Fame, fortune, and power in all its forms are glorified in American culture. Entire media networks are dedicated to covering celebrity news and gossip — and television programs that showcase the lifestyles of the rich and the famous regularly draw millions of viewers.
However, power can be fleeting. Circumstances can change rapidly; fortunes can be lost overnight; and the masters of the universe today can wind up unemployable tomorrow.
24/7 Wall St. compiled a list of 50 well-known individuals around the world who have recently experienced a precipitous loss in stature. These individuals hold, or once held, positions in nearly all aspects of public life — from television personalities to CEOs of major companies to financial wizards and to politicians. While sometimes those in the public eye are held to a higher standard than private citizens, others are truly deserving of their fall from grace.
1. Anthony Scaramucci
> Occupation: White House Communications Director
Over the nearly five decades that the position of the White House Director of Communications has existed, no tenure has been shorter than that of Anthony Scaramucci. Fired in late July 2017, less than two weeks after his appointment, the White House’s official reason for releasing Scaramucci was to give its new Chief of Staff, General John Kelly, a clean slate. Scaramucci’s tenure in Trump’s cabinet was tumultuous despite being short. The highlights included apparent protocol breaches with the FBI, conflicting statements about his relationship with then Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, and a profanity laced interview with The New Yorker, in which he spoke ill of several other Trump administration officials, including Priebus and Chief Strategist Steve Bannon. In the midst of his brief stint in the White House, Scaramucci’s wife filed for divorce.
2. Chris Christie
> Occupation: Governor of New Jersey
Governor of New Jersey and contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination Chris Christie has the lowest approval ratings of any governor in the country and in the history of the Garden State. It’s not hard to see why. The lame duck two-term governor fawned over Donald Trump after the bombastic billionaire won the presidential election. Many speculated Christie was angling for a post in the new administration. Trump did name Christie to head his transition team, but eventually replaced him with Mike Pence. In the end, Trump decided not to include Christie in his cabinet, possibly because Christie was damaged goods. Indeed, Christie’s reputation was sullied by the Bridgegate scandal in which allies created a traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge in early September 2013, hoping motorists would blame a local Democratic mayor for the tie-up.
The outgoing governor said he does not care about poll numbers. That seemed to be the case last month when Christie and his family were spotted lounging on a state-owned beach while the general public was denied beach access due to a statewide government shutdown.
3. James Comey
> Occupation: Director of the FBI
James Comey has been a controversial figure since the middle of the 2016 presidential election. Initially, Comey was criticized for publicly attacking Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s judgment in using a private email server during her time at the State Department. Comey garnered even more ire when, in an apparent break with bureau protocol, he announced candidate Clinton was the subject of an FBI investigation only days before the election. While some attribute President Donald Trump’s electoral victory to Comey’s investigation of Clinton, Trump abruptly fired the FBI Director less than five months into his presidency.
Comey had served as FBI Director since 2013, when he was appointment by President Barack Obama, until he was terminated by Trump in May 2017. The White House has since provided multiple conflicting justifications for Comey’s firing.
4. Mark Fields
> Occupation: CEO of Ford Motor Company
Mark Fields, formerly chief executive of Ford Motor Company, is one of several high profile CEOs who were shown the door in 2017. A loyal company man, Fields had been with Ford since 1989, working his way up to COO in 2012 and CEO in 2014.
Fields’ time at the top was limited largely due to his failure to inspire confidence on Wall Street. Ford shares fell by nearly 40% during his tenure as CEO — even as corporate revenue climbed over 5% from 2014 to 2016. Shareholder confidence was mostly undermined by Fields’ determination to take on Tesla, investing in electric and autonomous vehicle technology. Despite attempts to woo shareholders by announcing a 10% reduction in its global workforce in early May 2017 in order to boost profits, Fields was let go later that month.
5. Tiger Woods
> Occupation: Professional golfer
With 14 major wins to his name, including four Masters Tournaments and three U.S. Opens, Tiger Woods spent many years as the top-ranked golfer in the world. The golf superstar has been embroiled in controversy on and off since reports of his infidelity came to light in late 2009. He has not won a major tournament since.
The latest scandal surrounding Woods was what appeared to be a DUI arrest. Found by police stopped on the side of the road early morning on Memorial Day, Woods failed a field sobriety test and was arrested. At the station, Woods passed a breathalyzer, however, and it was later revealed that the golfer was suffering from a dangerous combination of prescription medications. Following the widely publicized incident, Woods checked into a clinic to help him manage his drug use. In the realm of professional golf, Woods is currently ranked 899 — his lowest ranking ever.
