Nobody's perfect, right? Every year, a crop of celebrities make some boneheaded decisions. This year, largely due to the coronavirus pandemic, there were probably more than usual. As the year winds down, Wonderwall.com is following a time-honored tradition and taking a look back at the celebrity turkeys of 2020, starting with this British star… This. Was. Cheesy. In October, "The Affair" star Dominic West was photographed getting uncomfortably friendly with his "The Pursuit of Love" miniseries co-star Lily James. It was uncomfortable because he's married — and his wife thought happily so, according to one report. After photos emerged showing the actors getting cozy in Rome, Dominic flew home to the United Kingdom and posed outside of his house with his wife, passionately kissing her, as paparazzi snapped away. They said nothing, but a note signed by the two of them read, "Our marriage is strong and we're very much still together." The note, by the way, was apparently placed in front of a bush. A few weeks later, the former "The Wire" actor was suspected of tipping off photographers so they could snap new photos of him and his wife out running. All and all, a cheesy way to handle a cheating scandal. Lily, meanwhile, canceled a ton of media appearances promoting her new movie "Rebecca," though did go on "The Tonight Show" to talk to host Jimmy Fallon. To no one's surprise, he giggled along with her and didn't address the elephant in the room. Keep reading to see more stars who had some major 2020 faux pas…
How many times can you deal with self-inflicted backlash in a year? On April 21, "The Real Housewives of Orange County" star Kelly Dodd issued an apology after calling COVID-19 "God's way of thinning the herd" in a since-deleted Instagram post. "I want to give a public apology… What I meant was, do these pandemics happen because it's God's way? I'm not God. I'm not insensitive," she said from her backyard on her Instagram Story. She issued a second apology calling her comments "so ridiculous and so stupid." But after that, she compared the coronavirus to the flu and seemed insensitive about the deaths it caused. "But how many people die on a daily basis?" Kelly asked in an Instagram video. "Well, people are going to die! I'm sorry to tell ya." After that, she celebrated that no one was wearing masks at a lunch, claiming, "Yeah, no one's wearing masks here in Orange County. Yup, because no one is dying here of the virus." (At the time, 133 people in Orange County had died from it.) Then, at her October bridal shower, Kelly donned a hat that read "Drunk Wives Matter," which many felt was a jab at the Black Lives Matter movement. She was lambasted for that and also shredded when fans saw few people wearing masks at her party. "No social distancing here no mask, haven't we learned yet? Look at Trump and he's in the hospital," one person said, to which Kelly replied, "He's 74 and fat!!" After another person slammed her for that response, Kelly said, "You get sick and get better!!" After all of Kelly's months-long downplaying, on Nov. 24, she revealed that her mother had been hospitalized with COVID-19.
"Jersey Shore" star Mike Sorrentino had better get going on his court-mandated community service. On Dec. 8, a judge issued a written warning criticizing The Situation for noncompliance of community service — a required part of his tax evasion case sentence. Court documents revealed that the MTV star — who was released from prison back in September 2019 — completed only 18 hours of his required 500 hours of community service. According to the judge, "The probation office has reminded Sorrentino at nearly every interaction to find a venue for community service, including service that could be performed from home; however, he has not made sufficient efforts to address the hours."
RELATED: Stars we lost in 2020
Read the room! With so many people still unemployed and struggling to make ends meet amid the global health crisis, Kim Kardashian West threw a 40th birthday bash for herself on a private island in Tahiti in October. The party — for which she flew out friends and family on a private jet and set them up with villas — cost her $1 million, according to reports. As she began posting social media pictures of the extravagant celebrations, fans accused her flaunting her wealth during a difficult time. The party was labeled by many as "tone deaf." One person commented, "Reading this as half of my office got laid off today." Yeah, maybe Kim should have waited and celebrated next year.
