• History

Scandals That Ended with "-Gate"

List RulesVote up the most scandalous "-gate" stories.

Since the 1972 break-in at the Watergate Hotel, affixing the suffix "-gate" to any scandal, no matter how big or small, has become standard operating procedure in pop culture. "-Gate" scandals include everything from large scale investigations into violations of federal law, to local matters that the press seizes on due to their tawdry nature.

Maybe the king of "-gate" scandals was Bill Clinton, whose administration was hampered by a seemingly endless string of kerfuffles that the nascent 24-hour cable news cycle pounced on. But the arts, sports, and foreign politics aren't immune to "-gates" either, and virtually any scandal that takes place anywhere is likely to turn into one.

Here are some of the most prominent "-gate" scandals in history, starting with the one that began the whole craze.
  • 1
    38 VOTES


    Photo: Sarah.Marshall / flickr / CC-BY 2.0
    The allegations that Rupert Murdoch's News of the World tabloid hacked into the phones of celebrities, politicians, members of the British Royal Family, dead British soldiers, and victims of the London bombings led to a number of arrests. The paper itself folded after an advertiser boycott - ending a 168-year print run.
  • 2
    51 VOTES


    Photo: ABC News

    A campaign finance scandal that spanned the Bush and Clinton administrations, Chinagate was an attempt by China to influence US politics by funneling large donations to the Democratic National Committee - a violation of federal law.

    Though largely forgotten in the flurry of Clinton-era faux scandals, Chinagate involved investigations by both the Department of Justice and Congress - the most expensive Congressional investigation in US history at that point. There were also a number of arrests of prominent Chinese nationals living in the US. The Clintons were never found to have any knowledge of the donations.
  • 3
    57 VOTES
    Photo: flickr / CC0
    The original "-gate" scandal, Watergate got its name from Washington D.C.'s Watergate Hotel. What began as a break-in at the DNC headquarters in June 1972 became a top-level cover-up that lead to one of the most complex scandals in American history. The affair ultimately ended with the resignation of President Nixon in 1974, along with nearly 50 other federal officials found guilty of various crimes.
  • 4
    33 VOTES


    Photo: Sports Illustrated

    In March 2012, the NFL discovered that over the previous two years, a number of New Orleans Saints players, as well as defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, had operated a "bounty" scheme, illegal under league rules, in which defensive players received financial rewards for making big plays or dishing out hard hits.

    The investigation ultimately revealed that head coach Sean Payton knew about the scheme but took no steps to stop it. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell handed out multiple suspensions to coaches and players involved in the scheme, including an indefinite suspension for Williams and a season-long suspension for Payton.