The 5 Celebrities Who Squandered the Most Goodwill in 2012 (and the 4 Who Actually Made Us Like Them)
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The 5 Celebrities Who Squandered the Most Goodwill in 2012 (and the 4 Who Actually Made Us Like Them)

By Courtney Enlow | Celebrities Are Better than You | December 20, 2012 | Comments ()


The world of celebrity ebbs and flows like a mighty tide that ebbs and flows, and also I've eaten too many Christmas cookies today to create proper similes. Anyway, the behavior of famous people can change depending upon what image they're trying to sell or what movie they're shilling. But, this year, a handful of celebs ebbed so flowily (*wipes crumbs off sweater*) that they managed to completely alter our perceptions of them, perhaps eternally. Or until they get caught with a hooker, or pose with a puppy. Whichever happens first.

Nice list:


Miley Cyrus

Yep. It happened. Somewhere around the haircut heard 'round the world, I started liking Miley Cyrus. You know, kid stars can't help being kid stars. It's not their faults. It's that of their parents and whatever shady corporate overlords sell them as Barbies and toothpaste to those damn kids today with their sparkly hoodies, Justins Biebers, Zima, hula hoops and Pac-Man video games. But, when they attempt to break out of the mold that they never asked to be put in, we judge them as though they're trying to create a faux image that isn't really them, when we have no idea who exactly they are anyway, because their one-hit wonder dads used their mullets to get them Disney deals at 11 years old. I mean, they named her Destiny Hope, for god's sake. It's amazing she can count. But, this year, with an Agyness Deyn haircut, a phallic birthday cake and an engagement to a lesser Hemsworth, Miley grew on me. Well done, Destiny Hope.


Joe Biden

It's not that we *disliked* Joey Bides before this year. It's just that he was kind of a laughable joke of a gent, as most veeps tend to be. But with a single debate, holy Paul Ryan photoshoot, Biden brought it. After Obama blew that first one like a Brown Bunny outtake, Leslie Knope's fantasy man stepped the hell right up and kicked some Muppet-faced ass. Then, he made all kinds of dreams come true by actually appearing on "Parks & Rec" so that Leslie could stroke him. In that moment, we all wanted to be Leslie Knope.


Channing Tatum

I think I speak for all of us at Pajiba when I tell you we did NOT see this one coming. Holy stripper thighs. The man we so long derisively called Charming Potato became the affable object of adoration we now call Charming Potato. I won't say too much. I don't need to. Instead, I'll just leave this here and we'll all watch it for the 50th time.


Honey Boo Boo

Okay, I'm still not watching the show, and I still think it is rednecksploitation by a cable network whose name became ironic somewhere around Kate Gosselin. But. That little girl? That hyperactive ball of sass and spaz? She has won my heart. I want to hang out with her. Like all the time. And I don't feel bad about it.

Naughty list:


Halle Berry

Did y'all know Halle Berry was crazy? 'Cause I sure didn't. But her divorce has been so insane that I wish it was happening to more interesting people. Nothing against Halle. It's actually a huge compliment to her dignity that she's hidden the crazy so well over the years that she's wholly boring as a gossip subject. It's like January Jones's babydaddygate. Imagine if that had been, like, Jennifer Aniston or someone people seem to care about. It would have been HUGE. Instead, it was Fat Betty (bam-a-lam). Halle Berry's thing is the same way, and it's NUTS. Screaming matches, lies, unfounded stories about racial slurs, attempts to run away to Paris, French dudes beating up male models, it's good stuff. But not so much for her image. It hasn't exactly made her seem respectable. But at least it's made her super interesting.


Tom Cruise

In fairness, this one's been building for a while. But, this year, it went from totally assumable public speculation and tabloid fodder to legitimate news. 2012: the year Tom Cruise's complete and total insanity was confirmed. His brainwashed bride escaping like he's goddamn Shawshank, his own former "church" members turning against him, Nora from "How I Met Your Mother" digging ditches for offending him, Rock of Ages... It's been a bad year from the Cruisinator.


