Celebs Who Made A Comeback After Being Canceled

This feature discusses domestic violence, suicide, bullying, racism, homophobia, and allegations of sexual assault. 

Many continue to argue about whether cancel culture is necessary or completely wrong — by all accounts, whether it's here to stay remains to be seen. Either way, some people may never recover from being canceled while others could turn things around for themselves. Some celebs, like Kevin Hart, have already done so, in fact.

Some may recall people being outraged at the comedian in 2018 after old homophobic tweets of his resurfaced. As a result, Hart decided to step down as host of the 2019 Oscars, and at the time it wasn't clear if his career would survive the scandal. But afterward, he continued to have big-time success in film and T.V., while selling out comedy shows. In 2021, he spoke about his issue with cancel culture during an interview with The Sunday Times. "If somebody has done something truly damaging then, absolutely, a consequence should be attached," Hart explained. "But when you just talk about ... nonsense? When you're talking, 'Someone said [something bad], they need to be taken [down].' Shut the f*** up. What are you talking about?" However, during an appearance on the "The Verywell Mind Podcast" a year later, Hart conceded that change was necessary within comedy and that he was now performing with a heightened awareness of others. 

But Hart's not the only one. So, what other celebs have seemed to survive being canceled to make a comeback? Here are some of those people, why they were canceled in the first place, and what they're doing now.

Chrissy Teigen had a social media scandal

There was a time when Chrissy Teigen was considered a star on Twitter, mostly for her bold, humorous takes on celebrity culture and current events. Clearly, the supermodel didn't run from hot-button topics, she sprinted to them like Florence Griffith Joyner. But in May 2021, Courtney Stodden, the model known for marrying actor Doug Hutchison at 16 years old when he was 50, told The Daily Beast that Teigen had been bullying them on social media for some time — once even urging the model to die. Teigen received tons of backlash afterward and apologized, tweeting in part, "I am ashamed and completely embarrassed at my behavior but that is nothing compared to how I made Courtney feel."

Later that month, Teigen's "Cravings" cookware line was removed from Macy's and Target's websites. On Instagram two months later, she revealed that she was struggling with being canceled, writing, "Going outside sucks and doesn't feel right, being at home alone with my mind makes my depressed head race ... I feel lost and need to find my place again." Still, within six months of being canceled, Tiegen seemingly found her place again by releasing a new cookbook and hitting the promo circuit to hawk it.

By April 2023, she seemed to be officially in people's good graces again and was regularly engaging with her millions of social media followers. Her Cravings by Chrissy Teigen business also appeared to be back on its feet, as products were back on Target's website again. 

Mo'Nique fought the big-wigs

If an experienced actor was giving advice to someone who's still carving out their acting career, they would probably say not to get into a public spat with three entertainment juggernauts. But that's exactly what Mo'Nique did, as she fought with not only Oprah Winfrey but Tyler Perry and Lee Daniels. The disagreement had to do with Mo'Nique's role in the 2009 film "Precious," which Daniels directed, with both Perry and Winfrey acting as executive producers.

Per The Hollywood Reporter, Mo'Nique disagreed with how much Daniels and others wanted her to promote the film — and without additional compensation to do so. The comedian's work slowed during the beef and she accused Daniels, Perry, and Winfrey of getting her blacklisted in Hollywood. Mo'Nique also had it out with Netflix, which was another disagreement that seemed to sidetrack her career. Per Deadline, she sued the company for racial and gender discrimination in 2019 after they cut off negotiations for a comedy special that she was offered. Before the lawsuit, Netflix offered Mo'Nique $500,000 — an amount she felt was too low compared to the multi-million dollar deals offered to Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, and Amy Schumer.

But the star bounced back from being blacklisted and labeled a difficult performer. For one, she finally got her Netflix comedy special after settling out of court with the company, per USA Today. The Baltimore native also has a major role in Starz's crime drama "BMF," and even began working with Daniels again with the 2023 Netflix horror, "The Deliverance."

Iggy Azalea faced tons of backlash

Despite having hit songs like "Fancy" and "Problem," Iggy Azalea came into the music industry as a polarizing figure. Off the bat, she was accused of appropriating Black culture by mimicking the diction of Black rappers instead of going with her native Australian speak. Some might say that Azalea responded to criticism rather harshly

Take the Twitter argument she got into with legendary rapper Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest, for example. In 2014, Tip attempted to give her a brief rundown on hip-hop history to help contextualize the issues people had with her rap persona. In response, she suggested his comments were condescending, sniping, "I'm also not going to ... play hip hop squares with strangers to somehow prove I deserve to be a fan of or influenced by hip hop." While Azalea faced cancelation for a number of indiscretions, including making racist and homophobic jokes on Twitter, the cultural appropriation charge came first. Speaking to Elle Canada, she defended herself against the controversy, stating, "So many people think that I don't care about rap music and the community, but I absolutely care about it, to the core of my being. That's why the Q-Tip incident annoyed me so much."

Slowly but surely, the mother-of-one bounced back by launching her own independent label, Bad Dreams Records, and dropping her album "The End of an Era" in 2021. A year later, she sold her music catalog to Domain Capital for eight figures, and in 2023, she launched a successful Only Fans page.

