The concept of celebrity is complicated to say the least. We can be a fan of what the celebrity does for a living, but we may not always be a fan of what those celebrities actually say. For example, someone may gain critical acclaim for their acting ability, but as soon as they give their opinion on a political matter or another important issue, they risk losing their audience. There’s many reasons why the recent Disney sequel Alice Through the Looking Glass under-performed at the box office, with many pointing the finger at Johnny Depp, who was plagued by tabloid headlines and allegations regarding domestic violence against his ex-wife Amber Heard. Anything a celebrity does or says outside of their profession can negatively impact their followers and supporters.
What comes out of a celebrity’s mouth can obviously get them celebrity in a lot of trouble. As much as we love our fair share of celebrities, we don’t love it when they’re outspoken and opinionated in affairs they know nothing about. We like our celebrities when they keep their mouths shut and simply entertain us through acting, modelling, singing and dancing. But in this day and age with social media, many famous celebs feel the need to share their thoughts on everyday issues that may not even impact them. Here are just a few examples of some outspoken individuals in Hollywood.
15. Elizabeth Hurley
Elizabeth Hurley‘s has played a wide variety of sultry characters throughout her career, starring in a handful of successful Hollywood blockbusters. From playing Austin Power’s love interest in International Man of Mystery, to her devilish performance as, well, The Devil in Bedazzled, Hurley has built quite the sultry reputation for her pretty face. It’s almost ironic that her mouth got her in trouble when talking about arguably Hollywood’s most iconic pretty face, Marilyn Monroe. Hurley inspired a heap of controversy when she stated that she’d “kill herself if [she] was as fat as Marilyn Monroe.” First off, fat? Monroe may have been on the plus size, but fat she was not. Second, let’s take into consideration that Hurley insulted someone who is idolized by an entire generation of women for her beauty, regardless of her weight. Hurley’s comment inspired the ire of each and every one of those fans at the time.
14. Paula Deen
Paula Deen used to be one of the most successful and loved chefs in the world. Her cooking was always praised as immaculate and her public image was something of a sweet old lady. That image was sorely distorted and damaged when it was revealed in 2013 that Deen had used the N-word numerous times in her past. First, in June 2013, Deen was hit with an ugly lawsuit alleging that Deen was the perpetrator of both racial and sexual discrimination in the presence of one Lisa Jackson, who claimed she heard Deen make derogatory comments against African Americans in front of Jackson. A couple months later, a deposition was released where Deen admitted that she used the N-word some years prior in regards to an African American that robbed her at gunpoint. Despite a teary eyed televised apology, Deen’s fanbase has been shattered and her public image has yet to recover.
13. Tracy Morgan
For years, Tracy Morgan has been a much beloved name within the comedy world. After gaining cult acclaim as an underground comic, he rose to superstardom as soon as he joined the cast of 30 Rock. Unfortunately, at a time when his fame was just starting to skyrocket, Morgan forgot that one of the prices of fame is that a celebrity has to watch what they say at all times. In 2011, during a bit at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, Morgan said that he would stab his son if he ever heard him talk in a “gay voice.” Even though most people understood that Morgan was only making a joke and his closest of friends vouched that he held no hate in his heart towards gay people, everyone was disappointed with just how homophobic his comments came across. Even his 30 Rock co-star, Tina Fey, admitted that she was disturbed by Morgan’s comments. Despite apologizing for his comments, Morgan still continued to receive backlash from fans, celebrities, and even the Human Rights Campaign.
12. The Dixie Chicks
A little over a decade ago, The Dixie Chicks were one of the most beloved collective groups that work within the country genre. It came as a shock to see so many country fans turn on them in 2003 when the front woman of the group, Natalie Maines, spoke on behalf of the rest of her gal pals in saying that they were all “ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas.” This statement was made in protest of what the group deemed to be some unintelligent decrees by George W. Bush to push forward with the Iraq War. Anyone who knows a lick about country music knows that the only thing that country music listeners love more than country music is their America. When forced to choose one or the other, fans chose their love for America in defence of their president and by criticizing Bush, many fans felt like the Dixie Chicks were criticizing America. As much of an overreaction as that may sound, country fans did not take kindly to their stance on the US President.
