Being in the spotlight these days is a lot different than it was in the past. All those old-time movie stars and other celebrities had a certain degree of privacy back in the day. They could talk among themselves about whatever they wanted to without worrying about the conversation being headline news the next day. They could drive drunk, shoot smack, and kick small puppies without any fear of repercussion. If they did get caught then their transgressions were easily swept under the rug. Nowadays, every time a celebrity is given a traffic ticket, has a substance abuse problem or says something remotely off color, the gossip immediately saturates the internet, newspapers, and tabloid-style television shows. Even ghosts from the past come back to haunt these people with dire consequences. There are cameras, microphones, and paparazzi everywhere and they ready to catch celebrities when they trip up. There is no such thing as an innocent slip of the tongue anymore.
It seems that more and more people are outraged about something and, when they are offended, they want their pound of flesh. Public shaming is a crazy new phenomenon and businesses are more prone to giving into public pressure to maintain their own images. It doesn’t matter if you flip burgers at a greasy spoon or if you are a highly-respected business executive. One distasteful comment or offensive post on social media can ruin you. Always remember that Big Brother is watching. Here are 15 celebrity careers that were brought down by one comment.
15. Michael Richards – Made Racist Rant At Comedy Club
Seinfeld will go down as one of the most popular shows in television history. While the show focused mainly on Jerry Seinfeld’s character, millions were entertained by Kramer who was portrayed by Michael Richards. Richards had been in television and movies in minor roles for years but Kramer propelled him to comedy stardom. After Seinfeld ended, Richard attempted to stay in the spotlight through a couple of television projects but they were unsuccessful. Still, he had a shot at making it on his own. Sadly, Richards was performing a stand-up routine at the Laugh Factory in West Hollywood in 2006 when a heckler got under his skin. The former funnyman launched into an extremely offensive racist tirade which made headlines and snuffed out Richards’ star. He said, “Fifty years ago we’d have you upside down with a f***ing fork up your a**.” He continued,”Throw his a** out. He’s a n*****! He’s a n*****! He’s a n*****! A n*****, look, there’s a n*****!”He has recently been seen in a few television spots but his reputation has been forever tarnished.
14. Natalia Kills – Fired After Ripping Into X-Factor Contestant
When you Google a person and the word “fiasco” shows up in the auto fill you know you’re in for an interesting read. Natalia Kills is a 30-year-old dance-pop artist who has seen moderate success in music and on television. She was featured as a judge on New Zealand’s version The X-Factor but her tenure lasted just one show. Why? Well, it seems that she wasn’t impressed with a contestant named Joe Irvine. After his performance, Natalia really ripped into the poor guy. She called him a copycat, a “laughing stock”, “cheesy”, and “disgusting”. Natalia’s boyfriend, Willy Moon, who was also on the judging panel compared the shocked contestant to Norman Bates. Really? Joe’s the psycho? She and her boyfriend were quickly sacked from the show. She has tried to put the whole mess behind her by apologizing. Oh, she also changed her name. We still know who you are!!
13. Danyelle Sargent – Swore On Air And Later Asked About A Dead Guy
Many of you may not have heard of Danyelle Sargent but those who have followed NFL football over the years may be doing a face palm as you recall her less-than-stellar but memorable moments on the sidelines and in the studio. She got a gig with ESPN in 2004 but was let go after she dropped an F-bomb live on air while her mic was still live. She was lucky enough to get a second chance when she was hired by Fox Sports shortly after. In 2008, she was interviewing the new San Francisco 49ers head coach, Mike Singletary. Knowing that the legendary Bill Walsh was Singletary’s mentor, the intrepid sideline reporter asked him if he had called Walsh when he found out he’d got the job with the 49ers. The interview was cut right there. You see, Bill Walsh had passed away a year earlier. That awkward moment when…
12. Jimmy The Greek – Said African Americans Are Better Athletes Due To Breeding
Jimmy Snyder was a very popular sports commentator and bookmaker. He was on The NFL Today for 12 years where he was known as Jimmy the Greek. Fans and sports bettors would listen in on his pre-game segment as he delivered helpful betting tips and analyzed the games on Sunday mornings. Despite being a known gambler and for being a little rough around the edges, Jimmy the Greek was popular with viewers. He even reportedly punched Brent Musburger in the face once. Hey, who hasn’t wanted to do that? Despite this, and a few other on-set controversies, Snyder kept his job and the show remained popular. His television career ended on January 16th, 1988 after he said that African Americans were superior athletes due to breeding. Just like that, his television career was over and it was never resurrected.
