10 Biggest Scandals Of 2014
2014 was not without major drama. From hacked naked photos to recorded elevator fights and assorted criminal acts that made headlines worldwide, controversies brewed again and again over the last 12 months. Here are Gossip Cop’s picks for the 10 Biggest Scandals of the Year.
1. Bill Cosby saw his reputation as America’s father figure go down in flames this fall as multiple women accused him of sexual assault. While the comedy legend previously faced similar allegations in 2005, the number of alleged victims entered the double digits by December. Many of allegations claimed Cosby drugged female friends or acquaintances before abusing them, or otherwise forced them into unwanted encounters. A few alleged the comedian raped them, including Janice Dickinson. Cosby’s attorney has strongly denied many of the claims, but aside from thanking supporters like Whoopi Goldberg, the star himself has not spoken out. The controversy will likely rage on in the new year as Cosby faces several lawsuits, though he has not been charged with any crimes.
2. The Interview, a comedy film starring James Franco and Seth Rogen, earned the ire of North Korea for a plot focused on the assassination of Kim Jong-un. While North Korean spokespeople expressed their disapproval of the movie throughout the year, the issue didn’t blow up until this fall, when a mysterious group called “Guardians of Peace” hacked Sony Pictures Entertainment, leaking not yet released films, sensitive emails between film executives, and Sony employees’ private information. The hackers threatened 9/11-style attacks on cinemas showing The Interview, prompting theaters to pull screenings and forcing Sony to cancel its planned Christmas Day release. The studio, however, ultimately reversed course, opening the film in independent cinemas, and making it available online. The FBI has pinned the cyberattack on North Korea, a claim the country denies, as others suggest the hacking may have been an internal job.
3. Stephen Collins admitted in December to inappropriate sexual conduct with three underage girls, two months after a leaked recording of him talking about it in therapy with his estranged wife Faye Grant surfaced online. The backlash after the tape’s reveal was swift: Collins was fired from Ted 2 and “Scandal,” and “7th Heaven” reruns were pulled from syndication. The actor, however, insisted in a recent Katie Couric interview that he is not a pedophile, and claimed that he has not engaged in any such behavior since the early 1990s. Meanwhile, Collins and Grant are still warring over their divorce, and he has accused her of using the audio as extortion.
4. June Shannon of “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” denied she was dating convicted sex offender Mark McDaniel, the same man who molested her daughter Anna Cardwell a decade ago, but photos proved otherwise. In October, TLC canceled the popular series out of concern for Mama June’s family, particularly 9-year-old Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson. The romance was allegedly the reason for Shannon’s split with Mike “Sugar Bear” Thompson, and caused a major rift with Cardwell. She and Shannon, however, reconciled in recent weeks, and the family matriarch is reportedly working on her relationship with Sugar Bear.
5. Nude photos of dozens of female celebrities leaked online in September, after a widespread hacking that targeted some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, including Jennifer Lawrence, Rihanna, and Kim Kardashian. The naked pictures were circulated on Reddit, 4chan, and Twitter, and despite speculation, Apple denied its iCloud security was breached. In fact, the person or persons responsible still remain a mystery, even after a second batch of explicit pics surfaced in October. The theft has led to both an FBI investigation and the possibility of a lawsuit against Google for not pulling down, and even allegedly profiting off the stolen, private snapshots.
6. Donald Sterling was banned from the NBA for life after the now-former Clippers owner was caught making racist comments during a phone call with V. Stiviano, who has alternately been described as the 80-year-old’s assistant, friend, and girlfriend. Sterling’s vile rant included insults about black people, including Magic Johnson. The comments led to protests and boycotts from sports stars and celebrities alike, and even President Obama blasted the statements as “ignorant.” The Clippers owner was ultimately forced out of his position, and he unsuccessfully tried to fight a sale of the team. Sterling’s lawsuit against the NBA is expected to go to trial in 2015.
7. Justin Bieber was arrested in late January for allegedly driving under the influence, recklessly drag racing, having an expired license, and resisting arrest in Miami. The incident led to mockery and scorn, and even a petition to have the superstar deported. It was ultimately determined that Bieber’s alcohol levels were below the legal limit, but urine tests showed marijuana and Xanax in his system. In August, the case was resolved when he took a plea deal, pleading guilty to careless driving and resisting arrest, with a sentence that included a fine, charity donation, and anger management classes. But Bieber’s legal woes this year also included an arrest in Canada, charges for allegedly egging a neighbor’s home, and multiple lawsuits.
8. Jay Z and Solange had an infamous fight in an elevator after the Met Gala in May, a brawl that went public after security footage was leaked. The clip showed Beyoncé’s sister seemingly attacking the rapper, though it was never revealed just what caused the fight. The family put up a united front in the days that followed, and released a joint statement saying they had “worked through” the issue, noting, “At the end of the day families have problems and we’re no different.” Beyoncé went on to downplay the incident on her “Flawless” remix (“Of course sometimes sh*t goes down when there’s a billion dollars”), and she and Jay Z were all smiles when they attended Solange’s wedding in November.
9. Teresa Giudice was sentenced to 15 months in prison in October after pleading guilty to bankruptcy and mortgage fraud. She is expected to surrender in early January, and after the time is served, husband Joe will have to face his own prison sentence of 41 months. The “Real Housewives of New Jersey” couple is in the process of paying back more than $400,000 in restitution. During an interview with Andy Cohen, Giudice said she was “deeply sorry” for her crimes, vowing to “learn from my mistakes and be a better person for it.” That said, in December, she filed a $5 million lawsuit against her lawyer, claiming the attorney’s alleged malpractice led to her prison term.
10. Ray Rice and his then-fiancée and now-wife Janay were both arrested in February after a physical altercation that was partially caught on video. Though the NFL player was indicted for aggravated assault, the charge was dropped after he agreed to undergo court-monitored counseling. The Baltimore Ravens first suspended Rice from the team, before cutting him entirely, but an indefinite ban by the NFL was overturned in November, making him a free agent. Earlier this month, Janay expressed confidence that the domestic violence would not reoccur, and stressed, “I did something wrong, too.” For his part, Rice said he took “full responsibility” for their “one bad night.”