The Naughty List: The Most Hated Pop Cultural Icons of 2013


What a year it’s been, full of wonderfully interesting people and movies and music and books. And yet, there were still plenty of things that made us angry, shaking our clenched fists at our computer screens and leaving angry anonymous comments on various blogs. Most of our ire, though, was directed toward famous people who managed to get a lot of attention for doing stupid stuff, saying stupid stuff, or being generally stupid. While Flavorwire, like everyone else, likes to share what we loved the most this year, let’s take a quick moment to remember those who drove us bonkers in 2013. Take a look at our picks, and leave your own grievances in the comments!

Alec Baldwin

For such a beloved liberal icon, Baldwin can’t for the life of him keep his mouth shut, especially when it comes to using phrases like “toxic little queen” and “cocksucking faggot.” Yes, the machismo was overflowing, and so were the lame excuses (Baldwin was apparently surprised to learn that “cocksucker” was even a gay slur!). He’d go on to lose his recent MSNBC talk show as a result of the latter outburst, after which he complained about the “fundamentalist gays” who brought about his downfall.

Julianne Hough

Dancing With the Stars alumna Julianne Hough was set to make her cinematic breakthrough this year in the lead role in Safe Haven, a box office hit based on a Nicholas Sparks weepie. Instead, we did a collective “Who did what?” on Halloween, when she showed up to a party with a ton of bronzer as Crazy Eyes from Orange Is the New Black. You know what makes someone a household name? Very public, very cheap blackface!

Robin Thicke

Look, “Blurred Lines” is what it’s about. There’s no denying that. But then, amid the controversy over the lyrics, Thicke had to go and say things like, “What a pleasure it is to degrade a woman. I’ve never gotten to do that before. I’ve always respected women.” I dunno, maybe don’t even joke about it? Plus, it’s never really cute when a guy brags about how big his penis is. (Also, there’s the whole performing-with-Miley-Cyrus thing.)

Kanye West

He’s the provocateur we all love to hate. He’s self-righteous, self-obsessed, unable to take a joke, angry, and given to grandiosity. That he does all of that while still making actually innovative and interesting music is infuriating, right? Say what you want about Kanye: the man has the skills and the style to make us also hate to love him. And I’m pretty sure that’s exactly how he wants it.

Jonathan Franzen

Cat-hating book-club snob Jonathan Franzen writes some great novels, but damn, he sure can also write a lot of other annoying stuff that makes one want to trash his copy of Freedom. This year, having only the heavily annotated work The Kraus Project to promote, Franzen went on several tirades about how dumb social media is and managed to get into some spats with outspoken author Jennifer Weiner. And it’s like… who cares, Jonathan Franzen? Maybe if you wrote crappy pop music or twerked or something, this would be more fun? But, snooze.

Zach Braff

This year, Zach Braff joined the league of already famous and successful artists (loose term) who joined Kickstarter to fund their creative pursuits. Of course, one would think that Braff, who has directed a pretty successful movie already, wouldn’t have a problem getting money to fund another one. Weeks after the Kickstarter pulled in $2.6 million for Wish I Were Here, Braff went on to secure full financing for his film. So, was the whole thing some publicity stunt to get his fan base to prove there was interest in his movie so he could get real money from producers? Probably. Does this mean we’ll see more mopey shots of Zach Braff on film accompanied by songs by The Shins? You bet.

Tila Tequila

Tila Tequila hasn’t been a name anyone has paid much attention to since we all closed our MySpace accounts years ago. But she made it just under the wire as a reviled celebrity by rebranding herself as a Nazi. Hey, gotta have a gimmick, right?

Justin Bieber

I didn’t think there could be anything worse than teenage boys, but then I remembered that they turn 18 and are still insufferable. At 19, Biebs is still technically a teenager, but while most normal 19-year-olds start to show some semblance of maturity, Bieber spent this year causing all kinds of ruckus, ranging from getting his pet monkey confiscated (yes, a 19-year-old with a pet monkey, you guys) to yelling at photographers to getting caught in Brazilian brothels, and, most importantly, saying that Anne Frank was a “great girl” and hoping she would have been a belieber. What a dummy.

Paula Deen

Paula Deen went from America’s favorite batty old Southern Grandmother to America’s most-hated racist really quickly! The thing about having a racist grandma is that you only have to really see her once or twice a year, and you can leave the room when she starts complaining about Obama. Paula Deen, on the other hand, was everywhere: trying to tearfully not-apologize all over TV for using racial epithets and begging us to forgive her so she continue to cook delicious yet terrible-for-you food on Food Network. But we don’t pay our racist grandmas money, now do we?

Miley Cyrus

The twerking. The tongue. The Terry Richardson video. The VMAs. Those stupid teddy bears. Pretty much everything Miley did this year pissed someone off, and it seemed like she enjoyed the whole damn thing. Sure, who else incited us, as a nation, to discuss identity politics and cultural appropriation? But I highly doubt that was part of Miley’s agenda. No, I have a feeling the attention was all she was hoping for this year.