11. R. Kelly
In 2002, R. Kelly was indicted in Chicago on 21 accounts of child pornography after a sex tape was released allegedly depicting Kelly committing lewd acts with an underaged girl. Despite these allegations, R. Kelly, for the most part, retained his fanbase and his most loyal of fans went as far as to defend the man effortless and vouch that he could not have been the man in question in the tape. What his fans had trouble accepting were his subsequent comments after the incident. In the wake of dealing with a few detractors and doubters of his innocence, R. Kelly didn’t make his case any easier during a 2003 interview when he compared himself to Osama Bin Laden. He told Blender magazine he was offended that people could criticize and hate him without knowing all of the facts and said the only other person in the world who could empathize with his pain was Bin Laden. Not only did Kelly compare himself to Bin Laden, he indirectly vouched for his innocence. It would be an understatement to say these comments didn’t sit well with his fanbase.
10. James Woods
In 2013, the 69 year old actor let his voice be heard during a conflicted political climate in a barrage of tweets directed towards Barack Obama. Among other things, James Woods called the then-President of the United States an “abomination” and a “threat to the integrity and future of the Republic.” Perhaps Woods picked the most opportune time to express his political feelings compared to anyone else on this list. While the majority of people on this list made shocking comments in the middle of their soaring careers, James Woods is currently in the twilight of his career. The 2-time Oscar nominee has been winding down the last few years of his acting career and admitted himself that he doesn’t expect to ever work in Hollywood again whether he decided to keep his mouth shut or not. Still, the comments of James Woods has effectively divided his once universal fanbase into his Republican supporters, his Democratic naysayers, and whatever small fraction lies in between (Third Party, people who don’t care, non-Americans, etc.)
9. Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp has been no stranger to controversy in recent memory. Allegations of domestic abuse from ex-wife Amber Heard has hurt Johnny Depp’s fanbase more than anything else in his career. However, years before that, Depp managed to piss people off without anything being alleged. There were no disputes made when Depp publicly criticized America during a 2003 interview in Berlin. In the wake and frustration of the Bush administration, he called America “dumb, it’s like a dumb puppy that has big teeth that can bite and hurt you, aggressive.” He also said he would like his children to grow up and think of America as “a broken toy.” Depp later apologized and in 2011 reiterated that he was in no hurry to give up his American citizenship, but at the time he originally made those comments, he received a hailstorm of backlash from pro-American enthusiasts gunning for Depp’s throat for his comments condemning their country.
For two generations, Raven-Symoné was the highlight for many of our childhoods. First in the late 80s as young Olivia for The Cosby Show. Then, for the early 2000s, as the psychic title character of the Disney series That’s So Raven. Raven-Symoné displayed enough charm and wit in both series to win the hearts of several viewers, but in her post-child star career, she has managed to lose many of those core fans due to some controversial comments. The first time Raven-Symoné struck controversy was during a 2014 interview with Oprah where she told the billionaire that she didn’t like labels and in her mind, she was not African American, just an American. As Oprah herself predicted immediately afterwards, Raven-Symoné’s comment “set Twitter on fire.” Raven-Symoné did just that again a year later when she told her co-hosts on The View that she would deny a qualified worker of being hired if they had a “ghetto name” like Watermelondrea. Though she would later apologize and admitted her comment was “in poor taste,” she nonetheless ignited a hellstorm of negative detractors on Twitter.
7. Isaiah Washington
Isaiah Washington is most notable for playing Dr. Preston Burke on the hit ABC show, Grey’s Anatomy. The role earned Washington several accolades from the show and even more praise from critics. However, his stint on the show came to a bitter end in late 2006 when rumors hit the press that Washington insulted Grey’s Anatomy castmate, T.R. King, by calling Knight a homophobic slur. It was bad enough that Washington was accused of alleged using a hateful slur. Things got worse when he said it on camera on the Golden Globe red carpet the following January. Defending himself after a reporter asked if there were any on-set conflicts, Washington stated “No, I did not call T.R. a f_ggot.” Even if he didn’t say it backstage, he received backlash for saying it in a public forum on the red carpet. The backlash not only led to Washington being villainized by critics, but he lost his job. After the backlash, ABC decided not to renew his contract and Dr. Burke was booted from the show.
6. Meryl Streep
This is one of the more recent entries on the list. There was once a time when Meryl Streep was universally loved. As the most nominated performer in both Golden Globe history (30 nominations, 8 wins) and Academy Award history (19 nominations, 3 wins), Streep has been in seemingly every movie and excelled in every role. It was impossible to hate Meryl Streep. However, this year, when accepting her prestigious Cecile B. Demille Award at the Golden Globes, she generated a heap of controversy among the MMA and football community by stating that those sports were “not the arts.” The next day, everyone from sports fans to sports players lambasted Meryl Streep for her comments. Even UFC Lightweight Champion, Conor McGregor, had his own two cents on the matter by insulting Streep via an animated skit on Instagram. For the first time in her career, Meryl Streep was at the center of controversy and negative comments.
