Overshadowed by Controversy

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There are some well-known works that gathered controversy throughout the years, and there are also famously controversial works in which the controversy, whether rightful or not, would overshadow most other aspects. Which isn't to say that works in the latter category have no other redeeming factor, just that most people would know little else aside from the controversial aspects.

Bad reviews alone do not make a controversial moment, and in fact some works can be well-regarded by critics and those who watched, read or played the work, and not all works listed here are either laughably bad or just downright terrible. Plot-related twists are generally not what makes up the category either, even if such cases are subjective and arguable. The major qualifier is that the works would be known beyond the fans of a particular genre that there's little knowledge of some other parts of a work to the general public.

Controversies can be a result of the following:

See also Dancing Bear, Just Here for Godzilla, Mainstream Obscurity, and Watch It for the Meme. Compare No Such Thing as Bad Publicity. When a whole genre gets held under controversy, it would become The New Rock and Roll.

Please be cautious about editing this page. It isn't supposed to imply that there's no other redeeming factor for the works on this list.

Examples of Overshadowed by Controversy include:

Anime and Manga

  • The Pokémon episode "Dennō Senshi Porigon", more commonly referred to as "Electric Soldier Porygon", went down in history as the anime episode that led to over 600 Japanese children being hospitalised for seizures and resulted in regulations imposed on subsequent animated programmes. The controversy extended to Porygon itself, even though the species, an artificial Pokémon developed using programming code, had nothing to do with the incident at all; the flashing pattern was due to an exploding missile detonated by Pikachu's lightning attack. Regardless, Porygon has never been featured in any anime episode since, though the games still have it in its roster.
  • 4Kids! Entertainment is more infamous for their numerous unnecessary changes to the anime series they localised, often bordering on Macekre. Not to mention that 4Kids! half-heartedly attempts to make the series more appealing to Western audiences by removing any traces of Japanese culture from their source materials.
  • Nobuhiro Watsuki's fame as the writer behind the manga and anime series Rurouni Kenshin turned to infamy when police raided his home and found DVDs containing child pornography in his office. Despite Watsuki returning to pen the manga after paying a fine, Watsuki and the series' reputation was tainted greatly as a result of the author's sexual deviancy.[1]

Film

  • The Brown Bunny is a film known mostly for being booed harshly at the Cannes Film Festival and the subsequent media catfight between Roger Ebert and the director. The film was later Recut and given a wide release, and Ebert gave the recut a three star review.
  • Cannibal Holocaust was notorious to a degree that it forced director Ruggero Deodato and the actors to explain that nobody died in production and the gore was just special effects. There is still a great deal of controversy to this day relating to the cruelty against animals.
  • Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ had sparked protests from religious groups worldwide, including the infamous attack at a Paris cinema where the use of Molotov cocktails injured 13 patrons and brought the theater under heavy repairs for the next three years. The scenes in question were that of Jesus having scandalous relationships with women and fathering children, though there were actually visions Satan made in a vain attempt to convince Jesus not to sacrifice Himself, only for said scenes to be taken out of context.
  • Claimed by many to be the reason behind the failure of the 2016 Ghostbusters movie. The combination of Base Breaker Audience-Alienating Premise[2] and the terrible trailer actually hurt the film less than the marketing campaign that tried to make the negative initial reception to be all about misogyny and the ensuing social media controversy that make people opt out of seeing the film entirely.
  • Despite being a seminal feature film on its own merit, The Birth of a Nation gained notoriety for reviving the Ku Klux Klan in 1915. African-American rights groups such as the NACCP protested the film and called it to be banned for its denigrating portrayal of blacks, though regardless of any hot-button debates the film generated and the monster it indirectly created, the film is still highly regarded by film critics and scholars alike. You'd be hard-pressed to watch it outside of YouTube streams and educational film showings though.
    • D.W. Griffith later produced Intolerance in response to said criticisms, though Griffith felt he had nothing to apologize for with the racist portrayals in his earlier epic. Shirley Temple later recalled in her memoirs about Griffith's controversial views on black people, specifically on how uncomfortable he was seeing a little white girl performing alongside a black tap dancer.
  • Speaking of Shirley Temple, at least some of her films veer into this largely due to Values Dissonance over her interactions with grown men, and the various abuses she witnessed on- and off-set like in Baby Burlesks where misbehaving child actors were locked up in a cupboard with a big block of ice and left to freeze, and an incident where an errant MGM producer exposed his willy in front of the then twelve-year old Temple, the latter unaware of the obscene act being done in front of her. In fairness, she did fare better than the likes of Lindsay Lohan and other former child actors after retiring from acting, but the creepiness factor with her films did turn off some modern audiences who were uncomfortable about the things the actress went through during her childhood.
  • Charlie Chaplin, while arguably an iconic and influential comedian to this day, had his reputation nearly plummet to the ground when he made no secret about his sociopolitical beliefs, especially during the height of the Red Scare where paranoid witch hunting against anyone and anything suspected or accused of being remotely socialist or communist was rife during the 1940s to 1950s. To further discredit Chaplin, FBI commissioner J. Edgar Hoover used Chaplin's affairs with various women as a leverage against the comedian, and on top of that, the Feds wanted Chaplin out of the country owing to Cold War fears. Chaplin denied of being a communist and maintained that he was a "peacemonger" (and later an "anarchist"), accusing the United States government and "powerful reactionary groups who, by their influence and by the aid of America's yellow press" of curtailing his civil liberties, but the damage against him had been done, and he vowed never to return to the States. Public perception towards Chaplin changed for the better however, and re-releases of his films garnered praise in the States in his later years. He received an honorary Oscar following a visit to the States in 1972, his first stay in the US since his deportation.
  • The Passion of the Christ became more well known for its gratuitously visceral portrayal of Jesus' passion and death as well as accusations of anti-Semitism than Mel Gibson's efforts at a period-accurate retelling of the crucifixion. The film's violence also caused controversy in the Philippines when the Movie and Television Rating and Classification Board reportedly gave the film a reluctant yet dubious PG-13 rating due to its religious content (especially as the Philippines is predominantly Catholic), and even some French bishops were also disturbed by the portrayal as a "distortion of Christian teaching" and questioned the necessity of said violent scenes.
  • The Dark Knight Rises‍'‍ release was marred by tragedy when a crazed gunman identified as James Eagan Holmes opened fire at a midnight screening in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 people including children and injuring 58 others. Initial reports stated that Holmes identified himself as "the Joker" at the time of his arrest though this has been debunked. While he did not receive the death penalty as a result of his atrocities, Holmes was sentenced to twelve life sentences without parole, and an additional 3,318 years in prison. Judge Carlos Samour stated that the defendant should "never set foot in free society again," adding that "the defendant deserves no sympathy." To rub salt in Holmes's wound, a fellow inmate named Mark "Slim" Daniels assaulted him in what Daniels claimed to be in retribution to such a heartless and disgusting act.[3] Whether Slim was sincere about sending the Aurora shooter straight to hell or not is debatable as he could be just doing it for the notoriety, but regardless, Even Evil Has Standards.
  • It's hard not to think about Filipino comedian Vice Ganda without the leagues of critics who take umbrage at his style of comedy, deriding it as a denigrating form of defamation at the expense of those targeted by Vice's sarcasm. Fans of the GMA Network variety show Eat Bulaga would brag about how their hosts' style of comedy is more "wholesome" than Vice's crass comedy club gags, and it shows with comments on videos about It's Showtime! and Bulaga critiquing Vice's edgy sense of humour. In fairness there has been those far worse than him, but still...
  • Despite being well-received by critics when it was shown at international film festivals, the 2020 French film Mignonnes (Cuties) became the subject of controversy and government scrutiny over its portrayal of pre-teen girls. The film's writer and director Maïmouna Doucouré described Cuties as a commentary on social media and girls being pushed to grow up too fast (e.g. the likes of Bratz and girl groups such as The Pussycat Dolls pushing for a borderline mature image towards youngsters), but regardless of its stated intentions and Doucouré contending that the film has been a victim of the so-called cancel culture, it was savaged on social media for what was seen as sending the wrong message, with netizens taking umbrage at the film's release using the hashtag #CancelNetflix, threatening to cancel their subscriptions over the film's content and/or review-bombing the film on sites such as IMDB in protest. Some groups, such as the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, claimed that it sexualised young girls, and politicians labelled it as "child porn" or something that would "whet the appetite of pedophiles [and] help fuel the child sex trafficking trade". One particular point of contention was the promotional poster, which had the girls strike a risqué pose; following backlash, it was replaced with a different, more innocuous poster. The film's content also prompted other countries to give Cuties a harsher age rating, with the Japanese Netflix giving it an R18+ as if it was an adult movie, and Turkey banning it outright. However, it can be argued that this is part of a larger moral panic concerning children's welfare in general, particularly with the kids' videos and COPPA debacle on YouTube sparking similar controversy prior.
    • And it gets worse: A Texas jury indicted Netflix for the film, citing a scene showing genitalia of a minor. Some commented on how this became a test case over the limits of First Amendment rights on free expression, especially as the scenes in question was seen by some as being unambiguously obscene and lacking in artistic value, while others criticised the indictment as "absurd", citing the Sundance award as indicative of the film's supposed merits.