6. Kendall Jenner
> Occupation: Model, television personality
A budding star in one of America’s most famous families, Kendall Jenner’s image took a hit when she starred in a widely criticized Pepsi advertisement in April 2017. The ad depicted Jenner walking away from a modeling shoot to join a generic group of protestors, and then defusing a confrontation with police by offering an officer a can of Pepsi. The ad was denounced as tone deaf by many. Many criticized the ad for exploiting the Black Lives Matter movement and making light of issues related to race and police violence. Pepsi pulled the ad almost immediately, and though Jenner remains a pop culture icon, she was further criticized for not explicitly addressing the controversy and keeping a low profile following the debacle.
7. Montgomery Moran:
> Occupation: Co-CEO of Chipotle
Initially a fast food success story, Chipotle may soon become a cautionary tale. Growing rapidly from one restaurant in Denver in 1993, Chipotle now has 2,221 restaurants in the United States and another 29 locations abroad. However, the company’s exponential growth was accompanied by some serious problems. In 2015, several E. coli outbreaks were tied to Chipotle restaurants, with 43 cases connected to locations in Washington and Oregon. Though the company overhauled its food preparation procedures in response to the outbreak, the changes were apparently not enough. The company’s co-CEO, Montgomery Moran stepped down at the end of 2016 in the wake of the outbreak. The company’ share price plunged by 50% since October 2015, just before the E-coli outbreak, and revenue fell from $4.5 billion in 2015 to $3.9 billion in 2016.
The company’s current CEO Steve Ells may be next on the chopping block as in July 2017, a norovirus outbreak was tied to a Chipotle restaurant in Sterling, Virginia.
8. Tomi Lahren
> Occupation: Media personality
Tomi Lahren had one of the fastest rises and falls of any media personality in 2017. After her online show “The Blaze” gained notoriety and a large social media following, Lahren’s celebrity status swelled. She appeared on such notable television programs as “The Daily Show” and “Real Time with Bill Maher.” While Lahren’s hardline conservatism was likely what helped build her fan base, she may have have alienated some viewers with her comments on abortion during a March 2017 appearance on “The View.” During the interview, Lahren announced she was pro-choice — a departure from the political ideology generally associated with her audience. Lahren was criticized on social media and suspended from her show indefinitely. In response, Lahren filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against her former boss Glenn Beck.
9. Park Geun-hye
> Occupation: President of South Korea
Park Geun-hye was elected as the first female president of South Korea in 2012. Since then, she has been engulfed in a corruption scandal that led to her impeachment this spring.
Park is accused of abusing her power and colluding with longtime friend, Choi Soon-sil. The two allegedly pressured major South Korean companies into donating millions of dollars to two nonprofit foundations Choi controlled. Consumer electronics giant Samsung is one of several companies that admitted to making payments to the foundation. Prosecutors claim that the contributions were a quid pro quo for making sure Samsung received government backing for a contentious merger. Park is the daughter of former president Park Chung-hee, an iron-fisted leader who was assassinated in 1979.
10. Mitch McConnell
> Occupation: U.S. Senator
For the last seven years, repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act has been at the top of the Republican Party’s agenda. Ever since Trump took the White House, the GOP has had control of not only the House and the Senate, but also the executive branch. With the backing of the president for the first time, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell finally had the means to achieve his party’s biggest policy goal. And he failed.
The main reason for McConnell and his fellow Republican legislators’ failure to repeal the ACA was the lack of a replacement plan. McConnell resorted to unorthodox measures to repeal Obamacare, including asking lawmakers to vote before the Congressional Budget Office released its analysis, and hastily drawing up replacement legislation behind closed doors — a tactic that drew direct criticism from senior statesman and fellow Republican Sen. John McCain. At present, McConnell has put health care behind him and is moving on to tax reform.
>11. Mitt Romney
> Occupation: Governor of Massachusetts, presidential candidate
Former governor of Massachusetts and 2012 Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney delivered a scathing speech against Trump in March 2016. Romney then tried to mend fences with Trump after he was elected president, hoping to get a cabinet post. Trump passed. Since then, pundits have wondered what Romney’s political future holds. Romney’s name has been mentioned as a possible candidate for senator of Utah in 2018 if longtime Sen. Orrin Hatch decides to step down. Romney said he would not consider running unless he had the blessing of Hatch. The idea of running for Senate also got the nod from onetime rival and former Vice President Joe Biden, who endorsed the idea earlier this year. Though he is held in high esteem by his peers, Romney is still looking for his next gig.
