If there’s one thing 2017 was famous for, it was scandals. Giants of the industry have fallen, along with the legacies that these heavy hitters had spent years building. While Hollywood is certainly used to its share of accusations and arrests, in its history, we have never witnessed the likes of what went down this year.
In the midst of revealing sordid behavior, voices banded together to speak up about the wrongdoings of others. Victims were empowered and those who thought they were invincible quickly discovered they were not. Every day, it seems as if a new scandal is being uncovered. Some are finally being held accountable for their unscrupulous acts, some are being outcast for their political commentary, and others have committed heinous crimes there is just no coming back from.
Recent news of Al Franken’s resignation is just the latest in the new trend of personal accountability. While the onetime comedian and others like him have stepped down from their positions of power, effectively ending their longstanding careers, others still deny mounting evidence in hopes their misdeeds will go unpunished.
If this year taught us anything, it’s that no matter how famous you are, you can’t outrun your past.
Here are 15 Scandals In 2017 That Ended Hollywood Careers.
15 Mischa Barton
Since The O.C. went off the air, Misha Barton has seen her share of ups and downs. She bounced back after a DUI in 2007, then followed that up with some reported drama at a fashion show, a hospitalization in a psychiatric ward, ending up on the wrong side of PETA, and apparently sueing her own mother. In 2016, even though it was a brief stint, fans were happy to see Barton make an appearance on Dancing with the Stars.
But 2017 would prove to be another tumultuous year for the actress, beginning back in January. After reportedly being given GHB, neighbors called 911 on Barton due to her erratic behavior, which landed the actress back in the hospital. In March, a tape surfaced with images that were recorded by someone she had a relationship with. Barton says the video was made without her consent.
14 Danny Masterson
Danny Masterson has been known as a lot of things over the years, but we saw him in a new light this year. After the popularity of That ‘70s Show, Masterson went on to star in several successful hits. He pursued a career in music, and recently, has enjoyed being back in the spotlight as part of the cast in the Netflix comedy, The Ranch. All of that changed in 2017 when, amidst all of the other assault allegations, four women stepped up, claiming they each had been assaulted by the actor sometime during the early 2000s.
While Masterson vehemently denies this, his accusers had filed police reports as far back as 2004 and say the Church of Scientology has played a huge part in the cover-up. Since the reports have been made public, Netflix decided to write off his character on The Ranch. Production resumes in early 2018 minus Masterson.
13 Kathy Griffin
Two-time Emmy and Grammy award-winning comedian Kathy Griffin was just one of the many voices in the entertainment industry who spoke up in the wake of Donald Trump becoming President of the United States. As outrage poured in across the country, 45 became fodder for platforms such as Saturday Night Live and various other outlets.
Griffin chose to protest the outcome of the election by using a replica of Donald Trump’s severed head. However, the photo of the comedian holding a bloodied Trump head in her hands did not go over as well as she might have hoped. The controversial piece of art caused a huge backlash. It resulted in her offering a tearful apology, being fired from her New Year's Eve hosting duties with CNN, and a slew of canceled comedy shows. It even prompted a federal investigation.
12 Kevin Spacey
It all began in late October, when actor Anthony Rapp came forward with allegations that in 1986, a 26-year-old Kevin Spacey had made inappropriate advances toward him when Rapp was just 14. Spacey, who had never made his sexual preferences public before, quickly released a statement coming out and claiming that he didn’t remember the incident but followed it up with an apology for any harm he may have caused.
After that, an avalanche of allegations came tumbling down on the actor, most having to do with alcohol and underage boys. After the discovery, Spacey was dropped from House of Cards, his parts in All the Money in the World were reshot, and he has since parted ways with both his publicist and his agency.
11 Steve Whitmire (Kermit the Frog's voice)
It’s not easy being green. When Kermit the Frog gets canned, you know it’s been a bad year. Disney recently fired longtime voice actor Steve Whitmire for what they called “unacceptable business conduct.” The puppeteer had worked for the Muppets since 1978 and had been the voice of Kermit since the passing of Jim Henson in 1990.
Henson’s daughter Cheryl went on record saying, “Steve’s performance of Kermit has strayed far away from my father’s good hearted, compassionate leader of the Muppets.” She added that the recasting of Kermit had been long overdue. Disney claimed that for years Whitmire wouldn’t address feedback. He would fight over character direction in a way that was disrespectful and caused delays in production. Whitmire claims that after 27 years he was let go because of unwanted notes during the short-lived Muppets reboot on ABC and a union disagreement.
10 Jeffrey Tambor
Jeffrey Tambor’s work on the groundbreaking Amazon series, Transparent, has already won the actor two Emmys in the four short seasons it’s been on the air. However, this past November, Tambor suddenly found himself facing accusations of harassment from multiple members of his own Transparent team. The first accuser is a transgender woman who worked as Tambor's personal assistant and the second, Trace Lysette, is a transgender actress who plays a yoga instructor on the series.
Tambor strongly repudiates both accounts while Amazon Studios is investigating the claims. Recently, Tambor made a public statement apologizing if any of his actions had been misinterpreted and suggested that he wouldn’t be returning to the set of Transparent. No final decision for next year has been made yet about Tambor’s return, either by the actor or by Amazon.
9 Allison Mack
While we’ve seen the Smallville actress evolve into playing different roles over the years, none could have prepared us for the sordid story that would erupt in 2017. In October, The New York Times reported about a cult that was branding its members as part of a secret ritual. Under the guise of a self-help organization called Nxivm, participants are said to follow the instruction of the group’s leader, Keith Raniere.