The Chicks are veterans of cancel culture

Surely, The Chicks, formerly known as Dixie Chicks, can teach a thing or two about how to bounce back from being canceled, because they were ostracized by many before being canceled was en vogue. Problems for the band started in 2003 when member Natalie Maines made comments about then-President George W. Bush while they played a show in London. Evidently, Maines was opposed to the U.S. planned invasion of Iraq, as the Lubbock, Texas native proclaimed, "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas."

Once those words made it back to U.S. shores, radio stations began boycotting the group's music after listeners complained. People even gathered for a Dixie Chicks protest in Bossier City, Louisiana where a pile of the group's CDs was destroyed by a tractor. Per CNN, Maines had two early responses to the uproar. In her first, she defended her comments, in her second she apologized to Bush and said her remarks were disrespectful. 

As of this writing, the backlash against The Chicks seems to be just about over, since the band continues to sell out shows and release new music after the scandal. Moreover, in 2020, the trio delivered their first album since 2006, in the form of "Gaslighter." Promoting the album on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," Maines reflected on the band once being canceled, stating, "What I said back then would not even be a thing today because it was really mild compared to what people say today."

Janet Jackson became an instant villain

It was a scandal that happened on the biggest television event of the year in the United States, the Super Bowl. In 2004, Janet Jackson was one of the halftime acts, before being joined onstage by Justin Timberlake. At one point, the former *NSYNC singer ripped off a piece of Jackson's top, which exposed one of her breasts. Per E! News shows, Jackson's rep suggested a "wardrobe malfunction" had occurred and that a red laced bra was supposed to be exposed, instead. Along with that new term, the scandal also birthed the word "Nipplegate."

Regardless of the explanation, the Federal Communications Commission got nearly a half million complaints and Jackson received an unprecedented level of backlash. Notably, the superstar's scheduled Grammy performance that year was canceled, while Timberlake was presented with two major awards at the ceremony — many people thought he got away unscathed considering was the one who tore off the top.

But over time, heads cooled, because Jackson began making public appearances again and there were no protesters or picket signs when she did it. After the scandal, she also released three more albums, toured, and sold out arenas. In 2021, Timberlake also apologized to the singer on Instagram for failing to stick up for her during the scandal. During Lifetime's "Janet Jackson" documentary (via CNN), the star reflected, "Honestly, this whole thing was blown way out of proportion. Of course, it was an accident ... But everyone is looking for someone to blame, and that's got to stop." 

Aziz Ansari's reputation took a major hit

In April 2023, Aziz Ansari was announced as writing, directing, and appearing in "Good Fortune," a film also starring Keanu Reeves and Seth Rogen. Of course, most comedians taking on such a project would make headlines but in Ansari's case, the news seemed bigger. That has everything to do with him being canceled in 2018 after a woman who identified herself as Grace accused him of sexual misconduct in a Babe.net article at the peak of the MeToo movement.

In the allegations, Grace claimed that she went on a date with Ansari. They went back to his New York City apartment where she alleged that he became sexually aggressive and ignored several physical and verbal cues about wanting to take things slowly. Grace told the publication that she felt she'd been sexually assaulted after the date. In a statement published by CNN, Ansari said he had no idea she felt uncomfortable and had believed the encounter was consensual. 

Still, the South Carolina native left the spotlight and his reputation took a severe hit. However, things turned around for him within a year with the release of his 2019 Netflix comedy special "Aziz Ansari: Right Now," his first in over four years. That same year, he received a Grammy nod for best comedy album for the special, too. Three years later, he cemented his comeback status with another Netflix comedy special, "Aziz Ansari: Nightclub Comedian." 

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Tim Hardaway was banned from NBA events

For much of his career, retired NBA player Tim Hardaway was adored by the sports masses, which made sense. He was considered one of the best point guards of his day, mastered a dribbling move known as the crossover, and was a fierce competitor. Things shifted for him in 2007, though, after he was asked how he'd relate to a gay player on his team during an appearance on "The Dan Le Batard Show." Why? Because Hardaway straight up said, "I hate gay people," and admitted to being homophobic. Plus, the Chicago native said he'd either refuse to play with a gay player or would distance himself from that person.

In response, the then-NBA commissioner David Stern immediately banned Hardaway from participating in activities surrounding the All-Star game that year, as well as other league-related events. 

Hardaway eventually apologized in a statement that was published by ESPN but that didn't stop the NBA from seemingly distancing itself from him. He also failed to get into the NBA Hall of Fame after being a finalist several times. "Well, you know, the reason I'm not in is because of what I said in 2007 about gay people," Hardaway told Hoops Hype in 2019. "That's why I'm not in right now, and I understand it." But in 2022 he managed to bounce back when he got inducted into the Hall of Fame. His former team the Miami Heat also paid tribute to him.

If you or a loved one has experienced a hate crime, contact the VictimConnect Hotline by phone at 1-855-4-VICTIM or by chat for more information or assistance in locating services to help. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.

