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Year in review: The 7 most controversial figures from 2017

Published: Friday, December 29, 2017 @ 9:58 AM

(L-R) President Donald Trump, comedian Kathy Griffin and film producer Harvey Weinstein are among 2017's most controversial public figures.
Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images, Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images, Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images
(L-R) President Donald Trump, comedian Kathy Griffin and film producer Harvey Weinstein are among 2017's most controversial public figures.(Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images, Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images, Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

This year saw polarizing figures emerge in entertainment, politics and sports, but mostly politics.

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Here are a some of the most controversial public figures who made headlines this year -- two of whom made the list last year.

7. Megyn Kelly

Journalist Megyn Kelly started her new gig with NBC News with a relatively cold reception from viewers, many of whom thought she was brought on to replace the third hour of the “Today” show, “Today’s Take,” with her own morning show, “Megyn Kelly Today.” The latter ultimately happened, and before Kelly’s show premiered Sept. 25, “Today’s Take” co-host Tamron Hall left NBC News and MSNBC.

Kelly’s talk show started with harsh reviews, tapered-off ratings and a report that celebrities didn’t want to appear on the show. Kelly went viral when guest Jane Fonda had a curt response when the actress was asked about past plastic surgeries.

Journalist Megyn Kelly is among the most controversial public figures of 2017.(Bryan Bedder/Getty Images/Getty Images for Bob Woodruff Fo)

6. Kellyanne Conway

White House advisor Kellyanne Conway may be partially responsible for the rise of the term “fake news” this year. In January, she used the term when speaking to CNN’s Anderson Cooper  about Russia reports.

Related: Photos: Most controversial figures from 2017

Later that month, she used the term “alternative facts” when asked about former White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s false claims about the crowd size at President Trump’s inauguration.

Before that, while speaking to CNN’s Jake Tapper in December 2016, she said, “I think the biggest piece of fake news in this election was that Donald J. Trump couldn’t win.”

What You Need To Know Kellyanne Conway

While speaking at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit in October, she said she has never used the term, but her history says otherwise.

“I’m a person in the West Wing who has actually never uttered the words ‘fake news,’ ‘enemy of the people,’ ‘opposition party,’” Conway said. “I don’t speak that way.”

5. Omarosa Manigault-Newman

Set to exit her White House post in January, Omarosa Manigault-Newman announced she was leaving her role as director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison to “pursue other opportunities,” according to a Dec. 13 statement from press secretary Sarah Sanders. Her former friend and current rival, American Urban Radio Networks White House correspondent April D. Ryan, said she heard that Manigault-Newman was fired and had to be physically removed from the White House. Manigault-Newman denied the claim.

Related: Omarosa teases tell-all in post-White House resignation interview

In a morning television interview after the announcement of her resignation, Manigault-Newman teased a tell-all book about her experiences in the White House. It was met with dismissal by “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts.

Who is Omarosa Manigault Newman

Manigault-Newman may be used to a frosty reception. In August, a number of attendees at the National Association of Black Journalists convention stood up and turned their backs on her when she spoke at a panel.

4. Colin Kaepernick

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has remained largely silent this year, and it’s partly what makes him controversial. 

The athlete, who went unsigned during the football season, popularized a wave of protests and demonstrations across sports during the playing of the U.S. national anthem.

Former pro boxer and entrepreneur George Foreman went so far as to suggest that Kaepernick was unpatriotic because of his protests. 

Five Fast Facts: Colin Kaepernick

Despite headlines that said players were protesting the anthem, many athletes were actually kneeling during the anthem to bring attention to social injustice, police brutality and racism. Kapernick was recognized for his work when Beyonce presented him with the Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award in December.

3. Kathy Griffin

It took one photo for Kathy Griffin to lose career opportunities and draw criticism across the country. In May, the comic posed for a photo with a bloodied head that appeared to be made in the likeness of President Donald Trump. The image was criticized by many, resulting in a statement from First Lady Melania Trump and a string of tweets from President Trump. 

