • The 2007 Anime Friends convention, the biggest anime and manga event in Brazil, was overshadowed by three women claiming to be Love Hina cosplayers that were wearing nothing but towels - and one of the cosplayers was a teenager. The photos were quickly shared through the Internet, especially the ones with them flashing their panties (the rumors about them asking for money to flash their panties did not help). As such, the event was criticized for allowing it to happen, with some even accusing the event of supporting the prostitution of minors. While the controversy was contained to the Internet, meaning the convention was able to move past the incident and continue with the 2008 edition, there were new rules in place forbidding this type of cosplay.
  • The 2013 Miss Russia pageant is mostly known for the fact that winner Elmira Abdrazakova was hit with a barrage of Tatarophobic abuse online, to the point where she closed her social media accounts.
  • 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 due to it being seen as 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, sometimes the tournaments attract attention for the wrong reasons:
    • 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 2019 Tekken 7 set is best known for a poorly-thought-out prank by the organizers, where Solid Snake suddenly appeared on the screen and said "This is Snake. That was some good-ass Tekken." to Tekken director Katsuhiro Harada in a video styled after a Metal Gear Solid Codec conversation. This would have been an alright joke... had Tekken 7 not already featured several Guest Fighters in the game already. The crowd immediately assumed that this was an announcement that Snake was joining the roster and cheered loudly, but became incredibly disappointed when it turned out to be nothing more than a joke. Worse still, this was done without the approval of Snake's voice actor David Hayter (who had been commissioned to record the lines through the site Cameo as Twitch alerts), Harada, or Bandai Namco, all of whom were pissed that their voice and/or likeness were used that way without their permission. The incident ended up drawing any attention away from any of the actual gameplay that happened during the tournament.
    • At EVO Japan 2020, Leroy of Tekken 7 (in)fame, who had become increasingly controversial after his release, solidified his place in the fighting game hall of infamy of overpowered characters. The tournament would see legends of the game Arslan Ash, Knee, and every other famous player who refused to jump on the Leroy bandwagon eliminated in stunning upsets. By top 8, only one player not using Leroy was left, a staggering 7/8 places having been taken by Leroy Players. That one player (Mikio) would manage an impressive 2nd place finish, but they too would fall to Leroy player Book. His win, which would otherwise have been celebrated as a long time coming for the Thai player, just went down as further demonstration of Leroy's ludicrous power. To the surprise of no one, Leroy would proceed to get hammered with Nerfs in the following patches, bringing him down to a much more balanced level.
    • EVO as a whole has ultimately fallen victim to this as of July 2020. While that year's edition of EVO was cancelled and turned into an online event due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, and had to have its entire lineup of games changed to games that used rollback netcode, those were quickly forgotten about when it was alleged that EVO organizer and cofounder Joey "Mr. Wiz" Cuellar had engaged in acts of pedophilia back in the early days of EVO. After these allegations, companies whose games were supposed to be featured at the event such as Capcom, Bandai Namco, and NetherRealm Studios backed out of appearing and cut ties with EVO, with lead to the final cancellation of EVO 2020 and the dismissal of Joey Cuellar. As a result of this, the rights to EVO were sold less than a year later to a joint venture between the Endeavor and Sony Interactive Entertainment, which then resulted in Nintendo pulling out of EVO and setting up their own competitive circuit for Super Smash Bros., doing even further damage to EVO due to the large attendance that Smash had drawn in years prior now not having any reason to attend EVO. While EVO has been able to relaunch, it will evidently never be the event it once was as a result of the allegation against Joey Cuellar's pedophilia, which affected EVO both directly and indirectly.
  • 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 who 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 both inside and outside the fandom 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.
  • 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 several months, thereby leading fans to naturally believe they were working on Diablo IV (which was later announced at BlizzCon 2019); their decision to announce it as The Climax to a convention aimed at Blizzard's most dedicated audience which is all but exclusively made up of PC gamers, who had paid $200 each to attend the event in hopes of seeing a mainline Diablo game; and Blizzard designer Wyatt Cheng impulsively and insensitively asking "Do you guys not have phones?" in response to the crowd's booing when he confirmed there were no plans for a PC port, which revealed that he had been taken by surprise by BlizzCon attendees' negative reaction. Cheng's question rapidly became a meme used to mock corporations failing to understand their audiences.
