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TVLine: The 20 Most Egregious TV Controversies


  • TV STARS SAY THE DUMBEST THINGS (ABOUT COVID-19)

'To be fair, we’ve all been subject to rapidly changing information during the global coronavirus pandemic… but some familiar faces went out of their way to display their ignorance. Vanessa Hudgens (High School Musical) was skeptical: “Even if everybody gets it, like, yeah, people are going to die, which is terrible… but inevitable?” Evangeline Lilly (Lost) refused to quarantine or socially distance herself. Rachel Griffiths (Six Feet Under) went out and got a manicure, despite the nationwide lockdowns. All eventually apologized… which proves that there’s still no vaccine for bad press.​'

  • 'BLACK LIVES MATTER' ROCKS HOLLYWOOD

'Following George Floyd’s police-caused death in May, Black Lives Matter protests exploded across the United States and around the world — and the TV industry was forced to reckon with its lack of Black representation, surplus of pro-cop programming and other areas that desperately needed improvement. The Bold Type‘s Aisha Dee and Riverdale‘s Vanessa Morgan were among the actresses to criticize their shows’ on- and off-screen representations of Black people, with Morgan revealing she’s paid the least of any Riverdale series regular. (EP Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa later apologized to Morgan, promising to “do better to honor her and the character she plays. As well as all of our actors and characters of color.”)

The spotlight was also notably turned on Lea Michele, after Glee alum Samantha Ware alleged that Michele “made my first television gig a living hell” via “traumatic microaggressions that made me question a career in Hollywood.” Michele addressed Ware’s comments two days later, apologizing for “my behavior and for any pain which I have caused,” though Ware’s public call-out prompted several of Michele’s stage and screen co-stars to recount similar experiences they’d had with her.

Elsewhere during the summer, many networks and TV shows grappled with their depictions of Black characters and/or police departments, prompting many a change to casts and schedules: Cops and Live P.D. were cancelled at Paramount Network and A&E, respectively, while animated shows like Big Mouth, Family Guy, The Simpsons and Central Park committed to recasting their characters of color with actors of color.​'


  • TERRIBLE TWEETS: SCRIPTED EDITION

'Several stars of scripted series learned that the Internet is very much forever. Ryan Guzman of Fox’s 9-1-1 at first defended his wife’s use of a racial slur in tweets from 2011, arguing, “I have plenty of friends and we make fun of each other’s races all the time.” But after suffering backlash, including from multiple co-stars, he took “full responsibility for my defensiveness and ignorance.” The Flash‘s Hartley Sawyer, meanwhile, was summarily fired for racist, homophobic and misogynistic tweets, from almost nine years prior, that left showrunner Eric Wallace “mad as hell” and made series lead Grant Gustin “saddened and angry.” (In an apology, Ralph Dibny’s portrayer said, “I want to be very clear: This is not reflective of what I think or who I am now.”) Squidbillies‘ Stuart Baker, who voiced dad Early Cuyler on the animated comedy, was far less contrite when he was ousted for “extremely offensive and derogatory social media posts” that, among other things, wrote off his “Liberal fans” as “UN-AMERICANS.” His response? “I just hope you a–holes are happy.”'

  • WITCHES AT WAR​

'Original Charmed stars Holly Marie Combs and Rose McGowan clearly didn’t realize what they were starting while taking fan questions during an Instagram Live session in October. After lightly badmouthing the existence of The CW’s reboot, new Charmed star Sarah Jeffery fired back, calling the women’s behavior “sad and quite frankly pathetic.” Jeffery was especially opposed to them putting down actresses of color, an accusation that Combs later dismissed as “bulls–t.”
McGowan also hard harsh words for Jeffery, whom she claimed she’d never heard of. “Reboots will always be the shadow, the originals will always be the sun,” McGowan wrote on Instagram. Combs eventually called for peace between fans of the original and the reboot, tweeting, “Truth be told, and it will be told, is that our issues were and are at the corporate level. And we have the receipts.”​'


  • A TON OF TOXIC WORKPLACES

​“Toxic” was right up there with “pandemic” and “quarantine” for 2020’s word of the year, as an alarming number of TV shows and networks revealed highly dysfunctional environments behind the scenes. Ellen DeGeneres publicly apologized and fired three producers after allegations of a toxic workplace at her daytime talk show made headlines. CBS producer Peter Lenkov (Hawaii Five-0, MacGyver, Magnum P.I.) and NBC entertainment chief Paul Telegdy were both fired for toxic and abusive behavior. Rose McGowan accused Alyssa Milano of making the Charmed set “toxic.” American Housewife cast member Carly Hughes quit the show due to its “toxic environment.” Can we get the EPA to declare Hollywood a disaster area and start cleaning this up?


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Tags: actor / actress, america's got talent (nbc), black celebrities, charmed, ellen degeneres, gabrielle union, glee (fox), lea michele, reality show, riverdale (cw), scandal, sexual misconduct, television, television - cbs, the flash (cw), vanessa hudgens
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