12. Jeff Immelt
> Occupation: CEO of General Electric
Jeff Immelt took the helm of global industrial conglomerate General Electric in September 2001. After holding the top spot for 16 years, Immelt stepped down earlier this month, leaving a company in far worse shape than the one he inherited. Over the course of his tenure, GE shares fell by nearly 40% — even as the S&P 500 and Dow Jones indexes climbed over 100%, and the stock market hit historic highs. Under Immelt, GE shed some of its core divisions, including the NBC television network. Recently, GE announced its intention to sell its lightbulb business, a foundation on which the company was built.
Though currently reduced in stature, Immelt is one of a handful of individuals under consideration to take over at Uber.
13. Matthew Salzberg
> Occupation: CEO of Blue Apron
Less than a year ago, meal-kit delivery service Blue Apron — co-founded by now CEO Matthew Salzberg — was one of the darlings of the startup community. Investors were salivating over the company’s long-anticipated public offering, which was finally announced on June 1. However, two weeks before the IPO, Blue Apron’s prospects suddenly took a turn for the worst as e-commerce giant Amazon announced it would purchase posh supermarket chain Whole Foods, with the ostensible purpose of directly competing with Blue Apron. Shares of Blue Apron, which were expected to debut as high as $17 per share, debuted at $10 per share. As of the time of this writing, shares of APN are down over 40% since the IPO. After fellow co-founder Matthew Wadiak left in late July, Salzberg was left at the helm of a company that may not have long to live. In August, just over a month after the IPO, the fledgling startup announced plans to cut more than 1,200 employees — nearly one-quarter of its staff.
14. Hope Solo
> Occupation: Professional soccer player
After gaining fame and notoriety as the best female goalkeeper in the world through numerous Olympics and World Cup appearances, Hope Solo made headlines again in August 2016 when she was suspended from the U.S. women’s national soccer team for six months. The suspension was the result of negative comments Solo made against the Swedish women’s soccer team. Many speculate it was really the result of a series of transgressions — including offensive tweets, comments, and an arrest for domestic violence in June 2014 — that have embroiled Solo in controversy in recent years. While the suspension expired in late February 2017, Solo has yet to rejoin the U.S. team.
15. Andy Hall
> Occupation: Hedge fund manager
Andrew Hall, known as “God” in the hedge fund community for his investing talent, had one of the largest funds in the world. That was the case until early August, when Hall announced he would be closing up shop at his primary fund at Astenbeck Capital Management. When oil prices plummeted in the summer of 2014, Hall and his fund held firm that it was only a matter of time before prices would rebound. But they continued to plummet, dipping below $30 a barrel in 2016 for the first time in over a decade. Prices have risen slightly since, but as of early August the price of crude is still at less than half what it was three years ago. Hall finally abandoned his bullish position on oil in July 2017, but it was too little, far too late.
16. Sean Spicer
> Occupation: White House Press Secretary
Sean Spicer effectively served as the mouthpiece of the Trump administration, fielding questions from the press on an almost daily basis as the White House Press Secretary. Certainly not an easy task, his very first day on the job, Spicer told a demonstrable lie, claiming the audience of Trump’s inauguration was the largest of any president. His tenure was marred by other missteps, including an assertion that Hitler never used chemical weapons. Spicer was also widely ridiculed and was the subject of an SNL impression that went viral.
Six months appeared to be all Spicer could handle, as he resigned in late July in an apparent refusal to work under Trump’s newly appointed communications director, Anthony Scaramucci. Unlike most individuals on this list, Spicer has enjoyed some degree of vindication, as Scaramucci was fired only days after Spicer’s resignation. Despite Scaramucci’s abrupt departure, Spicer will not return to his former position.
17. Sérgio Cabral Filho
> Occupation: Governor of Rio De Janeiro
Serving as the governor of the State of Rio De Janeiro from 2007 to 2014, Sérgio Cabral Filho was instrumental in bringing the Summer Olympics in 2016 to the capital city of the state, Rio De Janeiro, one of the largest cities in South America. Currently, Cabral is facing over a decade in prison. The former politician was involved in an organized crime scheme that ultimately funneled over $60 million out of public construction projects, including a stadium renovation in preparation for the 2014 World Cup, and a highway construction project. The ex-governor himself is estimated to have personally profited in excess of $800,000 in bribes. He was found guilty of corruption and money laundering in June 2017 and sentenced to 14 years and two months in prison.