  • The big Carnival parades of Brazil end in a vote count to determine who was the best "samba school". It is very Serious Business, and the 2012 one in São Paulo wound up overshadowed by a disgruntled supporter being so angered by perceived low grades that they jumped into the judges' area to rip the rating papers! This had the consequence of the ratings that hardly went lower than 9.0 actually start with 9.0, rather than have the risk of someone giving a grade lower than that to anger the crowd.

    Places 

  • Guyana is a South American nation that just happened to be the place where Jim Jones and his cult, the People's Temple, relocated, later committing mass suicide by drinking Kool-Aid laced with cyanide.
  • 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.
  • 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 dead by a white police officer.
  • The small town of Money, Mississippi would likely be almost completely unknown outside its immediate vicinity if not for its distinction of being where black teenager Emmett Till was kidnapped and tortured to death by two white men. The high publicity of the crime and the perpetrators' acquittal became a major rallying cry for the Civil Rights Movement, and it lingers in the American consciousness to this day as one of the go-to examples of both a Miscarriage of Justice and anti-black racism in America, drowning out everything else about the town and anything done by anyone else from it.
  • Theresienbad, a swimming pool complex in Vienna, is best known as the place where a ten-year-old boy was raped by an Iraqi refugee who claimed he was motivated by sexual frustration, which sparked a long legal battle and a series of fierce debates about European immigration policies. This crime is often cited as a contributing factor to a rise in anti-refugee sentiment in Austria, and to a lesser extent, across Europe as a whole. Case in point: the Wikipedia article about the rape is significantly longer and more detailed than the article about the complex itself.
  • Sun City, a casino resort near Rustenburg, South Africa, was less known in The '80s for its luxurious trappings and more for being a cultural faultline during The Apartheid Era. South Africa was the target of a major diplomatic and cultural boycott over its racial segregation laws, and the cultural half of that boycott extended to holding concerts at South African venues like Sun City. Steven Van Zandt and forty-eight major pop acts collaborated on a song entitled "Sun City" pledging to never perform there, and Queen landed themselves on a United Nations blacklist when they did.note  Billy Joel also performed at Sun City, but got one over on his white hosts by prominently featuring black musicians on stage with him. Performing at the resort became less of an issue after apartheid was ended in the early '90s.
  • 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. In fact, Columbine's reputation has become so unshakeable that, 20 years after the shooting took place, there have been talks about tearing down the school.
  • The Cincinnati Zoo is best known for two things. One is a 2016 incident where a gorilla named Harambe was shot to protect a young boy who had fallen into the gorilla enclosure, sparking debates about whether zoo officials made the right call that rage to this day as well as a number of ambiguously ironic memes eulogizing Harambe. The other is the fact that the last passenger pigeon died there over 100 years previously.
  • 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.
  • Tiananmen Square is one of the most famous locations in China and has a rich history. But, for most people living in democracies, the first thing that comes to mind hearing that name is the 1989 protests that were violently stamped out by the Chinese military. The governing Communist Party of China, who are very aware of this, have thus gone great lengths to suppress all knowledge of the event within their borders.
  • 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, Hendra, Australia. 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 has ended up falling into this trope (at least outside of China), and the trend of geographic-based names resulted in people maliciously giving the virus various Chinese-based nicknames anyway.
  • 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.
  • 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'.
  • 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 trouble 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 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-miscegenation policy, they only did so in 2007, making the university's racist past still fresh in the minds of the public.
  • Hathras will forever be associated in the public conscience outside of India with the particularly horrifying rape of a young Dalit woman in 2020, and the equally horrifying cover-up thereof.
  • The Watergate Hotel is at least as well-known for being the setting of Richard Nixon's infamous scandal that ended him as a public figure as being a hotel, to the point that "-gate" would go on to become a suffix used in the names of controversies.
