Many celebrities talk about racism and other subjects in their movies, TV shows, or music. However, many of them still get in trouble and offend people based on what they say or do. For example, some of stars’ creative work has brought up the subject of cultural appropriation and whether it’s okay for celebrities to profit off of other people’s cultures, yet not support them outside of that.
Sometimes racial actions or remarks are due to ignorance, but other times it actually comes from a place of hatred. So which celebrities have made controversial statements or done inappropriate things? Here are 25 celebrities who have been accused of being prejudiced.
1. Mel Gibson
The actor was recorded going on a tirade over the phone with the mother of his child, Oksana Grigorieva. On the call he said, “You look like a f***ing b*tch in heat. And if you get raped by a pack of n****rs it will be your fault. Alright? Because you provoked it. You are provocatively dressed all the time with your fake boobs that you feel you have to show off. I don’t like it. I don’t want that woman. I don’t want you. I don’t trust you. I don’t love you.”
He also reportedly made anti-Semitic statements during his 2006 DUI arrest. Specifically, he allegedly said, “The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world!” The actor and director later called it an “unfortunate incident.”
He also tried to push the blame onto the police officer. “I was loaded and angry and arrested,” he said on the Playback podcast. “I was recorded illegally by an unscrupulous police officer who was never prosecuted for that crime. And then it was made public by him for profit, and by members of — we’ll call it the press. So, not fair. I guess as who I am, I’m not allowed to have a nervous breakdown, ever.”
2. Karlie Kloss
Karlie for Vogue US – March 2017 pic.twitter.com/Pbo9rssT8p
— bestkkpics (@bestkkpics) February 14, 2017
The model was called out for posing as a geisha in a Vogue photo shoot. Many referred to it as “yellowface.” Ironically, the issue was supposed to celebrate diversity, so many were puzzled as to why they didn’t just get a Japanese model for the photo shoot.
The model herself responded to the backlash on Twitter. “These images appropriate a culture that is not my own and I am truly sorry for participating in a shoot that was not culturally sensitive. My goal is, and always will be, to empower and inspire women. I will ensure my future shoots and projects will reflect that mission.”
3. Hulk Hogan
The former wrestler was also caught making racist remarks over a recording. At the time, his daughter was dating a black man. In a conversation with her he reportedly said, “I mean, I’d rather if she was going to f**k some n****r, I’d rather have her marry an 8-foot-tall n****r worth a hundred million dollars! Like a basketball player! I guess we’re all a little racist. F**king n****r.”
Hulk was fired from WWE after the racist comments made the news.
4. Gigi Hadid
The model was celebrating her birthday with dinner at an Asian restaurant. Her sister recorded her holding up a cookie in the shape of Buddha’s face. Gigi then squinted as if to mock the Buddha cookie. The recording was then sent out by Bella on Snapchat. Many slammed Gigi for being racist, so Bella removed the video. Gigi didn’t respond to the backlash but her mother, Yolanda and her boyfriend Zayn Malik defended her on Twitter.
— YOLANDA (@YolandaHFoster) February 6, 2017
5. Paula Deen
The chef was sued by former employees who accused her of sexual and racial discrimination in the work place, according The Huffington Post. During the deposition Deen admitted to using the N-word and telling anti-Semitic jokes. She also allegedly wanted to hire black waiters and make them wear white gloves to look like slaves for a wedding. She was fired from the Food Network for the scandal. She also made an apology video for her remarks.
6. Iggy Azalea
The rapper has gotten in hot water for some racist tweets she made in the past. That includes “Just saw 5 black men get arrested out the front of popeyes. #damn #stereotypes.” She also had some controversial lyrics in songs like her track “D.R.U.G.S.” where she refers to herself as a “runaway slave master.” After there was a backlash, she apologized for the lyric.
“Sometimes we get so caught up in our art and creating or trying to push boundaries, we don’t stop to think how others may be hurt by it,” she said according to VIBE. “In this situation, I am guilty of doing that and I regret not thinking things through more.”
7. Donald Sterling
There was a tape released of a conversation between the Los Angeles Clippers owner and his girlfriend, V. Stiviano. On it he was criticizing her for hanging out with black people. “It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?” he reportedly said. “You can sleep with [black people]. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it on that … and not to bring them to my games.”
The whole thing was investigated by the NBA and they decided to ban him for life.
8. Donald Trump
While running for president, the former reality star got called out for his racist remarks when talking about immigration. “When Mexico sends its people,” he said while campaigning, “they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
This and many of his other controversial comments led to him getting the public support of former KKK grand wizard, David Duke.
