Celebrity Careers That Were Destroyed In 2020

2020 has been a rough year for pretty much everybody, at least to some extent thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, the presidential election tensions, and the racial unrest in the United States, among other unavoidable matters. Even rich and famous celebrities have been going through some difficult times —  relatively speaking, of course. Quite frankly, a lot of these celebrity issues can be classified as "champagne problems," such as losing out on some high profile gigs while still maintaining a high net worth from years of working in the entertainment industry. Nevertheless, the drama is admittedly intriguing. Fans love building up their favorite stars with support, but it's hard not to look away when an A-Lister's dirty laundry comes to light. And, unfortunately for some of Hollywood's biggest and brightest, their problems seem to be their own doing. 

Plenty of celebrities that have seemingly ruined their own careers in 2020, and sure, it is possible for some of them to recover their reputations (and recoup lost paychecks). After all, who doesn't like a comeback, right? But for now, let's take a look back at the carnage 2020 has wreaked on some superstars whose careers appear to be completely done.

Stassi Schroeder and Kristen Doute lost it all

Stassi Schroeder and Kristen Doute were the queen bees on Vanderpump Rules until June 2020. Page Six reported that Schroeder lost brand deals with Ritual and Billie after former castmate Faith Stowers recalled a 2018 incident where Schroeder and Kristen Doute called the cops, accusing her of a crime she didn't commit. On an Instagram Live chat, Stowers said that Schroeder and Doute misidentified her as the unnamed woman in a Daily Mail articled that detailed "an African American lady" who "was robbing people." Schroeder actually bragged about the in-depth investigation of Stowers she and Doute undertook in now-deleted interview on the Bitch Bible (via Reality Tea).

Schroeder apologized on Instagram, but it wasn't enough, as more of her past incidents of racial insensitivity resurfaced, including describing herself as "Nazi chic" in a 2018 Instagram Story (via People), and complaining about Black people wanting representation in film during a 2017 podcast.

After Variety revealed that Schroeder and Doute got fired from Vanderpump Rules, they both publicly apologized, however Stowers told People that Schroeder never reached out privately (Doute did "DM" her). Us Weekly confirmed Schroeder's podcast "was removed from all platforms" and her wine line with Doute was pulled from stores. Doute seemingly didn't have as much to lose as Schroeder, but her publisher did stop promoting her book after just one week of sales. According to DeadlineSchroeder and Doute began working with "a crisis management team" in the wake of the scandal. 

Ellen DeGeneres is losing sponsors and viewers

After years of telling fans to "be kind," talk show staffers accused Ellen DeGeneres of creating a "toxic work culture" in a June 2020 BuzzFeed News exposé. Even fellow celebs started dog-piling onto DeGeneres, but DeGeneres herself kept quiet until The Ellen DeGeneres Show returned in September 2020. She said, "I learned that things happened here that never should have happened. I take that very seriously and I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected." The show continued, but it wasn't business as usual.

According to BuzzFeed News, the show's Instagram account went from "12 sponsored posts from eight different brands" in November 2019 down to "six sponsored posts from two different brands." Those numbers could be attributed to many factors, including the pandemic, however, publicists also told BuzzFeed News that they don't want to book clients as guests to be a part of "her comeback tour." As one put it, "You don't want to put your client in any line of fire sympathizing with someone that any community or anyone would feel bad about. We're not going to align anyone with Ellen."

BuzzFeed also noted that in October 2020, DeGeneres' ratings "declined about 37% from last season," which is nearly double the average for other "syndicated talk shows."  Yes, DeGeneres is clearly still a major fixture on daytime TV, but is her brand permanently tainted or is this just a momentary hiccup?

Lea Michele lost sponsorships

In a June 2020 tweet from her now-deleted Twitter account, Lea Michele wrote (via ET), "George Floyd did not deserve this. This was not an isolated incident and it must end. #BlackLivesMatter." In a since-deleted response tweet, Michele's fellow Glee alum Samantha Ware accused Michele of making her "first television gig a living hell." She accused Michele of "traumatic micro aggressions," including allegedly telling others she wanted to "s**t in [Ware's] wig."

