Celebrities Who've Been Booed At Sporting Events

It's a given that politicians will get booed at sporting events — take the reception Ted Cruz got at a New York Yankees playoff game, for instance. With similar treatments doled out to the likes of Donald Trump and Sarah Palin when attending athletic competitions, we're reminded that the ability to withstand public adversity is a prerequisite of being famous.

The first lady, Dr. Jill Biden, showed up at an Eagles game to promote the federal government's Cancer Moonshot program in fall 2022. Biden is an unabashed fan of the team and took the field to join in a chorus of "Fly Eagles Fly." A hater inserted audio of booing into the scene before uploading it to social media, and Reuters confirmed that the sound was doctored up. While this NFL clip is boo-free, crowds at other sporting events have bellowed real disapproval at celebs and public figures. Some celebrities are more accustomed to the glad-handling at red-carpet award shows and charity galas, but all bets are off whenever they attend a football game or a night of pro hoops on the hardwoods. Despite some overlap, sports remains a culture populated in part by a hardcore fan base that generally doesn't take a shine to the glitterati set lavishing in palatial trappings.

Stars blessed with rhino hides, from Kardashian family members to politician spouses, put on brave faces while being booed, perhaps chalking it up to good-natured ribbing. What's the worst that could happen? Well, it depends on the circumstances. 

Mets fans didn't warm up to Emma Stone and her hubby

Oscar-winning actor Emma Stone and her husband, comedian Dave McCary, are San Diego Padres fans, and on occasions when their favorite baseball team hits the diamond, they make sure the world knows who they support. One event in October had them dressed up in Padres paraphernalia, perched against the mesh right behind home plate, so that cameras could pick them out of a crowd to fully show off their version of San Diego pride. But their strategy had one flaw: they chose to showcase their dedication during a post-season game in New York, where the Padres were taking on the Mets to further their playoff hopes. Naturally, the hometown crowd showed their displeasure with a cacophonous chorus that was considerably louder than a Bronx cheer (per E! News). 

An ESPN video on Instagram documented the couple, upon hearing the boos, toasting the crowd anyway, before cameras caught an elderly Mets enthusiast prompting the fans to shift into cheer mode again. "Mets fans stay faithful," wryly noted the caption of the crowd behavior, which was hardly hostile. That support didn't go without notice by the Padres, which tweeted, "Big fans of these fans" and included a shot of the couple posing together. Stone and McCary had more opportunities to celebrate, after their favorite team dumped the Mets in the Wild Card Series. However, the Padres failed to secure a World Series berth after losing against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Kim Kardashian's jumbotron appeal an epic fail

As one of America's most visible celebrities, Kim Kardashian has conquered pretty much every screen that's transmitted her image to millions of admirers, from the high-definition portals projecting her reality-TV escapades on E! to the computer and smartphone displays illuminating her social media posts. But at a Los Angeles Rams game against the visiting Dallas Cowboys, Kardashian somehow failed the jumbotron screen test, per Sports Illustrated. Like the other 70,000 fans hunkered down in SoFi Stadium, Kardashian, who showed up with her son Saint, seemed to be enjoying the game. After cameras picked out musician John Legend in the crowd, they switched to Kardashian, who was seen blowing kisses to the masses when the hordes turned on her. 

No reason was given for the booing, although one naysayer hinted the celebrity was out of her league, sharing oxygen with NFL fans. "This ain't Calabasas," they tweeted, citing Kardashian's residence in the posh Los Angeles suburb. Regardless of the motive, Kardashian fans weren't having any of it, with many hitting Twitter to defend their heroine. One of them went so far as to take a shot at men, calling them "[expletive] lame," while actor Stephen Amell, best known for his titular role in "Arrow," likened the crowd reaction to a badge of honor, tweeting in part, "Being booed at a sporting event is a huge compliment. When people who don't know you think they dislike you it means you are super duper famous."

Syracuse hoops fans made Pete Davidson eat his words

Scribes from the likes of BuzzFeed and the New York Post have gushed over the romantic appeal of former "Saturday Night Live" player Pete Davidson and his effect on women, including such previous amours as Ariana Grande and Kim Kardashian. That love hasn't been shared by the citizens of Syracuse, NY, who showed their displeasure at a February 2022 college basketball game involving the local Orangemen. When the jumbotron camera pointed at Davidson, the crowd erupted in a series of boos over what the comedian said about Syracuse in the past. In 2018, Davidson guested on "The Howard Stern Show," where he lamented the difficulties he had in the city while filming his movie "Big Time Adolescence."

