Celebrities make it a point to be very nice to each other. It’s a small club at the top, and you don’t want to close any doors in a business that’s this ruthless. If you work a red carpet at a movie premiere and ask any actor, “Hey, what’s it like working with X famous actor?” Can you guess the answer? “Why, it was great working with X! Just great! X is an absolute genius and such a delight!” You’ll notice covering Hollywood shindigs long enough that everybody in Tinseltown is a genius, according to everybody else. It’s just wall to wall geniuses and delights!
Once in a while, though, the pearly white-toothed veneer of celebrity networking and personal advancement picks open a darkened Hollywood cavity, and something foul gets scraped out. An actual story. A delicious but smelly scandal. Or a devastating revelation. Or all of the above. Some behavior is just too awful not to call out, no matter how famous and powerful the subject. These celebs put aside the public-relations facade, dropped absolute truth bombs — allegedly — and torched someone else’s career in a matter of seconds.
Hannibal Buress pops Bill Cosby
Sexual abuse allegations against Bill Cosby go all the back to 2005 according to The Washington Post, but The Cosby Show star and former Jell-O Pudding Pop spokesman’s public image as America’s dad was so impenetrably wholesome, he remained unscathed for almost a decade. That all changed in one stand-up comedy set from 2014.
Comedian Hannibal Buress had been riffing on the Bill Cosby rumors for years, evincing his disdain for Cosby’s cultural conservatism, all the while credible allegations of sexual assault loomed. Buress’s set happened to be filmed by a fan and went viral. “‘Pull your pants up black people, I was on TV in the 80s! I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom!'” Buress quipped as Cosby to a Philadephia crowd, “Yeah, but you rape women, Bill Cosby, so, that brings you down a couple notches.”
Not the most hilarious joke structure, but the floodgates opened. Old depositions resurfaced where Cosby admits using his fame and powerful sedatives to abuse women. Suddenly, dozens came forward. Cosby was convicted of three counts of sexual assault in 2018. Buress says he wasn’t trying to take down Cosby, “It’s just information that’s out there,” he told Howard Stern in 2018. Or as he told the crowd that night in Philly, “I’ve done this bit on stage, and people think I’m making it up … When you leave here, google ‘Bill Cosby rape.’ That sh*t has more results than ‘Hannibal Buress.”
Kesha accuses Dr. Luke of malpractice
Dr. Luke might be music’s most prolific hit-maker. His medical credentialing is of the informal Dre school, but he’s been 911 for pop stars needing a hit since the early 2000s. His client roster includes Kelly Clarkson, Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, and Katy Perry. Luke also penned Kesha’s 2009 breakout hit “TiK ToK,” which rocketed her to superstardom. However, in 2014 the singer filed a shocking suit against Luke: claiming while in rehab for an eating disorder, she “spontaneously” confessed the producer had drugged and sexually assaulted her (via TMZ).
Dr. Luke vehemently denied the accusations and pointed out Kesha swore under oath he never touched her. He filed a countersuit for defamation. But in the #MeToo era, prominent artists overwhelmingly sided with Kesha or simply stayed silent. Imagine Dragons called for a boycott of Dr. Luke. Nicki Minaj unfollowed him on Twitter. Lady Gaga was team Kesha via deposition. Kelly Clarkson of “Since You Been Gone” fame, penned by Luke, dropped serious shade via Twitter. Miley Cyrus posted (via Vice) “KESHA – I AM SO ANGRY FOR YOU. THEY WERE WRONG. I’M SORRY.”
Dr. Luke has won the early stages of the legal battle, a judge ruling Kesha falsely claimed Dr. Luke raped Katy Perry, according to The New York Times. Regardless, Kesha’s emotional 2018 Grammy’s performance flanked by 13 other female singing stars is indicative of her victory in the court of public opinion. Luke’s reputation may never recover.
Will Smith kicks Aunt Viv out of the family
When Harriette Winslow morphed into an entirely new human halfway through the final season of another beloved Black sit-com, Family Matters, fans were undoubtedly confused, but it was 1998, so you just scratched your head and moved on.
