We are a pretty forgiving society when it's convenient. So what if Halle Berry has a habit of hit and run mayhem? She showed her rack in Swordfish. If we're fond enough of your music, movies or boobs, you can get busted committing what's known as an "atrocity" when done by someone who isn't cool. If we like you, all you have to do is sit back and wait for our short attention spans to take over, and the good will to return. For instance, you probably forgot about the time ...
Dr. Dre burst onto the scene in 1989 as part of N.W.A, a group of plucky young musicians sponsored by NorthWest Airlines . They were rapping about getting amorous with bitches (sometimes spelled with a z), being gangsta and how much they wanted to kill the police.
Spouting the lyrical equivalent to stories from Sodom and Gomorrah, it shouldn't have come as a surprise that some members of the group might have poor social skills.
Dee Barnes was a rapper who hosted a TV show about rap. She probably read periodicals on the subject as well. After interviewing former N.W.A member, Ice Cube, in 1990, the rest of N.W.A decided that they were going to kick the shit out of her because they have a strict "interview Ice Cube and get the shit kicked out of you" policy.
It's all in the N.W.A. Constitution.
When Dre found her at a record release party shortly after the interview, he "picked her up" and "began slamming her face and the right side of her body repeatedly against a wall near the stairway" as his bodyguard held off the crowd. After Dre tried and failed to throw her down the stairs, he began kicking her in the ribs before chasing her into the women's bathroom and donkey punching her a few times for good measure.
Dee Barnes, seen here violating every crucial rule of journalism school by interviewing members of N.W.A.
Of course that's Barnes's side of the story. Members of N.W.A. poignantly defended Dre's actions, saying "bitch deserved it" and "bitch had it coming" before retiring to the parlor to enjoy some tea.
Dee Barnes tried to sue the shit out of Dr. Dre to the tune of $22.75 million. Using his skills as a physician, Dre cut that down to a fine, 240 hours of community service, two years probation and an anti-violence PSA. Dre's career barely suffered. He went on to release the monstrously successful The Chronic, which has sold 4.5 million copies to date, and create Eminem in a Detroit lab (the two joked about the Dee Barnes incident in a joint track).
"Remember that time you tried to throw a woman down a flight of stairs? That sure was wacky."
Today, Dre pretty much enjoys Jay Leno levels of mainstream acceptance. Perhaps you enjoyed him in this recent Dr. Pepper commercial which, regrettably, did not feature Dre promising to slap the shit... out of your thirst!
Not So Lucky - Ike Turner:
"Bitch deserved it."
Turner was one of the earliest influences on Rock 'n' Roll and was inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame along with his ex-wife Tina. His legacy these days isn't so much as a great musician, however, as it is the pop culture butt of every joke about spousal abuse since the mid 80s.
This is thanks to Tina's revelations of his long years of domestic abuse. Turner denied he did anything wrong for years until finally admitting that sure, he punched her sometimes, but he never beat her.
No soft drink ad for you, Ike.
There once was a time when Tim Allen was actually a very successful stand-up comedian that people willingly paid to see. One insipid yet popular sitcom and some Christmas movies later he now appears in films that make Uwe Boll look like Martin Scorsese. But while he was building his fame in the stand-up community in the late 70s, he did end up hitting a little bit of a road bump.
Allen was in an airport, minding his own business, looking to get from point A to point B just like everybody else. Unlike anybody else in the airport at the time, however, Allen was trying to take with him a staggering 1.4-pounds of cocaine, which our street connections tell us is enough to get high forever.
He was caught when drug-sniffing dogs at every airport within a 100 mile radius started going berserk, and life imprisonment loomed. He snitched on every single drug dealer he knew, which reduced his sentence to a mere 3 to 7 years, and he was released 28 months later.
Regardless of the arrest, that's an awesome porn 'stache.
Allen went on to be a huge star as a stand-up comedian, and by the mid-90s he was an A-list celebrity (nobody really knows why yet). At the pinnacle of his success he starred in the Pixar film Toy Story (with its second sequel coming next year). Making the jump from coke dealer to family movie actor is something very few have done successfully.
