In today’s hyper politically-correct world, everybody is eventually bound to slip up and inadvertently say something mildly offensive. If you’re lucky, nobody will catch it with their phone and turn it into the most downloaded video on You Tube. Sometimes people speak with intended malice, and in those cases, let’s just say karma is a bitch.
Unfortunately for celebrities, when their inner ugliness makes an appearance, someone is always listening. These types of incidents usually go way beyond a simple foot in the mouth and often expose a star’s less than tolerant attitudes to other races, genders or sexual orientations. I guess none of them have heard the old adage, “If you haven’t got anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Here are a few high-profile offenders whose nastiness put them in an entirely different kind of spotlight.
Paula Deen (‘Paula’s Best Dishes’) – Just a few days ago, the first lady of southern cuisine was sacked from The Food Network after admitting to having used the N-word in the past. This ugly tidbit of information came to light while Deen was being questioned in regards to a discrimination lawsuit brought against a restaurant she co-owns with her brother Bubba. Deen tried to do damage control, but it looks like the woman who used to be known for her unapologetic love of butter, will now be known for something far worse than promoting high cholesterol (not directly). Whether or not the rest of her empire will crumble as a result of this incident remains to be seen. In the meantime, it’s a kick in the balls to many southerners who already feel they have to defend themselves time and time again against unfair claims of racism.
Isaiah Washington (‘Grey’s Anatomy’) – After telling co-star Patrick Dempsey "I'm not your little f****t like [T.R. Knight] during an argument on set, it was obvious Washington hadn’t learned his lesson. Washington said his use of the word was taken out of context as he meant it as “someone being weak” as opposed to an anti-gay slur. Tell that to his co-star Knight who came out after the incident. Washington repeated the word again later backstage at the Golden Globes. He might have played a brilliant heart surgeon, but it seems Washington might have needed a proctologist to remove his head from his ass. He was eventually fired and blamed his dismissal on racism and a scheme of Machiavellian proportion by Knight.
Paris Hilton (‘Paris Hilton’s My New BFF,’ ‘The Simple Life’) – A cab driver recorded the blonde heiress saying some very unladylike things about male members of the gay community while on a phone call with a friend. Paris said gay men were horny and disgusting and most of them probably have AIDS. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. Paris released a lengthy, and assuredly written by a panicked publicist, statement to Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) assuring homosexuals everywhere that she was 100 percent down with their choices. This wasn’t even Paris’ first offense. In 2007 she was caught on video talking despairingly about gays and Asians. Since her career has always been a joke, she didn’t seem to suffer any real consequences other than yet another blemish on her public persona.
Charlie Sheen (‘Anger Management,’ ‘Two and a Half Men’) – In 2008, Sheen called then wife Denise Richards (‘Wild Things’) the N-word during a heated argument (shocking). The slur became public knowledge when a tape was released of the incident during a custody battle. This guy must be made of Teflon because nothing bad ever seems to stick to him. He’s been nominated for Emmys, Screen Actors Guild and TV Land awards. Sheen did apologize for the slur and must have curried public favor when he announced that the best man at his wedding was an African-American. For Sheen to get off the hook so easily, one can only assume that people really must despise Denise Richards.
Jonathon Rhys Myers (‘Dracula,’ ‘The Tudors’) – Charlie Chaplin said that “A man’s true character comes out when he’s drunk.” In 2010, after United airline employees refused to let Myers board a flight due to being excessively intoxicated, he hurled out the N-word during a temper tantrum/tirade. News outlets reported it wasn’t clear if the Irish actor was directing the insult to any specific worker. There are several possibilities for Myers escaping the incident relatively unscathed: 1) His ongoing struggle with alcoholism. 2) Nobody watched ‘The Tudors’ and therefore had no clue who he was. 3) He gets a pass because he’s European. He won’t get so lucky a second time since his public profile will be much higher when his new show ‘Dracula’ premieres on NBC later this year.
Cee Lo Green (‘The Voice’) – After a female music critic gave Cee Lo a thumbs down on his opening act for Rihanna in 2011, ‘The Voice’ judge used Twitter to accuse the reviewer of being gay and therefore offended by his own masculinity. Color Cee Lo embarrassed when he found out that in addition to being homophobic, he had mistaken both the critic’s gender and sexual orientation. His apology fell on deaf ears, and Cee Lo found himself the subject of a great deal of public ire. So much so, that he wound up deleting his Twitter account altogether. Inexplicably, his actions didn’t affect his job, and he continued as a judge on ‘The Voice.’
Donald Trump (‘The Apprentice’) – Let’s face facts, who doesn’t Donald Trump offend on a daily basis? I’m fairly sure that he is an equal opportunity disparager. Trump has made his stance on gay rights and gay marriage known; let’s just say the guy isn’t a fan. In what might be one of the most upper-crust insults on record, Trump compared gay marriage to men switching too really long golf putters. There is a lot of phallic imagery surrounding that particular slur. He went on to say that he has “fabulous” gay friends. This recent arrow seemed to bounce right off its intended recipients, and since Trump is considered a huge D-bag anyway, most of what he says goes in one ear of most Americans and right out the other.
Blake Shelton (‘The Voice’) – In 2011, county singer and ‘Voice’ judge Shelton tweeted a homophobic parody of a Shania Twain song that advocated violence against homosexuals. Shelton wasn’t especially apologetic saying the intent of the parody was misunderstood, he loved all gay people, and his critics could spend their time looking for real villains. Then as a host of The Academy of Country Music Awards, Shelton made an anti-gay joke at actor Jake Gyllenhaal’s expense. Again, Blake failed to demonstrate a basic understanding of tolerance and responded by calling his critics dumb asses on Twitter.
Adam Carolla (‘The Man Show’) – Anyone familiar with ‘The Man Show’ or any Comedy Central Roast knows that Carolla does not have the personality of a newborn kitten. He took his abrasiveness to a new level in 2011 when during a podcast he stated that the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) should change their acronym to YUCK instead. Carolla apologized but tried to justify his comment by stating that he is a comedian and not a politician. GLAAD issued a plea to networks and sponsors to consider what their money was supporting if they hired Carolla.
Tracy Morgan (’30 Rock,’ ‘Saturday Night Live’) – Even comedians have to answer to the public when a joke or diatribe goes too far. In 2011, during a stand-up show in Nashville, TN, Morgan said he would “react violently” if his son was gay. He dug his hole even deeper when he suggested that members of the gay community shouldn’t whine about bullying. Not only did Morgan piss off GLAAD but the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) as well. In addition to apologizing, Morgan also agreed to do a public service message. Some people chalked it up to Morgan pandering to his audience. Whatever his mindset, Morgan quickly attempted to make amends and continued his work on ’30 Rock.’