We're only a quarter into 2021 and already we've had a whole host of celebrity controversies! From an actor's alleged cannibalism leanings to an assumed-heritage scandal and an A-lister's fiancé being accused of cheating with a Bravo star, there hasn't been a dull moment in the world of Wonderwall.com. Let's start with this drama… "Old Town Road" hitmaker Lil Nas X dropped a divisive new song and video on March 25 — "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)" — and its sinful themes instantly sparked controversy. In the vid, he finds himself in the Garden of Eden, where he's kissed by a snake with a man's head. Soon, he finds himself riding a stripper pole down into the depths of hell, where he gives the devil a lap dance before snapping Satan's neck and taking his horned crown. That riled up a lot of conservatives and Christians, but then the music star took things even further: He revealed he'd collaborated with streetwear company MSCHF to release 666 pairs of limited edition "Satan Shoes" — modified black Nike Air Max 97 sneakers decorated with a pentagram pendant and a reference to Luke 10:18 (a Bible verse about Satan's fall from heaven). They also contain 60cc of red ink and a drop of human blood in the sole. As social media erupted, Nike issued a statement clarifying that it "did not design or release these shoes and we do not endorse them." Nike then filed a trademark infringement suit against MSCHF. South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem waded into the fray too, tweeting, "Our kids are being told that this kind of product is, not only okay, it's 'exclusive.' But do you know what's more exclusive? Their God-given eternal soul. We are in a fight for the soul of our nation." The shoes sold out in less than a minute on March 29. Lil Nas X then leaned into the controversy even more, posting a YouTube video titled "Lil Nas X Apologizes for Satan Shoe" that's anything but: It's actually a clip of him doing a sexy dance for Satan. Keep reading for more big 2021 celebrity controversies…
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We started off 2021 with a truly puzzling celebrity scandal — the mysterious comes-and-goes accent and origins of Hilaria Baldwin. Yep, Alec Baldwin's wife — a former yoga instructor who most people presumed was from Spain due to her on-and-off Spanish accent, their children's Spanish names and the many things she's said over the years that certainly made it seem like she was from España — was revealed to be… zero percent Spanish. As Twitter began searching for the truth, it emerged that she was, in fact, actually born and raised as Hilary, not Hilaria, in Massachusetts. Reports revealed she has ancestors who can be traced back to the days of the Pilgrims. Yet she'd long perpetuated a belief that she moved to the States from Spain as a young adult — including in interviews. She was accused of faking an accent and faking forgetting the word English word for cucumber on a "Today" show segment. In response, Hilaria — who apparently did spend time visiting Spain, where her American parents moved in 2011 — took some time off from social media… only to return with an even more confounding quasi-apology in early February in which she doubled down on her "connection to two cultures."
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The beginning of 2021 didn't kick off so great for Alex Rodriguez. He surprisingly was dragged into some Bravo TV drama in January when "Southern Charm" star Madison LeCroy was accused of having an affair with "an ex-MLB player." Soon, it was alleged that the mystery man was A-Rod after internet sleuths discovered he'd once followed her and liked many of her Instagram posts and that they both stayed at the same New York City hotel around th same time in December 2020. Cast member Danni Baird also revealed on the "Reality Life with Kate Casey" podcast that Madison and Jennifer Lopez's fiancé had been "FaceTiming or something." For her part, Madison confirmed some of the rumblings, telling Page Six that he was an "acquaintance," but that they "never met up." Despite all of the drama and it not being the first time A-Rod has been accused of infidelity, he and fiancée J.Lo are still going strong. Despite claims they split in March in the wake of the cheating scandal, they denied it, though admitted they're "working through some things."
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Talk about a polarizing dismissal! Disney and Lucasfilm made the decision to fire one of the stars of "The Mandalorian" on Feb. 10. After airing some of her controversial views on social media — including comparing being conservative in the current political climate to being Jewish in Nazi Germany, sharing anti-mask memes amid the coronavirus pandemic and mocking trans people's pronouns — Gina Carano was axed from the series. Lucasfilm put out a statement explaining, "Gina Carano is not currently employed by Lucasfilm and there are no plans for her to be in the future. Nevertheless, her social media posts denigrating people based on their cultural and religious identities are abhorrent and unacceptable." In the wake of the firing, many conservatives announced they'd be canceling their Disney+ accounts in protest.
Country music was rocked by a scandal in early February when TMZ posted a video of rising star Morgan Wallen saying the N-word in his front yard. The footage resulted in widespread cancelation of Morgan's music: country radio pulled his songs, as did Sirius XM, Pandora, iHeartRadio and radio powerhouse Cumulus Media. His record label suspended him indefinitely and the Academy of Country Music announced he'd be ineligible for its 2021 awards in the wake of the news. A week later, Morgan took to Instagram to apologize, noting he'd met with Black organizations to discuss his words and asking his fans not to defend him. "I was wrong. It's me to take ownership for this and I fully accept any penalties I'm facing. The time of my return is solely upon me and the work I put in," he said.
