In the age of social media, there’s lots of talk of cancel culture. But, what does that actually mean? Well, for some celebrities, being canceled can lead to actual consequences. Perhaps they lose an upcoming role, are dropped by a sponsor, or even face criminal punishment. In other cases, canceling can be as simple as a bit of social media backlash. There’s a fine line between accountability and consequences — let’s see which celebrities were recently canceled or threatened to be.
Kirstie Alley’s Diversity Complaints
In 2020, the Oscars revealed their new standards for Best Picture. Now, to win the coveted award, movies need to meet at least two criteria that deal with diversity. This might mean the movie’s themes, its audience, or the people involved.
Actress Kirstie Alley didn’t like the sound of this, and commented that it was “a disgrace to artists everywhere,” “dictatorial,” and “anti-artist.” The star had already received backlash for her political views, so this just cemented her cancelation.
Wendy Williams’ Transphobia and Ableism
Another repeat offender is TV host Wendy Williams. The star has feuded with stars plenty of times, but in 2020, she mocked actor Joaquin’s Phoenix’s birthmark. Following outrage, the host apologized and donated to the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association.
Shortly after, Wendy Williams was accused of transphobia for saying that trans women can’t be women. She commented, “Stop wearing our skirts and our heels!” As she always does, Williams apologized, though we don’t exactly trust that she means it.
Lil Nas X’s Montero Video
When it comes to being canceled, stars can be blacklisted by all sorts of groups. In the case of Lil Nas X, the star is still monumentally popular with his own audience, but canceled by some others. In particular, the rapper’s Satanic-themed video for single “Montero” got him canceled by various Christian groups.
Meanwhile, the artist’s fans praised the video as an amazing expression of queer black art. Following that, the rapper faced yet another attempted cancelation over his promotional sneakers.
Chrissy Teigen’s Online Bullying
It was only a matter of time before Twitter star Chrissy Teigen fell from grace, and of course, the social media platform was her undoing. Back when teenager Courtney Stodden made news for marrying much older actor Doug Hutchinson, tabloids made the new celeb’s life a living hell. As it turns out, so did Chrissy Teigen.
The TV personality was canceled when Courtney Stodden opened up about the harassing and violent messages Teigen sent her on Twitter. Chrissy Teigen has apologized in a series of tweets.
Armie Hammer’s Cannibalism
Now, this is a weird one. The internet exploded with shock when accusations arose about actor Armie Hammer. Multiple ex-partners claimed that the star was abusive, and disturbing screenshots included content that could only be described as cannibalism. In one, the star claims he is “100% a cannibal.”
Following these shocking allegations, Armie Hammer was dropped by his talent agency and publicist — and he was pulled out of films, a TV series, and a Broadway play. Also around this time, the star separated from his wife, Elizabeth Chambers.
Shia LaBeouf’s Abusive Actions
Actor Shia LaBeouf started off as a child star and has been in the public eye ever since. There have been various controversies and run-ins with the law throughout the actor’s career. In 2020, the celeb’s ex-girlfriend, English singer FKA Twigs sued him, claiming that he had been abusive towards her.
In response to the allegations, Shia LaBeouf admitted to being abusive for years. As a result of his actions, the star was dropped from a Netflix awards campaign and took a break from acting.
Justin Timberlake’s Long-Lasting Misogyny
Where do we begin with Justin Timberlake? Despite being generally awful to both Britney Spears and Janet Jackson, all while building his career on their backs, the star never actually suffered any consequences! Now, after documentary Framing Britney Spears revealed Timberlake’s role in the media’s treatment of Britney, the star was briefly canceled.
Justin Timberlake faced internet backlash over his previous actions, forcing him to apologize. He has since continued to weigh in on his ex-girlfriend’s situation, confirming the fact he should be canceled.
David Dobrik’s Irresponsible Actions
Here’s another situation where a bunch of YouTubers found success online and were later discovered to be less than ethical. David Dobrik is best known as the leader of the Vlog Squad, a group of popular YouTubers.
However, there have been allegations from within the Vlog Squad that Dobrik takes things too far, and that serious crimes have happened during filming. Asides from that, another group member made a documentary showing how David Dobrik’s actions resulted in him breaking his skull.