Ware told Variety Michele changed after Ware's first performance, recalling, "That's when it started – the silent treatment, the stare-downs, the looks, the comments under her breath, the weird passive aggressiveness." After Ware's claims, other celebs shared their unflattering allegations about Michele's on-set behaviorGlee alum Heather Morris slammed Michele for "treat[ing] others with the disrespect," but would not go so far as to call Michele racist, warning, "You know what happens when we all assume."

Michele lost a HelloFresh sponsorship, with the company tweeting, "We are disheartened and disappointed to learn of the recent claims concerning Lea Michele. We take this very seriously, and have ended our partnership with Lea Michele, effective immediately." A spokesperson for Zola, a company that worked with Michele to plan her 2019 wedding, told Newsweek, "We are deeply disappointed by the news concerning her conduct." Their partnership, however, had already ended with the wedding. It's uncertain if Michele will face other repercussions since many opportunities in the entertainment industry are paused due coronavirus precautions, as of this writing. 

NeNe Leakes bashed Bravo and Andy Cohen after her RHOA exit

In September 2020, NeNe Leakes shared a very emotional video, where she claimed, "I have made the very hard and difficult decision to not be part of The Real Housewives of Atlanta Season 13." She maintained that she made the decision, but her own remarks contradict that. When a fan tweeted Leakes asking for a Bravo spin-off show, she replied, "They don't think I deserve to work at all in any [capacity]." When another person responded, "It sound[s] like they forced you out! Is that the story you want out there," Leakes said, "They definitely did."

She told ET,  "I had an offer on the table. I did not think the offer was a fair offer." She said Bravo isn't "the place for" her, but is that really her call at this point? When Real Housewives executive producer Andy Cohen had Leakes' frenemy Wendy Williams on Watch What Happens Live, Leakes tweeted up a storm, according to People. She tweeted that Cohen is an "ole racist" and declared, "No one knew you until YOU knew me. Remember I'm ICON. Don't forget." She slammed Cohen for low ratings in addition to writing, "Keep trying me sir and imma let the world know who you really are."

In October, Leakes told Tamron Hall she wanted to meet with Bravo to demand "fair treatment," however, she's no longer on the network, so the possibility of that meeting seems very unlikely.

Tory Lanez is losing industry friends fast

Tory Lanez was featured on Kehlani's song "Can I," but she excluded him from the music video and announced plans via Twitter to replace his verse when she released a deluxe version of her album. JoJo confirmed that she removed Lanez from the deluxe version of her album, tweeting, "Def took him TF off." It's no coincidence that he got booted from both albums. Kehlani later clarified that she removed Lanez from her track to support Megan thee Stallion, who was allegedly shot in both feet by the Canadian rapper in July 2020.

In August 2020, Megan directly accused Lanez in an Instagram Live video, declaring, "You shot me and you got your publicist and your people going to these blogs lying and sh*t." By October 2020, CNN reported that Lanez was charged with "one count of assault with a semiautomatic firearm and one count of carrying a loaded, concealed firearm in a vehicle" in connection with the incident. Lanez has pleaded not guilty

As of this writing, Lanez hasn't been completely abandoned by his peers. Fellow rapper Jack Harlow didn't follow Kehlani and JoJo's lead by removing Lanez from the remix of 'What's Poppin,' telling Power 106 FM that he has "no room to judge anybody." Whether Lanez will continue to find allies like Harlow has yet to be seen, but both that factor and the outcome of his trial will surely have an effect on his career. 

Kelly Dodd's unfiltered approach has fans unfollowing fast

Kelly Dodd's unfiltered personality provides entertainment on The Real Housewives of Orange County, but it's not a façade she puts on for the cameras. She doesn't hold back whether she's on TV or not. Page Six reported that Dodd called coronavirus "God's way of thinning the herd" in an April 2020 Instagram Story. A month later, she compared coronavirus to the flu, remarking, "Well, people are going to die! I'm sorry to tell ya" (via Page Six). In yet another IG story a few weeks later, she said (via Us Weekly), "No one is wearing masks here in Orange County. Yup, because no one is dying here of the virus." In September 2020, Dodd declared via Instagram that coronavirus is "not a pandemic anymore," to which her boss, Andy Cohen, said, "Her posts show how woefully uninformed we all are."

