Actors Who Ruined Their Careers On Social Media

Once upon a time, celebrities were seen, but had a bit more privacy than in today's social media and paparazzi-heavy climate. If you wanted to know what Will Smith likes to eat for breakfast or what Lindsay Lohan drank on her wild night out with Paris Hilton, you'd have to turn to magazines and newspapers as the best source of information for the latest gossip — tacky paparazzi pics and all. Yes, we could track our stars on various late night chat shows or Saturday morning television — but that was mostly the media-polished, kid-friendly version. These days, if you want to know what Will Smith had for his breakfast or how his marriage to Jada Pinkett is going, just head to Facebook and search "Red Table Talk." Or better yet, if you want to know how Selena Gomez feels about the Black Lives Matter movement, just tweet her directly. 

Stalking celebrities on their Instagram page to find out what area code they are in that day is one thing, but what about the information you didn't ask for? The kind of tweets you read five times and ask yourself: "did they really just say that?" Or how about that Disney star who ruined your childhood by sharing that extra saucy Instagram snap? It's a slippery slope between an open conversation with your fans and an overshare that leads to the cancellation of your Fashion Nova deal. These celebrities learned the hard way — sometimes, social media silence is the safest option.

Vanessa Hudgens' COVID confusion

Vanessa Hudgens won fans around the world with her breakout role as Gabriella Montez in the Disney Channel original movie "High School Musical." We bopped along as she sang "We're All in This Together" with fellow teen heartthrob Zac Efron. But when the coronavirus pandemic spread across the world, it seemed like Hudgens was suggesting that we were all in this alone. Well, at least those of us who don't fit neatly into the Generation Z box. Hudgens seemed distraught after President Trump advised Americans to avoid bars, clubs, gyms and pretty much anywhere crowds gathered. 

It was both what she said and how she said it that ticked off social media. "Even if everybody gets it, like yeah, people are going to die, which is terrible ... but inevitable?" she moaned on Instagram Live. Well, in any case, you know you've made it when journalist and professional provocateur Piers Morgan writes a whole MailOnline column slamming you as a "selfish" millennial. One Twitter user predicted her career would be dead afterward, but Hudgens made a groveling apology to her staggering 43.4m followers. However, she's been given the social media side-eye ever since.

Kathy Griffin and the severed head protest art

Donald Trump: Love him or loathe him, he's a supposed billionaire — who, with no political background or experience whatsoever, became the leader of the free world. He literally had the codes to release nuclear weapons! Enter comedian/actress Kathy Griffin, who is no stranger to poking the bear and shaking the table when it comes to making fun of celebrities or touching upon hot-button issues. But when she held up a prop that resembled the severed head of Trump and tried to pass off the stunt as some type of protest art, the world of social media turned against her. 

Trump tweeted that his 11-year-old son Barron was particularly traumatized by the gruesome image. Griffin apologized profusely for the stunt, admitting that it went too far. The Emmy winner lost her longstanding gig as a host on CNN's "New Year's Eve Live." Even her friend and co-host Anderson Cooper turned his back on her. Griffin was blacklisted and subjected to death threats and even a federal investigation by the Justice Department. The "My Life on the D-List" star also told the Irish Examiner that she was put on Interpol's watch list.

Amanda Bynes' unusual pick-up line

In the late '90s and early 2000s, Amanda Bynes was that girl. Bynes was only 12 years old when she landed her very own skit series, "The Amanda Show." It was only up from there, after she landed roles alongside Colin Firth in "What a Girl Wants" and Channing Tatum in "She's the Man." But by 2012, the girl once named one of Teen People's "25 Hottest Stars Under 25" was displaying troubling behavior. The star announced she was retiring from acting and was involved in a series of DUIs and fender benders. As many started to voice their concerns for Bynes' well-being, the "What I Like About You" star was adamant she didn't have a drinking problem. She even went so far as tweeting President Obama to fire the cop who arrested her.

