- Tekashi 6ix9ine and Nicki Minaj, who collaborated on the song “FEFE.”
- Tekashi 6ix9ine/YouTube
- INSIDER chose 11 controversial celebrities of 2018.
- The list includes YouTube star Logan Paul; rappers Tekashi 6ix9ine and Kodak Black; and Hollywood actors Johnny Depp and Chris Pratt.
Many celebrities cause controversy, simply by nature of their fame – but some scandals are far more consequential than others.
INSIDER rounded up a list of public figures who were involved in some of the biggest controversies of the year.
Here are 11 of 2018’s most controversial stars, in no particular order.
Johnny Depp will continue to appear in the “Fantastic Beasts” franchise, despite allegations of domestic violence.
- Johnny Depp portrays “Harry Potter” spinoff villain Gellert Grindelwald.
- Jeff Spicer/Getty Images
Amber Heard has repeatedly maintained the allegation that her ex-husband, Johnny Depp, physically and emotionally abused her throughout their marriage.
Heard filed a restraining order against Depp in May 2016, less than a week after filing for divorce from the “Fantastic Beasts” actor. She donated her entire divorce settlement to domestic violence and children’s charities.
Read more: Ezra Miller says the cast of ‘Fantastic Beasts’ wasn’t consulted about Johnny Depp’s controversial role in the franchise
In court, Heard presented a photograph of herself with a bruise on her right eye. Months later, TMZ published a video taken by Heard, which seemed to capture Depp yelling, attempting to grab Heard’s phone, and throwing a wine bottle at her.
“Twenty-five feet away from her, how the f— am I going to hit her?” Depp said about Heard in a GQ cover story, published in October. “Which, by the way, is the last thing I would’ve done. I might look stupid, but I ain’t f—ing stupid.”
Read more: Daniel Radcliffe wades into the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ controversy over Johnny Depp casting: ‘I can see why people are frustrated’
When the GQ reporter asked if he considers himself a violent man, Depp seemed to defend himself by saying people – paparazzi in particular – should keep their distance.
“I’ve even said before, if a paparazzo gets a shot, they’re far away and they get a shot of me and my kid, whatever, that’s their thing,” he said. “But if I catch you, I will eat your nose. I will eat your nose, chew it up and swallow it in front of you and then you’ll f—ing think about it next time. I f—ing mean it.”
Depp is currently being sued by a film location manager, who claims Depp punched him on set in 2017.
While many “Harry Potter” fans are furious that Depp has not yet been replaced in the “Fantastic Beasts” franchise, J.K. Rowling said she is still “genuinely happy” to have him star.
Tekashi 6ix9ine was sentenced to probation and community service after pleading guilty in a 2015 child-sex case.
- 6ix9ine’s most identifiable features are his shock of rainbow-colored hair and having “69” tattooed all over him.
- Shareif Ziyadat/WireImage
Daniel Hernandez – also known as 69, 6ix9ine, and Tekashi69 – is a top-charting rapper and Instagram star with more than 15 million followers. After spending several years on the indie-SoundCloud-rapper circuit, Hernandez recently achieved mainstream credibility with “FEFE,” a hit single he made with Nicki Minaj earlier this year.
Read more: Here’s everything you need to know about Tekashi 6ix9ine, the controversial 22-year-old rapper who could go to prison for life
In November of this year, federal authorities arrested Hernandez on racketeering and firearms charges and alleged that he’s part of a violent gang.
Hernandez was also sentenced in October to four years of probation and 1,000 hours of community service for a 2015 child-sex case (there were a number of procedural delays and appeals between his plea deal in 2015 and 2018). The lurid acts are described in detail in a criminal complaint obtained in 2017 by Jezebel.
Piers Morgan is known for making sexist remarks and controversial arguments.
- Piers Morgan has previously feuded with Emily Ratajowkski, Chrissy Teigen, and J.K. Rowling.
- Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images
Piers Morgan is a 53-year-old British journalist who has a history of writing widely criticized editorials, usually about female celebrities.
In August 2018, Morgan wrote about Tess Holliday on the cover of Cosmopolitan UK. “As Britain battles an ever-worsening obesity crisis, this is the new cover of Cosmo,” he wrote on Instagram. “Apparently we’re supposed to view it as a ‘huge step forward for body positivity.’ What a load of old baloney. This cover is just as dangerous and misguided as celebrating size zero models.”
Days later, he refused to mince words after Holliday posted a photo of herself in lingerie and wrote an open letter to Holliday that said she should be “deterred from celebrating because it’s unhealthy.”