“Kathy Griffin should be ashamed of herself. My children, especially my 11 year old son, Barron, are having a hard time with this. Sick,” Trump tweeted May 31.

Soon after, CNN cut ties with Griffin, who lost her job co-hosting the network’s New Year’s Eve show with Anderson Cooper. Griffin said she “went way too far” and apologizedin May. Reports said she was interviewed by the U.S. Secret Service in June. By August, she took back her apology.

What You Need To Know: Kathy Griffin

Griffin also began a public feud with TV personality Andy Cohen, who was named her New Year’s Eve show replacement. In a video she posted on YouTube Oct. 28, she accused Cohen of offering her drugs and negatively impacting her career. She also said Cohen and TMZ founder Harvey Levin “live to take women down.” Cohen denied Griffin’s claims, tweeting, “I am completely stunned by this story. It is 100% false and totally made up.”

2. Donald Trump

President Donald Trump started the year -- his first as president -- by signing an executive order stopping immigration to the U.S. from seven predominantly Muslim countries, although Trump initially said it was not a ban.

In June, Trump announced that the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord. Officials with the White House said in September that the president still planned to withdraw from the agreement. Trump said in a speech in May 2016 that the agreement “gives foreign bureaucrats control over how much energy we use right here in America.”

“Consistent with the president’s announcement in June, we are withdrawing from the Paris Agreement unless we can reengage on terms more favorable to the United States,” a White House official said at the time.

In December, Trump declared Jerusalem the capitol of Israel and announced plans to relocate the U.S. embassy to that city. The decision drew protests and concerns among diplomatic leaders around the world, as the city is a source of conflict between Israel and Palestine.

Donald Trump - Five Things You Didn't Know

1. Harvey Weinstein

More than 75 women have come forward to publicly accuse Hollywood producer and executive Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct, ranging from harassment and assault to rape.  

Actresses including Ashley Judd and Salma Hayek shared their stories with The New York Times in an interview and first-person piece, respectively. 

Related: 3 women reportedly accuse Harvey Weinstein of rape

Weinstein has denied non-consensual contact with women, but the fallout has been severe. In October, Weinstein’s wife of 10 years, Marchesa designer Georgina Chapman, left him as more women came forward with allegations. Before that, he was fired from his film company, The Weinstein Company. Weinstein was one of dozens of prominent men accused of sexual misconduct in 2017.

Harvey Weinstein Fast Facts

Mo'Nique urges fans to boycott Netflix for color, gender bias

Published: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 9:57 AM

CENTURY CITY, CA - JANUARY 16:  Actress Mo'Nique attends the 35th Annual Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards at the InterContinental Hotel on January 16, 2010 in Century City, California.  (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for LAFCA)
Alberto E. Rodriguez
CENTURY CITY, CA - JANUARY 16: Actress Mo'Nique attends the 35th Annual Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards at the InterContinental Hotel on January 16, 2010 in Century City, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for LAFCA)(Alberto E. Rodriguez)

Award-winning actress and comedian Mo'Nique is urging her fans to boycott Netflix for gender and color bias after she says the entertainment company made her a lowball offer for a comedy special.

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Mo'Nique took to Instagram to air her grievances Friday. In a video, she explained that Netflix offered her $500,000 to do a comedy special, but she rejected the offer. Mo'Nique said she felt it was a low offer considering Amy Schumer, Chris Rock and Dave Chapelle all made millions of dollars for their Netflix comedy specials. According to Mo'Nique, Schumer negotiated with Netflix for $13 million, while Rock and Chapelle each earned $20 million.

#BOYCOTT#NETFLIX FOR #COLORBIAS AND #GENDERBIAS. PLEASE STAND WITH ME. I LOVE US.

A post shared by Mo'nique (@therealmoworldwide) on


Mo'Nique suspects racial and gender bias are at play, since she believes her strong résumé entitles her to more than the $500,000 that Netflix offered.