The former child star's every thought and inclination were being shared by her via Twitter. Who could forget her infamous tweet about Canadian rap star Drake and her private parts? She then sported pierced cheeks and began wearing numerous wigs out in public. The bizarre tweets kept coming, with Bynes claiming Chris Brown attacked Rihanna because she was "ugly." She was soon dropped by her management team, and her once-blossoming career lay in tatters. It was later revealed that Bynes was suffering from bipolar affective disorder, and her attorney denied reports that she was abusing drugs or had "drug addiction issues." She publicly apologized for the things she tweeted.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

Drake Bell refuses to call Caitlyn Jenner by her name

When Caitlyn Jenner shared with the world who her soul always told her she was, the last person we expected to have a problem with it was Nickelodeon's Drake Bell. The child star rose to fame in hit shows such as "Drake & Josh" and starred alongside Amanda Bynes in "The Amanda Show." The unproblematic teen idol was funny and cute, and he even had his own band. But after Jenner proudly posed on the cover of Vanity Fair in a white corset dress with the caption, "Call Me Caitlyn," Bell refused to do that. Instead, he defiantly tweeted: "Sorry ... still calling you Bruce." 

After being called out by the LGBTQ community, Bell doubled down on his statement. "I'm not dissing him! I just don't want to forget his legacy! He is the greatest athlete of all time! Chill out!" But the fact that Bell referred to Caitlyn as "he" and "him" only incensed social media even more. It wasn't long before Bell deleted his tweets and apologized for his "thoughtless insensitive remarks." If Bell was having trouble shaking off his child star image and wanted to venture into more adult roles, this incident certainly didn't help increase his fan base.

Ashton Kutcher accidentally defends the indefensible

"That '70s Show" star Ashton Kutcher learned the hard way that a little bit of context before you tweet your rage to millions goes a long way. In 2011, Joseph Vincent Paterno's once-glittering career as head coach of Penn State's Nittany Lions ended in disgrace. It emerged that Paterno, alongside several aides, covered up the grotesque crimes of child abuse by assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. Their aim was to protect Penn State's celebrated football program and avoid legal trouble. But for an apparently clueless Kutcher — who happened to catch a headline on television where Paterno was rightly fired — he reacted with fury. "How do you fire Jo Pa? #insult #noclass as a hawkeye [the University of Iowa football team] fan I find it in poor taste." 

Oh, Kutcher was dragged. He was dragged up, down, right, and left all over Twitter and back again, leading the "Two and a Half Men" star to quickly backtrack and delete the tweet. "Heard Joe was fired, fully recant previous tweet! Didn't have full story." He then further went on to explain and apologize for his tweet on his personal blog. But the damage was unfortunately done. Unable to take the bombardment of Twitter trolls coming for him, Kutcher handed over his account to his management team.

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).

James Franco's creepy messages to a 17-year-old fan

James Franco was once the darling of Hollywood. In 2002, he won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of James Dean and even co-hosted the Academy Awards in 2011 with Anne Hathaway. Okay, so it wasn't the best received Oscar hosting gig of all time, but at least he got to dress up as Marilyn Monroe. Despite scoring rave reviews in such films as "Pineapple Express" and "127 Hours," rumors of Franco's off-set behavior began circulating online. Busy Philipps, Franco's co-star on "Freaks and Geeks," alleged in her memoir — "This Will Only Hurt a Little" — that he physically assaulted her on set. The tide began to turn against Franco in 2014, when he was caught messaging 17-year-old Lucy Clode, a Scottish student. 

Franco slid into her DMs after she tagged him in a selfie after watching him perform in "Of Mice and Men" on Broadway in New York. Although the age of consent is 17 in New York, the actor drew criticism for asking the young girl if he should "rent a room" for them. He later issued an apology on "Live with Kelly and Michael," telling the hosts: "I'm embarrassed ... I'm just a model of how social media is tricky." In 2018, Franco was accused by five women of sexual misconduct, which he has denied. 

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).

Skai Jackson's secret Instagram account

Skai Jackson won our hearts as the cheeky yet adorable Zuri Ross in the Disney sitcom "Jessie." But her sweet, girl-next-door image was put under scrutiny after a number of social media scandals. A "finsta" is known as a fake Instagram account where you fail to disclose your real name. The finsta account gives the user free rein to say whatever they like, without their good name being drawn into controversy. According to viral star turned rapper Bhad Bhabie, Jackson shared on her finsta account that she was attracted to the rapper NBA Young Boy — who just happens to be Bhabie's ex. This ticked off Bhabie — real name Danielle Bregoli — as Jackson had apparently slammed her for getting a tattoo of his name on her face. Bhabie took to her Instagram stories to blast Jackson as a "Disney Thot." 

