It takes years to build a great reputation, yet it can be tarnished and torn to shreds just like that. There’s nothing worse than reaching unimaginable heights of success, only to lose it all in the blink of an eye. Your reputation is everything. A good name becomes a powerful entity all on its own, and doesn’t even have to do with who you actually are as a person. Sort of makes you wonder what Beyonce Knowles is really like behind that saint-like public image carefully orchestrated for her.
Bill Cosby is the perfect example. For decades, the world hailed the funny man as a legendary television icon. America’s father figure even. Unbeknownst to fans and the entire world, the Hollywood hero was brutally ruining the lives of helpless women for decades, by allegedly sexually assaulting them. While the claims are hard to prove since so many years have gone by, Bill has shockingly joked about the date r*pe drug “spanish fly” in his stand up act in the past, which can be heard in the YouTube clip provided down below.
From now until he enters his grave, the once honorable comic, Bill Cosby, will be remembered as a shameful disgrace. Unfortunately, things like this happen too often for public figures who soil their difficult to attain golden reputations, almost as easily as a newborn soils their diapers. These stories are depressing, and we can all learn something from them. Namely, what’s done in the dark will eventually come to the light. Below are 12 of the most humiliating public figure falls from grace.
12. Paula Deen
Paula Deen‘s sweet disposition and adorable southern charm made her well liked among all races. However in the summer of 2014, celebrity chef made shocking statements that completely disenchanted many of her supporters. The worst of all being “What I would really like is a bunch of little n******s to wear long-sleeve white shirts, black shorts and black bow ties. You know in the Shirley Temple days, they used to tap dance around. Now, that would be a true Southern wedding wouldn’t it?” The shocking statement and terrible press that followed led to the slow crumble of Paula’s cooking empire, eventually losing her cooking show that was on air for 12 years. The southern chef was also immediately dropped by several endorsement deals like a bad habit. A restaurant manager fed up with the antics going on at Paula’s restaurant filed a $1.2 million discrimination lawsuit against the famous cook. The lawsuit claims that Paula and her brother made black and white employees use separate bathrooms, threw the N-word around, frequently told racist/sexist jokes, and even more shameful behavior. Paula has since released several apologetic statements and videos, desperately begging the public for forgiveness.
11. Bill Clinton
Not exactly an A-list star, but a highly regarded public figure nonetheless, Bill Clinton’s fall from grace was publicized for months in the media back in 1998. Monica Lewinsky was made infamous when it came to light that 49 year old Bill was having an affair with the 22 year old White House intern. That same year, Bill gave the famous speech briefly addressing the scandal in which he lies and says, “I want to say one thing to the American people. I want you to listen to me. I’m going to say this again: I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time; never. These allegations are false. And I need to go back to work for the American people. Thank you.” A few months later in a taped grand jury testimony, Bill admitted to an “improper physical relationship,” with Monica. In 2014, Monica broke her decade long silence over the affair, saying, “Overnight, I went from being a completely private figure, to a publicly humiliated one. I was patient zero – the first person to have their reputation completely destroyed worldwide via the Internet.” Miraculously, the 42nd POTUS has managed to win back the public’s approval long since the sex scandal, which rarely happens for politicians. The public favor is likely due to how well the former president ran his two term administration.
10. Justin Bieber
Pop phenom Justin Bieber is still young, so he’s got the time to redeem himself. However, at only 21 years of age, the Girlfriend singer has still managed to taint what was once an honorable career. When he entered the music business, he quickly dominated and even managed to accumulate an astounding $200 million net worth in just 5 short years. That’s completely unheard of for anyone his age, during any other time period. Some of the most legendary figures still alive today are yet to gain as much wealth. Justin’s popularity has reportedly declined, as his most recent album and single releases performed deplorably in comparison to his first few. Which would explain the desperate attempt made to win over lost fans and critics during the Comedy Central Bieber Roast back in March. Justin’s long list of offences is practically endless from vandalizing his neighbors home with eggs, to being arrested for driving under the influence and drag racing, to getting caught using extremely offensive racial slurs and more. It’s safe to say the singer has set the record for tarnishing his wholesome teeny bopper image, into a trouble making bad boy faster than anyone before him.
