The Naughty List: The Most Hated Cultural Icons of 2010


We’ve spent quite a while celebrating the people and things we liked best in 2010, from underrated albums, actors, and films to art shows to comic books. But we can’t end the year without a look back at the folks we — and seemingly everyone else on the internet — loved to hate. From deranged actors and mouthy musicians to a controversial art-world player and a film and theater director who seems to be having the worst year ever, these are the ten cultural icons who pissed us off most this year.

Jeffrey Deitch

Everything was coming up Deitch, it seemed, until it was announced that the gallery guru would Deitch Projects and move across the country to helm L.A.’s MOCA. First, he was caught on tape bitching out some poor dude who ran into him at Shepard Fairey’s Mayday show. Then, recently, he commissioned the street artist Blu to paint a mural on an outside wall of the museum. But when he decided, the next day, that the painting of coffins wrapped in dollar bills was too offensive, Deitch had it painted over. As you can imagine, the street art community — and, by now, the art world as a whole — is less than thrilled about this.

Julie Taymor

We would not be Julie Taymor in 2010 if our lives depended on it. The erratic — but sometimes very impressive! — director released her adaptation of The Tempest a few weeks ago, and the reviews ranged from awful to tepid. And yet, that’s the least of her troubles. Taymor is taking a ton of heat for her Spider-Man musical, which faced so many setbacks and delays and exceeded its budget so enormously that many thought it wouldn’t even happen. Now that it’s in previews (with the official opening date still creeping forward), things are worse than ever: just about everyone who’s seen the thing thinks it’s awful. And just the other day, actor Christopher Tierney seriously injured himself performing an aerial stunt in the middle of the show. Taymor’s Broadway colleagues have been quick to lash out her. “Does someone have to die?” asked Tony winner Alice Ripley.

Mel Gibson

It’s not like Mel Gibson, the man who popularized “sugartits,” was very popular going into 2010. But this year, he disgusted us again, in a series of unspeakably awful flip-outs at then-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva. She wisely caught the whole thing — threats of bodily harm, racial slurs, weird, personal nervous breakdown shit — on tape (and got a restraining order). The incident caused Gibson’s talent agency, William Morris, to drop him. It also spurred a slew of entertaining remixes and viral videos.

Charlie Sheen

Oh, for heaven’s sake Charlie Sheen. Seriously? You’re the highest paid TV actor in the world, and you can’t take a year off from flying into a coke-fueled rage, destroying your room at the Plaza, and terrorizing call girls? America might be stupid enough to keep watching Two and a Half Men, but even we aren’t buying the lie that it can all be chalked up to an allergic reaction. Please!

Carrie Bradshaw

At first, we liked you, Carrie. You were that one friend who overthought herself into relationship disaster time and time again, and then wrote pseudo-intellectual personal essays about it. That was fine, because we sort of liked your wacky clothes and how you and your gal pals weren’t afraid to talk frankly about sex. But then you went crawling back to Mr. Big — and then it didn’t even end there! All we can remember from that first movie is that one horrible Mexican-water poop gag. On the heels of that resounding artistic success, you had to come back for your second feature film in 2010, and it was a doozy. We don’t know whether gay people, Muslims, or the women who made SATC popular should be more offended, but we do know this: we’re done with you, Carrie. It was fun while it lasted, and now it’s time for you to go away.

John Mayer

What did we learn from John Mayer this year? For one thing, if you’re going to do smooshy, nice-guy rock, no one wants to hear you talking like the world’s biggest racist asshole. You’d think that would be obvious and yet there was John Mayer, back in February, throwing around the n-word while telling Playboy that Jessica Simpson was “sexual napalm,” that Kerry Washington is “white-girl crazy,” and, in a turn of phrase that will surely follow him to his grave, that “my dick is sort of like a white supremacist.” Where do we even start?

Taylor Momsen

Let us first say that we don’t hate Taylor Momsen quite as much as others seem to. She is, after all, only 17 years old, and we’d hate to be held publicly accountable for our own behavior at that age. Also, her band isn’t terrible. People are not happy with her for drowning her eyes in several pounds of black eyeliner, dressing racily on red carpets and magazine covers, flashing her boobs at performances, pissing off Tim Gunn, talking shit about other teen stars — and the list goes on. One day, Momsen will probably look back at this year and cringe.

Mark Zuckerberg

The Zuck-hatred has been brewing for quite some time, but it reached new heights in 2010. First of all, turns out people really hate Facebook. And we learned some of the details of Zuckerberg’s personal assholery through some leaked, Harvard-era emails. A New Yorker profile published just before The Social Network came out didn’t paint him in a particularly positive light, either. Finally, there was the film itself. While Aaron Sorkin (admittedly) played fast and loose with the facts, you just couldn’t leave that theater without the idea that Zuckerberg is a sad nerd driven entirely by his hatred of/frustration with women. Still, unlike many of the icons on this list, we expect he’ll continue to be a master of the universe for years to come.

Scott Baio

Remember when we could safely indulge our Charles in Charge nostalgia without having to think about how bonkers Scott Baio has turned out to be? Well, those days ended back in April, when Baio sent the following lovely tweet: “Taxes are DONE…That should feed, house & provide medical for a few lazy non working people at my expense. Have a great Monday!” (Right, because you just know that Scott Baio is working hard for his money in 2010…) After Jezebel included the message in one of their daily Twitter roundups, Baio went on a rampage, and his wife joined in — memorably referring to the ladies of Jezebel as lesbian shitasses. Meanwhile, Baio had already sent some pretty incredible tweets in which he demonstrated that he doesn’t know what “pro-choice” means and that he thinks Michelle Obama is ugly.


Honestly, we — and everyone else — have devoted so much space to M.I.A. in the past year, we don’t even feel like writing about her again. But it must be said: she really alienated a lot of people this year (although she does continue to have a number of vocal supporters). What was the problem? Well, M.I.A. started to seem less like an actual revolutionary than that friend everyone has who’s always calling us “bourgeois” and making fun of our white-collar jobs and raving about international government conspiracies — all while living in the lap of unearned luxury, without even acknowledging the contradiction. Does it look like journalist Lynn Hirschberg manipulated her infamous Times magazine profile to highlight M.I.A.’s hypocrisy? Sure, and that’s inexcusable. But it’s still clear that the hypocrisy existed. And yet, we could have forgiven all of it if the album she released this year had actually been good.