Literature

  • Fanny Hill is well known for having been a subject of obscenity tests and for having been banned in America from inception until a 1966 Supreme Court case ruled that the book has redeeming social value. When it was published in 1748, it got the author arrested on obscenity charges.
  • Lolita is unfortunately more famous for the controversy that surrounds it than the actual content and quality of the novel: Vladimir Nabokov went through many publishers who refused to publish it, and after it was published, it was banned in many places for being "pornographic" or "an instruction manual for paedophilia" (which it is not). Even for people who aren't familiar with the history of the book, a lot of the covers/jackets make it look like erotica. It also gave rise to the term "loli" or "lolicon", which are taboo words in their own right (even though it has also been used in a legitimate, non-paedophilic context e.g. those so-called "Lolita fashions" popular with some cosplayers); Google won't auto-complete them if you try to search for those terms, and would attempt to block out anything remotely resembling paedophilia, occasionally warning users that such content can and will land them a jail sentence. TV Tropes reflexively banned it in counterfeit moral outrage during their purge of revenue-threatening material after The Second Google Incident, and only restored its page when they realized that leaving it censored was worse for their image than having it on the wiki. It also didn't help that the underground Tor site Lolita City, which was seized by the FBI for hosting child pornography, was named after the novel.
  • The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie is recalled more for the ensuing fatwa declared on the author by the Ayatollah Khomeini, and for the fallout from that incident, than for the novel itself.
  • The Uncle Remus stories are a group of actual fables told by slaves and former slaves in the American South, making them a valuable cultural resource. However, though once popular, they are now nearly unknown. Compiler and editor Joel Chandler Harris' fictional character who tells the stories, Uncle Remus, was written as an elderly ex-slave who was basically content to continue to work for a white family. The implied racism is now almost all that is known of the stories. The fables themselves, taken out of the Remus context, are stories about animals using their wiles to trick each other, and man, in order to survive. Unlike Aesop's fables, they are not meant to be morally instructive, but are a commentary on man resorting to animal-like behaviors in desperate circumstances.
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin had an ongoing controversy that the publication of this book inspired over slavery, particularly in the years leading up to the American Civil War. However, few people have actually read the book. At the time of release, the outrage was from the Confederacy side because of the very overt anti-slavery theme of the book; on years after the war, the controversy was because of the belief that the book was actually racist instead of Fair for Its Day on its condemnation of slavery, not helped by actually racist creators using the names of the black characters from the book to name Afro-American characters who acted silly and subservient to whites in Minstrel Shows when the book characters were not like that.

Live-Action TV

  • Most people associate Toddlers and Tiaras with the arguably exploitative and creepy nature of child beauty pageants (said controversies have led France to ban beauty contests for minors under 13). The episode where one child contestant was made to dress up like Julia Roberts' prostitute character in Pretty Woman unsurprisingly courted controversy, and so does the case of one stage mum making her young daughter's chest resemble that of Dolly Parton and another mother asking her daughter to smoke fake cigarettes on stage.
    • Perhaps the best known of these contestants was Alana Thompson, who went under the stage name Honey Boo Boo and eventually was the subject of the Reality Show Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo. On top of what amounts to abusive practices on part of her mother such as feeding her with "Go-Go Juice" – an unhealthy cocktail of Red Bull and Mountain Dew – it was later revealed that Alana's mother, June Shannon, had a relationship with a convicted sex offender Mark McDaniel, which led to Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo being cancelled. Alana and her mother's notoriety as Toddlers participants and in their own spin-off show also earned them Snark Bait status, often becoming the butt of parodies such as those in South Park and internet memes, portraying them as low-brow, white trash scum as a commentary on reality television and what went wrong with American society.
  • In general, reality shows don't have that much love in recent years due to what is perceived as pretentious and unnecessarily melodramatic either for publicity or ratings. While the events of these shows are presented as "reality", in practice these are rehearsed and in some cases fabricated especially when the situation is deemed too mundane to pass muster on TV. Case in point Pimp My Ride, where controversies and issues with the contestants and their cars were made apparent years after the show's cancellation–cars were deliberately made worse than they actually were prior to their makeovers, elements from the "pimped" cars removed after being handed over, and contestants' reactions were faked and rehearsed. A 1999 Dodge Grand Caravan (which actually stood in for a Plymouth Grand Voyager Expresso the GAS crew deemed to be non-road worthy) which was pimped in an episode was later found in a state of disrepair and purchased for just $850 by a YouTuber.
  • Tabloid talk shows such as Jerry Springer and Maury are cited by television and social critics as an Egregious example of low-brow, bottom-of-the-barrel "entertainment" meant to exploit on disadvantaged individuals and/or families, or a form of "human bear-baiting" as what some call it. The Jeremy Kyle Show for one prompted immense backlash especially when one of the show's participants, a 63-year-old named Steve Dymond, was found dead in an apparent suicide, likely due to immense grief following a polygraph test in an effort to prove his infidelity. Mounting pressure from British MPs and organisations forced ITV to cancel the show and purge all traces of the show from their social media accounts and their web site.

