Don't let us imply that dickish celebrity behavior is some kind of recent phenomenon. For instance, there is classic author Charles Dickens.
"Bet you didn't think this was how I looked. Weird, right?"
Charles Dickens' ability to market orphans as adorable made him one of the few literary geniuses who actually got recognized during his lifetime. He was basically the 19th century version of a rock star. And just like a good little rock star, he dumped his aging wife for an 18-year-old actress, and didn't give a shit who knew it.
It's one thing to end a marriage; it's quite another to make your hatred of your spouse as public as humanly possible, which is exactly what Dickens did. In 1836, a then-unknown Dickens married Catherine Hogarth; by all accounts, it was a pleasant enough marriage, resulting in 10 children. Then, Catherine got fat. This was apparently an unforgivable sin in the Dickens household, where the ability to push out 10 kids must surely mean you can at least do a couple push-ups right after.
Mount Vernon Nazarene University
"You only ran 5 miles today? Such a cow."
So he went and got himself a mistress, 18-year-old actress Ellen Ternan. Now, cheating on your wife because she got old and overweight is bad, but what happened next truly exposed Dickens as a douche on the level of any evil orphanage shutter-downer in his books. Once his affair was made public in 1858, he went on the warpath, slandering his estranged wife in newspaper after newspaper and letter after letter. According to him, Catherine was a "donkey," an "unloving and unloved mother," not his intellectual equal, and entirely to blame for saddling him with so many noisy-ass children. What, was he banging her under the influence of hypnosis?
His annoyance over so many kids didn't stop him from claiming custody of nine of them, with only the oldest, Charles Jr., being financially independent enough to flip his father the finger and stay with his mother.
"That old schizophrenic bastard can die alone with his hallucinations."
Why You Forgot About It:
Creating that whole "White Christmas" thing helped keep Dickens in the public's good graces, but so did Catherine's outright refusal to rebut. She never reacted to Dickens' abuse and never rebuffed his public letters, or even spoke to a journalist. Literally her only comeback came on her deathbed in 1879 when she handed over a collection of letters Dickens wrote her, with the simple request, "Give these to the British Museum, that the world may know he loved me once."
Goddammit, who let all these chopped onions and dust mites into the room all of a sudden?
Here's a drawing of Dickens as a child laborer, just in case you aren't topped out on sad.
Kasos Katopodis / Getty
Depending on who you talk to, Eric Clapton is either a hardcore blues legend or the king of vanilla soft rock. Yeah, he gave us "Layla," but he also forced us to deal with "Wonderful Tonight"; both were monster hits, proving that everyone loves Clapton, and Clapton loves everyone.
Express / Stringer / Hulton / Getty
Even George Harrison loved him, and Clapton wrote wrote "Layla" just to steal the man's wife.
Unless you're a filthy colored immigrant, that is, in which case, he kind of wants you to get the shit out of Britain.
Eric Clapton is an unapologetic follower of first-class douche Enoch Powell, a member of the British Conservative Party and full-blown racist. His 1968 "Rivers of Blood" speech, which basically foretold of an England in tatters if (non-white) immigration was allowed to run rampant, was ridiculously controversial and seriously damaged his political career. But Clapton stood by him.
He had a thing for racists in immaculately tailored suits.
In 1974, six years after Enoch was drummed out of political life by his remarks, a drunken Clapton was performing at a concert in Birmingham, and apparently saw an Arab man leering at his wife. This was too much for Clapton, who began a diatribe lambasting "wogs," "blacks," "Jamaicans," and anyone else who lived in England and wasn't white. No official recording exists of the speech, but some choice quotes that witnesses agree on include Clapton saying, "I think Enoch's right ... we should send them all back. Throw the wogs out! Keep Britain white!" and that Britain was on its way to becoming "a black colony."
Stefan M. Prager / Redferns / Getty
"Blaaaaaaack people, y'got me on my knees, blaaaaack people, c'mon won't you please all leave or die ..."
Why You Forgot About It:
The lack of actual footage of him saying it helped, despite the large number of people reporting on it (and a whole anti-racism movement being launched thanks to his comments). When asked about it, Clapton bafflingly says that of course he isn't a racist, but still insists that Powell was "outrageously brave" and "misunderstood," and that his own views on the matter haven't changed. Hey, you can't say he's not consistent.
Jo Hale / Getty
"Consistent" here is a synonym for "grandpa levels of racism."
Lachlan tweets when he isn't busy pointing out why Sean Penn is a dickhead. Javier Yepes lives in Cambodia, you can write him at firstname.lastname@example.org, and he would appreciate you giving your sexy Internet likes to his friends' film company.
For more reasons why you shouldn't trust celebrities, check out 5 Bizarre Outbursts By Celebrities You Thought Were Sane and 5 Reasons You Should Never Take Advice from Celebrities.
If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out 4 Astounding Screw-Ups Government Workers Failed to Notice .
And stop by LinkSTORM because it's high time we rebelled against our celebrity overlords.
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Related Reading: Still have a celebrity crush on John Lennon? Well, he was an abusive asshole who beat women. And if you'd like your respect for Tom Hanks to take a nose dive, read about his lost glove obsession and shake your head in rueful silence. But hey, don't fret- every celebrity isn't a shithead. Tom Cruise routinely saves lives, and Johnny Depp is pretty darn nice too.