14 People We’d Love to See Go Away in 2016
It’s possible that 2015 will go down in history as a year filled with horrid people saying and doing appalling things. (Not the only year, but a noteworthy addition to the pile.) A lot of those people got a lot of attention for their bad behavior, which means we often watched the horrorshow play out in real time, over and over. It would nice if we didn’t have to rewatch the whole gross affair next year, too.
Because this is the season, here’s a wishlist made up of people it would be great never to hear a peep out of in the new year. The main requirement for inclusion is that, in addition to being horrible, they all committed some grievous act in 2015. So while Dick Cheney, Bill Cosby and the Koch brothers certainly measure up on the horribleness scale, they don’t appear here. (They still retain their place in the Hall of Fame, though!)
Here are 14 people we’d love to see go away in 2016. Enjoy, and happy holidays.
1. Donald Trump.
You know that joke about how Donald Trump is like a comments section that came to life and ran for office? Yeah, well, turns out the joke is on all of us—every single sane one of us from coast to coast and around the world—since he just keeps rising higher and higher in the polls. Donald Trump’s campaign is a towering crapheap made out of hateful comments about Latinos, African Americans, women of all races, Muslims, the disabled, Asians, Jews, and too many individual people to get into. It would be wonderful to wake up on January 1, 2016, to find he’s returned to whatever gaudy gold-and-diamond encrusted hole he climbed out of, but it seems unlikely. A girl can dream, though!
2. ...and his supporters.
Surveys show Donald Trump’s base is mostly white conservatives with only a high school education. By and large, his fans think there’s nothing wrong with this country that getting rid of all the blacks and gays and Mexicans couldn’t fix. Sixty-one percent of them believe Obama is a secret Muslim (as if it matters either way) and that Trump’s plan to ban all Islamic immigration to the U.S. is a step in the right direction. During televised interviews, they prove they’re absolutely batshit and then top it off by lying about being new to politics. Over the last few months, the thugs at Trump’s rallies have assaulted a Latino protester, spit in the face of another and used racial slurs, fists and kicks against a black activist. They have shouted out for “white power,” and at a more recent campaign event, reportedly yelled the following at protesters: “kick his ass,” “shoot him,” “light the motherfucker on fire,” “white lives matter,” and “Sieg heil.” Trump’s security officers beat up one immigrant protester and threw another woman to the ground. And two Boston men who attacked a homeless Hispanic man, punching him in the face and urinating on him, stated they were inspired by Donald Trump’s rantings. In short, like their leader, Donald Trump’s followers are the absolute fucking worst.
3. All the GOP presidential candidates, actually.
While it’s true that Donald Trump’s horribleness just barely makes the rest of the GOP lot seem like decent people, it's also true that every Republican contender is still absolutely terrible. Carly Fiorina knowingly lies again and again about that heavily edited Planned Parenthood video and then acts surprised when some lunatic commits a terrorist act based on her lies. Mike Huckabee seems to think his racism, transphobia and Islamophobia is just adorable. Chris Christie tells us to be afraid of Muslim children, scaremongers about Black Lives Matter and creates heart-touching videos expressing empathy for drug users even though he’s dedicated his career—and the early days of his presidential campaign, even! —to supporting the futile war on drugs, and by extension, the mass incarceration it has caused. Marco Rubio plays to homophobes by pretending he can overrule the Supreme Court on marriage equality. Ben Carson is a spontaneous “crazy quotes” generator who doesn’t understand that solid pyramids cannot serve as grain containers. Jeb Bush expresses admiration for racists and dog whistles that African Americans are just looking for handouts. And Ted Cruz went ahead with a pro-gun rally two days after the San Bernardino shooting because god forbid he show a little empathy if it might cost him a few gun nut votes. (A pox on his racist birther dad while we’re at it.) At least we’re lucky enough not to have to share a dorm room with him, I guess.
4. Martin Shkreli.
Also known as “Pharma Bro,” Shkreli become widely loathed after raising the price of Daraprim, a drug that helps both AIDS and cancer sufferers, from $13.50 a tablet to $750 a tablet. He announced he would lower the price but then changed his mind and said —I’m paraphrasing here — fuck you, pay me. (He later told Forbes that he should’ve jacked up the price even more.) Shkreli’s company recently bought KaloBios Pharmaceuticals, which sells benznidazole, a drug used to treat Chagas disease, a tropical parasitic infection. Previously, the medication was given out for free by the Centers for Disease Control, and a round of treatment in Latin America cost between $60 to $100. Now, Shkreli is trying to get FDA approval for the drug, which is primarily used by poor Latino immigrants, so he can raise the price by as much as 150,000 percent. Did I mention Shkreli allegedly sent an ex-girlfriend he hadn’t spoken to in years a text offering $10,000K to go down on her? Smooth operator, right? No wonder Bernie Sanders refused Shkreli’s campaign donation, opting instead to give it to an AIDS charity, and Wu-Tang donated the reported $2 million Shkreli paid for their single-issue album, “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin,” to the Hip-Hop Chess Federation. Shkreli was just arrested for securities fraud, so things aren’t looking so great for him at this point. I suppose that, depending on how the trial goes, he might be the person on this list most likely to actually disappear from the public eye soon.