9. Britney Spears
Britney Spears‘ quick ascent to super stardom began at the tender age of 12 when she became a Mousekateer. Five years later, at 17 years old, Britney took over the world with her debut smash single Hit Me Baby One More Time. At just 22, Britney was granted a star on the Hollywood Walk of fame, considered to already be an icon so early on in her career. It takes most stars decades to be considered worthy of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. To be afforded such a tremendous amount of fame, power and wealth before the age of 20, makes a meltdown almost inevitable. Things began to go downhill for the superstar after she married her backup dancer Kevin Federline in 2004, a union many disapproved of. After the birth of her first son, Britney was caught driving with the 6 month old on her lap, causing the public to absolutely crucify her. Slowly her live performances become sloppier, and she barely even tried to put any effort into lip-synching. By 2008, Britney was abusing numerous drugs including crystal meth, shaving her head from irrational states of paranoia, and had an overdose scare with amphetamines. Recent years have seen the pop-star stabilize and her popularity hasn’t much declined.
8. Arnold Schwarzenegger
Terminator star turned Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger, destroyed his reputation when it was revealed that the married father of 4, fathered a lovechild with the hired help, and kept it a secret for 14 years. After the scandal broke, the govern-ator lost the support of voters, having his popularity decrease lower than George W. Bush’s, who let’s face it, was likely the most hated POTUS. Arnold’s approval ratings plummeted from 70% to 35%. Soon more women reportedly came forward claiming to have slept with the politician, and rumors that more love-children existed began to swirl. The maid who Arnold cheated with worked for he and his wife Maria, for over 20 years and were seen by his other kids on a daily basis, which is essentially why the infidelity was so unforgivable in the eyes of the public. While Arnold’s run as the Governor of California was surprisingly successful, managing to balance the budget and bring four Democrats into his cabinet among other achievements, all of them were eclipsed by the cheating scandal. As Shakespeare once said, “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.”
7. O.J. Simpson
If you’re born after 1990, you likely can’t remember a time when former Buffalo Bills player O.J. Simpson didn’t have a bad reputation. In 1989, the footballer turned actor, shocked the world when he plead guilty to domestic violence charges filed by wife Nicole Brown Simpson, who later filed for divorce in 1992. By 1994, Nicole and her lover Ron Goldman were found dead, and OJ was again in trouble with the law, charged this time with double murder. The superstar at the time, narrowly escaped a life sentence when he was acquitted, due in large part to the involvement of power attorney’s Johnny Cochran and Robert Kardashian; both of whom were deceased by the time O.J. was sentenced to 33 years for armed robbery in 2008. Once considered to be one of the greatest football players of all time, the most we’ve heard of O.J. recently were his obscene comments made from behind bars towards Kim Kardashian, saying, “She likes black ball players, I am a Hall of Famer — and I still have my Heisman award. As long as I am in prison, I can’t be with her so Kanye can have her for now. But when I get out she’s mine.”
6. John Travolta
Saturday Night Fever star John Travolta was one of the biggest stars of the 70s and 80s, seeming to cement his A-list status by starring in a few classic films. John suffered intense public humiliation in the summer of 2012, when the actor was hit with multiple sexual assault lawsuits; all initiated by men. One male masseuse accused John of stripping naked for the appointment and trying to initiate unsolicited sex. The massage therapist (who was unidentified) also claims that what followed was John masturbating on the spot, and sharing that he got to his A-list position due to sexual favors he had performed early on in his career, admitting that, “Hollywood is controlled by homosexual Jewish men who expect favors in return for sexual activity.” The actor vehemently denied all allegations made against him, but his public image suffered irrevocable damage and now every little move he makes is seen as bizarre. Including the time he affectionately kissed Scarlett Johansson on the cheek at the Oscars red carpet earlier this year, forcing the actress to release a statement, insisting it was not at all awkward and totally welcome.
5. Mike Tyson
During the 1990’s, Mike Tyson was the biggest Boxer in the world; bigger than today’s most famous Boxer, Floyd Mayweather. At the height of his career, Mike was worth an astounding $300 million. At just 20 years old, he was the youngest boxer to ever achieve the most coveted heavyweight champion titles, winning his first 19 matches by total knockout. His former manager Roy Holloway, believes Mike would’ve gone on to be the greatest of all time had he not had such a “weakness for women.” In 1991, Mike was accused of sexually assaulting an 18 year old beauty pageant winner, and after a year long trial, was sentenced to 6 years in prison, of which he ultimately served three, thus beginning his demise. Tyson’s then wife of 1 year Robin Givens, claims that throughout their relationship, the athlete was extremely violent towards her and also accused him of r*pe. The former undisputed heavyweight champ has lived one of the most enthralling rise and falls of anyone in entertainment, and is today only worth an estimated $1 million.