5. Ryan Lochte
Ryan Lochte impressed many with the swimming athletics he displayed during the Olympic Games which he participated in. He was beloved for being a 12-time Olympic gold medal winner and for most of his career was able to keep his nose clean without much controversy to speak of on his behalf. That was until the summer of 2016 when Lochte and his swimmer buddies falsified claims of being robbed at gunpoint by police officers, or at least men posing as police officers while in Rio de Janeiro for the Olympic Games. In actuality, Lochte were confronted by the police after the swimmers were caught vandalizing a bathroom during a drunk night on the town. Despite apologizing for the incident, Lochte lost a lot of respect and support from his fanbase. It didn’t help that his lies on led to more opportunities for Lochte to expand his celebrity, including a stint to appear on Dancing with the Stars, which his opposers deemed to be undeserved opportunities.
4. Amanda Bynes
Once upon a time, Amanda Bynes was just America’s sweetheart over at Nickelodeon. Starting off as a cast member on All That and then branching off into her own sketch comedy series, The Amanda Show, Bynes successfully transitioned into Hollywood productions. She starred in hit movies like Big Fat Liar and She’s the Man. She kept her nose clean and kept up a positive image. Suddenly starting in 2012, Bynes would spend the next couple years displaying some strange behaviour. She often found herself arrested (two cases for DUI) and made some outrageous comments on social media that raised all of our eyebrows. The most outlandish being when she tweeted at Rihanna claiming that “Chris Brown beat you because you’re not pretty enough.” Bynes lost fans out of many of us thanks to comments like that. Little did we all know that Bynes’ insulting outbursts were the result of a mental disorder that she subsequently received treatment for. We can only help that she received the proper treatment and is in a better place mentally nowadays.
3. Kanye West
Oh, where to even begin with Mr. Kanye West. Musically, West is one of the most talented entertainers that the world has to offer. That may be a hard pill for many readers to swallow, but it is the truth. The man has attributed to numerous innovations within the music industry over the past decade, but even the rapper/singer’s biggest fans have to admit that West is better when he sticks to music opposed to the rants that he has become infamous for. This is the same man who has interrupted award show speeches, self-congratulated his own pretensions while simultaneously being oblivious to them, and admitted at a concert that if he voted, he would have voted for Donald Trump. At one point, Kanye West has either pissed you off or made you groan in disdain. If he’s ever in front of a microphone and is doing anything other than rapping or singing, Kanye West is bound to stir up some controversy with his words. His most recent outbursts have been ascribed to a temporary psychosis which he was hospitalized for in late 2016. Love him or hate him, we should all hope he gets the help he needs.
2. Giuliana Rancic
Giuliana Rancic has spent over a decade working at E! and everything she’s done for the network has received high praise. In her days as an anchor for E! News, she was often considered the better half of the anchor team opposite co-anchor, Ryan Seacrest. Her work even earned her a Daytime Emmy Award. Along with anchoring, Rancic has also been known to have a good eye for fashion as a host for E!’s Fashion Police, but in 2015, she may have been better off just looking in the direction of Zendaya and not commenting on her look. On the post-Oscars show in 2015, Rancic derailed Zendaya for her sense of dress, most notably by saying Zendaya looked like she smelled like “patchouli oil and weed.” Rancic’s backhanded jokes were considered by many to be covertly racist. Despite apologizing afterwards, some still haven’t been able to forgive Rancic and she her in more of a negative light.
1. Donald Trump
A celebrity has not divided audiences more in recent memory than Donald Trump. When he was just the host of The Apprentice or just that rich guy with the funny hair from Home Alone 2, we all got a kick out of him. It’s safe to say that there was once a time when the majority of people were fans of Donald Trump, if only for entertainment purposes. We all found him hilarious, like a stand up comedian. His snobbish attitude pierced strong through the veil of celebrity, but when his status didn’t go much further than reality tv star, his personality made for fun trash tv to watch every week. When it became painfully evident a few years ago that he was not only seriously running for President of the United States, but had a strong chance of winning, several of his former fans turned on him. They turned on him when they heard his rhetoric spewing hate towards the likes of women and Mexicans. Now that he’s won the election, we’ve seen America divided between the fans who stuck around and his most vocal detractors. Either you love him or you hate him, there is no in between.