  • Despite being part of a transnational UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the "Great Spa Towns of Europe", the French resort town of Vichy is largely known for being the capital of a pro-Axis puppet state in France. To this day, the word "Vichy" is a byword for collaboration with oppressive, expansionist regimes, including naming the trope Vichy Earth.
  • Little St. James, part of the Virgin Islands, is forever infamous for being the private property of Jeffrey Epstein and the alleged site of many sex crimes by him and his associates, to the point of being maliciously nicknamed "Pedophile Island".
  • The small rural town of Skidmore, Missouri is only known to outsiders as the site of the unsolved murder of Ken McElroy and the gruesome murder of Bobbie Jo Stinnett, leading it to have the nickname "the creepiest small town in America".
  • Pulaski, Tennessee is best known as the birthplace of the Ku Klux Klan, a reputation it has struggled to move past for decades. Ditto Stone Mountain, Georgia, where the second, more powerful iteration of the Klan was born. (That Martin Luther King had called it out in a speech definitely doesn’t help.) Oddly, the actual mountain is now a state park, and the town? Demographically, it's 75% black.
  • Also in Tennessee, the town of Erwin is best known for an incident in 1916 where an elephant was hanged for murder after killing her handler. Likely to atone for this, the town since then has held numerous events to support elephant conservation.
  • The city of Zanesville, Ohio is now largely known for the "Exotic Animal Massacre", in which Terry Thompson let all his animals loose before killing himself, forcing the sheriff's department to use live ammunition in a populated area to kill animals and being seen by members of the community as a free trophy hunt.
  • Apalachin, which is not far from Binghamton, New York, is known for hosting a Criminal Convention of The Mafia in late 1957. More than 100 mobsters came to talk about the growing drug trade, but it became a major debacle when a curious state trooper noticed the expensive cars parked on mob boss Joe Barbara's ranch. Many mafiosi bailed out, but more than 60 of them were captured, including Vito Genovese, who was blamed for hosting the event in such an open location. While the arrests were quashed on appeal and the mafiosi claimed they were paying tribute to a not-so-sick Barbara, the event was humiliating for The Mafia as it exposed them to outside scrutiny for the first time. Bugged phone calls between mafiosi revealed that Barbara was leery about hosting a mob summit at his home due to recent legal troubles. The stress from Apalachin and a drastic loss in his personal wealth caused Barbara to really die of a heart attack in 1959.
  • Bhopal, India was the former capital of Bhopal State and is known for its numerous lakes. It was also was the site of an enormous chemical spill in 1984 (the second-worst industrial accident in history, after Chernobyl) that now bears its name and has been indelibly associated with the city. To this day, it is still dealing with pollution, long-term health and economic effects of the disaster, though it also has numerous positive traits that its association with the catastrophe has blotted out - including being declared the most environmentally-friendly major city in India in the 21st century.
  • The Laugh Factory in Los Angeles, California, is a noted comedy club where comedians like Richard Pryor, Robin Williams, Dave Chappelle, and David Letterman have performed over the years. But to many people, the Laugh Factory is infamous for being the site of Michael Richards's November 2006 show, where he shouted the N-word at some Black hecklers. As Chappelle said in a 2013 show, "Every time I see this backdrop, I think about Kramer fucking up.".
  • Tenerife, one of the islands in the Canaries, is a popular tourist destination for many travellers. It also happens to be the site of the deadliest accident ever in commercial aviation history, when two Boeing 747s collided on the runway of Los Rodeos airportnote  in March 1977, causing the deaths of 583 passengers and crew.
  • The town of Charkhi Dadri in India was completely unknown until November 1996, when a Kazakhstan Airlines Ilyushin Il-76 crashed into a Saudia Boeing 747 above the town, killing all 349 people on both planes in the world's deadliest mid-air collision.
  • Lockerbie, a small town in southwestern Scotland, came to international attention in December 1988 after the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, when the wreckage of the plane crashed in the town and killed 11 residents in addition to the 259 people killed on the flight.
