The Decade’s Top 10 Most Spectacular Falls From Grace

The Decade’s Top 10 Most Spectacular Falls From Grace

In the 2010s, many major public figures, companies, and institutions faced intense and public falls-from-grace. Here are some of the biggest losers and scandals of the past ten years.
Paulina Enck
By

Anthony Weiner/Carlos Danger (2011, 2013, 2016)

Of all the politicians to find themselves in a sexting scandal, it had to be the one whose last name is Weiner. In 2011, Anthony Weiner, the married representative from New York, resigned after being caught sending explicit photos of his genitalia to several young women, some underage.

Two years later, he decided that his time in political purgatory was through and pursued a bid to be the mayor of New York. At the same time, a Twitter account of a man calling himself Carlos Danger began sending sexually explicit photos of himself to young women. It was revealed that Carlos Danger was a pseudonym for Weiner. He lost his election by a huge margin, and his wife left him.

In 2016, Weiner’s sexting once again got him into trouble, this time legal, as he engaged in explicit text conversations with a 15-year-old girl, leading to his arrest, conviction for child pornography, and imprisonment. He was released in 2019 and is now a registered sex offender.

Lois Lerner and the IRS Targeting Scandal (2013)

The IRS decisions of which organizations gain tax-exempt status and which receive extensive scrutiny should have nothing to do with political orientation. However, in 2013, Lois Lerner, President Obama’s director of Exempt Organization Unit in the IRS, disagreed, and disproportionately targeted conservative groups applying for 501(c) status exemptions.

Groups perceived to be conservative were subject to aggressive and invasive audits based on politically charged keywords linked to Republican and conservative groups. In 2014, Lerner resigned from the IRS and was held in contempt of Congress for using her bureaucratic power to oppress conservative groups. She retained her full pension and retirement benefits, which are unknown but amount to at least $52,000 per year.

FIFA and the Corruption Indictments (2015)

Just one year after World Cup Fever took over the United States, the FBI arrested and charged 14 people in relation to bribery, wire fraud, money laundering, and racketeering in relation to FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association), the governing body of international professional soccer.

The charges alleged that marketing executives were colluding with FIFA executives, with FIFA accepting bribes for exclusive access to provide gear to certain national teams. While all were convicted or pled guilty to the charges, the scandal ultimately had little bearing on FIFA, as the sport of soccer bounced back easily, and the 2018 World Cup was just as successful as ever.

Harvey Weinstein (2017)

The scandal that launched a movement, for good and for ill. In October 2017, an exposé was published detailing the famed producer’s long and storied history of sexual harassment and assault. Eventually, more than 80 actresses, Miramax employees, and production assistants came forward and accused Weinstein of misconduct of some form or other.

The Weinstein scandal launched the Me Too movement, which encouraged women to speak out about their experiences with harassment and assault, and many more powerful men, including Matt Lauer, Al Franken, and Bill O’Reilly lost their jobs due to allegations of sexual misconduct. While she did not allege harassment at the hands of Weinstein, actress Alyssa Milano inserted herself as a focal point of the movement, transferring the newfound press she attained to push for a wide variety of unrelated leftist causes.

Kevin Spacey (2017)

Kevin Spacey had been on a two-decade hot streak, with countless phenomenal films, and a once-great and incredibly popular TV series, “House of Cards.” In 2017, he had just released a supporting role in the acclaimed and fun musical heist film “Baby Driver,” and had filmed Ridley Scott’s highly anticipated “All the Money in the World” when his career and life crashed to a halt.

In the aftermath of the Weinstein exposés and the commencement of the Me Too movement, actor Anthony Rapp accused Spacey of attempting to force himself on Rapp at a party, when Rapp was 14 and Spacey was 26. Rather than either deny or apologize, Spacey tacitly admitted that it may have happened while he was drunk and decided that was the perfect moment to come out as gay, hoping this would minimize the damage to his reputation.