British pop star Rita Ora made a couple big mistakes in November ahead of her 30th birthday. First, the BBC reported, she failed to follow guidance and isolate for two weeks after returning from Egypt, where she delivered a private performance on Nov. 21. Then on Nov. 28, Rita threw a birthday party at a West London restaurant that, according to The Sun, was attended by about 30 friends — despite strict COVID-19 rules in effect in London as coronavirus cases surged. The breach drew the attention of police and upset some fans. A source told The Sun that Rita voluntarily paid a £10,000 fine (about $13,000) and publicly apologized. "I attended a small gathering with some friends to celebrate my 30th birthday. It was a spur of the moment decision made with the misguided view that we were coming out of lockdown and this would be OK… I'm deeply sorry for breaking the rules and in turn understand that this puts people at risk," she wrote in part on her Instagram Stories. "This was a serious and inexcusable error of judgement."
The mute button: learn it, love it. On Nov. 20, Lukas Gage put a then-unnamed British director on blast after the man verbally shredded the "Euphoria" actor's apartment during a Zoom audition. The director, it seems, didn't realize that he wasn't muted when he said, "These poor people live in these tiny apartments," all while Lukas prepared for his remote audition. Lukas quickly let the man know that he wasn't on mute, prompting the mystery director to proclaim that he was "mortified" over his comments. So who was this critical apartment aficionado? After a few days, the trash-talking culprit was identified as Tristram Shapeero, who's worked on shows including "Parks and Recreation," "The Good Place," "Fresh Off The Boat" and "GLOW." Tristram later publicly apologized and called his comments "unacceptable and insensitive." He also tried to give context to his words. "I was using the word 'poor' in the sense of deserving sympathy, as opposed to any economic judgment," he said in an essay. "My words were being spoken from a genuine place of appreciation for what the actors were having to endure, stuck in confined spaces, finding it within themselves to give a role-winning performance under these conditions." Lukas, for the record, didn't get the part he was auditioning for.
We love Cardi B, but we don't love how she handled Thanksgiving. Despite widespread warnings that getting tested for the coronavirus wouldn't be enough to avoid spreading it at large Thanksgiving gatherings, the rapper still hosted nearly 40 people for dinner… then apologized — sort of — after the fact. She shared in social media posts that she had "12 kids and 25 adults" at her holiday get-together. "Sorry my bad wasn't trying to make nobody feel bad.I just had my family in my home for the first time and it felt so good & uplifted me," she tweeted as backlash poured in. "I spent soo much money getting every1 tested but it felt worth it. I wasnt trying to offend no1." In another tweet, she hit back again at critics of her test defense who'd pointed to the long latency period for COVID-19 and the commonly inaccurate tests, telling them that she and everyone she interacts with has been getting tested "literally 4 times a week." That didn't dampen the anger though. "You had 37 people over your house during a pandemic," wrote one Twitter user. "Even if you don't think of yourself as a role model many fans will see your Thanksgiving as not taking COVID seriously. Also testing folks alone isn't going to work. It has a two week incubation period." Cardi's response? "People be trying too hard to be offended. I wonder how they survive the real world."
Selena Gomez fans had a strong message for NBC's Peacock streaming service in November: Organ transplants are not joke fodder. Commenters lashed out on Twitter after an episode of the new "Saved By the Bell" reboot featured two jokes touching on the music star's 2017 kidney transplant amid her lupus battle. In one instance, Bayside High students gossiping about pop culture speculated about the identity of Selena's kidney donor — debating if it was the mother of ex-boyfriend Justin Bieber or pop star Demi Lovato (it was really Selena's good friend, actress Francia Raisa, who also called out Peacock). The students were unable to fact-check after having their phones taken away. On top of that, a Bayside High hallway wall was covered in graffiti that read "Does Selena Gomez even have a kidney." In the wake of the backlash, Peacock issued an apology and a donation to Selena's lupus research fund and later removed the scenes featuring the "jokes." Peacock said in a statement, "We apologize. It was never our intention to make light of Selena's health."
Behold, pettiness at its finest! So Nov. 9 was Britain's Remembrance Sunday, which is akin to Veteran's Day in America. According to the U.K.'s Sunday Times, Prince Harry asked that a wreath be laid in his name at the Cenotaph, Britain's official war memorial where his family traditionally gathers to honor Britain's war dead each year in a public ceremony. This sounds innocent enough, right? However, palace courtiers rejected his request because he was "no longer representing the monarchy," the Times reported. Never mind that Harry served in the British army for a decade, did two tours in Afghanistan and founded the Invictus Games, an international event for injured military personnel. You know who was allowed to present a wreath? A photographer representing the tabloid The Sun.