Chicago rapper Fredo Santana dead at 27

Published: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 10:36 AM

Sheet music.
Getty Images
Sheet music.(Getty Images)

Chicago rapper Fredo Santana has died, according to several of his friends, The Chicago Sun-Times reported. He was 27.

Canadian rapper Drake, record producer Maxo Cream and California rapper Lil B expressed their condolences on social media.

Santana, whose birth name was Derrick Coleman, wrote on Instagram in October that he was suffering from liver failure, the Sun-Times reported.

No official cause of death has been listed, MTV reported, although TMZ, citing unnamed family members, reported that Santana died from a seizure at his Los Angeles home late Friday night.

Santana was a force in Chicago’s drill music scene when it began in 2012 He released his 2013 debut album, “Trappin’ Ain’t Dead” on Savage Squad, the record label he founded, MTV reported.

His last album, “Fredo Kruger 2,” was released last year.

In addition to liver troubles, Santana also had kidney failure and seizures, MTV reported.

Oscar winner, 'Peyton Place' star Dorothy Malone dead at 93

Published: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 1:14 AM

Dorothy Malone and Anthony Quinn won Academy Awards for best supporting actress and actors in 1956.
Associated Press
Dorothy Malone and Anthony Quinn won Academy Awards for best supporting actress and actors in 1956.(Associated Press)

Dorothy Malone, who won an Oscar for her sultry role in the 1956 film “Written on the Wind” and starred in the television soap opera “Peyton Place,” died Friday in Dallas, The New York Times reported. She was 93.

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Malone’s daughter, Mimi Vanderstraaten, confirmed her mother’s death, the Times reported. Malone died a few days short of her 94th birthday at the assisted living facility where she had spent the last 10 years of her life.

Malone earned an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in her role as Marylee Hadley, the promiscuous daughter of a Texas oil tycoon, in Douglas Sirk’s 1956 drama, Entertainment Weekly reported. Malone performed a memorable mambo dance in the movie and made a play for Rock Hudson in the steamy melodrama. She starred along with Hudson, Robert Stack and Lauren Bacall. 

On television, Malone portrayed Constance Mackenzie in more than 400 episodes of “Peyton Place” from 1964 to 1968. “Peyton Place,” based on the best-selling novel by Grace Metalious. Her character had a dark secret about the birth of her daughter, played by 19-year-old Mia Farrow, and it led to a rating hit as television’s first nighttime soap opera, the Times reported.

Malone would reprise her role in two television movies, “Murder in Peyton Place” in 1977 and “Peyton Place: The Next Generation,” in 1985. 

Malone’s final movie appearance came in “Basic Instinct,” when she portrayed Hazel Dobkins, a mother accused of murdering her family, Entertainment Weekly reported.

“I came up with a conviction that most of the winners in this business became stars overnight by playing shady dames with sex appeal,” Malone said in 1967. “And I've been unfaithful or drunk or oversexed almost ever since — on the screen, of course.”

 

Journey, Def Leppard joining up for North American tour

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 10:00 AM

Journey And Def Leppard Announce Joint Tour

Journey and Def Leppard are joining together for a 60-date North American tour.

Journey confirmed the rumors of a joint tour on its Twitter page Friday morning.

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“The rumors are true! @JourneyOfficial @DefLeppard are teaming up for a 2018 North American tour kicking off May 21st in Hartford, CT,” the band said. The news comes after Journey guitarist Neal Schon teased a tour announcement from the two groups Sunday.

The two groups first toured together in 2006.

“Twelve years ago we embarked on a US tour with Journey and it was an absolute blast,” Def Leppard bass guitarist Rick Savage said in a statement. “Looking forward to hooking up again. Believe me, this will be even more spectacular.”

Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliot spoke to Rolling Stone about the tour.

“The fact that we’re touring with Journey, and it’s putting us into huge arenas like Madison Square Garden and stadiums, that is very special for us. It’s two iconic bands touring together,” Elliot said. “It makes it more of an event when the bill is all bands that people have heard of. We went out with a really good band called Tripping Daisy in 1996, but nobody cared. But when you have people like Cheap Trick, Poison, Heart or Journey, it makes for a better night for the people in the crowd. They come in and they know what they're going to get.”