Lindsay Lohan

Obviously, we have no goodwill left for this mess. But, for some reason, people with money do. That's why Lifetime paid her to be in Liz & Dick. That's why she's starring in a Bret Easton Ellis movie. But, she'll always be our Lindsicle and she will always disaster up any second, third, twelfth, eleventy-billionth chance she gets. So, in that way, she really just kept up the status quo. Well done, LiLo. And mazel tov!


Taylor Kitsch

Yeah, I know it hurts. I KNOW. But, seriously, regardless how much many of us liked John Carter, the fact is he had three movies this year that ranged from little-seen to holy bomb and BOOM goes the Riggins. Also, the haircut didn't help.



*shakes head* At least they're supposedly broken up now.

(Idea credit goes to the saucy Ms. SeaKat Stabler. If you didn't like this post, she will reign fire and vengeance upon your face.)

5 Shows After Dark 12/20/12 | The 9 Most Enjoyable Supporting Performances That Don't Have A Shot In Hell At An Award This Year

Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Irina

    I used to HATE Olivia Munn. She seemed such a fame whore, and not even a very attractive one, but between Newsroom and New Girl, I totally changed my mind.

  • Alex

    I was with you until you added, "and not even a very attractive one." That's where you made yourself sound like a shallow jerk.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Halle Berry's been crazy for years. She has a long, sad history of abusive relationships. This latest adventure is just in public.

  • Quatermain

    I didn't like Joe Biden before this year and I still don't like him now. I'm not exactly sold on 'Parks and Rec' either. Now if you don't mind, I'm going to retire to my cave. I have a busy day of glaring down at all the Whos in Whoville ahead of me.

  • Bodhi

    One minor correction: Halle was never married to Gabriel. And her crazy started to show when it came to light that she didn't list him (or anyone) as the father on the babe's birth certificate. He had to fight to be recognized as the father. That would have been my cue to start stashing money & jewelry for the inevitable horrible legal battle.

  • kilmo

    While Halle Berry is straight up CRAY CRAY. She didn't actually marry Gabriel Aubry, he's just the baby daddy. She is know engaged to Olivier Martinez, basically the reason she wants to move to France.

  • duckandcover

    Re: Rihanna / Chris Brown. As of today, they're apparently reconciling.

  • I know this will not be popular, but the question keeps me awake some nights: "Why don't I dislike Ashton Kutcher"???? Especially after Demi made Lenny Kravitz cringe away with her geriatric meth-like antics in Miami, I even feel bad for the guy having to suffer her. I know I KNOW, my perspective is shameful.

    But it feels good to come clean: I don't dislike Ashton Kutcher. I'm actually kinda pulling for Kelso.

  • Az

    I feel so much better now. Because intellectually, I know Ashton is all sorts of douchey but dammit, I like him. I have a similar situation with John Mayer. Only with him, I know it's the guitar playing. When he backed up Frank Ocean on SNL my husband was all, "Moist panties,much?" I KNOW, RIGHT? As for Ashton, maybe his being caught cheating was his own Katie Holmes like escape maneuver from the clutches of a much older, controlling, possessive, batshit insane spouse. FREE ASHTON.

  • dizzylucy

    Aw, poor Taylor. Everyone else on the list seems a bit nutty or downright disastrous, and he just had the misfortune of taking the first big movie roles (and paychecks) offered to him and watching them crash and burn. With some better movie choices, I think he'll be just fine.

    For some reason, I've known Halle Berry was bonkers for a while now. She didn't have much goodwill with me, but definitely less now. Ditto for Cruise, I think his glib couch jumping was the beginning of the end, but yeah, this has not been a good year for him. At all.