The body-snatching of Aunt Viv after season three of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is a slightly different matter. The show remains incredibly popular, so there’s interest in why Janet Hubert was suddenly replaced by Daphne Maxwell Reid. Well, the word is it was Will Smith who pushed Viv Volume One out the door. “I can say straight up that Janet Hubert wanted the show to be ‘The Aunt Viv of Bel-Air Show’ because I know she is going to dog me in the press,” Smith said while dogging Hubert in the press (via Entertainment Weekly). “She said once, ‘I’ve been in the business for 10 years and this snotty-nosed punk comes along and gets a show.’ No matter what, to her, I’m just the Antichrist.”
Hubert also blames Smith entirely for her departure, “I will never do anything with an a**hole like Will Smith,” she told TMZ in 2011. “He is still an egomaniac and has not grown up.” However, Alfonso Ribeiro, who played Carlton, took Smith’s side, “She went nuts … she would literally go off on people … She made it very difficult for us to work and unfortunately, she was then fired.”
Anthony Rapp reports Kevin Spacey
Kevin Spacey made a career of playing stealthy psychopaths. He put Gwenyth Paltrow’s head in a box. He was Lex Luthor. Even as a mere pol on House Of Cards, Frank Underwood was secretly murderous. But most convincingly, Spacey embodied Verbal Kint in The Usual Suspects, the meek but brainy crook who feigned disability to conceal his real identity, the legendary boogeyman of the underworld, Keyser Soze.
In a 2017 interview, Star Trek: Discovery actor Anthony Rapp told the world the real Spacey had a secret identity, too. Rapp was a child actor working on Broadway in the late ’80s when Spacey invited him to a party. Rapp alleges a drunken Spacey picked him up, placed him on his bed, crawled on top of him, and, as he recalled to Buzzfeed News, “He was trying to seduce me.” As Rapp went on, “I was aware that he was trying to get with me sexually.” Rapp was 14. Spacey was 26.
Spacey apologized via Twitter, saying he was “horrified” but that he didn’t remember the decades-old encounter. “This story has encouraged me to address other things about my life. I know that there are stories out there about me… ” There were. Another man came forward (via Vulture), saying Spacey attempted to rape him at 14. Rapp’s story opened the floodgates. Netflix quickly severed ties and wrote Spacey off House of Cards. Spacey was dropped from other major projects and hasn’t worked since Rapp’s allegations broke.
Steven Spielberg transforms Megan Fox's career
In 2008, Megan Fox was the most beautiful woman in the world, according to the annual FHM reader’s poll (via People). Fox’s star was ascendant. She was poised to become the biggest actress in the world, coming off some seriously flattering thirst trap camera work from occasional Victoria’s Secret auteur Michael Bay in his 2007’s live-action blockbuster adaptation of Transformers.
As it turned out, Fox wasn’t nearly as enamored with Bay. She trashed the director in the press, “God, I really wish I could go loose on this one,” Fox mused before going very loose. “He wants to be like Hitler on his sets, and he is. So he’s a nightmare to work for … he’s so awkward, so hopelessly awkward. He has no social skills at all,” she told Wonderland in 2009, revealing that she and co-star Shia LaBeouf would mock Bay.
Maybe this is just how Fox talks because she also called her trainer a “Nazi” in the same interview. Bay was none too pleased though and told GQ another famous director quickly convinced him to give Fox the ax, “She was in a different world, on her BlackBerry. You gotta stay focused. And you know, the Hitler thing. Steven [Spielberg] said, ‘Fire her right now.'” And Bay did. Fox’s next two films, Jennifer’s Body and Jonah Hex, were critical and commercial flops, and her career hasn’t been very optimal or overly available via Prime ever since.
Faith Stowers serves up Stassi Schroeder and Kristen Doute
Vanderpump Rules is the show that answers the question: what is it like to dine in a restaurant where all the servers are having sex, feuding, influencing, and otherwise attempting to be famous? Your food is definitely going to show up cold, but dang, the wait-staff is hot.