Jeffree Star’s Insensitive Lipstick Name
Beauty blogger Jeffree Star has made multiple apology videos for the multiple times he’s been canceled (but has he ever really been canceled?). Most recently, it was uncovered that the star used to sell a lipstick titled, “Lipstick Nazi.” Even worse, the makeup branding included swastikas and images of the celeb.
Jeffree Star did apologize for this particular issue, claiming that it was a slang term in the early 2000s. He continued, “I’m disgusted with myself and I never should have used that word, ever.”
Chris Pratt’s Church’s Homophobia
This celebrity cancelation also started with a tweet, this one asking who was the best Hollywood Chris. While fans piled on the support for Chris Pine, Helmsworth, and Evans, Chris Pratt was less loved all around. But why?
Well, Chris Pratt is a member of Hillsong Church, which is anti-LGBTQ. Specifically, the church welcomes everyone, but doesn’t affirm every lifestyle, including the “gay lifestyle.” Chris Pratt responded to defend his church, saying they offer love and support to anyone.
Sharon Osbourne’s Slurs
We don’t find it particularly surprising that Sharon Osbourne uses racial slurs, as the TV personality has been involved in various controversies over the years. Most recently, the star lost her job on The Talk when she got into an argument with co-host Sheryl Underwood about Meghan Markle. She also commented that Markle “ain’t black.”
Similarly, Osbourne’s former co-host, Leah Remini, claimed that the star used to refer to Chinese-American co-host Julie Chen using racial slurs. Remini also said that Osbourne used slurs for gay co-host Sara Gilbert.
Bryan Adams’ Anti-Chinese Post
The past year or so has provided ample opportunities for celebrities to get canceled. What with lockdowns and vaccines and constantly changing guidelines — it’s the perfect way for celebrities to stick their arrogant feet in their mouths.
In 2020, “Summer of ’69” singer Bryan Adams posted an Instagram video alongside a caption about “bat-eating, wet market animal-selling, virus-making” people. When the singer was hit with a wave of backlash, he apologized, claiming that his veganism made him oppose wet markets.
Gina Carano’s Insensitivity
Overall, as a celebrity, it’s best not to mention the Holocaust or you’ll quickly find yourself on a fast track to cancelation. Worse still is making casual comparisons with the historical tragedy, especially when those comparisons are ludicrous.
Gina Carano found herself canceled by Lucasfilm when she compared opposition to her political beliefs to the Holocaust. The actress also changed her gender pronouns on Twitter to “beep/bop/boop,” further fueling her cancelation. As a result, Hasbro canceled the action figure based on Carano’s Mandalorian character.
Anna Wintour’s Racial Bias
The inspiration for the iconic Miranda Priestly, Anna Wintour has been the editor of US Vogue for over 30 years. During this time, the magazine featured photoshoots rife with cultural appropriation and racism. In one case, white model Karlie Kloss dressed as a geisha.
Additionally, Anna Wintour was criticized by former editor-at-large André Leon Talley for freezing him out when he was “too old, too overweight, too uncool.” The editor released a statement in response, agreeing that the magazine had made mistakes over the years.
Stassi Schroeder and Kristen Doute’s Call
Vanderpump Rules stars Stassi Schroeder and Kristen Doute were rightfully canceled for calling the cops on the only black cast member on the show. Faith Stowers claimed that her former castmates had reported her to the police for a crime she didn’t commit after seeing an article online.
Both Stassi Schroeder and Kristen Doute apologized for their actions. Doute said, “Although my actions were not racially driven, I am now completely aware of how my privilege blinded me.” Disgraceful!
Piers Morgan’s Aggressive Behavior
Considering he was fired for publishing fake pictures and phone hacking, it’s no surprise that journalist Piers Morgan is a controversial figure. The journalist was canceled in 2020 when he commented that he didn’t believe that Meghan Markle was suicidal. This led to online backlash, and criticisms from mental health charities.
Reportedly, Piers Morgan once asked Markle out on a date, with some saying his endless racist abuse is the sign of a spurned man. Following petitions, Morgan quit his morning TV show in 2020.
Hilaria Baldwin’s Fake Spanish Identity
We’ll never fail to be surprised by Hilaria Baldwin’s attempts at passing herself off as Spanish. The fitness guru and wife of Alec Baldwin was listed as born in Spain on her company’s website, but actually, she was born in the US to American parents.