18. Martin Shkreli
> Occupation: Pharmaceutical CEO/hedge fund manager
“Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli is one of the most widely hated public figures of the last few years. The hedge fund manager and founder of drug companies Retrophin and Turing Pharmaceuticals made headlines both for jacking up the prices of several lifesaving drugs and for what some perceived as a highly arrogant attitude in response to the public criticism. Shkreli’s haters rejoiced after he was federally indicted and arrested on various charges of fraud. Shkreli maintained a public and often antagonistic persona leading up to and during the trial, only fanning the flames of hatred. In August, Shkreli was convicted of three separate counts of securities fraud. He faces up to 20 years in prison.
19. Tim Allen
> Occupation: Actor, comedian
After six seasons, ABC network announced it was cancelling Tim Allen’s sitcom “Last Man Standing” in May 2017. The network’s decision was shocking to many, including the newly out-of-work star. Upon hearing the news, Allen tweeted: “Stunned and blindsided by the network I called home for the last six years.” Many have since speculated that the abrupt cancellation was a reaction to Allen’s political views. Allen was among the crowd in at President Trump’s inauguration. However, when it comes to primetime television, ratings are king, and “Last Man Standing’s” viewership was down considerably in its last season compared to its first.
20. John Stumpf
> Occupation: CEO of Wells Fargo
After nearly a decade as CEO of Wells Fargo, the third largest bank in the United States by total assets, John Stumpf is now out of a job. Wells Fargo became embroiled in scandal on September 8, 2016, when the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau fined the bank $185 million, for opening some 2 million accounts without customers’ knowledge between 2011 and 2015. Wells Fargo employees created the fake accounts largely to meet unrealistic sales quotas set by those at the top. In the following days and weeks, the FBI opened an investigation and Stumpf found himself on the receiving end of a barrage of tough questions and harsh words from lawmakers in a September 20th Senate hearing. Because of the controversy, Stumpf resigned in mid-October 2016.
Ironically, Stumpf was once applauded for his leadership practices that put customers above profits. The bank remains under scrutiny from lawmakers for deceptive, and potentially criminal, business practices.
21. Nate Parker
> Occupation: Film director, actor
In 2016, Nate Parker’s debut film, “Birth of a Nation,” made history after Fox Searchlight Pictures acquired the distribution rights to the movie for $17.5 million, the most of any film screened at the Sundance Film Festival. Despite the early hype, “Birth of a Nation” — and Nate Parker’s reputation — took a hit when records surfaced of a 1999 rape charge against Parker and co-writer Jean McGianni Celestin. Though Parker was acquitted, the controversy cast a shadow over the film, which grossed just $15.9 million during its domestic cinematic run. While Parker received media training and public relations advice, some criticized his handling of the incident and his responses to questions related to the case as callous and unsympathetic. The controversy is likely to be a serious setback in Parker’s young career.
22. Jay Y. Lee
> Occupation: Vice Chairman of Samsung Electronics
Jay Y. Lee, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, was arrested in February for his role in the political scandal involving former South Korea President Park Geun-hye, who would eventually be impeached. Lee was accused of paying $38 million in bribes to Park’s long-time friend Choi Soon-sil to expedite the merger of a Samsung unit with another company. Lee denied the charges. Samsung was already beset with the massive recall of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone. The recall centered on a battery problem that caused the devices to overheat and explode.
23. Theresa May
> Occupation: Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Hoping to gain a bigger mandate heading into the Brexit negotiations, British Prime Minister Theresa May called a snap election held in June, three years early, after saying she would not. The gamble backfired as the Conservative Party lost its majority in Parliament, while the Labor Party picked up 32 seats. May’s plea that a strong showing at the ballot box would strengthen her hand in Brexit negotiations did not resonate with voters, many of whom have doubts about the consequences of the historic vote last year to pull out of the European Union.
Many political pundits thought May would have to resign as a result of the election, but she decided to stay on, despite condemnation from within her own party as well as opposition leaders. May’s hand in Brexit negotiations is now weaker, and that uncertainty could complicate Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.