Well, the meal ticket over at Bravo came to a sudden halt in 2020 for original cast members Stassi Schroeder and Kristen Doute, after they were called out for racism. Fellow cast member Faith Stowers took to Instagram Live and claimed Schroeder and Doute had reported her to the police for a series of robberies that Stowers had nothing to do with. Stowers had the receipts too. Schroeder had admitted to the whole thing via the Bitch Bible podcast, according to Variety, while Doute had tweeted similar false accusations
Bravo acted quickly and fired the pair. Schroeder’s agency and PR company dropped her faster than a hot plate. She also lost brand deals with a shaving company called Billie, the vitamin brand Ritual, and Secret Deodorant. Doute, for her part, had her book tour canceled. Both reality stars have released public apologies, Doute writing (via Instagram), “I’m ashamed, embarrassed, and incredibly sorry. I will do better. I have to do better.” Schroeder was similarly repentant, “What I did to Faith was wrong. I apologize and I do not expect forgiveness.”
Jaden Smith caps Shane Dawson
The culture has come for Shane Dawson. The sheer mind-boggling volume of dopey comedy content this YouTuber has put into the ether almost assures a cancelation can be conjured. Dawson began shedding some of his over 21 million subscribers over a series of internecine YouTuber pseudo-scandals like promoting an online mental health service. Trigger warning: an internet celebrity did an ad. End him immediately. But then, Dawson admitted to more serious offenses: repeated blackface videos, and using the N-word in sketches. Ruh-roh.
Perhaps worse, an old video surfaced of Dawson pretending to masturbate in front of a poster of then 11-year-old Willow Smith. The non-sequitur god of Twitter, Jaden Smith, suddenly got very coherent in defense of his baby sister, and mashed his caps lock button into oblivion on Twitter, “SHANE DAWSON I AM DISGUSTED BY YOU. YOU SEXUALIZING AN 11-YEAR-OLD GIRL WHO HAPPENS TO BE MY SISTER!!!!!!” (via USA Today).
Dawson shed a million subscribers, and his makeup line was removed from Target and Morphe, per Insider. The YouTuber quickly nodded to Jenna Marbles’ similar public prostration in his own “Taking Accountability” video, groveling, “When I say I hate that person, I mean it in the most intense way possible,” Dawson declared — of himself. He also apologized for a broader history of pedophilia jokes, but Willow’s mother, Jada Pinkett Smith, wasn’t having it, tweeting she was “done with the excuses.” which Insider claims, “was perhaps what sealed his fate.”
Jordyn Woods kisses then tells on Tristan Thompson
All of Kendall Jenner’s boyfriends aside, dating a Kardashian-Jenner can be a plush career move for elite-athletes looking to pad their retirement pensions — Caitlyn Jenner’s Malibu dream home submitted as Exhibit A. Khloe Kardashian has similar taste as her siblings and perhaps also the biggest heart of the clan. She didn’t write off NBA power forwards when her marriage to Lamar Odom exploded in revelations of drug abuse and infidelity. And she didn’t write off subsequent NBA baby daddy Tristan Thompson when a video surfaced of him kissing other women while she was pregnant with his child.
However, a Caitlyn-level retirement looked unlikely for Thompson when Kylie Jenner’s ex-BFF Jordyn Woods admitted she and the truly cavalier baller also shared a kiss behind Khloe’s back. In an excuse-laden interview via Red Table Talk, Woods confirms, “On the way out, he did kiss me.” Khloe was crushed. “For Jordyn to know all I’ve been through with Tristan — literally, my heart is in my eyeballs,” she said mourned on Keeping Up with the Kardashians (via Insider).
Jordyn Woods’ story has been branded a lie. Certainly, her endless details about where exactly her legs were as vis-à-vis Thompson’s lap looked shady. Tristan was out of the circle of trust. He was booed mercilessly in LA, according to TMZ. Tragically though, Scott Disick may have let slip Khloe’s kind-heartedness has opened the door to yet another reconciliation.