Music

  • The Sex Pistols are mostly known for trying to play "God Save The Queen" from a barge during the Queen's Jubilee after being prohibited from playing the song on land. Much of the bad press was intentional.
  • The 1944 song "Baby, It's Cold Outside" was initially a Christmas staple due to its winter setting, only for some modern audiences to view it as trivialising date rape. Said negative reaction was however criticised as an example of Political Correctness Gone Mad, and public consensus has it that the song shouldn't be banned for its (alleged) content.
  • Marilyn Manson is arguably one of the most controversial artists of all time, largely due to his no-holds-barred, shock rocker stage persona. Manson, born Brian Hugh Warner, gained notoriety for what advocacy groups called as anti-religious, satanic and/or sexually explicit music, as well as the Manson band's outlandish behaviour on- and off-stage. These concerns crystallised in the late 90s when Manson and his band was implicated in the Columbine massacre, where conservatives blamed the band and their music as a corrupting influence on the youth and accused them of inciting youths to hate and discord, and sensationalist news outlets cashed in on the tragedy through headlines such as "Killers Worshipped Rock Freak Manson" and "Devil-Worshipping Maniac Told Kids To Kill"; the Columbine shooters reportedly hated Manson, however. Mounting pressure from said groups forced Manson to cancel their tours during the time, though he maintained that music, movies, books or video games were not to blame. He later wrote an op-ed piece on Rolling Stone called "Columbine: Whose Fault Is It?", accusing the mainstream media of being irresponsible for giving undue weight to coverage of violent events while overlooking genuine societal issues, and condemning America's gun obsession as well as the National Rifle Association's influence on the government.
    • Eminem angrily acknowledged the controversies Manson faced in his song "The Way I Am", rapping "When a dude's gettin bullied and shoots up his school, and they blame it on Marilyn..." referring to either Eric Harris or Dylan Klebold, who was alleged to have been driven by Manson's shock rock despite evidence to the contrary. Manson himself made a cameo appearance in the music video for the song.
  • Speaking of Eminem, his angst-ridden work especially during the early 2000s has made him a controversial figure. Eminem's no-holds-barred lyrics outraged politicians and watchdog groups alike for what they saw as misogynistic, violent and/or homophobic themes in his songs, which Eminem did respond to in kind. Eminem's exploits have also garnered scrutiny from the United States Secret Service twice: once for lyrics directed towards George W. Bush ("Fuck money, I don't rap for dead presidents. I'd rather see the president dead, it's never been said but I set precedents."), and another towards Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka.
  • A number of songs gained notoriety for this due to their purported backwards messages. An often-cited example of this was Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" and The Eagles' "Hotel California", alleged by conservative Christian groups to have sinister satanic messages when played backwards. Some artists actually do this deliberately either to satirise the moral panic as in the case of "Weird Al" Yankovic, or as an Easter Egg.
    • An early example of the latter comes from Styx's 1983 album Kilroy Was Here, which advertised that it had back-masked "messages" in its songs -- things like the motto off the Great Seal of the United States.
  • Spanish girl group Las Ketchup gained fame in 2002 for their One-Hit Wonder "The Ketchup Song (Aserejé)", spawning a dance craze in several countries later that year, but shortly after its release and runaway success on the pop charts, conspiracy theories emerged alleging the song's lyrics as making cryptic references to satanic rituals and hellish imagery; the "Aserejé" lines were a misinterpretation of the first verse of "Rapper's Delight", a 1979 hip hop song by The Sugarhill Gang, mangling "I said a hip hop, the hippie, the hippie..." into Spanish gibberish. Las Ketchup has since responded to the controversy, contending that the song isn't supposed to make any sense at all and denied incorporating any evil messages into their works. A Spanish-language expert also debunked said claims in a Filipino showbiz news programme on GMA Network when news of the controversy circulated in the Philippines at the time, providing an explanation over the song's lyrics and supposed meaning–a man named Diego struggling to recall the lyrics to "Rapper's Delight".
  • Discussion of Michael Jackson's life and career wouldn't be complete without the tabloid headlines ascribed to him such as his plastic surgeries and skin bleaching, eccentric habits like his pet chimpanzee Bubbles, unfounded rumours of him sleeping in a hyperbaric chamber, and of course the child molestation accusations peppered towards him. Perception of him softened when he died in 2009, with the very same media who made a Butt Monkey of him now revering Jackson as a pop icon and trendsetter. The 2019 documentary Leaving Neverland brought back the paedophiliac accusations against him however, though this was arguably overshadowed with the likes of R. Kelly and the larger #MeToo movement.
  • Milli Vanilli became better known for the lip-syncing scandal they got caught up with, which utterly destroyed any and all hope for them to make a comeback. The ensuing controversy took its toll on Rob Pilatus, who turned to drugs and crime as a result of mounting pressure from all the negative press they got after they were exposed as frauds and their Grammy was withdrawn.
  • R. Kelly's career was wiped out overnight after reports surfaced of him running a sex cult and engaging in inappropriate affairs with underage girls. Many of Kelly's collaborators such as Lady Gaga, Jay-Z and Céline Dion wanted nothing to do with him, and RCA Records dropped him publicly.
  • The 2014 U2 album Songs of Innocence gained notoriety for its pervasive distribution method wherein it found its way onto every Apple device users' iTunes libraries without their consent.
  • Soulja Boy's "Crank Dat" may have been regarded by most as a pathetic, forgettable example of the so-called "ringtone rap" fad of the late 2000s, but he is now better remembered as that washed-up rapper who tried to make it big into the video game industry by re-selling bargain-bin gadgets such as Chinese video game consoles bundled with pirated ROMs at grossly inflated prices. Not helping matters was when he responded to criticism in the least civilised way possible typical of rappers "from the hood", and when he contended that he was criticised for being black even though most of the complaints were focused on the dubious legality of the gadgets he was selling and had nothing to do with his ethnicity at all (unless you count those far-right trolls who take the mick out of him for all the wrong reasons). The SouljaGame website now redirects to Nintendo's website, likely done by Nintendo as an extralegal action.
  • Richard Wagner was a influential and innovative composer of the Romantic era, but he was also a virulent anti-Semite which led to Adolf Hitler and his merry band of Nazis adoring his compositions and promoting it over what they perceive as degenerate "Negermusik". To this day, performing his music in Israel would land you in hot water.
  • Scorpions' "Virgin Killer" gained notoriety as that one album which put Wikipedia on hot water due to the album cover containing an image of a naked prepubescent girl (the genitals were censored though, but still...). The UK-based Internet Watch Foundation blacklisted the image as child pornography, but said ban only served to pique the curiosity of those who risked their reputation just to know what all the fuss was about. The IWF lifted the ban three days later, likely as the image was used for scholarly purposes to comment on the controversy rather than to attract paedophiles or condone the practice of erotica involving minors (In a similar manner to this wiki, Wikipedia has a no-censorship policy citing academic freedom among other things. Of course, they would not in any way encourage people to engage in or acquire illegal pornography; there was however some controversy when co-founder Larry Sanger expressed concern over the hosting of potentially obscene images of children or illustrations depicting children, which Jimmy Wales promptly deleted albeit controversially as it was carried out without community consensus).
    • Similar controversy arose with Nirvana's "Nevermind", when record stores refused to carry it due to its portrayal of a naked baby. Nirvana compromised and put a sticker that read "If you're offended by this, you must be a closet pedophile" over the genitals.
  • "You're Pitiful" by "Weird Al" Yankovic got embroiled in a somewhat minor controversy when Atlantic Records persistently refused to grant permission for Yankovic to parody James Blunt's "You're Beautiful", believing that the parody might create the impression of Blunt as a "one-hit wonder". Yankovic isn't actually legally obliged to seek permission as per Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc., instead doing so out of principle to avoid any feuds with record labels or the original artist. The ensuing controversy led Yankovic to release "You're Pitiful" as a free MP3 download on his MySpace page, which fan sites mirrored and made a semi-official cover art of, based directly on the artwork for the original song. Still needing a lead parody for Straight Outta' Lynwood, Weird Al recorded Chamillionaire parody "White & Nerdy", which went on to be Yankovic's most popular song, and his first top 10 Billboard hit.
  • It's hard to think about Mexican-American pop singer Selena (full name Selena Quintanilla-Pérez) without bringing up her untimely death in the hands of her assistant Yolanda Saldívar, with whom she had a falling out over Saldívar's underhanded control over the singer's business ventures. On the morning of March 31, 1995, Saldívar shot and killed Selena after a financial dispute, her death later compared to the likes of John F. Kennedy, John Lennon and Elvis Presley in terms of cultural impact. Jennifer Lopez's portrayal of Selena in the 1997 biopic is considered to be her breakout role, and Selena Gomez owes much of her influence to Quintanilla, with Gomez herself being named after the singer.
  • Filipino rapper-actor Andrew E. rose to prominence in the 90s with his bawdy pop-rap songs most especially "Humanap Ka Ng Panget" (lit. "Look For Someone Ugly"), only for him to be outed as a plagiarist and a fraud in the late 2010s when similarities between "Panget" and the Cash Money Marvelous single "Find An Ugly Woman" were noted by members of the /r/Philippines subreddit, contrary to claims by Andrew E. that he came up with the song independently.[4]
  • Rapper B.o.B of "Airplanes" and "Price Tag" fame became far better known in the mid-to-late 2010s for his Cloudcuckoolander conspiracy theories, also somehow convinced in the belief that the Earth is flat. It got to the point where he recorded a diss track entitled "Flatline" which was not only primarily directed against astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, but was also riddled with antisemitic, anti-Masonic and anti-science rhetoric, promoting Holocaust denial and alleging that the Freemasonry and reptilians among others are conspiring towards a "New World Order". Needless to say, the track was overwhelmingly panned for B.o.B's twisted and demented beliefs, with the Anti-Defamation League condemning the song as hateful and denigrating towards Jewish people. As a result, his career plummeted to near-irrelevance as his later albums made next to no impact, and he is now viewed as either a washed-up flash-in-the-pan or a complete joke.