5. R. Kelly.
This year, R. Kelly was given the much coveted closing spot on the Soul Train Music Awards. He got a standing ovation, and host Erykah Badu gave him a glowing introduction which included crediting him with having “done more for the blacks than anyone.” This statement is problematic for a bunch of reasons, including that it’s phrased like something Donald Trump would say. The main issue, though, is that many, many young girls, some as young as 14, have accused R. Kelly of sexual abuse, and there is endless evidence to suggest he is guilty. This includes a video of Kelly having sex with an underage girl and then peeing on her face and in her mouth. Had even just that one girl, among the dozens of Kelly’s accusers, been blonde and blue-eyed, I’m pretty sure the singer would be breaking rocks in the hot sun right about now. But they were all African American girls from Chicago’s South Side, and as Jim DeRogatis, whose excellent reporting brought the allegations against Kelly to light, once said, “The saddest fact I've learned is nobody matters less to our society than young black women. Nobody." Instead of jail, Kelly is walking around free, putting his gall on full display by chastising black people for not buying his new record in significant enough numbers. Here’s hoping the lack of a new hit convinces him to just shut it, already.
6. Daniel Holtzclaw.
If you are looking for yet more proof that black women are valued less, welcome to the case of Oklahoma police officer Daniel Holtzclaw. The media, with few exceptions, seemed to find Holtzclaw’s indictment and trial for the rape and sexual abuse of 13 African American women unworthy of coverage. Which is precisely what Holtzclaw banked on when screening for his victims: that no one would believe, or even care about, stories of a cop committing sex assault against poor black women, many of whom had criminal records. Those women knew that too, which is why almost none of them reported him. ("What kind of police do you call on the police?” one teen survivor asked at trial. Another told investigators, “I didn’t think anyone would believe me. I’m a black female.”) Holtzclaw’s last victim only happened to be driving through the neighborhood he stalked, but she didn’t live there. A middle-class African American woman with no record who lived across town, she had the privilege of thinking she might be believed.
On December 10, an all-white jury defied widespread expectations and convicted Holtzclaw on 18 of the 36 sexual abuse charges against him, recommending a sentence of 263 years. The media, suddenly interested, widely reported the decision, and images of a sobbing Holtzclaw appeared everywhere. Seeing Holtzclaw cry reminded me of this old South Park episode, which is to say I have never cared less about the distress of another human being. He’s currently on suicide watch. The women he violated will have to live with his crimes for the rest of their lives.
7. Josh Duggar.
The arbiter of sexual morality and family values in his role as executive director of the Family Research Council—an organization that spends most of its time decrying marriage equality and gay rights—Duggar’s hypocrisy really knew no bounds. This is a man who spent years spreading myths about how gay marriage is a threat to traditional Christian family values and doing the whole “think of the children!” thing. Meanwhile, between 2002 and 2003, Duggar molested four of his own sisters and a babysitter. He apologized, but he couldn’t have been that sorry, because from February 2013 to May 2015, he paid for an account on cheating site Ashley Madison. Busted yet again, Duggar released a statement: "I have been the biggest hypocrite ever. While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the Internet and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife...The last few years, while publicly stating I was fighting against immorality in our country, I was hiding my own personal failings.” He’s currently in a long-term rehab situation of some sort, where he is hopefully being taught some CBT that will help him STFU.
8. George Zimmerman.
In just the last year, the man who murdered Trayvon Martin engaged in the following behaviors:
- Allegedly threw a wine bottle at an ex-girlfriend and faced charges of aggravated assault. The charges were dropped when the woman recanted her story.
- Retweeted a photo of Trayvon Martin’s dead body.
- Responded to an insult on Twitter: “We all know how it ended for the last moron that hit me. Give it a whirl cupcake.”
- Tweeted the message: “Cops lives matter, black slime doesnt [sic].”
- Made a painting of the Confederate battle flag with the explicit purpose of selling it so the proceeds could be divided between himself and Andy Hallinan, a guy who banned Muslims from a shooting range he owns. The two also planned to sell signed copies for about $50 a pop.
- Tweeted that Obama is an “ignorant baboon” and used a homophobic slur.
- Tweeted a nude photo of his ex-girlfriend along with her phone number, writing, “She cheated on me with a dirty Muslim...She’ll sleep with anyone.”
Here’s hoping George Zimmerman, candidate for the Worst Person in the World, disappears next year. I don’t care how or why. Just. Go. Away.
9. Antonin Scalia.
Earlier this year, Antonin Scalia had a public hissyfit in the dissenting opinion to a recent SCOTUS decision upholding Obamacare. (Like a hack comic, he actually included a joke about the sexual habits of hippies, but somehow restrained himself from identifying rock and roll and television as “fads.”) That was bad, but Scalia’s shining moment of awfulness came more recently, when he basically stated that black people are stupid. Here the quote in all its lengthy, awful glory:
“There are...those who contend that it does not benefit African Americans to get them into the University of Texas where they do not do well, as opposed to having slower-track school where they do well. One of — one of the briefs pointed out that — that most of the — most of the black scientists in this country don’t come from schools like the University of Texas…They come from lesser schools where they do not feel that they’re – that they’re being pushed ahead in — in classes that are too — too fast for them…I’m just not impressed by the fact that — that the University of Texas may have fewer. Maybe it ought to have fewer. And maybe some — you know, when you take more, the number of blacks, really competent blacks admitted to lesser schools, turns out to be less. And — and I — I don’t think it — it — it stands to reason that it’s a good thing for the University of Texas to admit as many blacks as possible.”