Rob Kardashian exposes Blac Chyna
There was lots of speculation about music video model and general LA thirst trap-preneur Blac Chyna’s motivation to suddenly fall in love and have a child with the notoriously reclusive, troubled, and perpetually unemployed Rob Kardashian. Chyna’s shady disdain for the reluctant Kardashian brother on episodes of their Keeping Up With The Kardashians spin-off series Rob and Chyna didn’t help matters. They were clearly living apart, and he couldn’t seem to understand why, once Chyna had a Kardashian baby on board, she was suddenly repulsed by him. After all, Rob Kardashian hadn’t changed one bit.
According to Refinery29, speculation turned into reality when Kardashian took to Instagram to share a video of Chyna, allegedly naked in bed, kissing another man. He claimed Chyna sent him the footage. Kardashian further crossed the line posting revenge-porn level nudes of Chyna all over his feed. He then took the feud to Notes, posting serious accusations about drug abuse, writing, “U will never see Dream again unless u stop the … cocaine and X and E.” Kardashian further claimed the minute he’d paid Chyna’s rent, $400K of jewelry, and a $100k tab for her various post-baby plastic surgeries — she was out.
Chyna accused Kardashian of domestic abuse in return. The feud was as ugly and public as it gets but as far as Chyna’s career, she went from cashing reality show checks and bleeding Kardashian’s trust fund to the nub, to Onlyfans, in one online spat.
Louis C.K. dominates Dane Cook
Louis C.K. was once the most respected comic working. His stand-up was edgy and prolific. His TV show on FX simply called Louie — which he wrote and directed — was a vérité experience that blended his real life as a standup, single father, divorcee, and compulsive masturbator, with a fictional version who was basically the same guy.
C.K’.s power positioning in the business made it all the more impactful when he spearheaded a crusade against everyman comic Dane Cook for an alleged pattern of joke theft. C.K. turned their beef into an episode of Louie, where he confronts Cook about their parallel thinking. “Why would I steal three jokes from you when I have hours of material!?” Cook groused angrily. C.K. replies simply, in a scene for which he wrote every word, “because they were funny jokes.”
C.K.’s interrogation was somewhat generous, postulating Cook pilfered the bits unconsciously. Cook has since been described as “the most hated” and “reviled” comic of the 2000s, via The Hollywood Reporter. He was branded a “douchebag” and mocked mercilessly by Family Guy. Then in 2008, Cook learned his half brother had embezzled millions and left him nearly flat broke. Public sympathy was sparse for a supposed joke thief who got robbed. Cook is attempting a comeback, though, and revelations about C.K.’s manipulative sexual exploits have reframed his moralizing about Cook’s comparably minor indiscretions.
Paula Patton give Robin Thicke the blues
Robin Thicke was on top of the world in 2013 with his ubiquitous smash “Blurred Lines” and all the heat generated from Miley Cyrus’ supposedly scandalous twerking all over him at the MTV VMAs that year.
But Cyrus allegedly wasn’t the only one backing it up on Thicke. The crooner and actress Paula Patton were married at the time, but in 2014 they suddenly called it quits. The couple told People the split was mutual but rumors and some pretty dicey photos from a month earlier made it appear Thicke had been caught stepping out. Officially though, we got the standard, “We will always love each other and be best friends, however, we have mutually decided to separate at this time,” which was the couple’s rep generically informed statement.
A heartsick Thicke tried to win Patton back with an eponymous concept album called Paula in her honor, which bombed on every level. In 2017 though, an unmoved Patton dropped the nukes on Thicke, filing court documents alleging rampant infidelity, drug abuse, and domestic violence (via People). The loving “best friends” are now locked in a bitter custody battle where Patton alleges she is “in reasonable apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury to herself and the child.” Thicke’s career has careened off a cliff since the revelations, and he has not charted as a solo artist since his tepid ballad attempting to “Get Her Back” in 2014.
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