Sports

  • Nowadays, people associate Mike Tyson more with his infamous "Bite Fight" with Evander Hollyfield and domestic violence issues which led to his conviction at some point. Though on a more positive note, people also remember Tyson as the final boss character in Nintendo's Punch-Out!!; subsequent releases of the game omitted Tyson in favour of a generic boxer named "Mr. Dream" due to said controversies however.
  • O.J. Simpson is better remembered for the murder scandal and subsequent "Trial of the Century" than any of his acting and/or sports credentials. His notoriety also spilled over somewhat to the fifth-generation Ford Bronco, especially when it gained national attention for being the vehicle used in a police chase involving Simpson. Ford discontinued the model two years later, but not due to the notoriety from the O.J. Simpson case, though the spectre of the O.J. Simpson chase still somewhat lingered on when Ford announced that they were to unveil the 2021 Bronco on July 9th, 2020, which coincidentally fell on Simpson's birthday.
  • Zinedine Zidane's headbutt episode with Italian player Marco Materazzi gained so much notoriety that it's basically what most people, especially those who have next to no knowledge of football, know of him. It didn't help that Zidane getting booted out of the field with a red card cost France its victory in the 2006 World Cup game with Italy, though it didn't seem to matter with Zidane as hearing his opponent's denigrating remarks against his sister was too much for him to tolerate. Initial speculation from British tabloid newspapers The Times, The Sun and Daily Star claimed they hired lip readers and stated that Materazzi scoffed Zidane as "the son of a terrorist whore"; Materazzi disputed said claims, eventually winning public apologies from The Sun and Daily Star in 2008, as well as libel damages from all three British newspapers.
  • Super Bowl XXXVII is remembered more for that Wardrobe Malfunction at the halftime show with Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake than the game itself.
  • The 1936 Summer Olympics is notable for being the first Olympiad to be televised, the Olympic torch relay and pioneering techniques in sports coverage. It also happened to be hosted in Berlin, Nazi Germany, and unsurprisingly, Hitler tried to turn the Berlin Olympics into a propaganda show for the Nazis to supposedly demonstrate Aryan superiority; this propaganda attempt at presenting the so-called Aryans as the "master race" failed utterly though, especially when African-American track and field athlete Jesse Owens emerged as the most successful athlete in the Games, scoring four gold medals much to the Nazis' embarrassment.

Toys

  • My Friend Cayla, and by extension, smart toys in general, had their reputation suffered when security experts pointed out on the toys' glaring flaws, i.e. absolutely no thought was given with its security. With no pairing codes or any safeguards in place, a malicious party could commandeer a Cayla—itself essentially a Bluetooth speaker in the form of a doll—and make her say nasty things or listen in on children's conversations. The manufacturers were quick to defend that no such hacking incidents have taken place outside of proof-of-concept demonstrations, and it involves people with the know-how to do so (not that a determined creep can't do it, at least hypothetically), but even then, the audio advertising and data collection by the dolls especially in this day and age where paranoia over privacy after Snowden's NSA exposé is quite common, is certainly alarming.
  • The Bratz line is no stranger to controversy either due to its provocative clothing and body image, with Moral Guardians criticising MGA Entertainment for sending the wrong message "forcing young girls to grow up too soon." This led to a Tasmanian mother to come up with customised Bratz dolls[5] with facial features repainted to represent younger girls and clothing to match, subverting the much-derided sexualised wardrobe and appearance the doll line is known for. On a related note, the tepid reception towards the live-action adaptation caused theatre owners to be leery about screening Kit Kittredge: An American Girl as they were hesitant about "yet another doll" movie (and a niche one at that, considering how American Girl is largely unknown outside North America) that would not do well at the box office.
  • Barbie is a recurring butt of controversy for a number of reasons:
    • Her body image as an hourglass fashion model is one point of contention. If Barbie-like proportions were applied to a typical teenage girl, she would've been dead by then; this led to a more realistic substitute called "Lammily" and versions of the Barbie doll with more diverse proportions, termed by the company as 'tall', 'petite', and 'curvy'.
    • The idealistic portrayal with Barbie as a Mary Sue character was also criticised, and so does the stereotypically feminine aspects of her character as exemplified by her wardrobe and the 1992 Teen Talk Barbie doll with phrases "Will we ever have enough clothes?", "I love shopping!", "Wanna have a pizza party?" and the controversial "Math class is tough!". Mattel spared no expense redeeming their flagship doll character as an empowered, independent figure by portraying Barbie as taking on countless occupations and pursuits from a a doctor, a super-spy, the President of the United States and a babysitter through the "You Can Be Anything" campaign, but the archetypal Dumb Blonde doll stigma remains. Said negative influence concerns has also led to some countries especially in the Middle East to ban Barbie in favour of Islam-friendly substitutes such as the "Fulla" line of Barbie-compatible dolls, though the "Jewish" Barbie brand is still available in other Muslim-majority countries including Egypt and Indonesia and is arguably more popular, not to mention that the ban on Barbie dolls in Saudi Arabia was lifted shortly after.
    • Safety concerns were also levelled against the line, such as in the plastics used on vintage Barbies alleged to have detrimental effects on children, and child pornography as well as privacy risks with the Barbie Video Girl and Hello Barbie dolls.