"Dude, I was shooting this movie out in Syracuse," he told Stern (via Syracuse.com). "Syracuse, you know, it's trash. Worse than Staten Island. The nicest hotel in Syracuse is, like, a f***ing Ramada." He shared more of his experiences by recalling to Variety the time Syracuse police pulled him over, resulting in Davidson's passenger getting busted for marijuana possession. "They tried to arrest me for bringing business to your town," he quipped. "Never again, Syracuse." 

Davidson later asked for a ceasefire between himself and the city. "Hello, Syracuse Orangemen, thank you so much for having me and my friends in the building. We had a really great time," he told a reporter before shrugging. "So, peace?"

Ye was greeted by a Super Boo

Rapper Kanye West, who's now shortened his moniker to Ye, has provided detractors with plenty of reasons to rail against him. Those controversial West-isms run the gamut from deriding Taylor Swift on an award show stage and anointing himself as a god on BBC Radio to throwing his support behind presidential candidate Donald Trump and comparing himself to a Third Reich Fuhrer. So when the SoHi Stadium jumbotron included a live shot of West during Super Bowl LVI (via the Daily Mail), fans momentarily forgot about the NFL final between the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals to focus their contempt on the provocative hip-hop star. There didn't seem to be a shortage of motives for booing West.

Newsweek noted that Ye had recently dissed rapper Kid Cudi, a friend of comedian Pete Davidson, who was going out with Kim Kardashian, West's ex-wife. He also denounced singer Billie Eilish, who stopped a show to help a fan retrieve her inhaler, making a subtle affront to his late buddy Travis Scott, who continued playing his set at a concert where 10 people died. Either way, Twitter viewers showed dismay over the crowd's reaction at the game, not toward West, but his young daughter North. "I, for one, feel really bad for north. She looks really embarrassed/sad," tweeted one respondent. Arguments ensued over whether or not North was upset.

A hostile reception rammed the Jenner sisters

One has to wonder what's added to the suds being served at SoHi Stadium during NFL games, that causes fans to throw some rather vocal shade at the Kardashians or anyone else connected with the famous family. Already in 2022 at the Los Angeles facility, crowds have booed Kim Kardashian, Kanye West (at a Super Bowl game, no less), and the celebratory sisters Kendall and Kylie Jenner. The duo were lounging in one of the more luxurious sections of the stadium, hanging out during the game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Baltimore Ravens, when the jumbotron camera focused on the Jenners.

A reporter tweeted that the crowd erupted into its derisive drone, which Kendall and Kylie didn't seem to sense. Noticing her image beaming back at her on the big screen, Kendall laughed, flashed a peace sign at the crowd, and blew kisses. Whether or not that gesture was an actual call for peace from non-fans, it obviously didn't work. Admittedly, the sisters don't generate anywhere near the controversy that's regularly surrounded Kardashian and Ye. But the stadium experience wasn't the first time these two have been given the pariah treatment from a crowd. In 2015, Kylie and Kendall were mercilessly booed at the Billboard Awards when introducing a live performance by Kanye West. Undeterred by the noise, they at least stuck on message during their brief spiel.

Ryan Seacrest won over a bucking Broncos crowd

Ryan Seacrest is one of the biggest broadcast personalities in the entertainment industry, and he's made it via a great deal of hard work and that enviable ability to win over even the most antagonistic of crowds. That quality was severely put to the test in 2013 in Denver's Mile High Stadium, home of the NFL Broncos. When his name was announced during pregame festivities to kick off the league's football season, the crowd started booing the celebrity, no doubt thinking he conspired to turn the occasion into an impromptu session of "American Idol." With his brassy voice, Seacrest belted out, "I only know of one other countdown that might be as big as this one!" Right after that, Seacrest's enthusiasm brought the masses back onside when he delivered a thunderous tribute to football greats from all 32 NFL franchises.