11. Tila Tequila – Decided She Was Pro-Hitler
For those who haven’t heard of this model, singer, and television personality, Tila Tequila began modelling in her late teens before becoming one of the first social media celebrities. This led her to star in a reality television show as well as growing her profile in the music industry. She got her name out there even more through a couple of sex tapes. She was moderately famous but her personal life was a mess. Of, course, her string of relationships and drug issues worked in her favor as she gained more notoriety. Then in 2013, Tequila caused a huge stir when she took to Twitter to express sympathy for Adolf Hitler. She Tweeted, “On this great day of 420 I will HONOR our TRUE KING! They tried to Destroy your legacy, but I will fight for you.” She also wished him a happy birthday, saying “Happy birthday, mein Furhor. The Most High!”
10. Don Imus – Made Racist Comments In Regards To Rutgers Female Basketball Team
Don Imus began his radio career as a disc jockey in 1968. He was fired from one of his early gigs for saying “Hell” on the air. Known for orchestrating several on-air pranks, he once called a local restaurant to order 1,200 hamburgers to go. He then moved on to bigger things when he got his own radio show on NBC Radio. He rose to radio prominence through the 70, 80’s, and into the 90s. He was never afraid to speak his mind. He actually called the previously-mentioned Rush Limbaugh a “fat, pill-popping loser” and a “drug-addled gasbag”. He went a little too far in 2007 when he made unflattering and racially insensitive comments about the Rutgers University female basketball team. Imus tried to downplay the insults and even faced Al Sharpton in a radio segment but his career couldn’t be saved.
9. Hulk Hogan – Caught Making Racist Comments On Sex Tape
We all probably know of the huge role Hulk Hogan played in bringing professional wrestling into the mainstream. He has appeared in movies and audiences got to see him up close in his reality television show. The downfall of Hogan must have been a shock to all the little Hulkamaniacs out there. It was definitely a shock to those who weren’t even a fan of his. It was kind of a double-whammy. Hulk appeared in a sex tape with a friend’s wife but that’s not what did him in. It was the racist and homophobic language that he used while being filmed. The backlash was immense. Several stores immediately got rid of all items that were connected to the disgraced ex-wrestler. At least he can take comfort in the multi-million dollar settlement he got from Gawker for their role in the leaking of the sex tape.
8. Justine Sacco – AIDS Tweet Leads To Sudden Career Change
This is a story of someone who gained instant unwanted celebrity status while she slept. Justine Sacco was a senior director of corporate communications for New York-based InterActiveCorp (IAC). She was on her way from New York to Cape Town South Africa in December of 2013 and decided to share a few tweets with her 170 followers about air travel. She tweeted about some guy’s hygiene and when she arrived at Heathrow Airport she tweeted about bad teeth in London. Just before she boarded the plane to her final destination, Justine tweeted “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just Kidding. I’m white!” She turned off her phone, boarded the plane, and fell asleep for most of the 11-hour flight. When she arrived in South Africa her tweets had gone viral. She was an internet villain and she had lost her prestigious job. Who’da thunk it?
7. Dani Mathers – Former Playmate Fired From Radio Job Following Body-Shaming Incident
How hard is it to be a successful Playboy Playmate of the Year? Stay in shape, smile, and don’t do anything stupid and you may find yourself on the path to all sorts of success. Dani Mathers was Playmate of the Month in May 2014. She went on to be the Playmate of the Year in 2015. She parlayed this flash-in-the-pan stardom to roles in television, movies, and was even a popular radio host. Do you remember the “don’t do anything stupid” part? Well, Dani forgot about that key ingredient to success when she snapped a picture of a naked 70-year-old woman in a gym changing room. She then posted the shot on Snapchat with a rather derogatory comment attached to it saying “If I can’t unsee this then you can’t either”. She lost her radio gig, got banned from all LA Fitness Gyms, and was publicly disgraced over the incident. She was also sentenced to probation and hasn’t really been heard from since.