Video Games

  • Custer's Revenge was an unauthorized third-party game for the Atari 2600 in 1982. It gathered quite a bit of negative attention, particularly from feminist and Native American groups, as the objective involved raping an Indian woman. From the next generation of consoles onward, manufacturers require approval for games to be released on their machines, enforced by various Copy Protection and Digital Rights Management schemes to lock out unlicensed games. In Atari's case, the Atari 7800 employed a mandatory code signing mechanism where all licensed 7800 games had to be digitally signed by Atari for them to boot, following concerns by Atari about pornographic video game developers exploiting the 7800's graphical capabilities to display more realistic smut.
    • The developers of the game even tried to release a new Perspective Flip version of the game with Custer as the victim, only to find two wrongs definitely did not make it right.
    • And despite Custer being a seminal work which played a crucial role in having video game console manufacturers implement stricter licensing agreements following the The Great Video Game Crash of 1983 (e.g. banning AO-rated games from being published on home consoles and requiring them to adhere to quality certification among other things) and enforcement thereof through lockout schemes, it too was banned from The Other Tropes Wiki by way of being a pornographic work with no redeeming value.
  • Evony, a browser-based, allegedly free strategy game, is more known for its infamous advertising campaign and false promises of boobs than for anything else. On top of that, the publishers have been accused of plagiarism, spamming and distributing spyware, and they tried to sue a British blogger for libel for pointing it out (which backfired predictably).
  • Daikatana, aside from its years spent in development hell, picked up controversy over its advertising campaign, which stated that "John Romero's about to make you his bitch." The game has mostly been forgotten aside from the aforementioned campaign and the negative press that brought Romero's development career down with it.
  • The Manhunt series was best known for its premise of being about a convict being forced to take part in snuff films (the gameplay was mostly stealth based, with elements of Survival Horror). The first game was given mixed reviews, with some marking it down for the Gorn and others praising it for its atmosphere, the sequel received average reviews across the board and the series was mostly forgotten. It got to the point that even Rockstar Games employees themselves felt uneasy about the game's subject matter. Former R* employee Jeff Williams stated "there was almost a mutiny at the company over that game", and while it was "Rockstar North's pet project" most Rockstar staffers wanted nothing to do with it; Grand Theft Auto gets a free pass as mass slaughter isn't mandatory to play through the game, and had a somewhat lighter tone to it, being more of a satirical commentary on American society compared to Manhunt‍'‍s snuff film simulation.
  • The Postal series is well-known for being a common target for Moral Guardians to campaign against video game violence. Footage from Postal 2 was featured in the 2003 Black Eyed Peas protest song "Where Is The Love", implying the band's contempt for media violence.
  • Taking Doom and Mortal Kombat‍'‍s place as the poster child for video game obscenity controversies is Grand Theft Auto especially in the 2000s when Grand Theft Auto III first came out, though the first game in the series did gain some notoriety in the UK thanks to a PR campaign by Max Clifford (who ironically would be controversial in his own right due to his rather inappropriate interactions with minors). Moral Guardians and authorities alike singled out the game and blamed it for causing real-world violence, which led to bans in a number of countries and certain versions of the games censored to appease ratings bureaus like in Australia, Germany and Japan.
    • Vice City attracted racism accusations when Haitian-American groups took umbrage at a mission involving a Cuban-Haitian gang war, the Haitian gangs serving as the villains. Haitian Centers Council and Haitian Americans for Human Rights staged protests in New York City over complaints about how the game portrayed Haitians in an unflattering right, with the mission "Cannon Fodder" having a genocidal-sounding objective "KILL ALL THE HAITIANS!!" and other dialogue by Umberto Robina expressing grave hatred towards the gang. While Take-Two Interactive argued that the dialogue and objectives should be taken within the context of the game, the company relented and had subsequent releases of the game altered to remove any references to the Haitian gangs. The Haiti racism issue may have also accounted for the presence of the Cholos in Vice City Stories in lieu of Haitians.
    • Besides wanton violence, GTA‍'‍s sexual content also came under intense scrutiny, most notably the (previously) Dummied Out "Hot Coffee" minigame where CJ engages in casual sexual intercourse with a number of women. The minigame, which was discovered and re-enabled by Dutch software engineer Patrick Wildenborg, sparked significant controversy especially in the United States, where now-disbarred lawyer Jack Thompson and senator Hillary Clinton campaigned against the game and called for stringent ESRB regulations. And contrary to initial statements by Rockstar that the mod was the product of "hackers" who made "significant technical modifications to and reverse engineering" the game, this would be proven untrue when similar code was found in the console versions, and could be re-enabled through a third-party tool. It is later revealed that there was some tension within the company over the contested scenes, and Dan Houser lamented about the double standards in the United States with sex and violence keeping them from pushing the boundaries of the video game medium. They were however forced to hastily disable the minigame as the potential Adults Only rating the scenes would garner were not worth the decreased sales.
    • Grand Theft Auto IV didn't disappoint Moral Guardians either, with its drunk driving sequences and the usual violence. Sensationalist media played up on a number of incidents allegedly inspired by GTA IV, like when a bunch of teenagers were arrested after participating in a crime spree in New Hyde Park, New York, and when a Thai man shot and killed a taxi driver in apparent imitation of the game, which led to the series as a whole being banned in the country. In a more recent incident, an eight-year old boy (unwittingly) shot and killed her 90-year old grandmother, again apparently being desensitised to the game. A minor controversy also ensued when British tabloid The Sun played up on the presence of the in-game website "Little Lacy's Surprise Pageant", which was seized by authorities as a child pornography site in the game's lore (Little Lacy Surprise being a fictional brand of children's underwear in the series, with said brand supposedly hosting a child beauty pageant). Visiting the site on the in-game web browser gives the player an instant five-star wanted level, satirising intense law enforcement response and raids against suspected paedophiles, though in no way does the game (or the series in general for that matter) encourage or put players in the role of a sex offender, for much the same reason as to why there are no children to be seen in the games in the first place, though the series did paedophilia-related jokes from time to time with no apparent criticism.
    • Unsurprisingly, Grand Theft Auto V courted controversy, this time over its portrayal of women and a torture sequence carried out by Trevor Philips to an Azerbaijani individual who is believed to have links with terrorists. Politicans, advocacy groups and even video game journalists deemed the mission in poor taste. Asked about performing the torture sequence, Trevor's actor Steven Ogg said that he treated it like "just another day at the office", and was focused more on not making mistakes during filming than the scene's ethics. The sequence along with a few others was censored in the Japanese release due to the country having more stringent guidelines; ironically enough the German release was uncut considering the country's history of censoring and banning media deemed unsuitable to the youth. As for the portrayal of women, certain commentators remarked how females were unfairly treated ingame, one of them being GameSpot journalist Carolyn Petit. Adding to the complication was that the game was released at the time when the Gamergate controversy was taking place; the less said about the latter, the better. Not to mention that GTA V was also released just as when the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting was still fresh off people's minds, with a number of politicians calling for the game to be cancelled or banned pre-emptively.
    • On top of the series being the butt of numerous controversies and lawsuits, it was reported that series co-writer Dan Houser cited changing sociopolitical attitudes as the reason why he left the company, as he felt increasingly uneasy with satirising modern American society without attracting controversy or offending anyone.
  • Mafia III‍'‍s social commentary sits right smack in the middle of the civil rights and racism issues the US is facing in recent years, especially with its portrayal of the Ku Klux Klan, Confederate apologists and racist Southeners as Acceptable Targets. Needless to say, said right-wing/alt-right bigots took to Steam to review-bomb the game in what they saw as turning the Mafia series into an agenda-pushing propaganda piece by "social justice warriors". Not helping matters was series creator Daniel Vávra's connection with the Gamergate movement either; Vávra left 2K mid-way through Mafia II‍'‍s development out of dissatisfaction over the publisher's demands for the game.
  • Heck, even Daniel Vávra himself wasn't spared from any controversy either. On top of his political views, which lean towards the right-wing/alt-right spectrum and has expressed contempt over what he views as "progressive bias" (read:feminists and other contentious sociopolitical debacles spilling over to popular media), he has been criticised even by fellow Czech gamers, particularly fans of the original Mafia game, for his egoistic and arrogant demeanour especially in light of criticism levelled towards the Definitive Edition remake of the first game. Adding fuel to the fire was when he ridiculed actor Jeremy Luke for looking too much like Shrek or the notorious webcomic character Pepe The Frog, just as when Luke was still recovering from the loss of his father during development. Vávra tried to play damage control in a comment on Mafia Game Videos' YouTube video[6] about the controversy, but some were still understandably displeased with the Mafia series creator's opinions towards the remake, viewing them as either childish or uncalled for.
  • In a similar vein to Postal, Hatred became so reviled by even video game journalists and some gamers that it was initially rejected from Steam due to its gratuitous and no-holds-barred brand of sociopathic violence, only for Gabe Newell to apologise and have it re-listed. Epic Games reportedly sought to disassociate themselves from the issue by requesting to have the Unreal Engine logo removed from marketing material. (While the Unreal series is known for its graphic violence, it is rooted more in science-fiction fantasies rather than real-world apathy towards people.)
  • Night Trap was one of the video games that contributed to the creation of the ESRB ratings in the United States. An infamous bathroom scene[7] in particular was what led to intense Senate hearings with proponents of the ban saying it glorified violence toward women, while many of them admitted they hadn't played the game. In reality the supposedly-offensive scenes were rather mild in comparison to R-rated films, and was done more as a campy tribute to B-movie horror titles. The 25th Anniversary re-release was given a milder T rating as a result.[8]
  • Besides Night Trap, Mortal Kombat was the scapegoat of parents and politicians for its visceral violence and subject matter. Mortal Kombat‍'‍s digitised sprites based on footage from live actors made for what was at the time photorealistic violence which Encyclopedia Britannica described as "delighted young players but disturbed parents." Both games ultimately served as the catalyst for what is now the Entertainment Software Ratings Board.
  • Thrill Kill for the PlayStation was billed to be the "new Mortal Kombat", with the technical feat of up to four players fighting in the same room as its selling point, but the gratuitous violence and hardcore sex content, which garnered a rare "Adults Only" (AO) rating from the Entertainment Software Rating Board, was too much for Electronic Arts to swallow, ordering Paradox Development to scrap the game; former Paradox employees who worked on the game eventually leaked beta and pre-final builds of the game to a scene group, and the game engine was later reused for Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style, X-Men: Mutant Academy, X-Men: Mutant Academy 2 and Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots Arena.
  • Perhaps hypocritically enough, EA purposely courted controversy for Dante's Inferno by staging a fake protest where twenty protesters picketed at E3 2009 and condemned EA for what was viewed as a sacrilegious and insensitive game. EA later confirmed that it was just a publicity stunt to drive up hype, only for actual Christian bloggers to condemn the video game giant for pulling off such a tasteless stunt.
