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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 ...

7
Dr. Dre Kicked the Shit Out of a Woman

Dr. Dre burst onto the scene in 1989 as part of N.W.A, a group of plucky young musicians sponsored by NorthWest Airlines [citation needed]. 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.

The Incident:

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.

The Fallout:

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.

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6
Tim Allen Dealt Mess Loads of Cocaine, Ratted Out All His Colleagues

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.

The Incident:

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.

The Fallout:

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.

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5
Elvis Costello Called James Brown and Ray Charles The N Word

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.

The Incident:

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.

The Fallout:

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.

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4
Johnny Cash Wiped Out an Entire Species (Almost)

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.

The Incident:

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 Fallout:

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.

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3
Marvin Harrison is Terrifying

Lest you think we hold our athletes to a higher standard, Marvin Harrison is a future hall of fame wide receiver who never really made waves the way other pro athletes tend to--say, building a car out of pot. He has always been quiet, classy and professional on the field; the picture of what the NFL and its white, middle-class fans want out of their athletes.

Anyone who'd imagined Harrison and his quarterback Peyton Manning palling around in the off-season was surprised to learn last year that Harrison was actually more like all the characters Denzel Washington has played since Training Day.

The Incident:

Dwight Dixon, resident of Philadelphia and therefore an ex-convict, got into a fight with Marvin Harrison. After Harrison allegedly kicked the shit out of him, Dixon fled in his vehicle. Harrison was not finished though, and allegedly began shooting at him. And not just with regular "I'm a little dissatisfied with your behavior" bullets, but with bullets that can pierce 48 layers of fucking Kevlar, also known as "I want you and people the next town over to be dead" bullets.

He reportedly shot Dixon in the hand with said superbullets, but also hit another bystander in the back, and hit a car with a two-year-old inside. He was just like Gary Busey in Lethal Weapon or like Gary Busey in real life.


A whiter, saner Marvin Harrison.

The Fallout:

We say "allegedly" because, while the bullets found at the scene were indeed from Harrison's gun (according to ballistics reports) and Harrison was at the scene and had motive to shoot the guy, the cops have yet to prove whether or not it was Harrison who fired the weapon. This means that the cops believe it's possible for somebody to have stolen Harrison's gun to shoot at somebody that Harrison wanted to shoot at, like some kind of NRA guardian angel. Or, Harrison simply handed the gun to a friend and said, "I'll give you five bucks to shoot that dude over there."

Because of conflicting witness statements, the district attorney decided not to file charges. However, the man shot in the back did state that it was Harrison who shot him, and is now suing him. Presumably he'll be going to court in 49 layers of Kevlar, just in case. Especially after a feature story in ESPN Magazine painted a portrait of Harrison as a mini-kingpin, buying up tracts of land in his old Philly neighborhood, strolling around the premises armed to the teeth and flying into a violent rage when anybody invades his space.

Not So Lucky - OJ Simpson

You might have missed it when it came up on the news a few years back, but OJ Simpson was actually put on trial for the murder of two people. Like Harrison, things panned out in Simpson's favor and he ended up a free man, with the victims left to seek restitution in civil court.

Unlike Harrison, the remainder of Simpson's life will be defined by the fact everyone on Earth believes he's a murderer, regardless of what the criminal justice system said. Everyone believed it the moment the story broke. The lesson? Always cooperate with the cops, like Harrison did. Running away in a white Bronco with a bag of cash and a fake beard just makes you look guilty.

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2
Chuck Berry: Amateur Voyeur

Chuck Berry is one of the greatest guitar players of all-time, and one of the inventors of rock music as a whole. In 1990, he was also sued for being a huge perv.

The Incident:

Having made all kinds of money for being music legend, Berry decided to buy a few restaurants. Then he decided to buy some video cameras. Then he decided to install those cameras in the ladies restrooms of his restaurants so he could watch some sweet, sweet urination. Then he got the shit sued out of him by nearly 60 women.

Of course, Berry denied that he had any knowledge whatsoever of the cameras, and that if cameras were indeed found in the bathrooms of his restaurants, somebody else installed them--probably one of those bathroom cam bandits you're always hearing about on the news.

Despite Berry's foolproof defense of shrugging and looking as surprised as anyone else, he had to pay over 1.2 million dollars divided up amongst the victims.


YOU GONNA GET FILMED.

The Fallout:

Berry's music career was finished at that point anyway, so adding the "creepy old man" title to his long list of accolades didn't really cause much of a stir. Berry is still widely considered to be one of the greatest musicians of all-time, proving that trying to watch women pee is perfectly acceptable if you're either a skilled musician or German.

Not so lucky - Pee Wee Herman

Hilariously offputting children's entertainer Paul Reubens had made a name for himself with a television show and a couple of films under his belt. To celebrate, he undid that belt and began to play with himself in a movie theater. A couple of years later he was charged with possessing child pornography, a charge which was later dropped in favor of a lesser charge, but the stigma of Pee Wee being a giant, freaky perv made all of his work up to that point seem about twice as creepy in retrospect, and it was already pretty creepy.

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1
Rick James: Music, Crack Pipe Torture Innovator

Rick James is known for "Superfreak," his decades long monstrous addiction to crack and for being Dave Chappelle. By the early 90s, he also had developed a penchant for torture


He was also addicted to hairspray.

The Incident:

Being addicted to drugs is standard for pretty much all musicians. Torturing people while on the drugs with drug paraphernalia is a little different though and expressly forbidden in Disney Record contracts. So when Rick James kidnapped music executive Mary Sauger, then beat her for roughly 20 hours, it started a series of what qualifies as dramatic and insane events.

After being paroled for the aforementioned day-long beating, shit got real. Rick James was hanging out with 24-year-old Frances Alley, when he became suspicious that she had stolen drugs from him. Unwilling to part with any of his drugs under any circumstance, James likely snorted toilet cleanser until holding her hostage seemed like a fine course of action.


"Man, I am just full of good ideas."

He tied her up, burnt her with the hot end of a crack pipe, and forced her to service him sexually for six fucking days. To put six days of torture into perspective, she was essentially tortured for 12 viewings of all three Lord of the Rings movies, uncut. That's a shitload of Smeagol.

The Fallout:

Rick James was convicted of two charges, but avoided the torture charge, which would have put his Charlie Murphy slapping ass in jail for life. Thanks to Dave Chappelle, who appears in half of the google images when you search "Rick James," James became charming and hilarious again and people mostly forgot about all that torture business and that abhorrent video he made with Eddie Murphy.

Not So Lucky - Phil Spector:


"I'm not even going to try to win this trial."

Celebrity murderer du jour, Spector was once a famed record producer. However, it later came to light that he had a habit, spanning a good 30 years, of inviting women to his house and then "sort of" shooting at them when they tried to leave. Sort of became "point blank" in 2003, when Spector shot Lana Clarkson by putting the gun in her mouth.

Though the first trial ended in a mistrial, the second go round ended with a conviction and Spector getting 19 years to think about what he did... and maybe get a haircut.

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