6. CeeLo Green – Arrests And Controversial Assault Tweet
It can happen so quickly. One day you are on top of the world as an internationally-recognized R&B star and everyone wants to be seen with you. The next day you are a cast-out and nobody wants anything to do with you. CeeLo Green had been making hit music since the mid-90s as well as dabbling in various film projects. It all began to come crashing down in 2012 when he was accused of and pleaded guilty to felony charges stemming from an incident in which he allegedly sexually assaulted a heavily intoxicated woman. It wasn’t this incident that ruined his career though. It was a series of Twitter posts that basically said that a woman who is passed out is fair game and that if a woman is really raped that she’d remember. This is exactly what he wrote, “If someone is passed out they’re not even WITH you consciously, so WITH Implies consent”. He later deleted the posts and issued an apology but the damage was done.
5. Ashlee Simpson – Awkward Jig Once Caught Lip Syncing
A few people must have some small degree of sympathy for Ashley Simpson. She worked so hard to stay balanced on her famous sister’s coattails but something came along and wiped her out like an amateur surfer trying to negotiate a breaking tsunami. We can say what we want to about her talent level but she did manage to get her face on television and she was sorta playing music. She reached her pinnacle when she appeared on Saturday Night Live in 2004. As most of us know, things went about as badly as they could when the wrong prerecorded vocals were played which proved that she had lip-synced her performance. That wasn’t quite as bad as her telling the audience after the show that it was her band’s fault. Sure it was. They probably made you do that idiotic jig as well? Her career hit the skids and she’s become mostly irrelevant. Not that she was really relevant in the first place.
4. Mel Gibson – Racist Rant Following Arrest
International audiences were introduced to Mel Gibson when he starred in the original Mad Max movie. He then proceeded to become one of the biggest names in Hollywood. He was named the “Sexiest Man Alive” in 1985 and he has received numerous awards for both acting and directing. There wasn’t too much that could get in his way…except for a little DUI arrest in 2006. It’s not like the arrest itself or the funny mug shot that was plastered all over the internet and television would ruin him. What did ruin him? It was one of the most offensive antisemitic tirades of all time.
He said “F**king Jews. The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.”
Even Hitler might have asked the Braveheart actor to tone it down a notch. After over 30 years at the top, Gibson’s mighty fall from grace was one for the ages.
3. Paula Deen – Lost Endorsements Following Racist Headlines
Even Southern Belle celebrity chefs can find themselves on the receiving end of public wrath. Paula Deen is a well-known chef who has written books, opened a lot of restaurants, and been featured on her own television cooking shows. She’s even done a couple of movies. The biggest criticism that she faced had to do with some of her delicious creations being a bit unhealthy. That is until she was accused of making racists comments in 2013. Even though the lawsuit was eventually dropped, Deen lost her television show and loads of endorsements. To make matters worse, she posted pictures of herself and her son dressed as Lucy and Ricky Ricardo in which she painted her son’s face brown. Oops!! She quickly took down the photo but it was too late. She has been making a bit of a comeback recently.
2. Rush Limbaugh – Verbally Attacked Sandra Fluke In Court Over Contraception
Rush Limbaugh has made a career out of controversy. He is outspoken and not afraid to push the envelope. He was a mainstay on television and radio and he won many awards throughout his colorful career. The problem with Rush is that he has crossed the line a few too many times and it has now caught up to him. For years, Limbaugh has said many racially insensitive things as well as dismissing the idea of consent in intimate relationships. We’re not even getting into his views on feminism!! Advertisers and sponsors have been bailing on Rush since 2013 when he really crossed the line with a barrage of insults and insinuations about Sandra Fluke who testified in Congress about health care and contraception. This might help alleviate global warming by having a lot less hot air blown into the atmosphere.
1. A.J. Clemente – Fired After First Broadcast For Swearing On The Air
You may be trying to figure out where you have heard this guy’s name before. He is definitely not as big of a celebrity as others on the list, but he gained a bit of notoriety when he made his debut as a newscaster at a North Dakota television station. His career was over before he even had his face on the air for the first time. Just as the newscast was being introduced with the NBC logo on the screen, A.J., who was making his broadcast debut, blurted out a couple of expletives for all the viewing audience to hear. The cameras then zoomed in on a nervous A.J. and his stunned co-anchor. He briefly introduced himself to the viewers before nervously reading a local news story. He was immediately fired but lives on through YouTube.