A documentary about Britney Spears that debuted on Feb. 5 brought a lot of attention to the pop star's conservatorship and how other notable names treated her in the past. "Framing Britney Spears" from The New York Times delved into her rise to fame, mistreatment by the paparazzi and the press and how then-boyfriend Justin Timberlake handled their young romance and headline-making breakup. It also questioned whether or not the now-39-year-old should still be in a conservatorship overseen by her father 13 years after she endured a mental health crisis. The show helped to not only recruit more people to the #FreeBritney movement but sparked many to demand an apology from Justin himself. Justin acquiesced, taking to Instagram on Feb. 12 to apologize to both Britney and Janet Jackson (remember what happened during their 2004 Super Bowl halftime show performance?), writing in part, "As a man in a privileged position I have to be vocal about this. Because of my ignorance, I didn't recognize it for all that it was while it was happening in my own life but I do not want to ever benefit from others being pulled down again."
Armie Hammer kicked off January with a gigantic scandal centered around messages he'd allegedly send women on social media. Within the exchanges, he allegedly described himself as a "cannibal." Multiple woman came forward with shocking accusations. Among them? Ex Courtney Vucekovich, who claimed that Armie "said to me he wants to break my rib and barbeque and eat it" and another ex, Paige Lorenze, who claimed he asked her to remove ribs for him. She also shared a photo revealing an "A" carved into her skin with a knife courtesy of the actor, she claimed. The controversy caused the "Call Me By Your Name" actor to pull out of a film he was meant to start shooting alongside Jennifer Lopez in February. Page Six reported in February that Armie was living in Grand Cayman — where he grew up and where his estranged wife, Elizabeth Chambers, was been based with their kids during the COVID-19 pandemic — and according to onlookers, he'd been acting like he was "without a care in the world." To add to the bizarre scandal, in February, police shut down speculation that Armie was being investigated in connection with the mysterious death of a woman in the California desert.
Kevin Hart found himself involved in an unfortunate scandal in 2021 when he discovered his personal shopper had allegedly been stealing from him. It apparently took time for anyone to realize the theft was occurring — so much so that the purported culprit was able to make more than $1 million in unauthorized purchases. The personal shopper, Dylan Jason Syer — who started working for the comedy star in 2015 — was arraigned in February on grand larceny and nine other counts. Among the items he allegedly purchased? $240,000 worth of jewelry and watches, fine art and Louis Vuitton bags.
After Larry King passed away on Jan. 23, a scandal over his will erupted as it was revealed that he wrote his estranged wife, Shawn Southwick King, out of the will before his death. The Blast got access to a photo of the handwritten will, which explained that Larry wanted all of his money to be divided only among his children. It was written two months after he split from Shawn. The couple were technically still married when Larry passed away at 87 from sepsis just weeks after battling COVID-19.
Actress Evan Rachel Wood publicly made a serious accusation on Feb. 1 on Instagram: that she had been abused by ex-fiancé Brian Warner, who's better known as rock star Marilyn Manson. The couple dated back in 2007 when Evan was just 19 and Manson was 38. Three years later, they were engaged, but they ended up splitting later in 2010. Evan alleged that he groomed her as a teenager and "horrifically abused" her for years. The star had previously said before Congress that she had been a victim of abuse, though she'd never named her abuser publicly until now. The allegations resulted in the rocker's record label and talent agency dropping him within days, and other woman came forward with abuse allegations of their own. Manson called the claims "horrible distortions of reality."
Bachelor Nation was faced with a major scandal in February when photos of "The Bachelor" contestant Rachael Kirkconnell — who was a frontrunner on Matt James's season at the time — surfaced showing her dressed as a Native American person and attending an antebellum plantation-themed college party. She'd also been criticized for liking Confederate flag-related TikToks. But it was actually host Chris Harrison's take on the photos that made things get worse. He spoke to former "The Bachelorette" star Rachel Lindsay — the first Black star of the series — on "Extra" about the photos and defended Rachael, saying, "We all need to have a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion. Because I have seen some stuff online — this judge, jury, executioner thing…" He added, "I haven't heard Rachael speak on this yet. Until I actually hear this woman have a chance to speak, who am I to say any of this?… I've heard a lot of 'I think she should,' 'I think he should.' Who the hell are you? Who are you that you demand that?" People found his comments to be insensitive and many said he was too quick to defend a contestant accused of racist actions. Amid the backlash, Chris apologized two different times via Instagram and ultimately announced that he was at least temporarily stepping away from his "Bachelor" hosting duties for the time being after leading the franchises since 2002.