Mack is reported to be the second in command for a sect within the organization called DOS – a secret society which involves the highest ranking female members. There are claims that Mack presides over a smaller group of slaves within the cult. The sorority is said to not only brand women, but force them into starvation diets and physically punish them if they do not recruit enough slaves. Mack is now allegedly a key recruiter for DOS.
8 Louis C.K.
As 2017 became the year that Hollywood would be exposed for its devious deeds, it would also be the year that Louis C.K. would expose himself for, well, exposing himself. While the string of implications against Hollywood’s biggest names were stockpiling, the comedian, whose humor often echoed what we now know was based on real-life, was accused of revealing his most private part to numerous women over the years.
Louis C.K. took responsibility for his actions and told the world that these stories were true. He gave a complete statement offering a full apology to the five women who called out his sexual misconduct, admitting that as someone who was in a position of power, he should have never propositioned them in a sexual manner. The comedian has since retreated from the public eye.
7 Bryan Singer
As a director, Bryan Singer has a long list of credits under his belt. Movies like X-Men, The Usual Suspects, and Superman Returns made him one of Hollywood’s most sought-after names. However, Singer has been the subject of misconduct claims for quite a while. Most, until recently, have been largely overlooked.
Accusations of abuse date back from the mid-to-late ‘90s regarding the A-list director, some wild parties, and his rumored penchant for underage boys. A number of lawsuits have been filed against Singer over the years, including the most recent one, claiming that he allegedly assaulted a 17-year-old boy in Washington State back in 2003.
Recently, 20th Century Fox fired Singer and replaced him with Dexter Fletcher to take over as director for the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody.
6 Matt Lauer
In November, the former NBC anchor and Today co-host openly expressed “sorrow” and “regret” after accusations surfaced of inappropriate sexual behavior with a female colleague. Once the news came out stating what the high-paid TV host/journalist had reportedly done, he was immediately terminated by NBC.
Following the breaking story, other incidences were brought to light detailing a number of misconduct allegations against Lauer. Accounts of current and former NBC News staffers as well as three other women were reported. Accusations ranged from gifting someone a sex toy, to summoning a woman to his office and dropping his pants, to probing female producers about their sexual history. Several were said to have complained to executives at the network. Lauer maintains that although some of what is being said about him is untrue or mischaracterized, there is enough truth in these stories.
5 Jackie Warner
In February of 2017, the former star of Bravo’s Work Out and Thintervention, found herself on the wrong side of the law after she was charged with felony assault on a police officer, misdemeanor DUI ,and misdemeanor hit and run.
Warner reportedly went to lunch, had a drink, came home, took an Ambien, went to sleep, and woke up in the hospital with no memory. With a blood alcohol concentration of .08%, the fitness guru had apparently crashed her car into a pole and then racked up a felony assault charge because she almost hit a police car. In June, the charges were lowered and Warner pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of alcohol-related reckless driving. She was sentenced to a two-year probation term and was ordered to complete a 12-hour drinking and driving program.
4 Tom Sizemore
In the wake of rising harassment and assault reports, Tom Sizemore’s name returned to the headlines in mid-November with reports of assault on a child. While the actor has seen his share of controversy related to drugs and physical assault, this accusation has Sizemore inappropriately touching an 11-year-old in front of a room full of people.
In 2003, on the set of Born Killers, the actor had the young actress on his lap during a still portrait session, when in clear view of cast and crew members, he allegedly touched her in ways no 11-year-old girl should be touched. The young actress came forward immediately and although Sizemore is said to have denied the allegations, he was removed from set as soon as the assertion was made. Today, when asked about the matter, Sizemore’s position is “no comment.”
3 Billy Bush
The infamous Access Hollywood tape that had Billy Bush egging on Donald Trump first lit a fire in October of 2016 – just before the election. Two days after the tape was made public, NBC suspended the Today show host, effectively casting him out of the entertainment industry. Bush originally issued an apology statement for his behavior on the video, while Trump dismissed his comments and referred to his admittances as just lewd locker room talk.
While Trump got promoted to the Oval Office, the nephew of former Republican President George H.W. Bush got fired. Recently, with new suggestions that the voice on the shocking 2005 tape might not belong to Trump, Billy Bush has reemerged, in an attempt to set the record straight. Bush is now stepping forward, claiming to have done a lot of soul searching in 2017.
2 Ricardo Medina Jr.
Former Power Rangers actor Ricardo Medina Jr. was once considered a superhero. Of course, he just played one on-screen, but he was looked up to nonetheless. While the popular kids’ show had a reputation for being on the violent side, nobody could have known just how brutal things would eventually get.
In 2015, after an argument erupted between the actor and his roommate, the incident turned heated, leading Medina to take his friend’s life. His claims of self-defense by way of a samurai sword did not hold up and in 2016, he was charged with murder. In March of 2017, the actor accepted a plea deal and was sentenced to six years in state prison, where he is now serving time for his crime.
1 Harvey Weinstein
Nobody could have ever imagined the domino effect that the accusations against Harvey Weinstein would have on all of Hollywood in 2017. As co-founder of Miramax and the Weinstein Company, Harvey Weinstein had been one of the most powerful men in the industry for decades.
But, in early October, that would all change. The New York Times revealed a compelling story reporting multiple allegations of sexual assault and harassment committed by Weinstein over the years. This disclosure led to not only four members of the Weinstein Company’s all-male board stepping down, but to Weinstein’s termination as well.
Actresses Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd became top voices in the movement, breaking down a barrier of silence that for years had seemed impenetrable. By late October, USA Today published a complete list of 83 accusers. The story is still developing.
What other scandals stood out in 2017? Let us know in the comments.