  • Montoursville was an unknown Pennsylvania town until the explosion of TWA Flight 800 in July 1996. The town then got international attention when it was found that a group of sixteen students from Montoursville High School and five adult chaperones on a school-sponsored trip to France were among the passengers killed on the flight.

    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 Hindu, Buddhist or a Jain, both religions that used the symbol in its original context for centuries before Hitler co-opted it.
  • While we're on the subject of the swastika, several flags around the world fall into this category for similar reasons:
    • The Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia, better known as the "Confederate battle flag" or just the "Confederate flag", remains a highly, highly divisive symbol in the U.S. because of its adoption as a symbol by white supremacists, and more recently its association with racist incidents like the 2015 Charleston church shooting (the gunman had posed in photos with the battle flag). Flags of Southern states which feature the battle flag as a canton (like Mississippi's, which changed their flag after the killing of Geroge Floyd) or a saltire design clearly inspired by the battle flag (Florida's and Alabama's) are also an issue. Some have also called for Georgia's state flag (which had already been changed in 2001 to remove the battle flag) to be redesigned again, since it draws its design from a different flag used by the Confederacy, the "Stars and Bars". The controversy surrounding the flag has spread across the Atlantic, as some European far-right groups began using it to get around bans on displaying symbols associated with fascism.
    • The Charleston shooter also embraced the former flag of South Africa (associated with The Apartheid Era) and the former flag of Rhodesia, both of which were used by racist, repressive white minority governments and have been adopted by white supremacists in recent years. As of 2019, public display (that is non-historical or non-artistic display) of the former South African flag is legally considered hate speech in South Africa.
    • 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 its ground 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.
    • As with a lot of things related to The Troubles, flags are a very sore issue depending on which side of the divide you're on. The Union Jack is beloved by unionists/loyalists/Protestants but despised by nationalists/republicans/Catholics. The Irish tricolour is beloved by nationalists/republicans/Catholics but despised by unionists/loyalists/Protestants. (And that's not even getting into the flags used by paramilitaries.) It's considered such Serious Business, even decades after The Troubles ended, that a decision in 2012 to fly the Union Jack over Belfast City Hall on public holidays led to serious rioting.
  • Skinheads were originally just a 1960s subculture of working-class Brits who wore jeans and workboots along with their short-cropped hair. They were also huge fans of reggae. Sadly, many of them gravitated to racist and neo-Nazi movements during the 1970s, to the point that skinheads in general are associated with Nazism and racism, even though there are also anti-racist, anarchist, far-left, and apolitical skinheads.
  • 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 associate dean of the University of Virginia, where the nonexistent rapes occurred, as well as the fraternity named in the article, sued Rolling Stone 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, and it was a heartwarming story of a father's love of and 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 immediately brought connections to the highly illustrious Disney Princess franchise and drew plenty of criticism, as this was about a white girl becoming a princess in Africa — a continent associated with anything but white people, 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 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 communities having outright changed the name of the day to "Indigenous Peoples Day," "Respect for Cultural Diversity Day," "Italian Heritage 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 not only ineffective, but sometimes consisting of such severe emotional abuse it leads to suicide. 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.
  • 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. This not only damaged the Teamsters, but to this day, there is a certain percentage of the American public (encouraged by anti-labor politicians) who believe that all labor unions are corrupt.
    • 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. PublishAmerica immediately stated that 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 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 of labor unions have 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 of the Rhodes Scholarship).
  • 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 claiming that the "Dolly Babe" Mary Jane school shoes were shoddy, and that the shoes' name itself was "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. His complaints about how the Affordable Care Act would supposedly bankrupt his company received very little sympathy, especially after a picture of his enormous mansion went viral, with comparisons between his wealth and his minimum-wage employees. 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 of sexually abusing many boys and young men in his care for a long time, 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 a byword for Pedophile Priest in his native Mexico in particular. For 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, the Merc with a Mouth (dubbed by Pepe Toño Macías) 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 and released on video in the late 1990s accusing video games, Disney films (and the company as a whole), 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 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. As such, he will forever be seen as a laughingstock á 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-fledgling 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.
