Ever since it was revealed that beloved sitcom star and fatherly figure Bill Cosby had admitted to giving Quaaludes to women he wanted to have sex with — accusations of which had been floating around for years — his image has been shattered. In its wake, activists are demanding that he be stripped of his official accolades: President Obama has been called upon to revoke Cosby's Presidential Medal of Freedom, and protesters have asked the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to remove Cosby's star from the Walk of Fame.
Obama politely declined the possibility of medal revocation, and recently, Leron Gubler, president and chief executive of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, gave his final decision on the star.
“The answer is no,” Gubler said. “Once a star has been added to the Walk, it is considered a part of the historic fabric of the Hollywood Walk of Fame.”
Disappointing — but then again, Cosby isn't the only bad celebrity whose name remains on Hollywood's glittering public sidewalk, a sidewalk that's generally understood to be a celebration of America's cultural heroes. Here, 10 other hugely offensive stars who remain on the Walk of Fame:
Oliver Stone (1996)
Director Oliver Stone's reputation has remained relatively pristine, thanks to a few extremely telling moments being quickly swept under the rug. In 2010, Stone said that the Holocaust is represented unevenly in films and TV because of “Jewish domination of the media.” He then described Jews as “the most powerful lobby in Washington.”
Earlier that year, Stone came to the defense of that oft-misunderstood world leader, Adolf Hitler. “We can’t judge people as only ‘bad’ or ‘good,’” he said, speaking to the Television Critics Association. “Hitler is an easy scapegoat throughout history and it's been used cheaply. He’s the product of a series of actions.”
Jerry Lee Lewis (1989)
Rock star Jerry Lee Lewis gave the world “Great Balls of Fire” and “Whole Lotta Shakin'.” He also, at 22 years old, gave a wedding ring to 13-year-old Myra Gale Brown (pictured). She accepted, and they were married in 1957. A few years later, Lewis began physically and emotionally abusing his wife. They divorced after 13 years of holy matrimony.
Donald Trump (2007)
Until recently, Donald Trump's most egregious crime against humanity appeared to be ruthless capitalism and a bad toupee. But we forget that he's also been known to joke about domestic violence, and recently, he unapologetically outed himself as a loud, proud bigot. “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” he said during a campaign speech. “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”
Joan Crawford (1960)
Joan Crawford was one of America's most beloved actresses until her adopted daughter, Christina, released an autobiography in 1978 entitled Mommie Dearest. The book portrayed Crawford as a deranged monster who physically and emotionally abused the daughter she chose to adopt.
Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle (1960)
Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle was the center of one of the first real Hollywood scandals. A hugely famous actor, he was cavorting one night in 1921 with a young lady named Virginia Rappe. At one point during the evening Rappe got sick; she died several days later. Her friends said her illness was a result of Arbuckle raping her. Arbuckle denied the claims and was exonerated, but the allegations never truly left his wake.
Elvis Presley (1960)
Everyone loves the Elvis of yore, hips a-swingin' and voice a-bellowin'. But his wife, Priscilla Presley — whom Elvis began dating in 1959, when she was 14 and he was 24 — was open about the fact that he controlled everything about her appearance, from wardrobe to makeup, and that he refused to sleep with her after she gave birth to their daughter. He later became violent, shooting TVs when he was angry and once throwing a chair at her.
Arnold Schwarzenegger (1987)
Arnold Schwarzenegger made his living in his early years just from being yoked, but it turned out that he was also an unabashed womanizer. In 2003, six women came out alleging that Schwarzenegger had groped them in incidents dating back to 1975. In nearly all of the allegations, he was said to have laughed off the incidents.
Wesley Snipes (1998)
The Blade star never committed any violent crimes, unlike many others on this list. But Wesley Snipes was found guilty of tax evasion, involving a substantial amount of money. In 2008, a court found that he had failed to file taxes from 1999 to 2001, adding up to an outstnding IRS bill of about $7 million. Snipes served three years in a white-collar prison.
Don Cornelius (1997)
A legendary producer and creator of Soul Train, Don Cornelius also was charged with spousal abuse. His wife, Victoria Avila-Cornelius, took out two restraining orders against him. Cornelius initially pleaded not guilty to the charges, but later changes his plea to no contest. He was placed on probation for 36 months.
Absolut Vodka (2008)
Absolut Vodka isn't a person. And to be fair, it hasn't done anything egregious (that we know of). Nevertheless, the midshelf spirit's induction onto the Walk of Fame seven years ago was a slap in the face to common decency. Sure, all stars on the Walk of Fame are purchased (they come with a $30,000 price tag). But for the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to let a corporation buy a star for a brand is next-level shameless.
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