9. Vince Vaughn
The actor did an interview with Playboy magazine where he talked about affirmative action. This is where it was revealed that he doesn’t support it and actually thinks the policy itself is racist.
But then you’re evaluating someone based on race, which is racism. Rights don’t come to you because you’re a man or a woman or African American or European or Jewish. And I certainly don’t think the federal government should be in the business of deciding things or handing out money based on factors like these. It’s the same with same-sex marriage. Who cares what people feel about each other? Let people decide for themselves who they can marry. It’s not the government’s job. It’s between you and your partner and your church or synagogue or whatever you believe in.
Many were troubled by this, considering affirmative action is an attempt to fight back on racist institutions that try to avoid hiring minorities even when they are qualified.
10. Matt Damon
The actor got into a disagreement with Effie Brown on Project Greenlight. When Brown pointed out the stereotypical aspects of the black character in Leo Angelos and Kristen Brancaccio’s project, she mentioned that diversity behind the camera could help the situation. Damon, however, countered with “…when we’re talking about diversity, you do it in the casting of the film, not in the casting of the show.”
This led to people saying how that way of thinking has kept minorities from getting behind-the-camera jobs. The actor later gave an apology.
I believe deeply that there need to be more diverse filmmakers making movies. I love making movies. It’s what I have chosen to do with my life and I want every young person watching Project Greenlight to believe that filmmaking is a viable form of creative expression for them too.
My comments were part of a much broader conversation about diversity in Hollywood and the fundamental nature of Project Greenlight which did not make the show. I am sorry that they offended some people, but, at the very least, I am happy that they started a conversation about diversity in Hollywood. That is an ongoing conversation that we all should be having.
11. Paris Hilton
The heiress was the subject of Neil Strauss’ book, Everyone Loves You When You’re Dead: Journeys into Fame and Madness where he alleges she was kissing a man, but when the lights came on she noticed his skin color and left him. He then claimed she said, “I can’t stand black guys. I would never touch one. It’s gross.” Her spokesman later claimed this wasn’t true.
12. Justin Bieber
The pop star was in some hot water when a video of him singing a racist version of his song, “One Less Lonely Girl” was leaked. He changed the lyrics to, “There’ll be one less lonely n****r.” After the release he apologized. “I thought it was OK to repeat hurtful words and jokes,” he said according to TMZ, “but didn’t realize at the time that it wasn’t funny and that in fact my actions were continuing the ignorance.”
13. Giuliana Rancic
The Fashion Police co-host offended many people when she went after Zendaya’s locks at the Academy Awards. “I feel like she smells like patchouli oil,” she said. “Or weed.”
After her statement had a backlash, she later gave an apology. “Something I said did cross the line,” she said. “I didn’t intend to hurt anybody, but I’ve learned it is not my intent that matters. It’s the result. And the result is that people are offended, including Zendaya, and that is not okay. Therefore, I want to say to Zendaya and anyone else out there that I have hurt, that I am so, so sincerely sorry.” She was later fired and then re-hired by E!
14. Kelly Osbourne
While on The View the personality made a racist statement while trying to stick up for the Latino community. “If you kick every Latino out of this country, then who is going to be cleaning your toilet, Donald Trump?” she asked. Of course that’s not the only job Latinos have, so this statement was a gross generalization. After getting called out, she later apologized.
15. John Mayer
The crooner was in an interview with Playboy when he revealed his white supremacist side. When asked if black women throw themselves at him, he gave a crazy answer.
I don’t think I open myself to it. My d*ck is sort of like a white supremacist. I’ve got a Benetton heart and a f**kin’ David Duke c*ck. I’m going to start dating separately from my d*ck. … I always thought Holly Robinson Peete was gorgeous. Every white dude loved Hilary from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. And Kerry Washington. She’s super hot and she’s also white-girl crazy. Kerry Washington would break your heart like a white girl. Just all of a sudden she’d be like, “Yeah, I sucked his d*ck. Whatever.”
He later apologized for the crude statement. “In the quest to be clever, I completely forgot about the people that I love and that love me,” he told an audience at Sommet Center.
16. Michael Richards
The Seinfeld star was being heckled while doing stand-up at Hollywood’s Laugh Factory in 2006. In response he said, “f**k you, you n****r” to one of the audience members. The whole thing was caught on video. After there was outrage, he apologized on the Late Show with David Letterman.