  • Doom not only courted controversy for its gore and occult imagery, it also came under fire (pun not intended) for being associated with a number of school shootings in the United States, most notably the Columbine massacre where Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 13 people and injured 24 others. It didn't help that Harris and Klebold were avid players of the game and made WADs themselves (though contrary to sensationalist reports, the "Harris levels" were not at all based on the Columbine High School's layout and did not contain sprites of the school's students and faculty), and that Harris said that the killing would be "like playing Doom", and "it'll be like the LA riots, the Oklahoma bombing, World War II, Vietnam, Duke Nukem and Doom all mixed together", and that his shotgun was "straight out of the game". Upset by the mainstream media's stereotyping of video game players as degenerate youth, the Doom community distanced themselves from the shooters by deleting and/or banning any (re-)uploads of the Harris WADs and defended themselves and the game from any sort of direct responsibility. Prominent Doomworld community members Javier "Dukrous" Heredia and Scott "Covaro" Cover both explained their side of the story to news media (in Covaro's case during a round-table talk with Bill and Hillary Clinton on Good Morning America), contending that the community is comprised of law-abiding citizens and would not in any way emulate the actions depicted in the games.[9][10] Much of the controversy concerning Doom has died out though, as the usual moral guardians have moved on to the next scapegoat, despite the recent entries in the series featuring arguably more visceral and hellish imagery.
    • Ironically enough, the latest entry in the series, Doom Eternal, courted controversy not for its hellish imagery but for its use of a kernel-mode driver by Denuvo as an anti-cheat deterrent. While kernel-mode drivers have been successfully used elsewhere provided that there is transparency over what it does and that the drivers are easily removed when uninstalled, security concerns and Denuvo's already dubious reputation caused backlash which forced Bethesda to have the driver removed in favour of a different anti-cheat solution.
  • Kingpin: Life of Crime also had the unfortunate timing of being released shortly after the Columbine tragedy. Xatrix Entertainment, later known as Grey Matter Interactive and merged with Treyarch, was faced with mounting pressure from legislators and Moral Guardians who were scrambling to seek the truth as to what motivated Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold into going on a blood-drenched rampage. American senators debated on the game's obscene content, and the National Institute on Media and the Family singled out Kingpin in its 1999 report on video game violence. Xatrix responded by implementing a safe mode option upon installation where players can opt for a censored experience devoid of blood and with bleeped-out profanities. Xatrix CEO Drew Markham assured in an install-time message that the game "was never intended for children" and was made "with mature themes made for a mature audience." Regardless, many retailers have chosen not to stock the game, making it a commercial failure and leading to Xatrix's demise; they would later reform as Grey Matter Interactive which only developed a few games before shutting down for good.
  • The Atari 2600 game Dragster was a short but sweet game by Activision, which simulated drag racing in as far as what the hardware of the time could muster. It became better remembered in recent years as the game which now-disgraced player Todd Rogers claimed to have a 5.51 second time; subsequent analysis of the game's assembly code and revelations about Rogers' other dubious high score records led Twin Galaxies to permanently ban him from their leaderboards, as well as the Guinness Book of World Records to strip him of his titles.
  • Action 52 is often seen as an example of an overly ambitious project by Active Enterprises (whose other ventures such as the Action GameMaster portable console were just as sky-high to say the least) saddled with Troubled Production, inexperienced programmers and a tight deadline, leading it to be one of the worst if not the worst NES game of all time. Cheetahmen, the "featured" game in the multicart, was positioned as the next Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with plans for a media franchise and a line of merchandise including action figures, T-shirts, a comic book series, and a television cartoon based on the characters, but those all fell through when Action 52‍'‍s poor quality became apparent.
  • Nearly averted by Medal of Honor for the PlayStation when Vietnam War veteran Paul Bucha objected to the release of the game as he felt that the titular honour bestowed upon him and others is of no trivial matter, and making a video game set in a real war (though not the first to do so, obviously) was tactlessly offensive to veterans. Capt. Dale Dye, the military advisor who worked with Steven Spielberg in Saving Private Ryan also initially shared similar sentiments, but both were convinced otherwise when they were shown demonstrations of the game which Spielberg presented more as an interactive historical experience than a typical run-and-gun gorefest.
    • The same cannot be said about the 2010 reboot however, as the idea of adding the Taliban as a playable faction in multiplayer did not sit well with military officials and veterans groups who felt that it was too close for comfort and also a disservice to veterans who fought in the War on Terror. The Taliban was later renamed as simply the "Opposing Force" in the multiplayer mode out of deference to veterans and military associations, though the single-player campaign wasn't affected. The game was not however sold at commissaries inside military bases, though servicemen can still buy the game off-base and play it on-base without repercussions.
  • The Gizmondo was one of the many attempts at challenging Nintendo's dominance in the highly-lucrative portable market, but it became more notorious for its manufacturer's links to a Swedish organised crime ring. Word has it that the console itself may have been a front for a money laundering scheme.
  • While Minecraft drew in players of all ages due to its sandbox-style world creation and its blocky, pixelated aesthetic, its creator, Markus "Notch" Persson, became embroiled in a number of controversial statements about feminism and "white privilege", leading to accusations of him being an alt-right sympathiser. This led to the parodic "Hatsune Miku created Minecraft" meme by fans of the game who sought to distance themselves from Notch and his ideologies. Similarly, series owner Microsoft removed most if not all references to him from the games as a result of the controversy.
  • JFK: Reloaded, while marketed as an accurate recreation of the Kennedy assassination according to the Warren Commission's findings, was harshly criticised as depicting the assassination in a video game setting was viewed to be in extremely poor taste. Late Senator Ted Kennedy condemned the game as "despicable", and Joe Lieberman, who also happened to have co-led the Senate hearings which formed the basis of the ESRB, "was sickened by the game."
  • The Guy Game would've been yet another run-of-the-mill trivia quiz-slash-puzzle game with a Fanservice theme taking the form of a live-action Full Motion Video game show, where players are treated to bare-breasted women should they complete any of the minigames. There was just one problem though: one of the women in the game going by the name Diane filed suit and alleged that she was unaware that her footage would be used in a video game, and she was seventeen when the footage was taken, giving it the dubious distinction of being the only piece of underage pornography to be licensed for home consoles. Unsurprisingly, the game was pulled from shelves as it technically counts as child porn (given the latter, it is presumed that all unsold copies and masters were destroyed to avoid any legal repercussions over the possession of illegal pornography as well as personality rights issues), though Topheavy Studios eventually re-released The Guy Game as an interactive DVD under the subtitle Game Over with the offending footage removed and replaced with other models. The child porn controversy may have accounted for Jeff Spangenberg going off the radar since then.
  • The vulgar humour and adult themes in Acclaim's BMX XXX was universally viewed as one of the worst (if not the worst) gimmicks to grace a sports game. It was said that Acclaim somehow had the brilliant idea of having Z-Axis turn what was going to be an extremely subpar game into a raunchy sex comedy, breasts, babes and all, in a vain and puerile effort to drum up publicity and make up for the lacklustre gameplay, likely under the impression that immature men would grab a copy and play it for the smut regardless of the game's actual quality. The late extreme sports athlete Dave Mirra, whose namesake video game series formed the basis for BMX XXX, balked at the decision and sued Acclaim for the use of his name and likeness, forcing Acclaim to release the game without the Dave Mirra branding. Sony also forced Acclaim to censor the PS2 release as they "didn't feel that the topless nudity fundamentally added to the gameplay experience". The obscenity controversy and negative reception towards BMX XXX eventually contributed to Acclaim's downfall and bankruptcy.
  • On top of recent entries in the NBA 2K series being peppered with increasingly pervasive monetization schemes like Loot Boxes, NBA 2K20 was condemned and ridiculed by gaming circles for its blatant and tasteless use of casino gambling mechanics in a game rated for players as young as three years old. The pre-release trailer[11] was savaged for its in-your-face promotion of gambling towards youths, and doubts were thus cast towards the integrity of ratings organisations ESRB and PEGI for giving such a dubiously low age rating, as well as video game journalists whose praise of the game was seen as questionable and myopic. Alongside the likes of Star Wars Battlefront II, 2K20 and many others was seen as representative of the unabashed greed and avarice by corporate video game developers as well as laissez-faire capitalism in general.
  • Star Wars Battlefront II garnered the attention of legislators over its use of loot box mechanics and prompted Star Wars series owner Disney to force EA into toning down the use of microtransactions by removing the lootbox mechanic in favour of paid cosmetic items.
  • Speaking of controversies on journalistic integrity and ethics, Driver 3 aka DRIV3R became embroiled in a review scandal called "DRIV3Rgate" where two outlets operated by Future plc, PSM2 and Xbox World, gave the game 9/10 scores despite it especially the PC version having been saddled with numerous technical issues, leading to accusations of bribery and corruption through review-fixing on part of Atari and Future plc. Rubbing salt in the wound was that of a controversial thread on the GamesRadar forums, also owned by Future, being filled to the brim with posts critical of the dubious reviews. Posts defending DRIV3R and Future followed suit, but this was later outed as a desperate act of astroturfing by Babel Media, a marketing company hired by Atari to generate fake praise, when the questionable posts were traced to them by the forum moderators. The controversy spilled over to Wikipedia several years later, when doubts over the scandal's notability were made as noted by YouTuber Larry Bundy.[12] It also did not help that some of the revisions on the DRIV3R article were made by an anonymous user who claimed to be an ex-Future employee who maintained that the scandal never took place and any reviews made on PSM2 and Xbox World were true.
  • Despite receiving critical acclaim from mainstream gaming press, The Last of Us Part II was savaged by a number of gaming circles for its inclusion of LGBTQ+ content and themes, branding it a "social justice warrior" or a "woke" game as some perceive it as pervasive agenda-pushing not unlike films featuring female, LGBT and racially diverse cast members. Kotaku's Riley MacLeod saw the controversy as a weak point with Metacritic's aggregation system, where he stated that the site "fails to take into account the diverse critical opinions of the game", instead focusing on the overall scores and seemingly padding it out to make the game appear better than it is, than the actual content of the review and provide a more even assessment of the game's critical both in the eyes of the press and the gaming public. It also didn't help that, like what happened with the Ghostbusters remake, the game's cast members were unfairly harassed and trolled by self-styled "edgelords" who take offense at anything remotely "diverse" or "feminist". Considering the disconcertingly divisive sociopolitical atmosphere in the United States in this day and age, the homophobic and anti-feminist sentiment thrown at The Last of Us Part II is unsurprising.
  • The eternally delayed Animesque stealth action indie game Yandere Simulator solicited controversy for its graphic and sexually explicit content, as the game involves killing or maiming those whom the player character believes is monopolizing her senpai's attention. Besides its violence, whom creator YandereDev cites the Hitman series as a major influence, its sexual themes was seen by some as concerning owing to its high school setting which may give out ephebophilic undertones; YandereDev maintains that, despite the supposedly juvenile setting and glaring evidence to it, none of the characters in the game are minors. Said controversy made Yandere Simulator a total pain in the rear to stream uncensored on sites such as Twitch or YouTube, due to the game's premise falling afoul of said platforms' terms of service. YandereDev wasted no time to shoot back at those who banned his game from being streamed online, citing "self-righteous ideologues" for the ban.
    • The game has become mired in many a controversy since, with the repeated delays themselves now among them - this has spawned at least one account on Twitter dedicated to chronicling events that took place since Yandere Simulator began development in 2014.
  • A lot more has been said about Electronic Arts' questionable if not abhorrent business practices than for the merits of the games they publish. From acquiring independent studios and eventually liquidating them if they underperform, to the recent backlash towards microtransactions and Loot Boxes, EA has earned a lot of scorn and ridicule amongst the gaming community, to the point that they have earned the dubious honour of being the "worst company in America" for two straight years. And yet their games still sell somehow, partly due to more impressionable gamers or to those who are just too uninformed or complacent to care.