24. Milo Yiannopoulos
> Occupation: Journalist, Media personality
Milo Yiannopoulos is an English political commentator, provocateur, and author. His alt-right politics and inflammatory social media episodes caused outrage on the internet and instigated altercations and protests on college campuses where he was scheduled to speak. Yiannopoulos was kicked off Twitter permanently in July 2016 after “Ghostbusters’’ star Leslie Jones was bullied by his followers.
In February 2017, just as Yiannopoulos appeared ready to reach his peak of relevancy by speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference, things went rapidly downhill for the gadfly. Controversial comments about pedophilia led to CPAC cancelling his appearance, and Yiannopoulos was simultaneously forced out of his editorship at right-leaning Breitbart.com.
25. Colin Kaepernick:
> Occupation: Professional football player
Not long ago Colin Kaepernick was a promising young quarterback with a Super Bowl appearance under his belt. Now he is now a free agent, and may never start in the NFL again. Kaepernick, who started his professional career with the San Francisco 49ers in 2011, opted out of his contract with the team at the end of the 2016 season after the parties couldn’t come to an agreement.
The contract dispute and departure may have been due to the controversy surrounding the former star quarterback. Beginning with the 2016 preseason, Kaepernick refused to stand during the pregame rendition of the national anthem. Kaepernick explained his decision was made as a form of protest for the oppression of black Americans and police brutality. The Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh is open to picking up Kaepernick, though the team owner Steve Bisciotti appears to be less enthusiastic.
26. Sheri McCoy
> Occupation: CEO of Avon Products
After five years as CEO of Avon Products, Sheri McCoy is stepping down. McCoy is leaving the beauty company in far worse shape than it was in when she took the helm in 2012. The company has lost revenue and has been shedding its sales personnel, commonly referred to as Avon Ladies, almost every year since McCoy took over. News of her planned 2018 departure comes as the company has failed to meet earnings estimates in each of the last four quarters. Avon’s problems under McCoy stemmed from the company’s weak and late online presence, as well as overemphasis on the domestic market.
27. Evan Spiegel
> Occupation: CEO of Snap Inc.
Evan Spiegel is the 27-year old chief executive officer of Snap Inc., the parent company of the teen-favored social media platform Snapchat. The company went public in March, raising $3.4 billion, and shares soared 44% on their first day of trading. Spiegel received a $750 million stock bonus for the IPO.
However, since then the stock has slid 47%. Concerns about Snap’s ability to grow revenue and turn a profit were evident ahead of its IPO. They’ve become more alarming especially after the company reported larger-than-expected losses and smaller-than-expected revenue in the first quarter of 2017. Snapchat has had trouble growing its user base, attracting advertisers, and fending off competitors such as Instagram and Facebook. It is also not expected to become profitable in the next few years.
28. Francois Hollande
> Occupation: Politician
President of France Francois Hollande was elected in 2012 on radical social and tax policies, but he moved to the center-right and adopted a more pro-market position. His term in office was marred by several terrorist attacks on French soil and his inability to reinvigorate the French economy. Hollande was aiming for a 2.5% growth rate in 2016, but the economy only expanded at 1.1%. The shift to a pro-market policy was rejected by his leftist constituents and did little to address France’s jobless rate of 10%. Soon after the Paris terror attacks in 2015, Hollande’s approval rating plummeted to an abysmal 4%. After deciding to not run for reelection, for obvious reasons, Hollande left office in the spring of 2017.
>29. Rob Kardashian
> Occupation: Reality TV personality
The life of reality star Rob Kardashian is probably more complicated than yours. His fiancee Blac Chyna, who gave birth to their infant daughter Dream, left him in December and sent him a video of her with another man on July 4. Kardashian then posted compromising pictures of his fiancee online. In response, Chyna took Kardashian to court and succeeded in having a restraining order issued against her ex-fiance. Some celebrity lawyers believe the images Kardashian posted are revenge porn, which is illegal in California. Chyna responded to Kardashian’s claims of infidelity and child negligence by posting a video on Snapchat claiming Kardashian physically abused her.
30. Pat McCrory
> Occupation: Governor of North Carolina
Just over three years into his term as Governor of North Carolina, Pat McCrory made national headlines for signing legislation that required individuals in government buildings to only use restrooms that correspond to the sex listed on their birth certificates. The bill effectively prevented transgender people from using the restrooms corresponding to their gender identity, and critics considered it anti-LGBT legislation. The bill resulted in substantial backlash, and in May 2016 the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against McCrory for violating the Civil Rights Act. McCrory lost his bid for reelection later that year, becoming the first incumbent governor of the state to lose non-special election since 1850. According to McCrory, negative reception of the “bathroom bill” has made some businesses reluctant to hire him since he left office.
