Top 10 Celebrity Damage Control Gone Wrong

Credits: Rebecca Brayton Emilie Doucet

Script written by William Regot

They wanted to get in front of the story, but they just ended up digging themselves a deeper hole. From Steve Harvey to Kim Kardashian, these stars’ attempt at fixing their image just made things worse. WatchMojo is counting down 10 instances of failed celebrity damage control.

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Transcript
Script written by William Regot

Top 10 Celebrity Damage Control Gone Wrong


They wanted to get in front of the story, but they just ended up digging themselves a deeper hole. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today, we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Celebrity Damage Control Gone Wrong.

For this list, we’re looking at PR moves made by celebrities or on their behalf that backfired.

#10: Steve Harvey

For the 2015 Miss Universe pageant, Steve Harvey made one of the all time biggest awards show mistakes when he announced the wrong country as the winner. To his credit, he immediately sent out an apology to the two finalists, Miss Colombia and Miss Philippines, but unfortunately, he didn’t bother to run through a basic spell check. The tweet he sent out misspelled the names of the two home countries to whom he was apologizing, writing “Columbia” instead of Colombia, and “Philippians” as in… the 11th book in the Bible, rather than “Philippines”. Thankfully, he was willing to play along and mock himself during the 2016 pageant.

#9: CeeLo Green

This hip hop producer and recording artist found himself in legal jeopardy in 2012 when he was accused of drugging a woman and committing sexual battery. While the trial was still ongoing, Cee Lo Green decided to defend his actions via Twitter by suggesting what he had done was not rape - with some seriously problematic logic. The singer later apologized for the tweets, which he said came from an emotional state, but that didn’t stop TBS’ decision to cancel his show “Cee Lo Green’s The Good Life” after only airing six episodes.

#8: Kim Kardashian

Normally, one wouldn’t associate Kim Kardashian with global politics. But in 2012, the socialite decided to send her support for Israel in a tweet saying she was praying for the country. Seemingly worried about having picked a side and wanting to be more inclusive, she then put out a tweet saying she was also praying for Palestine. Her next tweet was about something that really mattered: the color of her hair. As a result of the backlash she faced for her tweets, Kardashian put out a statement explaining why she took down her divisive tweets. Mazel tov, Kim.

#7: Taylor Swift

In July 2015, a misunderstanding on Swift’s part quickly blew up. After Nicki Minaj complained on Twitter about a VMA snub and accused the awards show of being biased toward women with “slim bodies,” Taylor, who was nominated that year, assumed the tweet was an insult directed at her. Rather than take the high road, Taylor fired back with a tweet of her own, expressing how betrayed she felt that Nicki would say such a thing. But, in an awkward attempt at being the better person, she then invited Minaj onstage in the event she won. When Taylor later found out what Minaj actually meant, she sent out another tweet apologizing.

#6: Harvey Weinstein

Following the allegations made against the longtime powerful producer, Weinstein made a statement in response to the New York Times’ article saying one of his plans was setting up a foundation for the University of Southern California to help women film students. According to Weinstein, the foundation was in the works for a year before the allegations, which he admitted himself sounded “coincidental.” USC was set to receive five million dollars, but they ended passing on the offer because of all the negative publicity. Harvey was going to honor his mother by naming the foundation after her. The thing is… actions speak a lot louder than checkbooks. Maybe he should’ve honored his mother by respecting women.

#5: Michael Richards

Best known for playing the whimsical, eccentric “Seinfeld” character Kramer, Richards’ image as a loveable goof was tainted by his racist rant shouting down a heckler during a 2006 standup set at the Laugh Factory. When Jerry Seinfeld went on Letterman, he let Richards appear on the show to explain himself. But rather than admit what his real personal problems were regarding race, he just blamed the Laugh Factory outburst on his temper and played it off as as edgy riff that got out of control. Richards continued his apology rounds by going on Jesse Jackson’s radio show, but was seen by critics as insincere.

#4: Paula Deen

When a former employee sued Deen for racial discrimination, the Food Network star denied that she used racially charged language. However, when a lawyer asked her under oath if she had ever used the “N” word she replied, “Yes, of course.” During the deposition, she made excuses for using the word such as the extreme circumstance of being robbed by a black man and the south being different times in the 1960s. She later issued a videotaped apology, but the damage was done, and several business partners such as Target and Walmart cut ties with Ms. Deen.

#3: Chris Brown

After facing backlash for abusing then-girlfriend Rihanna in 2009, Brown decided to tell his side of the story in a “Larry King” interview. Instead of showing remorse, Brown hesitated to take any responsibility and kept making excuses for his behavior. When King showed Brown the picture of a battered Rihanna, Brown speculated that the photograph could have been altered as part of some conspiracy to smear him. What made Brown look more pathetic was that his mother joined him for the interview, as if he couldn’t fight his own battles alone.

#2: Bill Cosby

Shortly after rape accusations began to circulate in the mainstream media in 2014, Cosby decided to change the subject with a social media campaign. The entertainer asked fans on his Twitter page to make memes of him by writing short phrases over pictures of Cosby provided by his account. This stunt didn’t go the way it was planned, with countless people submitting memes related to the rape accusations. Unsurprisingly, the campaign was shut down almost immediately. If Cosby thought he could artificially manufacture memes to preserve his legacy on his terms, he clearly doesn’t understand how memes work.

#1: Kevin Spacey

Some celebrities have chosen to come out of the closet as an act of bravery, but Kevin Spacey seemingly came out to distract from sexual assault allegations. In 2017, actor Anthony Rapp described an encounter with Spacey from when he was 14-year-old, where the then-26 year-old Spacey had made an advance on the minor. In response, Spacey released a statement in which he admitted to having been involved with people of both sexes, but that he had now made the choice to adopt an openly gay lifestyle. Critics pounced on Spacey’s tone deaf statement for its suggestion that being gay was a choice and that being gay could be linked with sexual predatory behavior.
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