Western Animation

  • Coonskin, Ralph Bakshi's satirical Blaxploitation reimagining of the Uncle Remus tales. The Rev. Al Sharpton famously criticized the film without even seeing it, saying, "I don't got to see shit; I can smell shit!"
  • Any Bonds Today? was a 1942 propaganda film commissioned by the United States Department of the Treasury to Warner Bros.; it would later be known more for its Values Dissonance in the form of Bugs Bunny donning a blackface than the film encouraging Americans at the time to buy war bonds and contribute to the Allied military effort.
  • Media coverage of the 2019 Spanish animated feature Elcano & Magallanes: First Trip Around the World was skewed more towards the outrage it generated when Filipinos took umbrage over its depiction of Lapu-Lapu and the Battle of Mactan. Misplaced Nationalism ensued when Filipinos, whose elementary school textbook knowledge of their country's history is a little distorted to say the least, took to social media and bashed the living daylights out of the film, the catch being that most of the outrage came from those who haven't even watched the whole film yet, and were motivated more by blind patriotism and the typical keyboard-warrior mentality than sincere and level-headed perception of history.
    • Said Filipinos are under the impression that Lapu-Lapu fought for the Philippines as a whole as the first to resist colonial rule, something Rodrigo Duterte played up and over-hyped in a statement; historians and scholars disagree with this, as the Philippines as we know it is a relatively recent concept, and the archipelago was at the time made up of mostly unconnected tribal polities who waged wars against each other for whatever reason. Furthermore, Magellan and his posse weren't necessarily plotting to conquer any land - Magellan did have chieftain Rajah Humabon and his consort Humamay converted to Catholicism, but other than that, it was largely a trade expedition. It wasn't until 1565 when King Philip II spearheaded the conquest of the Philippines through a Spanish expedition of five hundred men led by Miguel López de Legazpi. To top it all off, a Rappler columnist bluntly pointed out[13] the hypocrisy in an editorial, where he noted how the producers of the 2013 religious historical drama Pedro Calungsod: Batang Martir had no qualms about portraying the Chamorro people as barbaric savages who slayed Calungsod for his missionary work – the film was universally praised in the Philippines, but was unsurprisingly panned by the Chamorros in Guam.
  • The Simpsons has an In-Universe example with Russ Meyers Sr., the creator of Itchy and Scratchy (well, sort of). While most regard him as a beloved cartoonist (often portrayed as this reality's equivalent of Walt Disney), he was also criticized for a controversial cartoon called "Nazi Supermen are Our Superiors". Oh, and as revealed in one episode, he was a plagiarist.
  • John Lasseter was known for directing pioneering works such as Toy Story, A Bug's Life and Cars among others, but his reputation as an influential animator went down the drain when allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced accusing him of "grabbing, kissing, [and] making comments about physical attributes" towards female colleagues, and that Pixar had minders reminding Lasseter to lay off of his perversions. In fairness, he did more or less admit to his "missteps", but still it left a sour taste on those who grew up with the films he directed. The controversy with Lasseter may have also accounted for the removal of a mock blooper scene in recent home media releases of Toy Story 2 that featured the Prospector suggestively enticing a pair of Barbie dolls with a role in Toy Story 3.
  • PAW Patrol suffered from this during Summer 2020. Many people started criticizing the show simply because of the show's police pup, Chase, being portrayed positively. This led to Chase's Ultimate Rescue episodes temporarily being pulled, and the Nick Jr. website changing an icon of Chase (used to represent PAW Patrol) to an icon of Marshall, the fire pup.

