5 Beloved Celebrities With Under-Reported Awful Sides
We know that, behind their perfectly white piano-key teeth, flawlessly Proactiv-ed skin, fleekishly groomed eyebrows, and reptilian shapeshifting abilities, celebrities are usually just as flawed as the rest of us -- even the really nice ones. This is why you shouldn't be entirely surprised to learn that all of the people in the following paragraphs are actually absolutely terrible.
The Fugees Are All Awful
Much like a heavily layered, face-framing haircut named after a waitress on Friends, The Fugees as a whole had one good year: 1996. After that, each Fugee slowly but surely went on to suck as a human.
First up is Wyclef Jean, whose charity, Yele Haiti, managed to utterly mishandle $16 million in donations meant for the people of Haiti back in 2010. Despite spending thousands of dollars to rent office space in Manhattan, the charity spent about 10 times the rent on that office space for "landscaping." Landscaping in Manhattan.
It can't be a coincidence that Yele's logo outright told us to go fuck ourselves.
Supposedly, all of this monetary waste -- see: approximately $100,000 earmarked to Wyclef's reported mistress and another odd $30,000 to fly Lindsay Lohan to a charity event that drew only $60,000 (presumably because everybody heard Lindsay Lohan was showing up) -- started occurring after Wyclef failed in his attempt to run for president of Haiti, so we can only imagine how Donald Trump will react if he fails to win the United States presidential election.
The philanthropic misadventures continue with Wyclef's cousin Pras, who set up a fundraiser for those who suffered because of 9/11. It was supposed to be a giant fashion show with guest musical performances, all sponsored by MTV. The musical headliner apparently caught the flu, which would seem innocuous enough if it weren't for the fact that the headliner was Pras himself, and no one else showed up to perform. As if things weren't embarrassing enough, MTV claimed that it was never involved in any kind of sponsorship, because it was 2014 and MTV hadn't touched anything music-related in two decades.
When the whole event fell apart, Pras manned up and wrote a check for the venue ... and it bounced.
Though, honestly, not forcing patrons to listen to Pras might've been his most charitable act of all.
Finally, there's Lauryn Hill. At the tail end of the 1990s, her album The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill, was the biggest damn record on the planet. She followed up Miseducation with a confusing unplugged album that 45 people liked, fell off the planet for most of the 2000s, and did a three-month prison sentence for avoiding the taxman. But whatever -- she garnered enough public goodwill from Miseducation to last the next few centuries, right?
Uh, her next big music moment was in 2013, when her song "Neurotic Society" rather depressingly contained the kind of word salad typical of a Stormfront message board, what with its references to "girl men," duplicitous "drag queens," and "social transvestism," a phrase that would probably be offensive if we could figure out what it meant.
Man, she wasn't kidding about that miseducation.
David Attenborough Loves The Earth, And Also Starvation
Find any decent nature documentary and, odds are, David Attenborough had some hand in it. He's the soothing British voice behind 99 percent of the world's footage of animals gutting each other to stay alive.
An unsuspecting prey's violent death is best served with a cup of tea and some warm crumpets.
Unfortunately, narrating decades of nature doing Her thing has left a terrible impact on the octogenarian's brain, because he recently nonchalantly dropped the bomb that sending relief food to starving people is "barmy." We're not even sure if "barmy" is a real word, but we're pretty sure it doesn't mean "a swell idea."
"I film starving animals without feeding them, and I ain't making exceptions just because they're suddenly people."
Attenborough's concern is that the planet can't support our population and everyone should have better access to birth control, which are both fair points. The problem is that, when discussing population control, he specifically used Ethiopians as his example of how food charity is a waste of time. In his mind, famine is just a natural consequence of "too many people for too little piece of land." His words, not ours. Apparently, David Attenborough has never heard of Manhattan.
Of course, it's not our place to tell a beloved old man that modern starvation is more about politics and the logistics and fairness of food distribution, and that the Earth is actually producing more than enough calories to go around if we could figure out a way to navigate government bureaucracies and warlords. Nor is it our place to tell the same old man that he should reconsider his stance that human beings are a "plague on the Earth."
"You gotta throw them into the fire early, or else they start eating and drinking and then all hope is lost."
But, if we could chastise an 89-year-old, we'd say, "Slow your roll, Attenborough. Everything you utter could be the last soundbite we get before you join the big nature watch in the sky."
James Randi Thinks We Should Let Drug Users Kill Themselves
It's not an easy job debunking people who have a grip on the minds of the gullible, but that's what ex-magician James Randi has done for the majority of his life. Starting in the 1970s, Randi has gone for the jugular of every celebrity paranormal personality out there. The guy who got famous for bending spoons was publicly debunked by Randi. He's exposed psychics, faith healers, astrologers, and mediums, and then had the courage to come out as gay at age 82. Clearly, this is a likable guy, right?
Unless you're his dinner guest and you just want to fucking eat already.
Almost. For a man who prides himself on his rational ways, Randi has a lot of emotional ill will toward drug users. Not psychic drug users or televangelist drug users or spoon-bending drug users, just regular drug users. In fact, he wants drug users to die.
In a 2009 blog post, Randi begins by making a compelling case for the legalization of drugs -- that prohibition causes people to abuse them in dangerous ways. We've been having this debate for years now, so there's nothing crazy there. Then Randi takes a turn for the "uh, what?" by suggesting that, by legalizing drugs, we'd be able to weed out the people who would just abuse the drugs until they died. And that would be GREAT.