It was going to be arguably the biggest of moment of Morgan Wallen's blossoming career: In October, he was booked to perform on "Saturday Night Live." However, in the week leading up to the show, TikTok videos surfaced of Morgan maskless and kissing women at a sorority party in Alabama. "SNL" canceled his performance for violating COVID-19 protocols. Morgan later took a self-imposed break to, as he said, "work on me." After doing that penance, he was then invited back to "SNL" to perform on the Dec. 5 show during which he also poked fun at himself alongside host Jason Bateman in a time-travel sketch.
What began as Reese Witherspoon's heartfelt gesture was epically botched. In early April, Reese's fashion line, Draper James, announced it was giving 250 dresses away to teachers as a thank you gesture for their work during the global health crisis. But the giveaway was too popular and it overwhelmed the company — and not in a good way. Nearly a million teachers vied for a free dress, meaning only 1 in every 4,000 educators scored a new frock. Those who didn't win were given a 25% off discount code. Teachers were infuriated and voiced their displeasure on social media. A company spokeswoman for the fashion line said, "We were really overwhelmed. It was way more volume than the company had ever seen. We expected the single-digit thousands."
It took Terry Crews not one, not two, but three apologies to Gabrielle Union, all because he was a bad teammate. The whole thing stemmed from the actress's firing from "America's Got Talent" in 2019, which she said was done because she called out the show's behind-the-scenes discrimination and racism. In January 2020, Terry, who hosts "AGT," was asked about the claims. He told "Today" there wasn't racism on the show, all but denying Gabrielle's allegations. The fact that Terry didn't support Gabrielle was one of the major reasons for the ensuing backlash, particularly given that she was one of the first celebrities to stand by him when he made sexual assault allegations against a talent agent. Amid the drama, Terry dug a deeper hole when he tweeted, "There is only one woman on earth I have to please. Her name is Rebecca," referring to his wife. He later deleted the tweet. A few days later, he apologized to Gabrielle because he "invalidated your experience," he told her. The situation was then revisited over the summer. Gabrielle said that Terry showed "what he does during times of adversity, and it's not solidarity." Apology No. 3 said, "This will be my 3rd public apology to Gabrielle Union. If a 4th is needed, I will continue to apologize and push for reconciliation between the world, and more importantly, the culture I grew up in."
Dr. Oz went on Fox News on April 16 to advocate for opening the country back up, but his comments weren't exactly the stuff of sympathy… or empathy. The "Dr. Oz Show" star said that reopening schools was "a very appetizing opportunity," saying that it would result in "only 2 to 3%" more deaths. It would help the country get its "mojo back," he argued. Afterward, as social media shredded him, the celebrity health expert said he "misspoke." "I've realized my comments on risks around opening schools have confused and upset people, which was never my intention," he said on Twitter. He continued to say he wanted children back in school, but only in a safe manner. "We know for many kids, school is a place of security, nutrition and learning that is missing right now," he said. "These are issues that we are all wrestling with. And I will continue looking for solutions to beat this virus." While this was happening, people were continuing to comment on Twitter while using the hashtag #DrOzisadisgrace.
We've all met that person who talks about their significant other ad nauseam, right? Say hi to "The Bachelorette" star Clare Crawley! Very, very early on during her season, which taped over the summer, Clare fell really hard for suitor Dale Moss. She never stopped talking about him. Like, ever. In fact, during a date that he wasn't on, Clare passed the time by interrogating the men about Dale. In a confessional, she talked about wishing Dale was on that date. She also didn't give a rose out on that date because none of them were Dale. The men on the show were fed up, realizing that they put their lives on hold so that she could basically brush them aside after a few hours. Even host Chris Harrison admitted it was a bad look. He added, "I just wanted [the potential suitors] to have a fair shot and you can very clearly see on that date, they're not getting that shot anymore." Fans were so upset that they bombarded Clare's Instagram account with negativity, forcing her to turn her comments off. Clare would end up leaving the show after just three weeks. Two silver linings: 1. Clare was replaced by Tayshia Adams. 2. Clare and Dale are still together.