According to a news release on the tour, Journey will close half of the shows and Def Leppard will close the the other half. Tickets go on sale at LiveNation.com starting Feb. 3. Information on pre-sale and VIP tickets has not been announced.

The tour dates can be seen below.

May 21 - Hartford, Connecticut, XL Center 

May 23 - Albany, New York, Times Union Center 

May 25 - Hershey, Pennsylvania, Hersheypark Stadium 

May 26 - Buffalo, New York, KeyBank Center 

May 28 - Cleveland, Quicken Loans Arena 

May 30 - Cincinnati, U.S. Bank Arena 

June 1 - Toronto, Rogers Centre 

June 2 - Pittsburgh, PPG Paints Arena 

June 5 - Raleigh, North Carolina, PNC Arena 

June 6 - Knoxville, Tennessee, Thompson-Boling Arena 

June 8 - Bristow, Virginia, Jiffy Lube Live 

June 9 - Charlotte, North Carolina, Spectrum Center 

June 11 - Philadelphia,  Wells Fargo Center 

June 13 - New York, Madison Square Garden 

June 15 - Newark, New Jersey, Prudential Center 

June 16 - Baltimore, Royal Farms Arena 

July 1 - Atlanta, SunTrust Park 

July 3 - Noblesville, Indiana, Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center 

July 4 - Milwaukee, Summerfest 

July 6 - Memphis, Tennessee, FedExForum 

July 7 - North Little Rock, Arkansas, Verizon Arena 

July 9 - Tulsa, Oklahoma, BOK Center 

July 11 - Louisville, Kentucky, KFC Yum! Center 

July 13 - Detroit, Comerica Park 

July 14 - Chicago, Wrigley Field 

July 16  - Wichita, Kansas, INTRUST Bank Arena 

July 18 - Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Denny Sanford PREMIER Center 

July 19 - Lincoln, Nebraska, Pinnacle Bank Arena 

July 21 - Denver,  Coors Field 

July 23 - Des Moines, Iowa, Wells Fargo Arena 

July 25 - Kansas City, Missouri, Sprint Center 

July 27 - Minneapolis, Target Field 

July 28 - Fargo, North Dakota, Fargodome 

Aug. 11 - Boston, Fenway Park 

Aug. 13 - Virginia Beach, Virginia, Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater 

Aug. 15 - Columbia, South Carolina, Colonial Life Arena

Aug. 17 - Fort Lauderdale, Florida, BB&T Center

Aug. 18 - Tampa, Florida, Amalie Arena 

Aug. 20 - Birmingham, Alabama, Legacy Arena @ The BJCC 

Aug. 22 - Columbus, Ohio, Schottenstein Center

Aug. 24 - St. Louis, Busch Stadium

Aug. 25 - Nashville, Tennessee, Bridgestone Arena 

Aug. 27 - New Orleans, Smoothie King Center

Aug. 29 - Dallas, American Airlines Center 

Aug. 31 - San Antonio, AT&T Center 

Sept. 1 - Houston, Toyota Center 

Sept. 5 - Albuquerque, New Mexico, Isleta Amphitheater 

Sept. 7 - Phoenix, Talking Stick Resort Arena 

Sept. 8 - Las Vegas, T-Mobile Arena

Sept. 21 - San Francisco, AT&T Park 

Sept. 23 - San Diego, Petco Park 

Sept. 25 - Salt Lake City, Vivint Smart Home Arena 

Sept. 26 - Nampa, Idaho, Ford Idaho Center Arena 

Sept. 28 - Portland, Oregon, Moda Center 

Sept. 29 - George, Washington, Gorge Amphitheatre 

Oct. 1 - Vancouver, Rogers Arena 

Oct. 4 - SacramentoCalifornia, Golden 1 Center 

Oct. 6 - Los Angeles, The Forum