Specifically, the great debunker said:
"The principle of Survival Of The Fittest would draconically prove itself for a couple of years, after which Natural Selection would weed out those for whom there is no hope except through our forbearance, and I'm very, very, weary of supporting these losers with my tax dollars."
Holy. Crap. Apparently, in all of his years of aligning himself with science itself, Randi has gained very little information on addiction, casual drug use, or human behavior. Because in his head, drug legalization will simply wipe out ... who? Loser welfare users? Is that who he's mad at? Loser homeless people addicted to heroin? Loser casual pot smokers? Unlike every other mystery Randi has attempted to solve, this one should probably be left alone.
Marilyn Manson Is Less Goth Outsider, More Frat-Boy Douchebag
Marilyn Manson is a guy whose regular attire makes him look like the lovechild of Casper The Friendly Ghost's girlfriend and Count Dracula. For about five years, his music resonated with suburban kids who probably needed a hug. One of his defining moments was when he was interviewed for the movie Bowling For Columbine, about the 1999 Columbine shooting, and he gave a particularly touching quote about nobody listening to bullying victims until the worst things happen. Hang with us here, but that was probably the greatest performance Manson has ever given.
It's neck-and-neck with that time he closed out "The Dope Show" by masturbating with a copy of the Bible.
The same year that Columbine happened, Manson went out of his way to bully Christina Ricci about her weight. After she'd made some comments about not liking his band, she became the spokesperson for millions of people who thought the same thing, and the subsequent target of Manson's douchenozzle persona. He fired back at her with, "She's going to need to make a few more stops at the salad bar if she really, really wants to look like my girlfriend" (his girlfriend at the time was actress Rose McGowan).
It helps to know that Manson made this comment back when Christina Ricci looked like this:
What society would have her?
And Marilyn Manson was calling her fat.
Of course, Manson probably didn't know that Ricci had already battled an eating disorder as a teenager or that, within a few years of his remark, she'd be so skinny that you could count her ribs in Black Snake Moan. (And P.S., don't Google "Christina Ricci Black Snake Moan" unless you want to find yourself on a pro-anorexia blog.)
So let's just chalk up Marilyn "Brian Warner" Manson's douchey 1999 remark about the weight of a 19-year-old girl as a one-off slip of the tongue. Except it wasn't. Sixteen years later, 46-year-old Manson gave an interview to the AV Club that can only be described as "the most horrific set of words ever printed other than Mein Kampf."
Third, if you count that Holy Wood novel even Satan won't let him harm the world with.
Among Manson's crimes against humanity: He immediately name-drops Johnny Depp, turns the interview around right at the start by posing a question/monologue of his own, and brags that he once hired one of his haters to be his webmaster, only so he could "crush" him by sabotaging his own site.
Then he said he "packed a can of whoop-ass with him at all times."
Then he said that he's got "priors," all assault and battery, which was why he started "fight training."
Then he said he carries a gold switchblade, which comes in handy when drunk people try to start fights with him. But don't worry, he said, because: "I didn't really have to use any physical violence. I've learned to control my use of violence by making a mere threatening facial expression."
We wouldn't want to fight someone who's clearly just shit their pants, either.
At this point, you're probably thinking Manson's doing a character. Which would make sense if he's been playing the part of "Entire Fraternity From Animal House" all along, but he hasn't. It turns out, the screaming nightmare of a stage persona Manson's created is only covering up an insecure middle-aged man with the social skills of a coked-up toddler.
U2 Wants Tax Money To Go To The Poor While They Avoid Taxes
We'll cut right to the chase. You know U2 is among the most philanthropic groups in history, and their musical success is largely based around being played where nobody wants to hear them, such as on brand-new iPhones and long elevator rides. Or, if you're in your early 40s, you remember them as that band that was cool in your formative years and is big on "social issues." Bono's whole thing is mobilizing the world to erase poverty itself, right?
Ehhh ... kind of.
They rather enjoy the poverty that results from buying a ticket to one of their shows.
Bono has called for corporations who are exploiting the natural resources of Africa to ensure that they pay appropriate taxes. For bigger companies, that could mean millions upon millions of dollars that could provide a huge boost to the development of many poorer parts of Africa. This is, in and of itself, one of Bono's least insane beliefs.
Where things get a little sketchy is that Bono and pals have never done this themselves in their own native land. When the band was first forming, they took advantage of low-tax-rate policies that were introduced in the 1960s for developing artists in Ireland. To this day, they have defended lower taxes on corporations, applauding the 12.5 percent tax rate they'd come to love. In fact, when that tax policy for artists expired in the 1990s, U2 Ltd took all of their "business operations" over to the Netherlands, where they enjoy a tax rate for corporations of around 5 percent.
But they still haven't found what they're looking for: a zero percent rate.
Well, Bono's sunglasses don't pay for themselves. They might as well keep blinding Bono to his own hypocrisy.
Yes, unfortunately these people with oodles of money often turn out to be dicks. Like, Johnny Cash, who almost wiped a species off the map. Or how Sean Penn beat the shit out of Madonna. See what we're talking about in 7 Beloved Celebrities And The Awful Shit You Forgot They Did and 5 Beloved Celebrities Everyone Forgets Did Terrible Things.
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Angels are real, and they are bad frickin' news. Robert Brockway's Vicious Circuit series is a punk rock, dark fantasy full of horror and humor. Check out the first two books, and pre-order the third, Kill All Angels, available December 26th.