In April, Kendall Jenner and Justin Bieber had a conversation that they should have kept private. While broadcasting an Instagram Live session, the two spoke about isolating during the coronavirus pandemic inside their mansions. Kendall said her house, which she remodeled for a year, was "literally my favorite place on the planet." Justin replied, "How blessed are we to be able to like — a lot of people obviously in this time have a crappy situation. You know, they look at us and obviously, we've worked hard for where we're at, so it's like, you can't feel bad for the things we have." Kendall noted that she thinks about that point all the time. Justin interjected, "But I think, just us taking that time to acknowledge that there are people who are really crippling is important." Twitter had a field day. "Suddenly my debts are wiped clear and I'm no longer unemployed," one person wrote. Another commented, "I'm sure all the newly unemployed are grateful to know Justin Bieber thought about them being poor."
It was only a few weeks into the year when Walmart decided it was a good idea to make a joke about the late Paul Walker. The ill-advised attempt at humor occurred after a Twitter user got excited that the superstore carries Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls with strawberries-and-cream-flavored icing. That same user followed that up with a funny GIF of a car speeding down the freeway. Walmart, thinking it was being funny, replied, "Hey, Paul Walker. Click it, or ticket." It also added a police siren emoji. Paul died in a fiery car crash in 2013, and reports indicated that speed was a factor. Clearly the person running Walmart's Twitter account was referencing the late actor's "Fast & Furious" film franchise, but Twitter unleashed and called for the person running Walmart's account to be fired. The tweet was quickly taken down.
Kourtney Kardashian was ripped and laughed at on social media after she posted a debunked conspiracy theory about masks on Instagram. According to the reality TV star's post, those everyday blue disposable surgical masks cause cancer… despite the fact that they've been used by medical experts across the globe for decades and decades. Kourt's post alleged that they are "made of PTFE, a carcinogen made from synthetic fluoride." The American Cancer Society was even allegedly behind this, according to Kourt. Here's the problem: The American Cancer Society — the real one — said there is no truth to rumor at all. The next time Kourtney looks up conspiracy theories, she should probably also look up the word "vetting."
In June, coronavirus numbers were spiking all over the country. So why not have a concert with actual live fans where masks and social distancing can be an afterthought?! That was basically the gist of Chase Rice's concert in Petros, Tennessee. About 1,000 people showed up for the show at the Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary. Chase even posted videos that showed the crowd standing sardine-like while singing to his songs. There was not a mask in sight. At the time, the Volunteer State had 40,172 coronavirus cases, and 584 people had lost their lives to the virus. Some of Chase's fellow country stars ripped him for actually going through with the show. What didn't get discussed nearly as much? Chris Janson was performing for an even larger live crowd in Idaho that same night. Chris should send Chase a Christmas card for taking the heat off of him.
Pilot Pete's fall was swift. In March, Peter Weber's quest for love played out on national TV on the season finale of "The Bachelor." First, we have to back up. On the penultimate episode of the show, Madison Prewett walked away after claiming their lifestyles were too different. On the finale of the show that aired the following week, Pilot Pete, as he was known, popped the question to Hannah Ann Sluss, who had no idea Madison had left. A few months later, Peter still had feelings for Madison, which prompted him and Hannah to split (thus also giving her negative feelings about her first ever engagement). Peter and Madison then decided to give it a go, which left his mother, Barbara, very disappointed as she'd lobbied loudly for Hannah. Barbara said on live TV that things wouldn't work out for Pete and Madison and "everybody knows." She was right. After just a couple days, Peter and Madison split.
It's been a bad year for Wendy Willams. First, she started the year by giving a backhanded compliment to Joaquin Phoenix. In doing so, she mocked those with cleft lips and palates. Joaquin, who has a scar on his lip but has never said he had a cleft lip, is "oddly attractive," she said. Wendy then pulled her top lip up over her teeth to demonstrate the look of a cleft. People were outraged and she apologized. Then, a month later, Wendy was called out for making homophobic comments while discussing "Galentine's Day," the female-centric viral "holiday." Speaking directly to gay men, she said, "Stop wearing our skirts and our heels. Just saying, girls, what do we have for ourselves? Looky here now, gay men, you'll never be the women that we are. No matter how gay, sir." Stop us if you've heard this, but people were outraged and she apologized.