In addition, Morgan slammed Ellen DeGeneres and called her a hypocrite for praising shirtless male celebrities. He also accused the band Little Mix of “using sex to sell records” after the group released images of themselves naked with insults written on their bodies to promote their song “Strip.”
The group defended their choice, saying: “What we do with our bodies is our choice and we felt liberated owning the negative words thrown at us as women. We’ll never stop talking/writing music about issues that affect so many women around the world. We have a voice to use it!”
Ariana Grande also took issue with Morgan’s words.
Grande wrote on Twitter: “Ellen is an incredible & kind human being.. I use my talent AND my sexuality all the time because I choose to. women can be sexual AND talented. naked and dignified. it’s OUR choice. & we will keep fighting til people understand. I say this w all due respect but thank u, next.”
Morgan continued to target celebrities, like the time he criticized “James Bond” star Daniel Craig for being photographed carrying his newborn daughter in “an emasculating papoose.”
Twitter had a field day with that comment and even Chris Evans called him out.
Morgan also appeared to have a problem with 92-year-old actor Dick Van Dyke’s name. The “Mary Poppins” star shut him down with a simple tweet, though.
Nicki Minaj not only associated with controversial figures but pushed buttons herself.
- In 2018, Nicki Minaj collaborated with Tekashi 6ix9ine and entered a relationship with Kenneth Petty, both of whom are registered sex offenders.
- Taylor Hill/FilmMagic
Nicki Minaj‘s cascade of negative headlines kicked off in May when she released the music video for her album’s lead single “Chun Li.” She was widely criticized for appropriating and fetishizing Asian culture.
In July, Minaj dropped “FEFE,” a collaboration with 6ix9ine. Soon after, Minaj announced that 6ix9ine would be an opener for her upcoming tour. Their close relationship infuriated fans but didn’t slow down their single’s success, which became one of Spotify’s most-streamed songs of the year.
In August, Minaj’s album “Queen” underperformed on the charts and she tried to blame everybody else, including Kylie Jenner’s 8-month-old daughter Stormi Webster.
Then in December, Minaj became Instagram official with her reported new boyfriend, Kenneth Petty – a registered sex offender. Minaj has defended her boyfriend’s criminal past: “Y’all can’t run my life. Y’all can’t even run y’all own life. Thank you boo.”
Bill Maher questioned the #MeToo movement and attacked Stan Lee after his death.
- Bill Maher has no problem sharing his opinions.
Bill Maher has a history of making controversial, racially charged comments. In 2017, he used the N-word while speaking to a Republican senator from Nebraska named Ben Sasse on his HBO show “Real Time With Bill Maher.”
Following the backlash, he apologized and said: “I regret the word I used in the banter of a live moment. The word was offensive and I regret saying it and am very sorry.”
He also got into a heated discussion with Ronan Farrow, who won a Pulitzer Prize with The New Yorker for his reporting on the sexual assault allegations made against producer Harvey Weinstein. During an episode of “Real Time,” Maher asked Farrow if there was an “excess in the [#MeToo] movement that is causing a backlash.” He also questioned if “we’ve gone too far here,” in regards to the movement.
When beloved Marvel comics creator Stan Lee died in November, Maher questioned his legacy and impact, writing on the “Real Time” site: “The guy who created Spider-Man and the Hulk has died, and America is in mourning. Deep, deep mourning for a man who inspired millions to, I don’t know, watch a movie, I guess.”
In clarifying his comments during an interview with Larry King, Maher just dug a deeper hole by insulting fandom culture.
“A culture that thinks that comic books and comic book movies are profound meditations on the human condition is a dumb f—ing culture. And for people to, like, get mad at that just proves my point.”
Chris Brown continues to have run-ins with the law.
- This year, Brown was arrested on a felony battery charge and charged for illegal possession of a pet Capuchin monkey.
- Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images
Chris Brown first received public backlash when he assaulted then-girlfriend Rihanna during an argument that led to “visible injuries” and her hospitalization in 2009.
Read more: Chris Brown commented 3 times on photos of Rihanna in lingerie and her fans are furious
In the years since he pled guilty to the felony assault, has been repeatedly accused of violence, making threats, stalking, and sexual assault, including by his recent ex-girlfriend Karrueche Tran, who has a permanent restraining order against the singer.
This year, Brown was arrested on a felony battery charge and charged for illegal possession of a pet Capuchin monkey.
Despite all this, Brown performed with Drake on the Los Angeles stop of the rapper’s world tour in October and his name was oft-mentioned on Twitter during a viral debate about “the king of R&B.”
Roseanne Barr was fired from the “Roseanne” reboot after posting a racist tweet.