Hilaria Baldwin speaks with a Spanish accent, and at times seems to not remember English words. On a podcast, the star claimed that she moved to the US in her teens, which has been proved to be untrue.
Marilyn Manson’s History of Abuse
Rocker Marilyn Manson has been a controversial figure since he first appeared on the public stage. Despite being accused of indoctrinating kids with his music and often violent videos, the star has continued with a decades-long career.
However, in 2020, various women including the star’s ex, actress Evan Rachel Wood, came forward with allegations of abuse. As a result of these allegations, Marilyn Manson was dropped by his recording label and talent agency. This cancellation has also led to a criminal investigation.
Gabi DeMartino’s Ill-Advised Baby Pics
Over the course of her online career, YouTuber Gabi DeMartino has faced several controversies. The vlogger has been criticized for racial stereotypes on several occasions, and for flaunting her wealth insensitively.
Gabi DeMartino’s most recent cancellation came about when the star posted a baby picture of herself on her OnlyFans account. The childhood snap was inappropriate, leading fans to complain that the star had set them up. The star said the “goofy” picture was a throwback moment and apologized.
Erika Jayne and Tom Girardi’s Crimes
When Erika Jayne exploded onto our screens in The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, the audience went wild. With her blonde hair, enviable designer wardrobe, and constant glam team, the star was exactly what you want from reality TV. This was all the more true because of her much older husband, Tom.
However, the couple is currently embroiled in a financial scandal and has split up. Apparently, the celebs embezzled money to fund their lavish lifestyle. Not such a good look!
Abby Lee Miller’s Racism
Reality TV personality Abby Lee Miller also found herself canceled over the past year or so. The Dance Moms instructor and choreographer was accused in 2020 of racism, after she posted a black square on her Instagram account.
Adriana Smith, mom of Kamryn, called out the dance coach for making racist and elitist comments to her daughter. She also accused the TV personality of tokenizing her child, claiming she said that the show needed “a sprinkle of color!” These accusations were backed up by other dance moms.
Sia’s Ableism About Autism
Speaking of Dance Moms, Maddie Ziegler made her start on the show at eight years old, but she’s recently been at the center of a different celebrity cancellation. Dancer Ziegler has worked with Australian singer Sia since 2014, starring in her music videos.
The child dancer was cast as an autistic character in Sia’s directorial debut, musical drama Music. However, the movie was heavily criticized by the autistic community who claimed it that was full of harmful stereotypes. Critics also hated the film.
Doja Cat’s Chatroom Antics
Rapper and singer Doja Cat found fame with her music on TikTok, and eventually had huge mainstream success. However, the star’s newfound fame came undone when it was discovered that she had been in racist chatrooms using racial slurs.
After #DojaCatisOverParty was trending, other chat room users came forward to reiterate that the chat wasn’t explicitly racist. The rapper took to Instagram to apologize but reminded viewers that she’s a black woman. The star has also been criticized for her song, “Dindu Nuffin.”
Max Boyens’ Offensive Tweets
We’ve already seen that Vanderpump Rules stars Stassi Schroeder and Kristen Doute called the cops on their cast-member Faith Stowers, despite her not committing any crime. Well, it seems that the cast of Vanderpump Rules has several racists among their crew.
Max Boyens and Brett Caprioni have also been fired from the show because of past racist and homophobic tweets. In one of Boyens’ tweets, he claims that a racial slur is his favorite word. Yeah… he’s definitely canceled.
Lizzo’s 10-Day Detox
Singer and rapper Lizzo has loads of fans, at least partly because of her no-nonsense attitude to toxic diet culture. The curvy star often dresses in revealing outfits, and shows lots of self-love towards her body. That’s why fans were outraged when the “Juice” singer posted a video of her 10-day smoothie detox.
In her post, Lizzo said she was working with a nutritionist, and that she felt amazing. In response, the star was accused of being pro-diet culture.
Lea Michele’s On-Set Microaggressions
Following the protests in 2020, many celebrities took to social media to post about racial inequality. One of those celebs was Lea Michele, but her former Glee castmates weren’t exactly happy to see her involved.
Samantha Marie Ware ended up accusing Michele of being racist to her on set, and various other actors of color from the show stepped forward to agree. The actress claimed that Michele’s actions nearly put her off acting altogether. Lea Michele has not apologized.