31. Anthony Weiner
> Occupation: Politician
Former U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner has been embroiled in controversy since June 2011, when reports surfaced that he had sent sexually explicit photos of himself to a 21 year old woman. The scandal — as well as several additional photos and messages to young women which surfaced over the following years — effectively ended Weiner’s political career. He was thrust back into the national spotlight, however, in September 2016 after allegations came to light that he had exchanged sexually explicit messages with a 15-year-old girl. During the FBI investigation into the matter, investigators found emails related to the Clinton campaign on his laptop. These had been forwarded by his wife, former Clinton aide Huma Abedin. Within a span of several days in May 2017, Abedin filed for divorce, and Weiner had pled guilty to a federal obscenity charge. As part of the plea deal, Weiner will register as a sex offender.
32. Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg
> Occupation: YouTube star
In the era of the YouTube star, arguably no single person ascended to greater heights than Swede Felix Kjellberg, who posts streams of himself playing and reacting to video games. Kjellberg, who operates under the online handle of PewDiePie, has accumulated more than 55 million subscribers. Kjellberg reported $15 million in income from YouTube in 2016, nearly double the next highest earner on the site. However, in early 2017, PewDiePie posted several videos featuring anti-Semitic messages and Nazi imagery. Kjellberg was soon dropped by his studio’s partner, Disney-owned Maker Studios. Google-owned YouTube soon followed suit in condemning his behavior, cancelling a forthcoming reality show with the star, and revoking his preferred advertising status. Compared to some of the people on this list, Kjellberg is still relatively popular and has a long way to fall, but losing favor with Disney and the company that made him his fortune is not a good sign for the influencer.
33. Bill Ackman
> Occupation: Hedge fund manager
After having the best returns of any hedge fund manager in 2014, BIll Ackman became one of the 20 best-performing hedge fund managers of all time. Since then, however, Ackman has lost billions due to his bet on Valeant Pharmaceuticals and his short bet on Herbalife. Valeant’s stock tumbled in 2016 after federal prosecutors opened a criminal investigation into the company’s drug pricing practices, and it has yet to recover. While Ackman has publicly declared Herbalife a Ponzi scheme and predicted the company will tank, Herbalife’s stock has surged in recent years. As Valeant stock continues to fall and Herbalife stock rises, Ackman has recently fallen off of the list of the top 20 best-performing hedge fund managers of all time.
>34. Bill O’Reilly
> Occupation: Journalist, television host
Bill O’Reilly’s fall from grace was perhaps the most dramatic of any American TV host since NBC’s Brian Williams was forced off the Nightly News desk in 2015. Once the highest rated show in cable news, “The O’Reilly Factor’’ was cancelled from the Fox News Channel in mid-April 2017. Following the sexual harassment scandal surrounding the late Roger Ailes, sexual harassment allegations against O’Reilly took the spotlight. An April 1 report revealed O’Reilly and the company had paid out over $13 million throughout his tenure to settle sexual harassment claims. The news spurred major advertisers to pull out from the show, and within a few weeks, the cable network dropped its biggest star. Loyal fans can still get O’Reilly’s take on the news on his website.
35. Mickey Drexler
> Occupation: CEO of J. Crew
As Gap CEO in the 1990s, Mickey Drexler was the force behind the clothing and accessories retailer’s growth from a small chain to a global leader in casual fashion. With that, he cemented his reputation in the world of retail. Drexler joined J. Crew as CEO in 2003, and had similar success in revitalizing the company’s brand and increasing sales. While Drexler helped turn J. Crew into an upscale boutique, in the last two years even J. Crew was not immune to competition from online retailers. Sales at J. Crew stores fell by $277 million between fiscal 2014 and 2016, a 12% decline. In June 2017, it was announced that Drexler will step down as CEO of J. Crew, to be replaced by the current president of furniture retailer West Elm.