Unfortunately for Spacey, everyone saw through his ill-timed tactic and, when paired with several more young men coming forward with assault charges, his career was over. He was recast by Christopher Plummer in “All the Money in the World” and his other film, the awkwardly named “Billionaire Boys Club” bombed at the box office, with an opening weekend of only $618.

Aside from two remarkably odd YouTube videos as Frank Underwood, Spacey has not been heard from, and likely will never return to Hollywood.

Lisa Page and Peter Strzok (2018)

FBI Agents Lisa Page and Peter Strzok learned the hard way not to put corrupt or R-rated texts on work phones and emails. The pair were assigned to work on the now-debunked theory of then-candidate Donald Trump’s collusion with Russia, while they discussed their disdain and hatred for him on work cell phones.

Although both are married, they began an affair and discussed creating a contingency plan in case Trump was elected, promising to stop any chance of his presidency. Their affair and alleged attempts to usurp a democratically elected president became a matter of public record when Congress investigated. Both lost their jobs at the FBI and have become a national punchline.

Jussie Smollett (2019)

2019 was a sad year for the media, when any story that fit the left’s narrative of the world was believed without a shred of evidence of believability. Thus was the case of Jussie Smollett, the “Empire” actor who faked a hate crime for attention.

The little-known actor claimed to have been attacked by two MAGA-hat wearing white men due to him being black and gay, and the media jumped to his defense, throwing their support behind him despite glaring holes in his story. Once it became clear that he had staged the incident, paying two men to rough him up, Smollett was fired from “Empire,” and his name has become far more associated with the hate-crime hoax than this acting.

Russian Olympian Dopers (2019)

It feels almost disingenuous to put Russian doping as a downfall of this decade, as allegations against Russian athletes have existed since the Cold War. Yet, throughout the 2010s, an investigation into these long-standing practices brought to light the pervasiveness of systematic doping for Russian sports.

Due to the degree of violations of anti-doping measures, WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) gave Russia a four-year ban against participating in major sporting events. While Russian athletes have previously been barred from competition, such as the weightlifters in the 2018 Olympics, this total ban is a major push-back and will have long-lasting ramifications on international sports.

Alberto Salazar (2019)

Acclaimed cross country coach and head of the Nike Oregon Project Alberto Salazar was also given a four-year ban from athletics for pressuring his runners to dope and engage in other banned performance-enhancing behaviors. The Oregon Project was supposed to be a hands-on training program intent on producing Olympic-calibre runners, but Salazar eventually started using illicit measures, namely doping, to attain the results he sought.

In 2015, he and star runner Galen Rupp were investigated for doping, but the charges were dropped. However, in 2019, the charges resurfaced, as it became increasingly clear that he pressured and manipulated the runners he coached to dope. He is also being accused by several runners of mistreatment and abuse.

Salazar allegedly bullied female runners about their weight and coerced them into taking banned diet supplements and diuretics, leading to serious health complications for the athletes. While Salazar denies the claims, the USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) clearly takes them very seriously. The Oregon Project has since been shut down.

Dennis Muilenburg and the Boeing 737 MAX (2019)

In late 2018 and early 2019, there were two crashes of Boeing 737 MAX planes, which led to all planes of the kind to be grounded immediately. After investigating what went wrong, it became clear that software meant to prevent the planes from pitching up actually overcorrected and caused nosedives, which led to fatal crashes.

Boeing has been attempting, and consistently failing, to convince the FAA to allow the 737 MAX to return to the sky, despite continued safety concerns and a high probability of further crashes. CEO Dennis Muilenburg resigned in December, but Boeing continues be embattled with the FAA over the faulty planes.

Paulina Enck is an intern at the Federalist and current student at Georgetown University in the School of Foreign Service. Follow her on Twitter at @itspaulinaenck

Copyright © 2020 The Federalist, a wholly independent division of FDRLST Media, All Rights Reserved.