4 of the Juiciest Controversies Sections of Celebrity Wikipedia Pages

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4 of the Juiciest Controversies Sections of Celebrity Wikipedia Pages

The only thing we love more than a celebrity is a celebrity in crisis. It might even be true that for someone at the absolute peak of global fame, the only way to further dominate the world’s watercoolers (outside of dying) is to be involved in some sort of outlandish or horrific pickle. I personally don’t fully understand why it’s such a blow to our mental solar plexus when a public figure or celebrity gets one of their skeletons or horrible opinions yanked out of the closet. Between the shark-eyed psychopathy and unbelievably deluded worldview necessary to achieve the peak of fame, is it really surprising that an action star’s grasp of the Middle East is a bit lacking?

When someone in the public eye steps in a big ol’ intellectual or behavioral cowpie, it’s obviously going to become part of their legacy, with a footnote required in even the most proper channels. Where that chaos really takes off, though, is on the encyclopedia of our modern age: Wikipedia. Being a community-edited tome, when something like this allows opinion to sneak into what’s otherwise a research-based resource, it thrives like fire in dry leaf litter. What results is the simultaneous badge of honor/shame that is the “controversy” section, or the pinnacle in internet arguments: a page that Wikipedia has to lock altogether.

(NOTE: While researching this post, it seems Wikipedia may have phased out or at least strongly discouraged the independent “controversy” section. Nevertheless, we all know what they mean when a section is titled “personal history.”)

Manti Te’o

Jeffrey Beall

Giving a whole new definition to the term “seeing ghosts.

First up is a figure that, as time bore out, would become more known for his signature controversy than his actual source of celebrity. As it stands, his straightforward legacy is the impressive but common one of a college football standout who went on to a successful, but not remarkable NFL career. Don’t get it twisted, playing seven years in the NFL is still in the tippiest-top percentile of achievement for anyone making football their life’s mission. Making Manti Te’o’s play on the field the first thing people remember about him, though, would take a Hall of Fame induction, if that.

His controversy sparked during his stellar college career as a linebacker at Notre Dame, where he was in the running for the Heisman Trophy and picked up a bevy of other awards. While there, he established a relationship with a romantic partner that would become nationally famous in her own right, mostly because she never existed. The media was enraptured when Te’o revealed that his girlfriend, Lennay Kukua, had survived a car accident, only to have leukemia discovered while recovering in the hospital, a disease she would later die from. 

If you know anything about the NFL Draft and sports media, you should know this is a story that causes them to somberly hang their heads while salivating at the narrative potential. They got even more than they bargained for when the discovery that Lennay had never existed, and the investigation into whether Te’o knew that or not, became national news for three months at the end of 2012.

Tila Tequila


Believing in eugenics with a boob job is a weird combo.

Another absolute snapshot of the early internet era is model-cum-fascist Tila Tequila. Through some of the usual channels, but more notably through the earth-shaking success of online social media site Myspace, she rocketed into the forefront of the mind of every pubescent boy. Over the next few years, she’d ruin more tube socks than a COVID-adpoted Shih Tzu with separation anxiety. She was often called the “Queen of Myspace,” though it turned out that her preferred title would probably have been “Fuhrer.”

This is all detailed in a section of her Wikipedia page that you’re unlikely to find for most Playboy centerfolds: Neo-Nazism. She kicked this all off in 2013 by self-publishing an article titled “Why I Sympathize with Hitler: Part I,” which is like a “for sale: baby shoes, never worn” level of word economy for image suicide. At one point, she tried to half-assedly recant this (only because she was getting kicked off a reality show), but she’d go on to later reaffirm her Nazi beliefs. She also passed up the dog whistle in favor of an airhorn, posting things like, “There are only two things in this world, for which I would gladly sacrifice my own life; the destruction of all Jews and preservation of the white race.” 

Not enough context in the world to wiggle out of that one.

Kanye West

David Shankbone

A face that now inspires deep exhaustion.

Another front-runner in controversy all-stars is, obviously, rapper and producer Kanye West. Where other people might have one singular, but shocking controversy, Kanye might have the market corned in terms of sheer numbers. He’s a bit of a jack-of-all-tirades, able to staunchly find the worst position on pretty much any issue. Even his shoe designs immediately start arguments.

This has all resulted in a Wikipedia page that seems like a salad bar of things people shouldn’t say. The musical career section is extensive in itself, but it’s almost rivaled in content by a smorgasbord of subsections with loaded titles like “Views,” “Politics,” “Legal Problems” and “Mental Health.” Ironically, maybe everything would have gone better if his mouth had stayed wired shut for his whole career. 

George W. Bush

Public Domain

Tip for being remembered fondly: Dont create ISIS.

Given recent horrorscapes, people might not remember just how deeply hated George W. Bush was in the early aughts. Sure, now he’s just a rapidly-addling ex-president painting pictures of puppy dogs, but he was the source of international derision by the end of his presidency. This showed up on his Wikipedia page in a fascinating way that, unlike the others on this list, was all behind the scenes. According to a 2016 Forbes article, George W. Bush was the most frequently edited Wikipedia article on the site, and it wasn’t even close. At roughly 45,000 edits, he had almost a 20k lead on the silver medal winner and historic headache of a legacy that is Michael Jackson.

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