While most ordinary people may be given a second chance after making a mistake, some
famous folks were axed or demoted after their split-second bad choices and scandalous behavior.
From Brian Williams to Paula Deen, here are the stars whose careers went up in flames
in just a few moments.
In 2015, one of America's most recognizable newsmen, Brian Williams, was caught embellishing
stories about his war reporting.
According to Variety, Williams made up statements about reporting in Iraq in 2003.
His inflated stories appeared not only on the Nightly News, but also on CBS's Late Show
with David Letterman.
Williams claimed he was reporting in a helicopter under fire in Iraq in 2003.
But the men and women in uniform on that same flight told a different version of the events.
The inflated stories made many worry if Williams was even capable of telling truthful news.
According to USA Today, Williams was suspended for six months without pay for "misremembering"
NBC News President Deborah Turness wrote, "I'm sure you understand, this was a very
Certainly there will be those who disagree.
But we believe this suspension is the appropriate and proportionate action."
Williams also apologized, saying, "I'm sorry.
I said things that weren't true.
I let down my NBC colleagues and our viewers.
I am determined to win back their trust.
I will greatly miss working with the team on Nightly News but I know the broadcast will
be in excellent hands with Lester Holt as anchor.
I will support him 100 percent as he has always supported me."
Following his suspension, Williams was permanently removed from his Nightly News anchor seat
and was reassigned to cover breaking news on the less popular MSNBC.
"I'm Brian Williams, reporting tonight from New York.
Anthony Weiner was on track to be a major political force in New York, and perhaps the
entire nation — had he just kept it in his pants.
He first burst on the scene in the '90s as he ran for congress in Brooklyn, New York.
But his career would spiral out of control in the spring of 2011.
According to People, Weiner was caught in his first sexting scandal after an image of
his crotch was inadvertently sent out on Twitter.
At the time, he claimed he was hacked, but days later, he confessed to relationships
with at least six women.
In a press conference, he said:
"I haven't told the truth.
I have done things I deeply regret.
I apologize to my wife and our families."
Later, during his attempt at a comeback in the 2013 race for New York Mayor, Weiner once
again faced a fresh round of sexting allegations.
In July of that year, he confessed to sending sexually explicit photos to a woman online,
effectively ending his political career.
Amazingly, those nasty headlines returned yet again in 2016.
This time, the photos were not only sexual in nature but one featured his young son next
As a result, Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, announced she was ending their marriage, and allegedly
filed for divorce.
But, according to the New York Post, as of May 2017, the couple had not signed any papers,
and Abedin had invited Weiner back into their home.
We'll wait for the tweet.
Oscar gossip landed E! personality Giuliana Rancic in some very hot water.
According to People, while filming a 2015 episode of Fashion Police, Rancic commented
that a dreadlocked Zendaya smelled of, quote, "patchouli oil and weed."
Many thought her comments had racist undertones, and Zendaya herself fired back with a lengthy
response calling the remarks "ignorant slurs."
Rancic issued an apology following the incident, saying,
"I just want everyone to know I didn't intend to hurt anybody, but I've learned it's not
my intent that matters, it's the result."
In the aftermath, People reported both Kathy Griffin and Kelly Osbourne quit the show.
Rancic also eventually stepped down as host of E! News.
After one short year as governor of New York State, The New York Times reported Eliot Spitzer
was caught in a wild prostitution ring.
In March 2008, the politician was caught red-handed on a federal wiretap discussing meeting a
high-priced prostitute in Washington, D.C.
He allegedly met the woman on February 13 at the Mayflower Hotel.
In a statement to the media, he said:
"I have acted in a way that violates my obligations to my family and that violates my — or any
— sense of right and wrong."
He would later resign, saying in a statement, "Over the course of my public life, I have
insisted [...] that people, regardless of their position or power, take responsibility
for their conduct."
"I can and will ask no less of myself.
For this reason, I am resigning from the office of Governor."
His political career was over, and in 2014, he and wife Silda Spitzer ended their marriage
after 26 years together.
In their agreement, Silda was given a lump sum of $7.5 million and was guaranteed $240,000
a year until she dies or remarries.
Hope that night at the Mayflower Hotel was worth it!
Who knew an old, candid conversation with reality show host Donald Trump would come
back to bite Billy Bush?
In October 2016, just weeks before presidential election, audio from an exchange between Bush
and Trump surfaced via The Washington Post.
The conversation, in which Trump makes sexually suggestive comments about women, took place
11 years prior.