    Given that the list is about squandered goodwill, I fully understand the inclusion of Rihanna. She had public support that no domestic violence victim I can think of ever had, and then didn't just go back to him, but kind of rubbed everyone's faces in it. Good luck to her, if she keeps going back to him, she'll probably need it.

  • nosio

    Yeah, I agree. I was under the impression that Rihanna (meaning: everything I read except for compilations of tweets from Team Breezy idiots) had major support after the abuse scandal. And I'm not blaming her or criticizing her for going back to him, but it felt like a creepy publicity stunt in light of the song they released about it, and at that point, I stopped caring about them even more.

  • Mrs. Julien

    I'll blame and criticize Rihanna: She's going from victim to volunteer.

  • Arran

    I can't disagree with Channing Tatum. I didn't even really dislike him before, I just found him incredibly bland. Then the motherfucker had to be goddamn HILARIOUS in 21 Jump Street.

    Damn you, Potato. Damn you to hell.

  • BWeaves

    What? No James Franco on the naughty list? I thought for sure he'd be there.

    As far as Channing Tatum and nice are concerned, I hated "Magic Mike" but I just watched "10 years." I almost turned it off after the first 15 minutes, and then it grew on me, and then I really liked it by the end.

  • OMGLookPanda

    OMG a Baseketball reference? My day is complete.

  • Artemis

    I'm side-eyeing your inclusion of Rihanna while leaving off Chris Brown. She went back to a man who physically abused her -- something that millions of victims of intimate partner violence do, often as a result of the conditioning they received in the relationship. At worst, that's a decision that only hurts her. He is the one who unapologetically hurts other people. You want to put one of them on there, it should be him.

  • SeaKat Stabler

    From my POV, this is more a list of people for whom public support has either seen a marked upswing or a downswing this year. Kind of a "PR temperature reading" .

    Whether you judge Rhianna for going back to CBrown, you can't argue that her choice to do so has impacted her public persona.

    (Now it's fair to discuss whether that should be the case. But if we want to have THAT discussion, I'd have to ask why LL's publicly-known addiction issues and TC's deep involvement in what is identified by many to be a cult is not also off-limits.)

  • He couldn't be included because it would imply there existed goodwill with him in the first place. I understand the notion of a victim returning to her abuser, which is tragic and awful, but she has been so in our faces about it, making a song about their relationship as though we're the bad people for not understanding them, tweeting barbs at people who dare speak ill of him. My inclusion is more the whole of Rihanna as a public figure, including her management, and a sadness at what this means for her and her admirers. She is one of the most popular stars in the world right now, one with a massive young female fan base. And no one thought to help her or at the very least get them to keep this shit under wraps. But instead they all paid money to Michael Jackson's estate and made a peppy pop song out of it. This is not the paparazzi excuse of "you're on this business, so you're ours." They made their relationship ripe for public consumption, all of them, everyone involved. In a world where no one seems to be playing the role of caring friend or parent (her dad is Team Breezy) maybe the public scrutinizing her is the only posit of "this might be a bad idea."

  • Artemis

    I mean, there wasn't any goodwill for Lindsay Lohan or Tom Cruise at the start of this year either, they just -- like Chris Brown -- fell further in people's eyes over the course of 2012. Lifetime didn't put LiLo in that trainwreck because they still liked her, they did it because they know everyone thinks she's a disaster and would tune in to see how much of a disaster, exactly.

    But that aside, I just fundamentally disagree that a victim returning to their abuser, no matter how "in our faces" it is, is something that should get them written up as naughty. On top of all the usual conditioning that leads women to return to abusive partners, she took a metric shit-ton of victim-blaming bullshit from the general public after they broke up. Maybe she's so defensive because she knows she gets blamed no matter what she does -- there was a big vocal group of people criticizing her for leaving, and now there's a big vocal group criticizing her for coming back to him. Add on top of that the fact that her own father -- who was physically abusive to her mother, and Rihanna says forgiving him for that is what led her to forgive Chris Brown -- is always telling the press that Chris Brown is a great guy and he hopes they get married. Yeah, she has agency and she made a choice to reconcile with Brown, but I can't get behind the idea that she should be blamed for returning to her abuser, especially in these circumstances. Every single bit of the blame should be on Brown, and on the people who said it was her fault he beat her.

