By Josh Simpkins
Sometimes when I’m in search of a newsworthy story to share with all my friends and neighbors, I find myself enamored with multiple small, surprising tidbits that just stick with me. These little tales that could be summed up in the span of a tweet can be almost as shocking as a front page story. Though accusations of sexual misconduct dominated the headlines in late 2017 and derailed the careers of some of Hollywood’s biggest stars (Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., Russell Simmons, Harvey Wein-stein, and Matt Lauer, just to name a few) other big names also hit rough patches this year. Today I wish to share the five hard-luck stories that I can’t seem to shake out of my cerebellum. I now present my Fast 5 Down and Out in Beverly Hills News Bytes of the past year.
5. Ja Rule
Ja Rule’s Fyre Festival was one of the biggest flops of the year, and that’s putting it lightly—horrendous disaster fits better, in my opinion. Together with entrepreneur Billy McFarland, the rap-per organized what was supposed to be a luxury music festival in the Bahamas over two weekends in April and May 2017. It ended up being anything but luxurious, with people stranded on an island without the gourmet food and high-end accommodations they had paid for. The festival was quickly cancelled, and the organizers are facing multiple million-dollar lawsuits. Ouch!
4. Kathy Griffin
After Kathy Griffin appeared in a photo taken by controversial artist Tyler Shields in May—featuring the comedian holding a fake severed head of President Donald Trump—she was hit with backlash and death threats. She was also fired from her gig hosting CNN’s New Year’s Eve coverage with pal Anderson Cooper, who openly criticized her for the photoshoot. After profusely apologizing in the wake of the scandal, she drew criticism again in August when she publicly declared she was no longer sorry. It’s bad enough that she lost jobs and fans, but what’s especially tragic is the fact that her longtime friendship with Cooper is no more.
3. Katy Perry
2017 hasn’t been kind to Katy Perry. After a promising first single and a Taylor Swift diss-track, her fifth album, Witness, totally tanked. Yes, it debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in June, but in its second week, it suffered an 89 percent sales drop—the biggest second-week sales drop in history. In August, she underwhelmed as the host of the MTV Video Music Awards, then came the rotten cherry on top when Katy was snubbed after Grammy nominations were announced in November, failing to score even a single nod.
2. Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck has had a rocky year. In January, he stepped down from directing a previously announced Batman solo movie. This was followed by a stint in rehab for alcoholism. Then in the fall—after he was reportedly seen drinking again on a date with new girlfriend Lindsay Shookus in July and at an Emmys afterparty in September—Affleck was repeatedly photographed visiting an outpatient rehab clinic where it’s believed he was seeking additional help. Come November, Justice League opens to the worst box office opening of any movie in the DC Extended Universe. Perhaps 2018 will see Batfleck soar once more.
1. Johnny Depp
In 2017, the Oscar nominee faced money issues normal people could never even imagine. After he sued his former business managers in January—and they filed a countersuit, of course—it was revealed that he’s $40 million in debt. His lavish spending was broken down and included things like shelling out $30,000 a month on wine and $200,000 a month on private jets. In addition to his on-going money woes, Johnny faced controversy when he made a comment to a large crowd about the last time an actor assassinated a president. Then, Warner Bros. took a bunch of flack for keeping Depp on board for the Fantastic Beasts sequel. I’m sure the A-lister will be looking forward to a better 2018.