Jackson was forced to get a restraining order after Bhabie threatened to beat her up but later dropped the case. A few months later, former Kardashian insider Jordyn Woods shared a cryptic message online — blasting someone for coming for her little sister, Jodie. Many assumed it was Jackson, as rumors circulated that Jodie was dating Jackson's ex, Julez Smith. He just happens to be Beyoncé's nephew. Jackson denied the allegations, but many started giving her the side eye, especially after a TikTok user accused her of bullying her at dance school.

Jason Biggs' inappropriate tweet

Who didn't have a soft spot for the doe-eyed Jason Biggs after he suffered for his art and became intimate with a warm all-American pie? Biggs has continued to play the hapless underdog in several movies and TV shows such as "Orange Is the New Black" and "Mad Love." But in a case of art imitating life, the actor has been very open about his own sexual misadventures. His wife, Jenny Mollen, revealed in her memoir — "I Like You Just the Way I Am" — that she hired a prostitute for Biggs for his birthday. However, he admits it didn't go as planned. It "took three ladies over the course of different days ... let's just say that I didn't complete the mission," he sheepishly revealed on "The View." But it's what Biggs said on Twitter that caused him to land in hot water — with kids channel Nickelodeon, no less.

In 2012, Biggs was getting his politics on by watching the Republican National Convention. But it wasn't the high-octane speeches that got him hot under the collar. The "Loser" actor made some highly inappropriate and sexualized comments about Ann Romney and Janna Ryan in a series of deleted tweets. At the time, Biggs had just signed on to voice Leonardo in Nickelodeon's "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" series. In a strongly worded statement, the network wrote: "Nickelodeon does not support or condone the use of graphic or vulgar language on any of our platforms."

Gilbert Gottfried's highly offensive tsunami tweets

If you enjoyed Disney's "Aladdin," you would have heard the voice of Gilbert Gottfried as Iago the parrot. Gottfried is well known for his fantastically over-the-top and high-pitched voice. His comedic talents landed him a role on Season 6 of "Saturday Night Live," alongside stars like Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscopo. Comedy is, of course, subjective. Yet most would agree that Gottfried missed the mark completely when he made fun of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in 2011. The natural disaster claimed the lives of almost 20,000 people. 

Not long after the incident, Gottfried sent out a host of inappropriate tweets. He later apologized for his outrageous comments but was fired from his role as the voice of the Aflac duck for the supplemental insurance company. In 2017, Gottfried caused more social media outrage when TV talk show host Wendy Williams accused a certain comedian of groping her live on set. It didn't take internet detectives long to put 2 and 2 together and point straight at Gottfried.

Armie Hammer's cannibal fantasies

With his pretty boy looks and his deep family history that includes singers and movie production owners, Armie Hammer was destined for a role on the silver screen. He won rave reviews when he played the role of both Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss in David Fincher's "The Social Network." Hammer secured an Oscar nomination playing the dreamy Oliver opposite Timothée Chalamet in "Call Me by Your Name." But rumors of the "real" Armie Hammer were starting to emerge. On his verified Twitter account, Hammer was seen "liking" various BDSM posts. A scathing Buzzfeed article titled "Ten Long Years of Trying to Make Armie Hammer Happen" questioned whether his "white male" privilege awarded him numerous chances after a series of box office bombs. 

In early 2021, an Instagram account leaked shocking messages Hammer had sent various women — while he was still married to the mother of his two kids, Elizabeth Chambers. The "Birth of a Nation" star spoke candidly about his love for BDSM, cannibalism, and rape. Fans also noticed he was following certain BDSM hashtags such as "knifeskills" and "shibari." A woman Hammer dated for four months also came forward and claimed he branded her by carving his initial in her skin. In March 2021, a woman accused the actor of rape – something he has strongly denied. Hammer was dropped by his management team and forced to bow out of the film "Shotgun Wedding" alongside Jennifer Lopez. 

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).