While the leaked footage did little to slow Trump's campaign for the White House, it absolutely
ended Bush's career, which by this point had taken him to The Today Show.
Bush said in a statement, "Obviously I'm embarrassed and ashamed.
It's no excuse, but this happened 11 years ago — I was younger, less mature, and acted
foolishly in playing along.
I'm very sorry."
But that wasn't enough for NBC execs, who cut Bush from the morning show.
After months of soul-searching and reflection, Bush told The Hollywood Reporter in May 2017,
"I plan to return to the job that I love, which is television, communicating, interviewing
I have changed in a way that I think will make me better at my job."
Speaking of doing what you love...
A work relationship, which turned very personal, brought down former U.S. Senator John Edwards.
According to ABC News, Edwards first came in contact with filmmaker Rielle Hunter in
2006, while the pair worked on a web series chronicling Edward's race to the White House
By early 2007, the webisodes were pulled from his website, as Edwards' wife, Elizabeth Edwards
announced that her cancer had returned and was incurable.
By the fall of 2008, a year away from the presidential election, the National Enquirer
reported that Edwards carried out an affair with a staffer.
He denied it, saying, "It's completely untrue, ridiculous…
I've been in love with the same woman for 30-plus years, and as anybody who's been around
us knows, she's an extraordinary human being; warm, loving, beautiful, sexy and as good
a person as I have ever known."
Weeks later a photo of Hunter — pregnant — emerged.
In February 2008, Hunter gave birth to a baby girl and the child's father was mysteriously
left off the birth certificate.
A month later, Edwards came clean about having an affair, but denied being the father of
In the summer of 2009, Edwards faced criminal allegations that he misused campaign funds,
paying Hunter more than $100,000 to keep quiet.
The following January of 2010, Edwards finally admitted he's the father of Hunter's little
girl, saying, "It was wrong for me to ever deny she was my daughter, and, hopefully,
one day, when she understands, she will forgive me."
Edwards' wife Elizabeth would die by the end of that year.
In the end, Edwards was charged with conspiracy, four counts of illegal campaign contributions
and one count of false statements.
In May 2012, the judge declared a mistrial and Edwards escaped a 30 year prison sentence.
Milo Yiannopoulos is a British media personality, known for his controversial remarks on Muslims,
trans people, race, sex and more — but his commentary on gay men having sex with boys
age 13 crossed the line for many.
On the Drunken Peasants podcast in 2016, Yiannopoulos advocated for child abuse, saying, "No, no,
You're misunderstanding what ----------- means.
---------- is not a sexual attraction to somebody 13 years old who is sexually mature.
---------- is attraction to children who have not reached puberty."
He continued to say that 13-year-olds aren't children and that the idea of consent is,
quote "arbitrary and oppressive."
Yiannopoulos himself was a victim of abuse at the hands of two men from ages 13-16,
as reported by NBC News and The New York Times.
By February 2017, Yiannopoulos' career was in flames.
The Conservative Political Action Conference rescinded its offer for Yiannopoulos to speak
and Simon & Schuster pulled the plug on plans to release his upcoming book, Dangerous.
After tremendous outcry, the outspoken figure was forced to apologize and resign from his
post at Breitbart.
He said, "I do not advocate for illegal behavior.
I do not support child abuse.
It's a disgusting crime of which I have been a victim.
I would be wrong to allow my poor choice of words to detract from my colleagues' important
In the aftermath, he announced plans to launch his own media company and to release his book
through another publishing house.
Paula Deen's foul language in a leaked deposition cost her her entire career.
According to Fox News, Deen and her brother Bubba Hiers were being sued for $1.2 million
for allegedly using the N-word at their restaurant and for Hiers allegedly sexually harassing
In Dean's deposition, she confessed to using the N-word and planning plantation-style weddings
with all black servers.
When asked if she ever used the N-word, Deen says "Yes, of course."
She recalled using it when she was robbed at gunpoint, and at other times.
But she said, "Things have changed since the '60s in the South.
And my children and my brother object to that word being used in any cruel or mean behavior."
After her comments made headlines, Deen was cut from the Food Network, which was airing
two of her shows.
Deen then attempted an unsuccessful apology tour, saying:
"I want to apologize to everybody for the wrong that I've done."
She later posted a second apology, that was a little more sincere:
"I offer my sincere apology to those that I have hurt, and I hope that you forgive me."
Not even extra butter could save that deflated soufflé.
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