Morgan Wallen's comeback came quickly

In February 2021, a video posted by TMZ of country singer Morgan Wallen using a racial pejorative while saying goodbye to friends in Tennessee did him in but not for long. After the video made the rounds, he apologized, telling the same outlet, "I used an unacceptable and inappropriate racial slur that I wish I could take back. There are no excuses to use this type of language, ever. I want to sincerely apologize for using the word. I promise to do better."

However, the damage was already done because Wallen's music stopped being played on radio stations all across the U.S., and his contract with Big Loud Records was suspended. He also lost eligibility to be nominated for an ACM award and was banned from the ceremony for one full year. But on the other hand, his music also saw a big sales increase following the scandal — those who felt he was wrongfully canceled may have dug into their pockets to support him.

In a YouTube video released later that month, Wallen described how he'd accepted invitations to meet with some Black organizations, stating, "They offered me grace and they also paired that with an offer to learn and to grow ... That kindness really inspired me." His cancellation was arguably shortlived because his album, "Dangerous: The Double Album" spent a very impressive 10 weeks on the Billboard 200 a little over a month later. In 2023, his next release, "One Thing at a Time," also debuted at No. 1.

If you or a loved one has experienced a hate crime, contact the VictimConnect Hotline by phone at 1-855-4-VICTIM or by chat for more information or assistance in locating services to help. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.

Nick Cannon nearly lost his long-running MTV show

In 2020, Nick Cannon was accused of making anti-Semitic remarks on his "Cannon's Class" podcast, nearly losing his long-running MTV show "Wild 'N Out" amid the massive backlash he received. Problems began when he suggested those who lack melanin are inferior and evil. He coupled that by perpetuating Jewish stereotypes regarding power and influence in the United States. ViacomCBS subsequently ended its relationship with Cannon and "Wild 'N Out," which began in 2005, looked set to be no more. Even his hosting duties at "The Masked Singer" were in question at the time, a show that he'd hosted since 2019, nut decision-makers decided to keep him on.

The same day as that news dropped, Cannon apologized for his proclamations in a tweet, writing, in part, "I extend my deepest and most sincere apologies to my Jewish sisters and brothers ... [My statements] reinforced the worst stereotypes of a proud and magnificent people and I feel ashamed of the uninformed ... place that these words came from." Meanwhile, on Facebook, he shared an elaborate post criticizing Viacom and refusing to be bullied. He also demanded full ownership of "Wild 'N Out." 

Almost seven months after the scandal, ViacomCBS rekindled their professional relationship with Cannon, with filming set to resume on "Wild 'N Out." He also began his talk show, although it was canceled after just one season. But the father-of-12 — yes 12 (at the time of writing, at least) — is still keeping busy by co-hosting a prank show with Kevin Hart on E!.

Vanessa Hudgens was called heartless

In March 2020, when people were still collectively wrapping their heads around the deadly effects of COVID-19, some people were accused of not taking it seriously. Vanessa Hudgens is one of those people because when someone asked her how she felt about then-President Donald Trump stating that quarantine rules may remain in place until July of that year, she gave an answer that was called heartless. "'[Until] July sounds like a bunch of bulls***. I'm sorry," said the "High School Musical" star on Instagram Live, later shared by ET. "But like, it's a virus. I get it. Like, I respect it but at the same time, like, even if everybody gets it ... like, yeah, people are going to die, which is terrible but, like, inevitable."

She was ripped to shreds afterward with some people calling her a terrible, selfish, person — particularly for her apparently dismissive attitude toward the vulnerable communities that lockdown was enforced to protect. The actor and singer later said her words were taken out of context before offering a full-on apology via Twitter. Now, Hudgens wasn't canceled in the way others were on this list, but casting agents probably weren't ringing her phone on the day she made those COVID comments. After the brief scandal, she scored a role in Lin-Manuel Miranda's acclaimed 2021 film "Tick, Tick ... Boom!," and also starred in the third installment of "The Princess Switch 3: Romancing the Star." 

Chris Brown was arrested and charged

There was a time when it looked like Chris Brown's career was over. It was 2009 and he was charged with felony assault for attacking Rihanna, his girlfriend at the time. It was a crime that got him five years probation and six months of community service. He was also ordered to stay away from Rihanna for five years, per Today. The assault occurred while the former couple was driving in Los Angeles following the Grammy Awards. During an appearance on "20/20," Rihanna claimed that she had confronted Brown about a text message he'd received from another girl. "I caught him in a lie," she said. "He wouldn't tell the truth, and I wouldn't drop it ... it escalated to him being violent towards me." Images from the police report showed the Barbadian singer with bruises on her face and forehead from the incident.

Brown was straight-up canceled by many after the news surfaced. And even though he'll probably never fully escape negative opinions about himself, he's continued to be a successful singer, selling out shows, winning awards, and maintaining an incredibly huge fanbase. He's big on social media as well, with nearly 139 million Instagram followers as of this writing. In his 2017 documentary "Chris Brown: Welcome to My Life," he revealed that he felt suicidal following the incident, stating, "I felt like a f***ing monster." Five years earlier, Rihanna told Oprah Winfrey that she'd forgiven her ex for his actions.

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