    And why should her management team have tried to keep their reconciliation under wraps? People on Pajiba might not like that she went back to her abuser, but it didn't hurt her sales any and it probably made her more popular with the Team Breezy idiots who victim-blamed the crap out of her after their break-up. That's the problem with this situation, not what a victim of abuse chose to do with her personal life.

  • draeton

    There is such a thing as helping someone to death. I'm not going to put the crack pipe in someone's hand and light it up for them.

  • I'm with Courtney on this. Brown hasn't had good will since, oh, 2002? But Rhianna??? That woman set progress and hope for victims of domestic violence back 100 years with her idiocy and weak spirit. I'd invite Liloblo to dinner on Christmas, and let her sing "Let it snow" before I'd let Rhianna share my umbrella on a rainy day.

  • NateMan

    I mostly agree with you, in that she doesn't deserve to be on this list, and that she's brainwashed by a f***ing a**hole into taking his abuse. I wouldn't argue that it's a decision that only hurts her; it also encourages other impressionable people of both genders to stay in abusive relationships, and justifies the response of all the people who shrugged their shoulders and continue listening to Brown's drivel.

    In short: she's made a bad decision, one that affects lots of other people in similar situations, but she doesn't deserve this kind of criticism for it.

  • Artemis

    I mean, I don't love the fact that she went back to him and gave his defenders some extra ammunition (though his defenders spent the past few years that they weren't together defending him anyway, so I'm not sure it mattered one way or the other to them). But she's the one who was severely beaten by someone she loved and then, on top of whatever mind-fuck she'd already gotten from that relationship, had to deal with a big chunk of the world blaming her for her own beating because "she must have done something to provoke him!"

    I think that reaction from the Chris Brown fans/all-purpose victim-blamers out there does a hell of a lot more to encourage people to stay in abusive relationships than the fact that one famous woman, years later, got back together with a man who beat her up.

  • NateMan

    I think that reaction from the Chris Brown fans/all-purpose victim-blamers out there does a hell of a lot more to encourage people to stay in abusive relationships than the fact that one famous woman, years later, got back together with a man who beat her up.

    You're undoubtedly right. But Rihanna, while absolutely a victim and someone I don't judge for making a poor decision, is still an example of how many abuse victims think they can change their abuser. Or deserve the abuse. Or whatever twisted rationality gets used to stay with an abuser. And I'd be willing to bet serious money that there are more than a few abuse victims out there looking at Rihanna and thinking that if she puts up with it, there must be a reason, and maybe they should do the same.

    Like I said. I agree with you that she shouldn't be on this list, and she shouldn't be held entirely responsible for her actions in going back to her abuser. But the fact that she's an entity capable of agency shouldn't be ignored, nor that she is an example for tens of thousands if not millions of impressionable young women.

    But more importantly: Chris Brown should be kicked in the dick until all that's left is a red smear where his junk used to be. I think we can all agree on that.

  • Ruthie O

    I was just typing up a very similar comment. Can we just let victims of domestic violence deal with their recovery and healing in their own way, without publicly scrutinizing their every move?

  • I like your sensitivity, but the problem with Rhianna is that she is a public figure whom young girls look up to, aspire to be like. She has a bigger duty than to just her self, and its devastating to progress against domestic violence that she has made a mockery of the system. Her actions strengthen already strong abusers, and tell the abused that its ok to go back to the person who struck you.

    She has no business presenting herself- even just musically- as a strong powerful woman, because she is not.

  • Ruthie O

    Your reaction and judgment of her actions also sends a message to young women: do not come forward and report domestic violence because victims of domestic violence face scrutiny and criticism every step of the way. It frustrates me to see people continually put the responsibility on victims to end systematic violence.

