This has not been the best of years by most standards. In 2016, the world has endured wars, controversial referendums, a relentlessly negative presidential race, mass shootings, terrorist attacks, disappointing sequels, prominent celebrity deaths, and much, much more. Of course there’s been plenty of good happening in the world as well, even if it’s not as consistently covered by the media. But near the end of such a dispiriting year, it only seems appropriate to look back at the individuals who made 2016 such a slog to get through. Here are the 10 most hated people of 2016.
10. Zack Snyder
For movies, 2016 was a year of blockbuster fatigue that was arguably sparked by the March release of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, a dark, divisive, and confusing film that was supposed to set the template for DC’s own cinematic universe but instead forced Warner Bros. executives to frantically attempt some damage control.
The man most responsible for the disappointment of such a long-hyped project must be director Zack Snyder, a comic book fanboy who is more concerned with cool slow-mo shots than actual character or story and who seems to fundamentally misunderstand all that Superman is supposed to be about. Who’s excited for Justice League?
9. Justin Bieber
I’ve heard very little of Justin Bieber since his string of public controversies — which included vandalism, driving under the influence, resisting arrest, and taking prescription drugs — quieted down sometime around the end of 2014. In many ways, he earned the mass hatred he inspired in those days, but somehow it continues in 2016 despite the fact that he’s expressed apparently genuine regret for his past misdeeds and done nothing this year besides release new music and collaborations (no worse than any other pop music, and in some cases even better). I guess some people just need someone to hate sometimes. Sorry Bieber.
8. Boris Johnson
For Americans, the shorthand on Boris Johnson is that he’s something like the British Donald Trump — right down to the confounding hairstyle. The U.K.’s Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs’ endorsement of the Brexit campaign is at least partially responsible for its passing, which sent international markets into a steep decline. The move caused what some called “the greatest constitutional crisis of modern times.”
Then, after President Obama urged U.K. voters to stay in the EU, Johnson accused him of harboring “an ancestral dislike of the British empire” due to his Kenyan heritage. See, just like Trump!
7. Kim Jong-un
Finally someone really worthy of all the hate thrown his way — North Korea’s supreme leader Kim Jong-un, a petty dictator who is more concerned with being feared on the international stage than fixing the horrid living conditions of his country’s citizens. Hating Kim Jong-un is nothing new, but in 2016 he continued to provide new reasons to be loathed — among them, continuing threats of nuclear annihilation, ordering the public execution of 64 accused traitors, and lying about North Korea discovering an HIV-curing “wonder drug” (which they of course refused to share, not that anyone ever believed it).
6. Colin Kaepernick
Like thousand of other Americans, Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, publicly protested the oppression and recurring police shootings of black men and other minorities. However, he dared to bring politics into sports by kneeling during the U.S. national anthem, causing thousands of (mostly conservative) fans to say his protest was either done at the wrong place and the wrong time, or simply wrong. It was a whole lot of hullabaloo over one man, who happens to throw a football really well, for refusing to stand during a nationally-televised game.
5. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz
The Democratic National Convention (DNC) was supposed to be a show of unity from a party seemingly far more together than Donald Trump’s GOP, but it was shortly preceded by the ousting of DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz after Wikileaks released a series of emails showing the DNC’s bias against Bernie Sanders’s primary campaign. Schultz is now being blamed by many for the results of the election, as many speculate that Sanders might otherwise have clinched the nomination and the election itself.
4. Ted Cruz
In a crowded field of primary candidates, Ted Cruz emerged as the one with the most realistic hope of stopping Donald Trump’s media-assisted march toward the GOP nomination. He presented himself as a small government Tea Party candidate upholding pro-life evangelical values, a platform that earned him support from the right and blind hatred from the left.
In fact, the only people who seemed to hate Cruz more than the Democrats were his peers in the GOP like former House Speaker John Boehner who referred to him as “Lucifer in the flesh.” It’s maybe because Cruz has a long history of being uncooperative with politicians from both sides of the aisle, or maybe because he just has the most punchable face in politics.
3. Martin Shkreli
Former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, Martin Shkreli earned the ire of millions of Americans in late 2015 after buying the manufacturing rights to the anti-parasitic drug, Daraprim and hiking its price up 5,000%. After being arrested for fraud and freed pending his trial, Shkreli seemed to do everything possible to make himself even more hated by the masses.
In 2016, he spent $15 million in bitcoins to become the sole owner of Kanye West’s completed album The Life of Pablo, only to find out, in a brilliant karmic twist, that he had been conned by someone claiming to be “Kanye’s boy.” He did, however, successfully purchase the only copy of the Wu-Tang Clan’s exclusive new release Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, saying he would release the music to the public only if Donald Trump won the presidency. Hopefully no Wu-Tang fans voted for Trump for this reason.
2. Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton has enjoyed a long and prominent political career — but that doesn’t mean most of the nation supports or even likes her. Her often contradictory voting history and unfortunate decision to use a private email server as secretary of state followed her throughout the election, including the primaries when Clinton and DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz alienated much of their own party by conspiring against Senator Bernie Sanders’s competing bid for the nomination. She must be hated to have lost the electoral college (if not the popular vote) to …
1. Donald Trump
You don’t need me to tell you that Donald Trump is hated. Your social media feeds have likely been reminding you ever since he unexpectedly won the 2016 presidential election, to say nothing of the preceding 18 months of his candidacy. Donald Trump is an outrageous serial liar who does just about everything politicians (and often even regular people) are expected not to do, but that didn’t stop a significant portion of the nation from voting him into office. However his presidency plays out (and really, who knows at this point?), it seems safe to bet that Donald Trump will make this list yet again in the coming four years.
Follow Jeff Rindskopf on Twitter @jrindskopf
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