4. Stephen Collins
7th Heaven star Stephen Collins, who played the trusted Pastor and father of 5, Eric Camden, was always perceived to be as wholesome and trustworthy as his make believe character. The family program ended years ago and we hadn’t heard much from Stephen since, until reports came out last year that the actor had been molesting multiple young girls since the 1970s. Stephen’s ex-wife Faye Grant, secretly recorded a therapy session in which Stephen can be heard confessing to his horrific crimes. In the recording, which is difficult to listen to, Stephen admits to exposing his genitals to an 11 year old on several occasions, and even forced her to fondle him. Immediately after the disgraceful news surfaced, Stephen was fired from his agency, dropped from the movie Ted 2 and 7th Heaven, was pulled out of syndication. Much like the rest of us, cast-mates from 7th Heaven were in absolute shock to find that Stephen was a pedophile saying, “It’s not the Stephen I remember at all. He was just an overall friendly, good guy. He was one of the nicest guys I’ve ever worked with. I’ve worked with a lot of actors with odd behavior. I wouldn’t have thought this in a million years.”
3. Chris brown
R&B crooner Chris Brown was on the precipice of becoming a huge superstar when, the 19 year old made an ill-fated decision that would cost him his reputation and ultimately his career. In 2009, Chris was arrested and charged for brutally beating his girlfriend at the time, fellow pop-star Rihanna. The violent act caused him to lose several highly lucrative endorsement deals and countless accolades. Photographic evidence of Rihanna’s face garnered sympathy for the young woman, while Chris was rightfully vilified. The incident took place following Clive Davis’ annual pre-Grammy party, and was allegedly provoked after Rihanna discovered signs of infidelity in Chris’ phone. The With You singer has frequently found himself in trouble with the law ever since, and spent 7 months in jail last year for violating probation. Lately the star has tried using his 6 month old baby daughter to soften his disgraced image.
2. Michael Jackson
As early as 6 years old, it was clear that Michael Jackson was destined for greatness when he became the lead singer of the Jackson 5. By 1980, the former child star embarked on a solo career that proved to be a massive success, and by the age of 24, Michael released what would become the highest selling album of all time, Thriller. For decades the singer was beloved and crowned the King of Pop. But by the 90s, Michael’s behavior was becoming questionable. Including constant cosmetic surgery that was drastically altering his appearance, and surrounding himself with young boys. In 1993, Michael faced the first of many molestation accusation by a 12 year old named Jordie Handler, whom he once referred to as his “soul-mate.” At the time, the boy who spent lots of time alone during slumber parties with Michael made extreme allegations of sexual assault. 10 years later, Michael was again accused of child molestation, this time by a young cancer survivor. Though found not guilty at the trial, Michael’s reputation never fully recovered after the defamatory claims, but die hard supporters remained loyal until his tragic end. Deceased for over half a decade now, the superstar’s latest accuser is 31 year old Wade Robson, who is currently seeking a settlement from his estate.
1. Bill Cosby
The higher they soar, the harder they crash indeed. Once considered an icon, Bill Cosby’s formerly spotless legacy has incurred irreversible damage in light of allegations that the actor may have been a serial r*pist. Over 20 different women have come forward with similar stories of having been drugged and taken advantage of by The Cosby Show actor. The stories date as far back as the 1970s. Many of the women claim they hesitated to share their tragic experience publicly for so many years because they feared going up against a giant name like Bill Cosby, and knew they wouldn’t be believed. The women’s claims might be easier to deny had the audio clip above not existed. Recorded in 1969, Bill candidly “jokes” about date r*pe, and the audience can be heard howling in the background. Today in 2015, with dozens of allegations against the comic for this very topic, things aren’t so funny, and actually quite mind boggling. His once honorable legacy has been damaged irrevocably. Loyal fans who are still in denial about the dozens of similar stories that have come forward, blindly stand by The Cosby Show star, showing their unwavering support.