Dr. Drew Pinsky was forced to apologize in April after downplaying the severity of the coronavirus for months. Through much of February and March 2020, he went on multiple cable news outlets to call it a "press-induced panic" and equated it to the flu. As the number of cases and the death toll increased, Dr. Drew realized he was wrong. "My early comments about equating coronavirus with influenza were wrong. They were incorrect," he said in a social media video. "I was part of a chorus that was saying that, and we were wrong. And I want to apologize for that. I wish I had gotten it right, but I got it wrong."
Hannah Brown sparked controversy after uttering the N-word in a social media video. In May, the former "The Bachelorette" star was trying to remember a TikTok dance to DaBaby's "Rockstar" and sang a few words from the track, including the N-word. She apparently didn't realize it until followers started calling her out. She initially maintained that she didn't use the word, adding, "Even if I did accidentally say it, I'm very sorry, I was singing a song and not even thinking." On May 17, she issued a formal apology, telling fans, "There is no excuse and I will not justify what I said. I have read your messages and seen the hurt I have caused. I own it all. I am terribly sorry and know that whether in public or private, this language is unacceptable. I promise to do better." Many alums from Bachelor Nation publicly scolded Hannah, who vowed to be "part of the solution."
…And then Madonna insulted an entire country (and a time-honored profession). Nice job. In February, the pop icon posted an Instagram video directed at Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan, who had just announced that they were stepping down as senior working royals and would be splitting their time between North America (they'd been renting a place in Canada) and the United Kingdom. Madge, though, wanted the royals to sublet her place in New York City. "Hey, Harry — don't run off to Canada. It's boring there," she said. Madonna then made a reference to the royal guards outside Buckingham Palace in London, claiming, "The view [from my apartment] is much better for sure, not a bunch of guys in woolly hats."
While everyone was instructed to socially distance to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, YouTuber Jake Paul decided to throw a massive house party in Los Angeles in July. Videos showed dozens of maskless people in the house and more outside hanging off the bucket of a backhoe. Neighbors were outraged and the mayor even got involved. Just a few months before that, Jake was charged for being part of a riot that took place at the Fashion Square Mall in Scottsdale, Arizona. He even filmed it, so there was sufficient evidence. Jake claimed he was just here "documenting" things but authorities weren't buying it.
Did Snoop Dogg threaten Gayle King? It certainly seemed that way. In February, the veteran newswoman was talking to WNBA legend Lisa Leslie about the late Kobe Bryant. At one point in a lengthy, wide-ranging interview, Gayle asked if Kobe's legacy was "complicated" because he'd previously been charged with sexual assault (Lisa said no). Snoop was not having it, and he unloaded on Gayle. He told her in a video that she was "way out of pocket" for her questioning. "We expect more from you, Gail. Don't you hang out with Oprah? Why y'all attacking us? We your people." He went on to use very colorful language and accused her of trying to "tarnish" Kobe's reputation. "Respect the family and back off, b****, before we come get you," he added. Snoop later apologized after having a chat with his mom.
During the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, hand sanitizer was one of the most sought-after items out there. Enter former "The Real Housewives of Orange County" stars Heather Dubrow and her husband, Terry. The couple hawked 6-ounce bottles of their self-branded hand sanitizer on home-shopping channel ShopHQ for $28.95. That's nearly $5 an ounce. Within moments, the couple was accused of price gouging. Heather defended herself and the plastic surgeon, saying they'd donated thousands to a local food bank. "Botched" star Terry said their product was expensive because the ingredients were hard to find and because it was a doctor-grade sanitizer.
Blac Chyna is not a follower… for free, at least. In April, the former reality TV star gave fans the opportunity to connect with her via FaceTime and Instagram. If you wanted a follow-back on Instagram? She's charging $250. A virtual FaceTime chat with her will set you back $950. She even set up a payment plan. Fake friendship ain't cheap.