After the game, he posted a photo on Instagram of himself with cheerleaders rehearsing in a barren stadium for the pregame bit, captioned with the self-deprecating comment, "Which one of these doesn't belong?" He may not have been a good fit for cheerleading, but in front of a bellicose crowd, he proved he wasn't a shiny show pony, either. He can attribute that to a part of his past unknown to most people: Seacrest was a devastating defensive back during his teens, playing for Dunwoody High School in Georgia; the team even won a state championship.

Tom Hanks and Martin Short cheered for a visiting team

In late 2013, Tom Hanks was cajoled by Martin Short to hit the desolate prairies of Canada to catch a football game. Mind you, it was no ordinary match, but the 101st annual Grey Cup game. The Canadian Football League's national final was held that year in Regina, a city roughly the size of Rochester, NY. From the moment he touched down, Hanks became the city's star attraction. The novelty of Forrest Gump's presence even dwarfed Short's celebrity cred, as locals already recognized the Ed Grimley portrayer as a homeboy via his early days on the Toronto-filmed "SCTV." The actors really got into their football outing and even sat in the commentators' chairs for a while.

There was one problem. Regina is home to the Saskatchewan Roughriders, one of the game's finalists that year. Their opposition was the Tiger-Cats, a team from Hamilton, Short's native city. Naturally, Short convinced Hanks to support the Ti-Cats, which didn't go over well with fiercely loyal Roughriders fans, especially when TV cameras caught the two celebrities chanting the visiting team fight song before the game to a chorus of boos from the bleachers. Short probably expected the reaction, and Hanks appeared unfazed. All that Hollywood support was to no avail, since Saskatchewan won 45-23, but Hanks apparently still had a blast. "I never thought I'd see a Grey Cup in my lifetime," he said to The Leader-Post. "I'm a lucky man."

NASCAR fans driven to anger over Michelle Obama

On a typical NASCAR oval, competitors drive counter-clockwise, meaning that every bend on the track requires drivers to turn left. But that's the only leftism you'll likely find when it comes to the stock car racing association's fan base. In 2011, Michelle Obama, then-President Barack Obama's first lady, found that out the hard way, when she showed up at the Homestead-Miami racetrack in Florida for NASCAR's final Sprint Cup event of the season. Thousands of racecar fans booed her, per The Washington Post. The ESPN broadcast of the event clearly indicated a negative and vocal crowd reaction, perhaps not only directed at Obama, but also against Dr. Jill Biden. Both women attended the event to promote the Joining Forces government initiative supporting the country's military families.

Fortunately, the roar of V-8s quickly eclipsed the crowd noise as the dignitaries issued the ceremonial order to drivers to start their engines. A White House statement to outlets including CBS News downplayed the incident, claiming both women were well treated by NASCAR's administration. "Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden enjoyed their visit to the speedway and are looking forward to working across the country to honor America's veterans and military families," read the statement. Additionally, NASCAR drivers slated to run in the day's race gave the two women a standing ovation during a pre-race meeting, per HuffPost.

Rosanne Barr fouled out

It's tough to figure out what was on the minds of the San Diego Padres flack back in 1990 when they thought that getting comedian Roseanne Barr to sing the national anthem would be a good thing. True, Barr was already a huge star via her runaway sitcom smash "Roseanne," but vocalist probably wasn't included in her list of artistic credentials. So when the celebrity was enlisted to perform "The Star Spangled Banner" as part of a baseball double-header against the Cincinnati Reds, organizers and spectators didn't know at the time that all hell was about to break loose. (She did tell The Washington Post, "I was singing in my act at the time — and I am a good singer — I was flattered and fully intended to sing a good version of the song.")

With the melodic execution of a tomcat with its paw caught in a mousetrap, Barr wailed the anthem with a timbre that was totally out of control and off-key at that. More succinctly, the chorus of spectator boos that almost drowned out the celeb were far more in tune than Barr, who seemed to treat the occasion like one of her standup gigs. Once the song ended, Barr added insult to injury by spitting on the turf and grabbing her plumbing before exiting the field. The fiasco did more than anger fans and embarrass the Padres brass; news spread across the country, even earning condemnation from President George H.W. Bush. Shocking as the performance was, it pales in comparison to slurs she posted on social media, resulting in the loss of her "Roseanne" reboot in 2018.