A not-so-nostalgic look back at the manners offenders who kept us talking in 2010...
Say Nay to Napalm (John Mayer)
The singer, who has dated his way through most of Hollywood's most-eligible blondes, turned off many fans with his comments about former flames Jessica Simpson and Jennifer Aniston in an interview that appeared in the March issue of Playboy. Saying that his relations with Simpson were like "sexual napalm," Mayer kissed and told, catching the curvaceous singer completely off-guard. Appearing on Letterman the following month, she told the late-night host: Normally you’d think someone you care about would keep those intimate details to himself. Our thoughts exactly.
Dirty Politics (Joe Biden)
The Vice President needs to watch his mouth--particularly when a microphone is nearby. In March, he congratulated President Obama on the passage of health care reform with the hushed (though not hushed enough) plaudit: "This is a big f****in' deal." Observed in television footage, Obama visibly stiffens in response to the remark, appearing to realize that the comment has the potential to upstage the hoopla surrounding the health care bill's signing.
Still not having learned his lesson, in June Biden sparred with the manager of a custard shop in Greenfield, Wisconsin, calling him a "smarta**." (The manager had proposed that the veep lower taxes in exchange for a free custard treat.") Next time, rather than custard, we suggest that the Vice President try a helping of Ivory soap.
Unsportsmanlike Conduct(Sal Alosi)
New York Jets strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi incurred more than a penalty during a December football game against the Miami Dolphins. Sticking his knee out over the sidelines, he deliberately tripped Dolphins cornerback Nolan Carroll, sending him rolling to the ground. After first insisting that it was a spontaneous act of foolishness, a situation where he "wasn't thinking." Alosi later admitted that the stunt had been pre-planned, including enlisting the help of several Jets players to form a human wall crowded the sidelines. Perhaps he should have used both knees--to plead for forgiveness. Instead, he has been fined $25,000 and put on indefinite suspension. Dishonorable Mention: Earlier this year, Alosi's own boss, head coach Rex Ryan, made headlines when he gave the middle finger to a Dolphins fan at a mixed-martial arts event. A fine example, Rex.
The Blindsider (Jesse James)
Mere months after his actress wife, Sandra Bullock, gushed about him during her acceptance speech at the Screen Actors Guild awards, motorcycle fanatic and sometime TV host Jesse James was exposed for having a torrid affair with a tattoo model. The revelations came on the heels of Bullock nabbing the biggest critical win of her career, the Best Actress Oscar, for her role in The Blind Side. In the period that followed, in a story that began to evoke last year's Tiger Woods scandal, additional women came forward with tales of affairs with James. His defense: "The vast majority of the allegations reported are untrue and unfounded." But it was all too little, too late. Long gone were the feelings that Bullock had expressed during her S.A.G. speech:
"I love you so much and you are really hot. I want you so much." The couple divorced on June 28.
See You in Mel (Mel Gibson)
In an explosive phone conversation with his estranged (and relatively newlywed) wife, Oksana Grigorieva, the Lethal Weapon star let loose with a string of obscenities and racist comments that would have stunned even the most violent of his movie characters. Grigorieva, with whom he has a one-year-old daughter, recorded the phone call, which was leaked to the media in July. It was certainly not the first display of hotheaded behavior by Gibson, who in the past has been called to the mat for his comments about gays, Jews and women. Update: The Los Angeles Police Department is currently investigating Gibson on charges of domestic violence.
Not So Slick (Charlie Sheen)
Despite starring in America's top-rated sitcom, there is simply nothing funny about Charlie Sheen's meltdown during a posh night out in New York in October. First in the men's room at Upper East Side restaurant Daniel, Sheen is alleged to have been caught with his pants down (literally) and his face covered in cocaine, after an unsuccessful attempt at seducing his paid dinner companion into having intercourse. Later that evening, with the same goal in mind, he lost his temper in his hotel room at the Plaza hotel, where the NYPD found his gal pal locked in the bathroom inside a suite that Sheen had trashed. The $7,000 bill for damages was chump change for the man who makes just under $2 million per episode for his role on Two and a Half Men. In November, merely a week after Sheen’s antics in Manhattan, somewhat inexplicably, he filed for divorce from his third wife, Brooke Mueller.
The Bully Blogger (Andrew Shirvell)
The Michigan assistant district attorney who in April began a one-man smear campaign against the openly gay student body president of his alma mater, Andrew Shirvell stunned television audiences during his interviews on AC360 and the Daily Show in the fall with wan defenses of his actions. Taking shelter behind free-speech defenses, Shirvell made no apologies for remarks, which included calling University of Michigan undergraduate Chris Armstrong "Satan's representative on the student assembly," heckling members of his family and defacing a photograph of Armstrong with a Swastika. In a year during which bullying claimed the lives of several gay youth, Shervell's actions, particularly as a state employee, were ultimately judged beyond the pale. He was dismissed from his job in the attorney general's office in November.
Damage Control (Tony Hayward)
As the public face of BP during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Tony Hayward infuriated locals with his downplaying of the disaster and his company's stonewalling of efforts by both the media and the government to ascertain the extent of the spill. Yet perhaps his worst misstep was his late-May comment: "I'm sorry. We're sorry for the massive disruption it's caused their lives. There's no one who wants this over more than I do. I'd like my life back."
That life, one enjoyed on a base salary of more than £1 million and a bonus that in 2009 surpassed £2 million, seemed detached--to say the least--from the lives of thousands of Gulf-area families whose livelihoods were affected by the disaster, to say nothing of the 11 men who perished when the rig exploded on April 20.
All told, an estimated five billion barrels are believed to have been emptied into the Gulf by the gushing well. On October 1, Hayward was replaced by an American oil exec,
Loose Lips Sink Friendships (Julian Assange)
Say what you want about Wikileaks and its enigmatic Australian founder, Julian Assange. In the manners department, it should come as no big secret that he does not abide by the old adage that if you don't have anything nice to say about someone, you shouldn't say it at all. Or more correctly, if you don't have anything nice to reveal, you shouldn't reveal it at all. For all of the good that his adherents argue his site does in the name of transparency, he has also put the U.S. State Department on the defensive for some rather unkind comments its members have made about world leaders. These revelations seem to do little in the name of better governance and serve instead to embarrass and even infuriate their subjects.
Vladimir Putin is described as an "alpha-dog"; Afghan President Hamid Karzai is said to be "driven by paranoia"; German Chancellor Angela Merkel is summed up as a woman who "avoids risk and is rarely creative." In response to the revelations, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attempted to lighten the mood, remarking: “I can tell you that in my conversations, at least one of my counterparts said to me, ‘Well, don’t worry about it. You should see what we say about you.’”
Reality Check (Steven Slater)
With a flair for the dramatic, Steven Slater, a JetBlue flight attendant who'd had it up to here with disobedient passengers, became a hero to airline employees worldwide when he used Flight 1052's intercom to curse at passengers who had just landed at New York's JFK airport from Pittsburgh. And then, after grabbing two Blue Moon beers, Slater pulled the emergency evacuation chute and slid off the plane, ran through the terminal and drove home.
With a stunt that was evocative of the plaintive cry of the 1976 film
—”I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”—Slater wound up ending his JetBlue career and landed a probation sentence, mandatory counseling and drug testing, and $10,000 in restitution. A manners lapse? No question. For his supporters, however, it was a small price to pay for having the audacity to pull off such a dramatic exit.
Who did we miss on this year's list? Anyone you'd remove? And if all of this talk of ill behavior is making you nostalgic for 2009, here's a reminder of how bad last year was.