It’s become easier than ever for celebrities to share their lives with their followers and fans in the age of the internet. Sometimes this can lead to temporary controversies. Other times, it can lead to the undoing of their legacies. From ignorant statements to violent behavior, the list of missteps can be long and damaging. Following Kanye West’s appearance on Drink Champs, here are a few celebrities who sabotaged their own careers.
Despite making headlines more often for violent altercations as opposed to his music, DaBaby felt the heat last year after his Rolling Loud Miami performance. Not only did he bring out Tory Lanez as his special guest after Megan Thee Stallion despite their alleged troubled past, but he made homophobic and misogynistic remarks:
“If you didn’t show up today with HIV, AIDS, or any of them deadly sexually transmitted diseases that’ll make you die in two to three weeks, then put your cellphone lighter up. Ladies, if your p—- smell like water, put your cellphone lighter up. Fellas, if you ain’t sucking d— in the parking lot, put your cellphone lighter up.”
This led to celebrity outrage, festivals dropping him for their lineups and what DaBaby believes to be low album sales.
Singer Tory Lanez has been charged with allegedly shooting Megan Thee Stallion in the foot during an altercation that took place in July 2020 (the assault trial has been delayed until December 2022). Though those accusations are horrifying in itself, in April Rolling Stone reported that Lanez “violated protective orders in his felony assault cause involving allegations he shot Megan.”
He discussed her on social media, claiming that she was being dishonest about the incident that happened two years ago. After August Alsina said Lanez and his security also got into a physical fight last month, it seems like the Canadian native keeps digging himself into deeper trouble.
Remember last year when Azealia Banks dug up her dead cat named Lucifer, boiled him in a pot of water and then made earrings out of his bones? Unfortunately, so do we. Though this is probably the most outrageous of her antics, Banks became known for her senseless rants about celebrities as well as one sided feuds.
She has come for everyone from Beyoncé to Zayn Malik. She also compared bleaching her skin to getting a nose job. Ultimately, there are few moments where she’s not in the crossfire of controversy for something she says or does.
Kanye West has made headlines recently for a Drink Champs appearance where he stated that George Floyd died in 2020 from fentanyl and not Derek Chauvin’s knee on his neck (“If you look, the guy’s knee wasn’t even on his neck like that”). He also appeared on Fox News to defend the notion of “White Lives Matter” to Tucker Carlson, says he likes Trump because he owns buildings and made Ivanka, called obesity genocide for the Black community (and used Lizzo as an example).
Ye also was restricted from Twitter and Instagram earlier this year for making anti-semitic remarks. In addition, Ye was dropped from the Grammys as well as headlining Coachella performance following his online harassment of ex Kim Kardashian. This comes years after showing support for Trump after he was elected in 2016, saying slavery was a choice and that Harriet Tubman never freed anyone. West claims that he’s a “free thinker” but his words have become downright dangerous.
Mo’Nique alleged that she was blackballed from Hollywood back in 2010. After winning an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Precious, the star claims she was shut out from acting opportunities for not engaging in more Oscar campaigning. “I said no to some powerful people,” Mo’Nique told Steve Harvey in a 2019 interview on his show. “I said no to Oprah Winfrey, I said no Tyler Perry, I said no to Lee Daniels and I said no to Lionsgate.”
Although she had a right to decline participating, many criticized the way she went about it. Mo’Nique had also been accused of being demanding and difficult to work with. Following a call to boycott Netflix due to “gender and color bias,” she reached a deal with the streaming giant to have her own comedy special. Most recently, she sparred online with comedian D.L. Hughley after a misunderstanding about which star was headlining a performance.
Of course, the slap heard ‘round the world landed Will Smith on the list! In March, the esteemed actor lost his cool after Chris Rock made a joke at the expense of Smith’s wife Jada at this year’s Oscars ceremony. After storming the stage to slap Rock, he later accepted his award for Best Actor for his performance in King Richard.
Smith’s actions led him to be banned from future Oscars ceremonies for the next decade—both in person and virtually. It also allegedly led to some of his projects being dropped following the tremendous backlash.
Back in 2007 while on set for his hit show, Grey’s Anatomy, actor Isaiah Washington got into an argument with co-star Patrick Dempsey. It was reported that Washington used a homophobic slur that referred to another co-star, T.R. Knight. This exchange was allegedly the reason ABC didn’t renew his contract.
Washington eventually apologized but wound up speaking out about what actually went down on Larry King Live. He claimed to now have used the F-word in reference to Knight but told Dempsey to stop treating him like one. Washington said it used it as a word meaning “a person who is not deserving of respect.”
Just earlier this month, Washington found himself in hot water when during an interview with Vlad TV he called the late singer Aaliyah “in control” of her secret marriage with R. Kelly back in 1994. “She was 15 going on 30, so she was in control of that whole situation. I don’t believe one minute that Aaliyah was made to do anything that Aaliyah didn’t want to do.”