    Also, I am annoyed by the premise that Rihanna cannot be considered a strong, powerful woman based on her relationship choices. Anyone who has witnessed or experienced domestic violence can assure you that plenty of strong, powerful women get tangled in the mess of domestic violence, and yes sometimes, it takes them a while to get out of that situation. And because strong, powerful women are humans, sometimes they make the wrong choices in those situations.

    My mom is the strongest woman I know, and she is also a survivor of domestic violence. To suggest that only weak women make bad decisions when it comes to intimate relationships is to ignore the myriad of life experiences that interweave to create a woman's strength.

  • Mrs. Julien

    I view it the same way as people who are entangled in addiction: It's hard to have sympathy after a while. Yes, it is complicated, and, yes, it is very difficult to overcome, but there is a point where I run out of sympathy for people who refuse to deal with or acknowledge their profoundly damaging issues.

    Rihanna was OUT, she had a chance to recover and didn't take it.

    Halle Berry has a child she is dragging through this. I have enough personal experience with this issue to know of the intense effect this has on the children who witness abuse and emotional chaos. Halle owes it to her daughter to get her sh*t together, and to make the men in her life do so as well.

  • mairimba

    I would add Sparkly Princess to the bottom list. Because seriously. She's the worst!

  • Brown

    I know this happens to a number of people when they are looking at her picture these days, but I didn't recognize Lindsay Lohan until I saw here name. Halle Berry gets married and divorced so often I lose track. When people say she's getting a divorce, my response tends to be, "Didn't she just get married?" or "Wait, I though she was only dating the guy." Disappointing considering the crush I had on her at one point.

  • John W

    Halle Berry caption: "Uh Ms.Berry says here you are contractually obligated to make Catwoman 2."

  • lowercase_ryan

    I think Rhianna has to top this list. Never before have I encountered a couple that I had no respect for, yet loved to work out to their music.

    Also, how could you not mention The Escape of Katie Holmes in your take down of Tom Cruise? That was a military maneuver born from necessity, not a normal separation.

  • I did! Brainwashed Bride. I can't wait for Tarantino's "Joey Unchained."

  • lowercase_ryan

    oh wow...I swear I read that twice and just completely glossed over that. Well that's embarrassing :)

  • Malware

    I don't think you speak for everyone here, I'm not with you on Miley Cyrus and Honey Boo Boo at least, and I'm not sure that Halle Berry and Taylor Kitsch have done enough to belong on a list next to those other 3.

  • SeaKat Stabler

    ...have you followed the Halle Berry debacle at all? She's dinged up her--formerly STERLING, despite the hit and run--rep a TON.

  • apsutter

    Halle Berry is certifiably insane. It's amazing that she's been able to keep it under wraps for this long.

  • Malware

    hmm, ok, I'll admit that I haven't followed it recently only at the beginning of it, I just wasn't that interested in it.

  • SeaKat Stabler

    Also, seriously, that picture of Tom Cruise with the wet spot near his lap is horrifying.

  • FireLizardQueen

    The hidden hand AND the oh-ish face are also not helping.

  • Groundloop

    Thanks for pointing that out. I scrolled back up to see what the what was, and saw that he's pretty clearly at his vinegar strokes. The covered hand hovering over his crotchal area isn't helping. Nor is the fact that he's reclining on what looks like a children's slide.

    All that combined leaves me calculating how much I'll have to drink to scrub that imagery from my brain.

  • Bert_McGurt

    I kinda hope that The Rock and The Potato got along so well doing GI Joe that they'll do a bunch of action-buddy-comedies in the future. Like a jacked Eddie Murphy and Judge Reinhold.

  • BlackRabbit

    What would be their celebrity couple name? RockSpud Tatson?

  • SeaKat Stabler


    ::wipes tear::

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