“I’d only been doing stand-up at the time,” he explained to Us Weekly, “that situation happened about seven or eight months and I just lost my patience that night because people were heckling me and not letting me work on my material and I lost my cool. And it is what it is! I’ve moved on.”
17. Duane “Dog” Chapman
The Dog the Bounty Hunter star was recorded going on a rant about his son’s black girlfriend. In the 45-second clip he used the N-word six times. After its release he gave an apology. “I did not mean to add yet another slap in the face to an entire race of people who have brought so many gifts to this world,” he said according to Today. “I am ashamed of myself and I pledge to do whatever I can to repair this damage I have caused.” His show was later canceled.
18. Chevy Chase
The actor is known to be difficult, but not many know he has crossed the line in terms of racism as well. It’s no secret that tensions were high on the set of Community, however Joel McHale talked about how it was worse than we thought.
He revealed that the actor said the N-word on set. “When he said it, it was like ‘We are now at Defcon 1,'” McHale told Howard Stern. “He said that Richard Pryor said it was okay for him to call him that,” he continued. “He literally … he used that.” Eventually, Chase left the comedy show.
19. Azealia Banks
The rapper got into many celebrity feuds on Twitter, but the one that was the last straw was with Zayn Malik. At first she called him out for possibly stealing her look in his music video, “Like I Would.” He responded on Twitter with, “@AZEALIABANKS why you been saying nasty things about me? I wasn’t talking about you lol.”
She then wrote, “U.S.A IS ABOUT TO TEACH YOU WHO NOT TO F**K WITH!!” She continued, “When your entire extended family has been obliterated by good ol the U.S of A will you still be trying to act like a white boy pretending to be black? Do you understand that you are a sand n****r who emulates white boys’ renditions of black male hood? Do you know how lost and culture less you are?”
Sadly, the rant was even longer and included more slurs. Her account was deleted from Twitter.
20. Floyd Mayweather
The boxer was caught on video trash talking Manny Pacquiao and making racist comments.
As soon as we come off vacation,” he reportedly said “we’re going to cook that little yellow chump. We ain’t worried about that. So they ain’t gotta worry about me fighting the m*dget. Once I kick the m*dget a**, I don’t want you all to jump on my d*ck. So you all better get on the bandwagon now. … Once I stomp the m*dget, I’ll make that mother f***er make me a sushi roll and cook me some rice.
In response, Pacquiao called it an “uneducated message.”
21. Julianne Hough
The actress and dancer got in trouble for her 2013 Halloween costume. That year, she decided to go as “Crazy Eyes” from Orange Is the New Black, which is a fine choice. However, she decided to complete the costume with blackface. She later apologized after many were outraged by this.
“Ignorance is sometimes not bliss,” she told Allure. “I really had no idea what I was doing, and it was all out of fun and respect for the character. I don’t even know how to talk about it because it’s such a sensitive topic. It makes me so sad to think that I was that dumb. I learned a big lesson.”
22. Amy Schumer
The comedian and actress has become more popular over the years. However, many have pointed out some of the racist jokes she made in the past.
In one of her stand-up acts she said, “I used to date Hispanic guys, but now I prefer consensual.” When this was pointed out to her she said her act included her playing an “irreverent idiot” who says “the dumbest things possible.” More recently, she was also called out for parodying Beyoncé’s “Formation” video which focused on black pride and police brutality.
23. Sarah Silverman
The comedian and actress put on blackface and decided to post a picture of it on Twitter with the caption, “I’m having minstrel cramps.” The makeup went over as well as can be expected, which means there was outrage.
Silverman has also been in other tasteless skits like “Black NRA” for a Funny or Die sketch, which relied heavily on racist stereotypes.
24. George Lopez
The comedian’s recent stand-up show went viral for a very controversial reason. In his set he said, “There are only 2 rules in the Latino family — don’t marry somebody black and don’t park in front of our house.” One woman in the audience wasn’t happy about this and stood up. He responded to her by calling her a “b*tch” then telling her to “Get the f**k out of here.”
25. Tom Hanks
A video surfaced of the Oscar winner sharing a stage with a man in blackface at a 2004 charity event. The video caused outrage and many people asked for the actor to be removed from President Obama’s re-election campaign video. The actor said, “What is usually a night of food and drink for a good cause was, regrettably, marred by an appalling few moments.”
Follow Nicole Weaver on Twitter @nikkibernice.
Check out Entertainment Cheat Sheet on Facebook!