Abigail Fisher — a woman too mediocre to have her own entry on this list — will likely prevail in her anti-affirmative action case, thanks to attitudes on the court like Scalia’s. (Clarence Thomas probably gave him a fist bump after the above bit of nonsense.) And yet, as the Daily Beast notes, Scalia himself failed to get into Princeton and blamed his rejection on the fact that he wasn’t a WASP, saying he was “an Italian boy from Queens, not the Princeton type.”
10. Sean Toon.
Remember the McKinney pool incident? The bystander video of the scene caught an adult male cop named Eric Casebolt menacingly waving his gun at children, manhandling and slamming a 15-year-old girl to the ground, and sitting on top of her as she sobbed. That whole scene was instigated by Sean Toon and his wife, who several witnesses say yelled racial epithets at the teenagers and then turned around and called the cops on the kids they insulted. After the whole thing blew up, Toon made a big show of walking around with signs praising the police for “keeping [him] safe,” and did a tour of talk shows to commend the officers. But as he played the role of scared upright citizen—a part made possible thanks to white privilege—his arrest record surfaced. Turns out back in 1999, an 18-year-old Toon and some friends were arrested for brutally slaughtering a bunch of animals, which is the kind of thing you hear about serial killers doing. He was sentenced to 285 days in jail and fined $300. That same year, Toon was charged with “aggravated assault with a deadly weapon” and sentenced to 75 days in jail. What I’m saying is that Sean Toon is an ex-con with a record of violence against both people and animals, and he very likely participated in a racialized attack on a group of kids whose crime was being black at a party in his neighborhood. In fact, those kids had a lot more reason to fear him than he ever did to be afraid of them. I hope this entry is the last time any of us have to read about him ever again.
11. Jared Fogle.
The tapes of Jared Fogle, former Subway sandwich shop mascot, talking about his sexual desires toward young children, his sexual abuse of kids, and his methods for seducing his young victims are absolutely chilling. In one recording, he states, “I had a little boy, it was amazing. It just felt so good. I mean, it felt—it felt so good.” In another, he talks about how “fun” it would be for him and the woman he mistakenly thought was his accomplice to have sex with a child. “I think that girl from the broken home could be a possibility,” he suggests. He even asked that same woman if he could put a camera in her own kids’ room. It’s horrifying. Fogle was recently sentenced to 15 years in prison for possession of hundreds of child pornography videos and sex with underage children.
12. Kim Davis.
Despite being divorced three times, Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis appointed herself the moral authority on love when she refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Davis went so far as to cease issuing the licenses to all couples, gay and straight, just to avoid providing them to same-sex pairs. She was arrested, which led to her being hailed as a martyr by the right, who believe it’s totally cool for cops to shoot black people who so much as get mouthy, but white homophobes who break the law are a national treasure. Mike Huckabee suggested god had come down to Earth and shape-shifted into the form of Kim Davis! Her fans held a rally where some said she should be president! The pope met with her! (Though later, he was kind of like, 'Kim who?') Davis is still clerk of Rowan County. In November she lost another of her numerous appeals to block same-sex marriage in Kentucky.
13. Michele Fiore.
Cliven Bundy supporter and Nevada Assembly member Michele Fiore loves guns. She loves them so much she cast herself as the central gun-wielding character in a wall calendar titled “Michele Fiore’s 2016 Walk the Talk 2nd Amendment Calendar.” She had her entire family—save for a few babies—pose with guns in the photo that graces her Christmas card this year. And to top it off, she said that she’d like to fire bullets into the heads of Syrian refugees, because Michele Fiore is a total nightmare:
“I’m about to fly to Paris and shoot ‘em in the head myself. I am not OK with Syrian refugees. I’m not OK with terrorists. I’m OK with putting them down, blacking them out, just put a piece of brass in their ocular cavity and end their miserable life. I'm good with that."
In 2016, I would like never to hear about Michele Fiore saying anything, much less publicly threatening the lives of total strangers.
14. Raven-SymonÃ© Pearman.
A quick laundry list of the ridiculous things that came out of the mouth of the child star-cum-The View co-host in just 2015:
- “I am from every continent in Africa, except for one. And...I’m from every continent in Europe, except for one.”
- Defended the racist Univision commentator who said Michelle Obama looked like a character from Planet of the Apes.
- Says it should be “All Lives Matter.”
- Supports the idea of discriminating against people with “ghetto” names in hiring.
- Said about the Spring Valley High School assault, when a fully grown school officer violently dragged an adolescent girl from her desk: “The girl was told multiple times to get off the phone. There's no right or reason for him to be doing this type of harm—that's ridiculous—but at the same time, you gotta follow the rules in school!”