Not So Lucky - Timothy Leary
Writer and drug advocate Leary was caught crossing the US/Mexican border back in 1965 with marijuana in the trunk. He was convicted under the Marihuana Tax Act--which you know was serious because they spelled it with an H--and sentenced to 30 years in prison plus a psych evaluation, because only dopes do drugs, kids. After getting that conviction overturned, he was sentenced to 20 years for being caught with less than a half ounce of pot.
Leary escaped prison, fled the country, was labeled the most dangerous man in America and was eventually extradited back to the US and held on $5 million bail. He was sent to Folsom Prison where he was neighbors with Charles Manson and faced up to 95 years before being released a couple years later because the man didn't want to seem square.
Elvis Costello opened his career by releasing two of the biggest albums in music history, despite looking like a hungover hobo. He was becoming huge in Britain, and Columbia Records saw the potential star power that a young Costello could achieve in America. There was pretty much no way he could fuck it up. But he could sure try his hardest.
By 1979, America was finally warming up to the idea of minorities, even to the point of frowning upon people using racial slurs when referring to them. Elvis Costello, however, was British, which apparently meant he had no fucking idea. While intoxicated at a Holiday Inn bar, he referred to Ray Charles as a "blind, ignorant nigger" and James Brown as a "jive-ass nigger." He then called Lucky the Leprechaun a filthy, drunken Mick and stole his Lucky Charms.
Elvis's remark was just so shocking, Ray never saw it coming.
Costello apologized, using the bullshit excuse that he was trying to draw an end to a ridiculous conversation with the most ridiculous statement possible because apparently ridiculous means racist in some parts of Britain. He also decided to participate in a charity event called "Rock Against Racism."
Charles forgave Costello, stating that "drunken talk isn't meant to be printed in the paper." James Brown never responded, presumably because he was too high on cocaine to give a shit.
Pictured Left to Right: left cheek, cocaine, right cheek.
Not So Lucky - Michael Richards
Proving he could be just as wacky in real life as Kramer was on Seinfeld, Richards decided to pepper a stand-up act with racial slurs directed towards a pair of black hecklers in the crowd. After thoroughly wearing out the N-word until it had lost all meaning, and adding a bonus joke about lynching, he later appeared on David Letterman's show to apologize, using the very same excuse Costello did, that he was trying to be even more outrageous than the hecklers. He then called Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, official spokesmen for blackness, and apologized again before being completely ostracized by the rest of society.
Johnny Cash dabbled in a lot of things in his life. He was a symbol of anti-authority and did boatloads of drugs, giving Joaquin Phoenix an excuse to act like a total fucking nut. Most people have forgotten about the time that Cash dabbled in making a species of bird go extinct.
Cash was driving his truck through Los Padres National Forest in central California, when a wheel bearing in his truck overheated and set the whole thing ablaze. Cash did what any responsible motorist would do and abandoned his burning vehicle... to go fishing.
The fire spread, and almost an entire square mile of forest burned. More importantly, the fire killed 49 California Condors, which at the time was roughly half of the entire species.
Jesus. Good riddance, right? Holy shit, what an ugly bastard of a bird.
The federal government sued Cash and eventually settled for $82,000 dollars, which is miniscule in comparison to the nearly $30 million that the federal government has spent trying to conserve Condors.
Cash's defense was that it was all an accident, he didn't want his truck to burst into flame, after all. The courts felt differently, both because he didn't seem to think the whole "burning vehicle in the middle of the woods" thing deserved his attention at the time and the fact he remained unapologetic, going so far as to say, "I don't give a damn about your yellow buzzards."
Not So Lucky - Michael Vick
In 2007, Falcons quarterback Vick was investigated for his involvement in a dogfighting ring. Vick was convicted of financing the operation and handling the cash and the gambling as well as personal involvement with some pretty horrific animal cruelty.
"I seriously cannot get wait to go home and watch those dogs fight."
Vick was sentenced to just under two years in prison and put nearly $1 million in escrow to pay for the care of the dogs taken from his property. He has since expressed remorse for his actions and will spend the season as a backup for the Eagles at a fraction of the money he once made. The only two things Vick can count on at this stage is that PETA will do something preposterous and ill-conceived by way of protest at his first game, and none of this shit would have happened if he had just treated uglier animals like shit.