Based on the dictionary, the definition of a role model is a person looked to by others as an example to be imitated. Why do we need role models? According to Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D., a Professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts, “studies of aggressive learning in children show that through a process known as vicarious reinforcement, we start to model the behavior of individuals whose actions seem to be getting rewarded.”
The individuals that made this list are clearly not people you would want to emulate or have anyone you care about look up to as an example. It’s not the intention of this list to judge their actions, simply to cite them as an example of what is not role model material. Let’s face it, at times we all make poor choices but with these individuals it seems to be a habit. It’s disturbing these days to see the amount of people including children that look up to some of these figures that have continually demonstrated poor judgment and questionable ethics. Mention the word role model to someone and chances are they will cite a movie star or famous athlete.
Why don't we look up to those that have really tried to make a difference in the world, people like philanthropists or scientists? What programs us to tend to admire certain individuals whose contributions are far less impactful than those whose actions may have impacted the very course of history? It’s an interesting question to ask ourselves. While considering the answer, let’s take a look at 15 of the worst role models. In an attempt not to be biased the list is varied and contains celebrities, sports figures, political figures, etc.
15 Abby Lee Miller
14 Kim Kardashian
13 Miley Cyrus
Known for her role in Disney’s Hannah Montana, Miley Cyrus has been the subject of controversy since age 15, when she posed for a photographer wearing only a bed sheet. Her singing career skyrocketed her to fame and in 2008 Time magazine named her one of the “Most Influential People”. According to Forbes, in 2008, she was earning 25 million. Unfortunately, it’s been downhill from there. She has appeared on stage wearing little left to the imagination, in a variety of odd costumes and she’s danced suggestively including pole and lap dancing, in front of young audiences. There’s more than just rumors of drug addiction, alcohol abuse and family issues. She has cancelled several tour dates disappointing fans and she’s had a variety of flings and one serious relationship that didn't work out. She has admitted in interviews that she is a mess and has problems. She seems to be more intent on her career though than resolving the issues she has and until she gets herself back on track, she remains a candidate for this list.
12 Kobe Bryant
11 Alex Rodriguez
10 Justin Bieber
This kid has problems. Wearing gas masks, flashing people on the red carpet and attacking the paparazzi are just some of them. Bieber seems to have an addiction to spitting and relieving himself in public. He’s been involved in a hit and run accident and assaulting a bodyguard. He abandoned his pet when the monkey was detained by German customs and never went back to pick the animal up. He’s into graffiti, brothels and egging his neighbor’s house. In 2014, Bieber was arrested and charged for driving while under the influence and resisting arrest. It seems this guy is hell-bent on continuing in his downward spiral of bad behavior.
9 Kanye West
8 Michael Vick
7 Adam “Pacman” Jones
6 Bill Clinton
As a rising political star, Bill Clinton, then Governor, was involved in a shady real estate development deal, partnering to form the Whitewater Development Corporation and using his position to manipulate financial terms and appointing his banking partner and friend economic development aide. The wrongdoing on the part of Clinton is much too complicated to summarize in just a few sentences but suffice to say he acted illegally as well as unethically. On January 20, 1993, Clinton was sworn in as President of the United States of America. As past behavior seems to be the best predictor of future behavior, it’s not surprising that scandal reared its ugly head again and again during Clinton’s terms in office.
Though there were many questionable campaign donations made to the Democratic National Committee and half of Clinton’s cabinet resigned in 1996, everything seemed to roll off Clinton, that is until 1997 when Clinton was sued for sexual harassment charges by Paula Jones. He had also groped Kathleen Willey as well during this time period, although she did not come forward with her allegations until later. Monica Lewinsky, a young intern at the White House was subpoenaed by lawyers in the Paula Jones case. Shortly thereafter the story broke of Lewinsky’s own affair with the President, which Clinton completely denied over and over again publically. He even perjured himself under oath and impeachment proceedings were in place when he finally admitted it was true and that he had been involved in sexual acts with Lewinsky.
5 Lindsay Lohan
Since 2006, Lindsay Lohan has been in and out of trouble. She has spent 86% of her adult life (from age 18 to now) on probation. She has spent time in and out of rehab and been arrested for drunk driving. She’s lost movie roles due to her inability to control herself and her excessive partying. She’s also been arrested for drug possession as well, not to mention obstruction of justice, resisting arrest and reckless driving. She has little regard for herself or others, missing a mandatory court hearing date which landed her back in custody in 2010. She’s been in and out of courtrooms and mostly in violation of her parole ever since then. Her attempts at reviving her movie career have failed miserably, with her movies either being scrapped or going directly to DVD. It’s a sad commentary for someone that used to have some talent. Doubtful she will become anyone’s idea of a role-model anytime soon, which earns her a spot on the list.
4 Charlie Sheen
Since 1990, after shooting his then wife Kelly Preston in the arm, Charlie Sheen has been in and out of rehabs, unfortunately none had any success helping him live with his drug and alcohol addictions. He’s been linked to porn stars, prostitutes, and madams, having reportedly spent over $53,000 for some of Heidi Fleiss’ ladies of the evening. He has assaulted ex-girlfriends and wives, threatening them further if they were to tell anyone. He’s had multiple restraining orders issued against him and he’s been married multiple times with children that he’s lost custody of to former wives and girlfriends. Sheen has bad-mouthed producers of his show, Two and Half Men and been late or not shown up many times during filming. He’s destroyed hotel rooms and shown no remorse for any of his actions and the list goes on and on.
3 Chris Brown
Since assaulting his then girlfriend Rihanna in 2009, Chris Brown has had more than his share of troubles. The incident resulted in assault charges which he plead guilty to and received five years’ probation and 180 days of community service. In 2011, he went crazy busting up furniture in his dressing room when during an interview he was asked about the assault charges. In 2012 Brown got into a fight with hip hop artist Drake, supposedly over Rihanna. This was followed by another fight with Frankie Ocean outside of a club in 2013. That same year he was accused of faking his community service by the District Attorney’s office. Brown faced another felony assault charge later in the year for allegedly beating a man up outside of a nightclub in Washington D.C. assisted by his bodyguard. His two week stint in anger management rehab apparently has not worked and he’s finally had to spend some actual time behind bars.
2 J.R. Smith
1 Aaron Hernandez
A troubled youth after his father’s death, Hernandez was drafted in 2010 by the New England Patriots. Although he had remarkable talent, there was concern even then and he wasn't chosen until the fourth round due to his repeated use of marijuana and failed drug tests. Once on the team though, Hernandez became their star tight end teaming up with rookie tight end Rob Gronkowski to set an NFL record for most catches, touchdowns, and receiving yards by tight ends in one season. It seemed like Hernandez had the world at his feet with a $37.5 million dollar contract to play until 2018 and a lucrative endorsement deal with Puma shoes until June 26th, 2013 when this athlete was arrested for the murder of Odin Lloyd, a semi-pro football player. He is currently in jail awaiting the trial, now not only in a cell but wearing leg irons and chains as he beat a fellow prisoner in February of 2014. Is there anything left to say as to why this guy is number one on the list?