People who have been fired for saying offensive things range from reality stars, celebrity chefs and news anchors to actors, journalists, fashion designers and everyone in between. What they all have in common is that their loose lips led to their demise and cost them what was perhaps their dream job along the way.
It's easy to pick people like Rush Limbaugh and Paula Deen out of the pack with their high-profile firings coming on the heels of their scandalous remarks. Their inappropriate comments cost them big bucks in sponsorship and endorsement dollars, but they are far from alone.
In the age of instant communication, it just takes one simple tweet or Facebook update to kill a career. Just ask Alec Baldwin, Justine Sacco and Scott Bartosiewicz, all of whom were fired for inappropriate tweets.So, for as long as the talking heads will spout off controversial things--including those who enjoy the attention from stirring the pot like Don Imus and Ann Coulter--there will always be people getting fired for saying controversial things.
In July 2018, Walt Disney Studios swiftly dropped James Gunn from the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise after the discovery of a series of offensive tweets. Posted before Gunn began work on the franchise, the tweets made jokes about a variety of controversial topics such as sexual abuse, pedophilia, AIDS, and the Holocaust. A chairman for Disney released a statement shortly after Gunn's firing:
The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’ Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values, and we have severed our business relationship with him.
After momentarily shutting his Twitter down and deleting the questionable Tweets, Gunn posted a series of statements via Twitter apologizing for and explaining his actions. He claimed he engaged in highly provocative humor in his younger days, but had since changed as a person:
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Many people who have followed my career know when I started, I viewed myself as a provocateur, making movies and telling jokes that were outrageous and taboo. As I have discussed publicly many times, as I’ve developed as a person, so has my work and my humor. It’s not to say I’m better, but I am very, very different than I was a few years ago; today I try to root my work in love and connection and less in anger. My days saying something just because it’s shocking and trying to get a reaction are over.
On May 29, 2018, Roseanne Barr's show, Roseanne, was canceled by ABC and she was dropped by her representation, ICM Partners. Earlier that day, Barr sent out a tweet about former senior adviser to the Obama administration, Valerie Jarrett. In the tweet, Barr compared Jarrett, a Black woman, to an ape, saying if "muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj."
After being at the receiving end of an onslaught of angry tweets, Barr deleted the tweet and apologized. This did not prevent Barr from losing both her show and representation, though.
"Roseanne's Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant, and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show," ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey said in an official statement.
"We are all greatly distressed by the disgraceful and unacceptable tweet from Roseanne Barr this morning," ICM Partners stated. "What she wrote is antithetical to our core values, both as individuals and as an agency. Consequently, we have notified her that we will not represent her. Effective immediately, Roseanne Barr is no longer a client."
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In June 2015, following the announcement of his candidacy in the 2016 US presidential race, Donald Trump decided to make some comments on the divisive issue of immigration, specifically with regard to Mexican immigrants. He said that immigrants from Mexico are bringing drugs and crime to America and referred to them as "killers and rapists."As a result, NBC, Univision, Serta mattresses, and Macy's (which sold some of his branded retail merchandise) severed ties with the businessman.
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The conservative radio talking head saw a mass exodus of his sponsors in early 2012 after he called Georgetown University Law Center student Sandra Fluke, who had spoken out to House Democrats in support of requiring health insurance companies to cover contraceptives, a "slut" and "prostitute." Despite an apology, which Fluke called "dubious," dozens of sponsors of his national radio show fled, while others requested their ads specifically not air during his show.
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