10 Most Controversial People of 2015
Most controversial people of 2015, Bill Cosby, Donald Trump, Charlie Sheen
Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images; Scott Olson/Getty Images; Scott Olson/Getty Images    


10 Most Controversial People of 2015


2015 is winding down — probably to the enormous relief of the individuals below, all of whom found themselves in the eye of a media firestorm in the past 12 months.

Here are 10 of the most controversial people of the year.

Tom Brady

Deflategate kicked off at the AFC championship in January as the New England Patriots beat the Indianapolis Colts — amid allegations Patriots employees partially deflated the game’s balls with quarterback Tom Brady’s knowledge. Tom was originally suspended for four games, but a federal judge vacated the suspension.

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Brian Williams

In February, Brian Williams was suspended from his gig anchoring NBC Nightly News after misrepresenting his experience touring with a military helicopter crew in Iraq in 2003. Now he’s working a lower-profile job at MSNBC.

Donald Trump

Speaking of NBC pariahs, the network severed ties with Donald Trump after the presidential candidate characterized Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and drug mules.

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Rachel Dolezal

Former NAACP President Rachel Dolezal

A national conversation about cultural appropriation and identity kicked into high gear in June — when the parents of Rachel Dolezal, then the president of the NAACP’s Spokane chapter, told the media she’s a white woman claiming to be black.

Walter Palmer

This dentist from Minnesota made headlines in July by allegedly hiring hunters to lure Cecil the Lion out of his protected sanctuary and killing him, slaughtering one of Zimbabwe’s national treasures and biggest tourist attractions.

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Bill Cosby

Though most of us have made up our mind about Bill Cosby, he still has supporters who don’t buy the sexual assault allegations — allegations New York Magazine made tangible with their July cover photo of 35 of his accusers.

Kylie Jenner

The youngest sister in the Kardashian-Jenner clan roused accusations of appropriation in July and again August by showing off two different cornrowed hairstyles. (Then in November, Kylie, an anti-bullying advocate, called a female paparazzo a “bitch.”)

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Kim Davis

A 50-year-old county clerk from Kentucky made headlines in September by denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples, openly defying the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision and sparking a national debate on religious freedom.


The former That’s So Raven star has made divisive comments all year — defending a TV host’s comparison of Michelle Obama to an ape, criticizing stereotypically black names, and sympathizing with the South Carolina school resource officer who threw a female high-schooler to the ground, etc. — inspiring Change.org petitioners to demand her dismissal from The View.

Charlie Sheen

In November, Charlie Sheen announced he had been diagnosed with HIV four years ago. The actor claims to have disclosed his status to all his sexual partners since, but some of his his past flings beg to differ.