It's been a rough year for President Donald Trump and, unlike a Thanksgiving plate, we don't want to pile on… but we will. Throughout most of the spring, the president downplayed the coronavirus, compared it to the flu and made it clear he didn't like the idea of wearing a mask (remember when he said, "One day, it's like a miracle, it will disappear"?). He also often attended large gatherings without a mask, which inspired many to follow his lead. You know what's coming next… On Oct. 1, POTUS announced that he'd tested positive for COVID-19 and he was soon admitted to Walter Reed Medical Center. Then, upon leaving the hospital — where he had access to world-class care as well as therapies and treatments not available to the general public — he took to Twitter to downplay it (again). "Don't be afraid of COVID," he said. "Don't let it dominate your life." Ya know, as if people are "letting" it control their lives. That's a double helping of turkey.
Andie MacDowell seemed to think rules didn't apply to her. In April, the actress faced a ton of backlash after published photos showed her and her daughters sneaking into a closed Los Angeles park during a coronavirus lockdown (the pictures literally showed her crawling under a closed gate). Social media unloaded on her and she eventually deleted her Twitter account.
Veteran newsman Chris Matthews retired in March after a string of controversies, including one in which he compared then-Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders' wins in the Nevada caucuses to the Nazis invading France. Huh? Bernie, it should be noted, is Jewish and has family members who were killed in the Holocaust. What exactly did Chris say? First, he was discussing the very real possibility (at the time) that Bernie would be the Democratic nominee for president. He then said Republicans would "kill him" come November with opposition research. "But I think it's a little late to stop him," he told viewers. "I was reading last night about the fall of France in the summer of 1940 and the general, Reynaud, calls up Churchill and says, 'It's over.' And Churchill says, 'How can that be? You've got the greatest army in Europe. How can it be over?' He said, 'It's over.' So I had that suppressed feeling." Backlash was swift. His retirement came nearly as swiftly.
"RuPaul's Drag Race" star Gia Gunn was among those who thought COVID-19 and all the people dying from it were fake. At the time, nearly 500,000 people had been killed because of coronavirus. "I think the whole mask thing is ridiculous," she said on Twitter. "I honestly think this whole COVID-19 thing is a hoax. I think everybody that is taking precautions is cute, and it's definitely the thing to do, but I also think that a lot of people are brainwashed." She later apologized and said she'd very quickly become "educated" on the virus. There were others with similar conspiracy-fueled views. Roseanne Barr said the virus was a ploy to kill off baby boomers. Evangeline Lilly caught flak for going about conducting "business as usual" and indicating she had no plans to self-quarantine, despite living with her father, who was battling stage 4 leukemia and had a compromised immune system.
Mark Wahlberg and Dr. Oz decided to feud over… breakfast. C'mon guys! In January, Dr. Oz criticized Mark's workout routine, which involves him eating breakfast before the gym. Oz wasn't on board and made a resolution to skip breakfast this year. "I think for 2020, the first thing I'm going to do is ban breakfast," the celebrity doctor told TMZ. "I don't think we need to eat breakfast. That's an advertising ploy. Unfortunately, a lot of the dogma that we were fed for decades came out of advertisements. It wasn't really based on the truth around our health." Mark later challenged Oz to, yes, a push-up contest. They did it. Mark won — as if there can actually be a winner in his situation. The real losers in this feud? All of us.
"Six Feet Under" star Rachel Griffiths admitted she was "shallow" after posting a certain tweet in June. While protests were raging across the country (and even the world) following the death of George Floyd, a Black man, at the hands of white police officers, the actress posted a photo of her manicure. That's bad enough, but the caption did her in. "Shallow I know… America is burning people are dying … but still it just seems easier on the soul to watch all this happening with beautiful nails," she wrote. "And judging by the line of desperate ladies I am not alone. Shallow people we are…" She eventually took the tweet down and issued a lengthy apology. "I did not intend to trivialise, just escape it. But that I understand is part of the problem," she said, later adding, "I have a long way to go to truly understand my white b**** privilege."
Celebrity pastor Carl Lentz often preaches about doing the right thing and following the right path. He didn't exactly take his own words to heart. In November, Carl was fired from the Hillsong megachurch for "moral failures." Not long after, Carl, who was once inseparable from Justin Bieber, admitted that he cheated on his wife, who is a fellow minister. Hypocrisy much? His mistress told the New York Post that their romance was hardly a one-time thing and actually lasted five months. "We were obsessed with each other," she said. "He was like a drug to me. I was a drug to him." Carl's celebrity friends, and there
are were a lot of them, couldn't jump ship fast enough.