Oh, Jussie! Back in 2019, the Empire star said that he was assaulted in Chicago by white men—who wore MAGA hats—yelling homophobic and racist slurs. He also said they hung a noose around his neck. However, brothers Abimbola Osundario and Olabinjo Osundairo, came forward and said that Smollett actually paid them to beat him up and stage a fake hate crime.
Ultimately, Smollett was found guilty for filing a false report and was sentenced to 30 months felony probation, which included 150 days in jail. However, he maintains his innocence and said the entire ordeal showed him who his real friends are.
Nicki Minaj knows how to keep her name in the headlines. She has feuded with fellow women rappers Remy Ma, Cardi B and most recently, Latto. Minaj has come for Black women critics for unflattering commentary about her music and encouraged her insanely loyal fanbase to do the same. She has spread misinformation about the Covid-19 in a 2021 viral tweet in which she stated:
“My cousin in Trinidad won’t get the vaccine cuz his friend got it & became impotent. His testicles became swollen. His friend was weeks away from getting married, now the girl called off the wedding. So just pray on it & make sure you’re comfortable with ur decision, not bullied.”
Her husband, Kenneth Petty, is also a level two registered sex offender in New York. In July, he was sentenced to three years probation and a year of in-home detention after he plead guilty to failing to register as a sex offender in the state of California in 2020.
In 2016, Nate Parker wrote, directed, and starred in the Nat Turner biopic The Birth of a Nation which was a Sundance Film Festival hit and predicted to win major awards. However, it soon came to light that he was accused of sexual assault while he was a student at Penn State University. He was acquitted but the revelation came out during the release of The Birth of a Nation. The alleged victim wound up taking her own life in 2012.
Parker’s response at the time was he was “falsely accused” and had been “vindicated” by the court. This wound up derailing his career and years later, he apologized for how he handled it. “I was quite tone-deaf to a lot of the things around in the climate, and my response during that time obviously hurt a lot of people...and I apologize to them,” Parker said at a 2019 press event.
In 2017, Chrisette Michele performed at the inauguration ceremony for former president Donald Trump. She received major backlash—especially from the Black community—as Trump is infamous for racism. In a 2017 interview with The Breakfast Club, the singer stated that she didn’t support Trump but wanted to give people hope.
“We’re hurting. I want to be there to console. I thought that saying that everything was going to be alright was the right thing to say. And I was wrong.” Chrisette Michele also said that the performance led to death threats, label troubles and a loss of fans.
We’re not sure why anyone would string the words “Black” and “supremacy” together, but Terry Crews decided to back in 2020 with his now infamous tweet: “Defeating White supremacy without White people creates Black supremacy. Equality is the truth. Like it or not, we are all in this together.”
Following immense backlash from fellow actors as well as his fans, the Brooklyn Nine-Nine star eventually clarified his statements just a day later: “Please know that everything I’ve said comes from a spirit of love and reconciliation, for the Black community first, then the world as a whole, in hopes to see a better future for Black people,” he stated.
Despite facing sexual abuse and assault allegations for more than three decades, R&B singer R. Kelly finally sentenced for his crimes last year. A Brooklyn jury convicted him of racketeering and sex trafficking, with Kelly receiving 30 years in prison. In September, he was found guilty on six additionally charges brought brought against him, which included three counts of coercing minors into sexual activity and three of producing sex tapes involving a minor.
“We are particularly pleased that Robert Kelly is finally, finally being held responsible for the abuse of his 14-year-old goddaughter,” said John R. Lausch Jr., U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, after the verdict was shared.
No one can forget back in 2012 where the shocking decision was made for actress Zoe Saldana to portray the late Nina Simone in the film Nina. Not only did she wear blackface, she also slapped on a prosthetic nose, fake teeth and a bodysuit for the role. The outcry was loud and furious, since the casting made absolutely no sense and worked to dishonor the singer’s legacy. Somehow the movie was made anyway, but Saldana wound up issuing an apology in 2020 for starring in Nina.
Saldana, who is of Puerto Rican and Dominican descent, said she never should have played the part. “I should have done everything in my power with the leverage that I had 10 years ago – which was a different leverage but it was leverage nonetheless – I should have tried everything in my power to cast a black woman to play an exceptionally perfect black woman.”
Over the past two decades, Bill Cosby faced allegations of drugging and sexually assault from at least 60 women. In 2018, he was convicted on three counts of aggravated indecent assault of Andrea Constand. He spent nearly three years behind bars before an appeals court overturned that conviction.
The Cosby Show star has maintained his innocence, despite the amount of women who have come forward. Upon hearing the news of the overturned conviction, actress Phylicia Rashad (who played Cosby’s on-screen wife Clair Huxtable on the sitcom) tweeted and deleted: “FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted — a miscarriage of justice is corrected!”