Real Life

  • A particular style of shoe sold by C. & J. Clark, one of the largest shoe manufacturing firms in the UK, became this[14] when an angry mother made a rant not just about how easily worn out the "Dolly Babe" Mary Jane school shoes were, but the shoes' name itself being "sexist" and "promoting gender stereotypes" with its overly feminine design–a lavender heart-print insole and a heart-shaped charm on the toebox. Not helping matters was that the "Dolly Babes" were compared unfavourably to the football-themed "Leader" shoes for boys, also made by the same company. Serious Business ensued, and as a result Clarks issued an apology, stating that it wasn't their intention to offend, and withdrew the shoes in question from sale; they did briefly re-release[15] the style under the name "Movello Lo"[16] presumably to clear out existing inventory, though. They would later commit to designing and selling "gender-neutral" school shoes, which presumably also had a side-effect of being more acceptable in certain schools where dress codes are stringently observed. It's not that Clarks hasn't come up with anything appealing to girls in recent years though, like the "Etch Bright" shoes for girls with its sparkly purple insole and star accents,[17] or the "Sea Shimmer" Mary Janes with a prominent mermaid theme,[18] but by then people may have forgotten about the sexism row with the shoemaker and moved on to the next scapegoat.
    • British supermarket chain Tesco wasn't spared from a similar controversy either, when a range of school shoes got slammed by a teacher[19] for its alleged use of gender stereotypes most especially the "sensitive soles" on the girls' shoes with a pink butterfly design on the soles in question. Surprising they didn't take their aim at Italian children's footwear brand Lelli Kelly for selling girls' shoes with gaudy and flamboyantly feminine, if not infantile, designs, which has become something of a running joke for those in the UK who have been subjected to cringe-worthy commercials promoting said brand.
  • The Ford Pinto was an economy car deserving of merit, if not for its Achilles' Heel that is the gas tank flaw which made the car combust in a rear-end collision, and the subsequent controversy ensuing from it. Ford reportedly decided that paying out on wrongful-death lawsuits would be cheaper than fixing it.
  • Heck, even Henry Ford himself had his reputation smeared no thanks to his antisemitic views. He was one of the few Americans whom Adolf Hitler admired and was mentioned in Mein Kampf. Ford also had the canard The International Jew, the World's Foremost Problem as well as the forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion republished. Ironically enough, he also hired black employees as well as women and people with disabilities, and if one source was to be believed, Ford was reportedly so distraught by the extent of the atrocities of the Holocaust that "he collapsed with a stroke – his last and most serious" after he was shown newsreel footage of what transpired at the time. Even more ironic was that he was a Freemason, a secretive fraternal society often if not always alleged to have been plotting for a New World Order amongst other conspiracies, and is generally viewed with contempt if not outright condemnation by most Christian denominations especially the Roman Catholic Church. If the likes of Alex Jones are virulently campaigning against Freemasonry and the NWO, the idea of an inducted Freemason believing in and espousing the same beliefs as Jones and co. would certainly confuse some people.
  • Fashion designer Coco Chanel is arguably the most famous couturier in history, having popularised the little black dress, Chanel No. 5 and a few others. She was however known for her alleged anti-Semitism and collaboration with the Nazis, which unsurprisingly soured her reputation post-mortem, particularly when more details about the less-savoury aspects of her life were declassified in the 2010s. The company which now bears her name tried to refute and downplay her role as a Nazi agent, though the stigma still remains.
  • Same goes with Hugo Boss, whose eponymous founder designed the uniforms worn by Nazi officers and utilised slave labour (from concentration camp inmates no less) in producing them.
  • The teleconferencing platform Zoom received a surge in popularity during the COVID-19 Pandemic where people are forced indoors to prevent the spread of the virus and are thus restricted to remote meetings. This however turned to infamy when numerous security and privacy issues with Zoom surfaced, one such incident with Pasig City, Philippines mayor Vico Sotto having his meeting raided by an errant troll who shoved in what appears to be a sexually-explicit picture of a naked man sitting on a chair.[20] These so-called "Zoombombing" incidents eventually led to both enterprises and schools banning the use of Zoom in favour of open-source alternatives such as Jitsi.[21]
  • 5G cellular technology also had its reputation tainted no thanks to the above-mentioned pandemic. The reason? Cloudcuckoolander Conspiracy Theorists accusing the radio standard of somehow facilitating the spread of the virus. This got to the point where paranoid and gullible people bought into the canard and left comments blindly accusing 5G for causing the disease (even though there's substantial evidence to the contrary, and 5G coverage hasn't been that widespread yet even in areas where it was deployed), and some took it Up To Eleven by raiding cell sites and firebombing the masts to knock them offline. Unsurprisingly, those who attempted to do such an imbecilic act were arrested for their antics, and social media users joked about how they were unable to get cellular coverage as a result of such idiocy-induced terrorism. Not helping matters are charlatans who are quick to cash in on the scare by selling (phony) deterrents against 5G radio waves in the form of USB-OTG devices to be plugged on a cellphone, and those spreading Chain Letters on Facebook and elsewhere alleging a sinister scheme linked to 5G and vaccines against COVID-19, sometimes using the "satanic panic" canard for added shock value.
    • Such mass paranoia over cellular technologies are nothing new, however. Back when cellphones and text messaging started gaining mainstream adoption in the late 90s to early 2000s, fears about electromagnetic radiation emitted by cellular towers and cellphones themselves started circulating on the internet and through word of mouth, and some cashed in by selling so-called "anti-radiation" decals meant to be placed on cellphones, purportedly to mitigate the radiation coming from said devices.
  • Speaking of vaccines, the anti-vaccination movement has made great strides in misinforming people about its supposed horrors, ranging from the now-discredited claim that they cause autism (which has since been considered an insult to those in the spectrum), to (understandable yet flawed) concerns about certain compounds such as Thiomersal, and even the above-mentioned NWO/number of the beast fears like diabolical implants being surreptitiously diluted into said vaccine injections. Such fears were crystallised in a number of incidents, notably the Dengvaxia controversy in the Philippines where a rash of deaths linked to the vaccines dissuaded parents from having their children vaccinated.
  • The swastika used to be a positive symbol of good luck, only for the Nazis to adopt it as their insignia. Unless if you're Buddhist or a Jain, brandishing it could land you in hot water especially in Germany where use of it along with other "unconstitutional symbols" is banned. There are exceptions to this such as the use of swastikas in works of art like films and television programmes, though it was only until recently when video games are now allowed to display them so as long as it is done in an artistic or historical context, and even then this has to be reviewed on a case-to-case basis.
  • IBM is arguably one of the foremost names in information technology, having pioneered the use of x86-based personal computers which became a de facto standard to this day. While they did cooperate with the United States and developed technologies as well as manufactured weapons for the Allied war effort, it could not however shake off their work with the Nazis through their German subsidiary Deutsche Hollerith Maschinen Gesellschaft, or Dehomag, where their punch card technology was used to keep records of concentration camp detainees during the Holocaust.
  • As mentioned in the Toddlers and Tiaras example, child beauty pageants have earned something of a dubious reputation no thanks to controversies over age-appropriateness, working conditions and issues with sexualization of children participating in such contests. While some pageants are more or less inocuous and are by no means malicious in nature such as in the case of the "Little Miss Philippines" segment in Eat Bulaga!, with which notable actresses such as Ryzza Mae Dizon and Ice Seguerra first became famous for, the over-the-top and borderline paedophilic things stage mothers have their daughters subjected to has led some jurisdictions to either restrict or outright ban pageants for children under 13.
  • Once well-established as a leading and prestigious authority in human and natural superlatives, the Guinness Book Of World Records has since been viewed with scorn and ridicule over the past few years at least in some circles:
    • Critics of the Records contend that the organisation has become something of a vanity show especially with the change in business model due to the decline in book sales in favour of the Internet and social media. One could pay top dollar to have their names on print, even if it meant doing the most bizarre or useless stunt such as burping as loud as they could or wearing as many sweaters as possible just for the privilege.[22] Television talk show host John Oliver voiced similar criticism on his eponymous programme where he highlighted the corporate-driven "records" commissioned by General Mills for the world's longest line of tacos, as well as a more serious concern when Guinness was paid by Turkmenistan, a country with a dubious human rights record, to confer to them a number of "world records" out of publicity's sake.
    • Amongst gaming circles, the Records has also become something of a joke especially in light of the Billy Mitchell and Todd Rogers high score scandals. Mitchell in particular had his title stripped by Twin Galaxies due to issues as to the veracity of his records, but these were dubiously reinstated by Guinness shortly after. Their lack of expertise in games and overall reputation as an adjudicator of superlatives has led some gamers, one of them being speedrunning commentator Karl Jobst, to call for Guinness to stay out of video gaming as the community has already established reputable authorities to moderate and verify gaming records.
    • A number of categories and records were also retired due to ethical and safety concerns, particularly with food and more dangerous stunts. The "youngest mother" record in particular was removed out of respect for a South American mother whose childhood pregnancy was an unfortunate story of its own.
  • Toyota's reputation took a hit when a scandal broke out from a now-infamous 911 call of a man and his family panicking as they were trying to put their Toyota to stop to no avail, crashing into another car and falling into a ravine, resulting in the death of all passengers. This and several other incidents prompted the Japanese automaker to issue a mandatory recall of affected models, along with investigations and hearings from American legislators seeking to probe on the rash of incidents involving Toyotas as well as a tearful apology from president and CEO Akio Toyoda.[23] A number of possible factors were investigated, among them a faulty floor mat, the pedal mechanism itself and software errors, though driver error and complacency has also been blamed particularly from the elderly whose judgement may be impaired or those who aren't easily acquainted and thus confused by new vehicles.[24] Many of those who have panicked over a car that had gone rouge did not for a second think about turning off the ignition or shifting to neutral (which would have outright destroyed the transmission but saved the occupants from more serious harm), and most of these incidents occurred on automatic transmission cars, which most Americans are far more accustomed to compared to manual transmission cars. Also criticised was the intense media coverage about the scandal, with periodicals and auto magazines faulting mainstream media outlets for "overblown" disproportionate coverage and what was seen as unfair demonizing at Toyota's expense.
  • Junípero Serra was praised for establishing Franciscan missions in and around what was then Spanish-occupied California, and was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 25 September 1988 in the Vatican City. His missionary work was however tainted and criticised especially in later years by Native American groups who accused the priest of genocide, subjugation and forced conversion of tribesmen into Catholicism. Such was the outrage that several monuments erected in his honour were either decapitated or otherwise desecrated in protest of Serra's alleged atrocities. Other Native Americans however were more positive towards Serra and his canonisation to sainthood, and had no ill feelings towards his missions in California.