Dodd's cringeworthy statements aren't limited to global pandemics. In a resurfaced 2016 TMZ video, she says "I don't like black guys. I don't even know any black guys." Dodd, who is Mexican-American, quickly apologized amid backlash and even claimed that she's also been a victim of racism

In October 2020, VICE reported on Real Housewives fan accounts and viewers who publicly boycotted Dodd and RHOC. That month, Showbiz CheatSheet confirmed that the Season 15 premiere generated lower ratings than previous seasons. The decrease can't be solely attributed to the Dodd backlash, but it doesn't bode well for her reality TV future. 

Johnny Depp's battle with Amber Heard hurt his career

A breakup can be tough on its own, but Johnny Depp's split from Amber Heard took things to another level, damaging his reputation and career. The drama kicked into high gear when Amber wrote an op-ed about domestic violence for The Washington Post in December 2018. Although he wasn't mentioned in the piece, Depp's lawyers slapped Heard with a "$50 million defamation lawsuit" the following March 2019, according to People. Depp said that Heard's accusations "cost him the role of Jack Sparrow" in Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. That wasn't the only job he lost though. In December 2020, Warner Brothers told Deadline, "Johnny Depp will depart the Fantastic Beasts franchise." 

Depp admitted on Instagram that he was "asked to resign" by the studio from the film he'd already begun to shoot. While his tenure with the franchise is over, Depp didn't lose a paycheck for the film he exited thanks to a clause in his contract that stipulated he would be paid regardless of whether or not he actually appears in the movie (via The Hollywood Reporter).  

Depp lost his libel case against United Kingdom publication The Sun in November 2020, per Deadline. The judge concluded that the outlet's "use of the phrase 'wife beater'" was justified, as Heard's allegations against Depp were "substantially true." Despite the loss, Depp will pursue another defamation lawsuit in the United States starting in May 2021, which could have even more detrimental effects on his career.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233 or TTY 1−800−787−3224. You can also find more information, resources, and support at www.thehotline.org.

Colton Underwood ditched the influencer lifestyle

Once a season of The Bachelor ends, most cast members become social media influencers. But, what happens when an influencer deletes their social media? In November 2020, Us Weekly reported that Colton Underwood deleted his Instagram photos. Every. Single. One. That's certainly an unexpected move for someone with 2 million followers, who's spent years building a brand contingent on social media promotion. Yes, Underwood has other streams of revenue, including sales from his book The First Time: Finding Myself and Looking for Love on Reality TV. But, he's missing out on that Instagram ad money by halting his posting. 

Only Underwood can verify why he blanked out his IG page, but his post-TV life has no shortage of drama. In September 2020, TMZ obtained legal documents that Underwood's ex Cassie Randolph "filed for a restraining order" against him. She claimed that he put "a tracking device" on her car, harassed her via text message, and "show[ed] up uninvited" to her apartment and to her parents' home. Additionally, she alleged that he "sent anonymous text messages to her and to himself pretending to also be a victim of the anonymous stalker." 

In October 2020, Underwood told Us Weekly, "Today Cassie asked the court to dismiss the temporary restraining order against me," claiming that they resolved their issues privately. TMZ later confirmed that Randolph dropped the restraining order, and sought to end a "police investigation" into Underwood. That appeared to be the end of their public drama, but what about Underwood's Instagram career? 

Chris D'Elia was accused of sexual misconduct

Chris D'Elia found fame as a comedian and an actor in TV shows including Whitney and You. That success came crashing down in June 2020 when five women spoke to the Los Angeles Times, accusing D'Elia of exposing himself and other sexual improprieties. Two of those women claim they were under 18 when they had encounters with D'Elia, one of whom allegedly began corresponding with him when she was 17 and he was 36. In September 2020, CNN shared accusations from two additional women who had similar experiences, including traumatic, unwanted advances in which D'Elia exposed himself. 

D'Elia's lawyer Andrew Brettler shared a statement with Varietydeclaring, "D'Elia denies these allegations and emphatically states that he has never engaged in any sexual conduct with any woman without her consent." Even so, his career will (probably) never be the same. Deadline reported that he was dropped by his talent agency and management company. Netflix ditched plans for an "unscripted prank show" that he was supposed to partake in. He also got replaced in the upcoming movie Army of the Dead (per Variety). 

D'Elia has bigger worries than missing the opportunity to prank randoms on a Netflix show, but the lost jobs and lack of industry support will undoubtedly have a lasting impact on his career. Good lawyers don't come cheap.