Charli and Dixie D’Amelio’s Dinner
TikTok megastars Charli and Dixie D’Amelio have hundreds of millions of followers between them. However, the sisters received backlash when the first episode of Dinner With the D’Amelios aired. The show is filmed with their parents and features a mystery guest.
When YouTuber James Charles appeared on the show, viewers accused the D’Amelios of being rude towards their personal chef. As a result, Charli lost over a million followers, and the siblings received violent threats. The chef, Aaron May, defended the sisters.
Chris Brown’s Violence Against Women
You might think that Chris Brown punching women was an old story, but alas, it’s still a new one. Famously, in 2009 the rapper beat his then-girlfriend Rihanna, leaving her with serious injuries. For some reason, Chris Brown has never actually been canceled and as such he continues to harm women.
The star has been accused of domestic violence time and time again, with partners coming forward over the years. Most recently, the celebrity has been investigated for hitting another woman.
J.K. Rowling’s Transphobia
Disappointingly, author J.K. Rowling is pretty problematic in a bunch of ways. The writer’s Harry Potter books contain some suspect representations, including an Irish character who likes explosions, and a Chinese character named Cho Chang — two Chinese surnames.
However, the thing J.K. Rowling has been fully canceled over is her ongoing transphobia. In tweets and elsewhere, the celeb has repeatedly questioned trans identity. Thankfully, her three lead stars — Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint — have each spoken out against her bigoted beliefs.
Zoe Laverne’s Fan Kiss
At one stage, TikTok star Zoe Laverne had over 17 million followers. The 19-year-old was recently canceled when it was leaked that she kissed a 13-year-old fan. Understandably, fans were outraged, and the influencer was hit with waves of backlash.
The star was accused of grooming and abusing her power, and she apologized for “catching feelings” for the fan. Zoe Laverne is no stranger to drama, and has been involved in various feuds. The star announced her pregnancy at the beginning of 2021.
Terry Crews’ Lack of Loyalty
Actor Terry Crews was canceled when he didn’t step up to defend costar Gabrielle Union. When the actress left America’s Got Talent and spoke up about racial tension on the show, Crews claimed he had no issues whatsoever. He then doubled down by saying he only needed to please “one woman on Earth” — his wife.
After backlash from black Twitter, Terry Crews apologized for not showing solidarity to Gabrielle Union. He said that he was wrong “for not recognizing the privilege I have — especially in the workplace.”
Brandi Redmond’s Racist Video
Finally, there’s the case of Real Housewives of Dallas star Brandi Redmond. A video emerged of the redhead imitating an Asian person, and she was rightfully taken down on social media. However, the backlash got to Brandi, who eventually checked into a mental health facility.
Brandi Redmond redeemed herself on this year’s season of RHOD when the show cast its first Asian housewife — Tiffany Moon. The pair addressed Brandi’s video, and were able to move on with a friendship.
Shane Dawson’s Racist Videos
Now that more people have the opportunity to connect with the world, there are arguably more things to apologize for. In other words, when millions of people have access to the internet, it’s more likely that they’ll do something stupid that they’ll eventually be called out for.
YouTuber Shane Dawson has a history of using racial slurs, joking about serious crimes, and performing blackface and other racial stereotypes. Now understandably facing backlash for content he’s put online, the star posted a 20-minute apology video.
James Charles’ Texts to Minors
Because everyday people can make it big on social media, they can end up with a huge amount of power and attention in a short period of time. Unfortunately, this often creates the conditions for grooming, where super famous online influencers are in contact with younger fans.
Beauty YouTuber James Charles was demonetized on the platform after multiple minors came forward saying the star had been texting them. The vlogger lost his hosting job, and posted an apology video acknowledging the power imbalance of being famous.
Ellen DeGeneres’ Toxic Workplace
One of the biggest celebrity cancellations of 2020 was that of talk show host Ellen DeGeneres. The star, who built her brand on the slogan “Be Kind,” was found to be at the center of a highly toxic working environment.
The cancelation of Ellen started with a tweet asking for stories about the star, and spiraled into a much larger situation. Former employees came forward with accounts of their time on the show, and as of 2021, the star’s flagship show has been canceled.