  • 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 has been having additional problems as well.
  • 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". There was no way such an error found in the Ten Commandments would go unnoticed, and 17th century England saw this unfortunate blunder 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 £71,490 in 2021) and had their printing licenses revoked. Four years later, Barker was imprisoned for debt, where he remained until his death in 1643. Even centuries later, while the King James Bible itself is highly regarded as a pivotal moment in English history, it's still very difficult to talk about its co-printer without mentioning that he also co-printed the "Wicked Bible".
  • Kingfisher Airlines used to be the second largest India based Airline Group. However, it is now overshadowed by the actions of its chairman and founder Vijaya Mallya, who after accumulating a large amount of debt from various banks across India, fled the country. This caused the company to shut down in 2012, while extradition efforts are still in progress.
  • GSC Vindicat atque Polit, or Vindicat, the oldest student association of the Netherlands, is notable for two things: its list of famous (former) members, even including several Dutch royals, and the many scandals it got involved in over the past decades. The first scandal (back in 1997) involved a prospective member, who drank himself to death on Dutch gin during his "introductory drink". A second scandal (just under two decades later) involved another prospective member, who contracted severe head trauma after a senior member stood on them during a hazing. This was quickly followed by several politicians (and former members) distancing themselves from the student association. Around the same time, it also came to light that a group of Vindicat members had made a "banga"-list of their fellow female students, rating both their looks and sexual performance, which cost the association their place on the national heritage list. When another case of (physical) abuse within the student association came to light little over a year later (in 2018), both the University of Groningen and the Hanze University Groningen decided to (temporarily) cut their ties with the student association, forfeiting their annual payment of 33000 € to Vindicat. While their allowance from the universities in Groningen has since been reinstated, wild stories of hazing practices within Vindicat still run rampant and one can't mention the name without discussing their past transgressions.
  • The foam pillow manufacturer MyPillow has now become known for its founder/owner Mike Lindell using the company as a platform to promote right-wing conspiracy theories. One notable claim he propagated was insisting that his friend Donald Trump was re-elected as President in 2020 and that year's election was rigged in Joe Biden's favor. Lindell also claimed that the riot at the U.S. Capitol committed by believers of this conspiracy theory during a pro-Trump protest he co-sponsored was actually committed by far-left anarchists disguised as Trump supporters. His support for far-right conspiracy groups such as QAnon (who participated in the riot) hasn't helped, either. Consequentially, MyPillow was dropped from some stores and Lindell was subsequently blocked from Twitter, followed by the company when he used the corporate Twitter account to ban-evade.
  • The vuvuzela is a kind of horn that is deeply integrated in South African culture, but it is extremely infamous internationally for the loud, monotonous drone it produces when blown, to the point that it can cause permanent hearing loss to unprotected ears. Vuvuzelas received intense backlash at the 2010 World Cup that was hosted in South Africa that year, and there was even a case where a teenage boy's local neighbour became so frustrated with him blowing his vuvuzela during that year's World Cup that he decided to kill him by gunshot.
  • Advertising agency Fallon McElligott was a respected, award-winning company until its childish response to a critique of one of its ads. A woman wrote to complain about an ad for Dynasty (1981) that said, "Bitch, Bitch, Bitch", calling it sexist. In response, an agency executive sent her a photo of an African boy kissing cow's butt, saying, "As the enclosed photo clearly illustrates, the Dinka tribe of East Africa has a rather barbaric ritual that has apparently been going on for centuries. I pass it along to you believing that you will be able to deal with these people in the same firm, yet even-handed manner in which you dealt with us." Another executive, Tom McElligott, called her a "brave missionary to the Dinkas." The resulting PR storm led to the agency losing a client, and this whole incident has remained an embarrassing footnote in the company's history.
  • Chances are that if someone's heard of the Scarsdale diet, it's because its co-author Herman Tarnower was shot dead by his jilted lover Jean Harris in 1980.

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