- Roseanne Barr on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” on April 30, 2018.
- Theo Wargo/Getty Images for NBC
ABC abruptly canceled “Roseanne” after the star, Roseanne Barr, posted a racist tweet.
In a now-deleted tweet, Barr compared Valerie Jarrett, Barack Obama’s former advisor, to an ape. Barr later apologized “for making a bad joke about her politics and her looks,” but it was too late. She also said she thought Jarrett was white and said she has “struggled with mental health issues and … was struggling at that time as well.”
Even before the tweet, the show was not without incident since the reboot started airing on ABC in March 2018. The sitcom faced criticism for a problematic storyline that some viewers deemed Islamaphobic, jokes about minority-led TV shows, and the titular character’s support of Donald Trump.
The show was repackaged as a spinoff called “The Conners” without the character of Roseanne. “The Conners” is reportedly ending in 2019.
Rising rapper Kodak Black is an alleged rapist and was criticized for his quotes about black women.
- Kodak Black’s sexual assault trial is tentatively scheduled to begin in the spring of 2019.
- Mike Coppola/Getty Images for TIDAL
Kodak Black, born Dieuson Octave, may be a rising star, but he is not without controversy.
This year, Black was criticized for his repeated demeaning of black women.
He has also been charged with a number of crimes in 2018, including assault, robbery, kidnapping, illegal weapon possession, and neglect of a child.
In addition to the 2018 charges, the 21-year-old is currently awaiting trial for charges of rape, which allegedly took place in 2016.
Chris Pratt fans have expressed disappointment and outrage over his “passion for hunting.”
Of Hollywood’s major Chrises (like Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, and Chris Pine), Chris Pratt seems to be the most controversial. The main issue is that Pratt has repeatedly faced backlash for his comments about hunting.
The actor previously explained that hunting runs in his family, but he didn’t get into it until he booked a role on the show “Everwood.”
“I became passionate about big game hunting when I moved to Utah to shoot the television series ‘Everwood’ in 2003,” he told Outdoor Life. “I lived there for four years, had the time and money to really get into it and became absolutely obsessed.”
Earlier this year, fans were outraged after he talked about eating “fresh, farm-to-table” lambs that he raised.
“They are the happiest lambs on the planet,” he said in a video shared on Instagram. “They are so sweet and then one day they wake up dead and they’re in my freezer.”
In the video, he also apologized to any vegetarians he may have offended with his lamb snack.
He continued raving about lambs in an additional post, where he showed off several pieces of meat and wrote in detail about one particular animal that “lived a very good life” before reaching “his final destination.”
“Just a touch of a USDA certified wand to his head and he goes to sleep,” he captioned a photo. “The other sheep don’t even notice. It’s like unplugging a TV.”
And in a now-deleted video, Pratt was dressed in new outdoor gear and said that he was “really excited for hunting season.”
“Can’t wait to put a hurting on a monster bull in the coming weeks,” he wrote in the caption.
Megyn Kelly faced immediate backlash after defending blackface.
Megyn Kelly has a history of making controversial statements, but viewers were furious this year after she defended blackface on NBC’s “Today.”
“But what is racist? You truly do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface at Halloween or a black person who puts on white face for Halloween,” she asked her panel. “That was OK when I was a kid, as long as you were dressing like a character.”
Read more: Megyn Kelly defended blackface on the ‘Today’ show, but here’s the racist history behind it
Kelly apologized for her comments after facing immense pressure from both viewers and colleagues, but only with the clarification, “I have never been a PC kind of person.”
Kelly was fired from her spot on NBC’s “Today” show in October, and it was later revealed she was paid a reported $30 million for leaving the company.
Logan Paul staged a comeback after vlogging a dead body in Japan’s “suicide forest.”
- Logan Paul gained fame through a now-defunct app called Vine.
- Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images
Logan Paul made headlines after he filmed a now-deleted video of himself and his friends discovering a corpse in a forest in Japan. He’s since apologized for filming the moment and took a break from posting videos.
Thousands of people signed a petition to get Logan removed from YouTube, but it wasn’t effective. Actress Sophie Turner slammed the star and urged followers to “find yourself an idol who isn’t a gargantuan a–hole.”
Despite Logan insisting that he’s learned from his past mistakes, in February 2018 he uploaded a video of himself tasering dead rats, which was met with criticism. Months later, Logan told The Hollywood Reporter that his “suicide forest” video ruined his plans to “create the next Axe” body spray.
In the same interview, the 23-year-old declared that he’s not going away any time soon, because creating content is his “passion.”
“Good luck trying to cancel me,” he said.
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