36. Josh Trank
> Occupation: Director
After his first feature film, “Chronicle,” grossed over $126 million worldwide on a $12 million budget, director Josh Trank was offered a number of high-budget projects from a variety of major studios. In June 2014, it was announced that Trank would direct a standalone Star Wars film. Trank was dismissed from the project, however, after it was reported that there were a number of issues concerning the director’s conduct during the production of his 2015 “Fantastic Four” reboot. “Fantastic Four” was critically panned upon release and barely generated enough box office revenue to cover its production budget and advertising costs. While the consecutive career setbacks may have hurt the young director’s reputation, Trank may be able to escape movie jail directing “Fonzo,” an Al Capone biopic set for release in 2018.
>37. Paul Ryan
> Occupation: Speaker of the House
As Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan acts as the administrative head of the U.S. House of Representatives and helps to push bills of the majority-holding Republican Party through the House and Senate. With the 2016 election of Trump and a majority in the House and Senate, the GOP was positioned to pass its priority legislations: repeal of Obamacare, tax reform, and tougher sanctions on hostile regimes. In recent months, however, the Republican party has failed to pass any significant legislation, and Ryan was blamed for his ineffectiveness to organize the GOP. The most recent vote to advance the GOP health care bill failed in the Senate after three Republican senators joined with all 48 Democratic senators to block the legislation. The disorganization amongst GOP lawmakers has sullied the party’s credibility and damaged Ryan’s reputation as one of the Republican Party’s most competent members.
38. Oscar Munoz
> Occupation: CEO of United Airlines
In April 2017, United Airlines made international headlines when a passenger was forcibly dragged off the plane after refusing to give up his seat for commuting crew members. The video of the incident went viral, creating a public relations disaster for United Airlines and CEO Oscar Munoz. Munoz initially blamed the passenger for the incident, and did not offer an apology until his third statement to the press. Unfortunately for Munoz, the incident occurred as he was scheduled to take over as chairman of the board of directors at the company’s annual stockholder meeting in 2018. In April, United Continental Holdings stated that the change would not be taking place. Additionally, the compensation structure for Munoz and other executives will be altered so that pay will be more closely tied with customer satisfaction.
39. Dilma Rousseff
> Occupation: President of Brazil
Dilma Rousseff, the first female president of Brazil, ended her half-decade in power with a corruption scandal and impeachment. Rousseff’s troubles began in 2014 when executives at Brazilian energy company Petrobras were accused of illegally diverting billions from the company’s accounts for their personal use or to pay off officials. Rousseff served as chair of Petrobras during the years when the alleged corruption took place. She denied any knowledge of the corruption. In December 2015, she was accused of hiding her country’s budget deficit the year before in order to help her win re-election. The scandal led to an eventual impeachment trial, and on Aug. 31, 2016, the country’s senate voted overwhelmingly to remove Rousseff from office.
>40. Travis Kalanick
> Occupation: CEO of Uber
Travis Kalanick, CEO of Uber, resigned in June after taking a leave of absence. Kalanick co-founded the ridesharing company in 2009. Kalanick’s departure was forced by shareholders who felt the company needed new leadership in light of revelations of a toxic company culture as well as a personal scandal. The criticism began with multiple allegations of sexual harassment within the company, which were allegedly ignored by many of those at the top. Kalanick helped build the company from a $60 million operation to a global powerhouse valued at as much as $70 billion. Uber’s valuation has slipped to $50 billion from $68 billion.
41. R. Kelly
> Occupation: Musical artist
Rapper R. Kelly has been recently accused by young women in his inner circle of “manipulative’’ and “controlling’’ behavior. He has also been accused of “brainwashing’’ two aspiring female singers and forcing them into sexual service in his homes in Chicago and Atlanta. A Buzzfeed story said Kelly keeps at least six women, all of legal age, at his two properties and dictates what they eat, how they dress, when they bathe, when they sleep and how they will participate in sexual encounters that he reportedly records. A representative for Kelly’s attorney denied that the women are kept against their will at Kelly’s properties, according to Jezebel. Kelly has run into trouble before. He was secretly married in 1994 to then-15-year old singer Aaliyah. He also settled lawsuits brought by women who alleged that he had sex with them when they were underage. Kelly, whose song “I Believe I Can Fly’’ was a hit in 1997, has fended off scandal before. Despite persistent rumors of sexually assaulting underage girls in 2015, he was offered to headline a summer festival by Pitchfork in 2015 and performed on “Saturday Night Live’’ and the American Music Awards that fall.
42. Bill Shine
> Occupation: Co-president of Fox News
Bill Shine is one of several high-profile executives and personalities whose downfall is tied to sexual harassment at Fox News. Formerly a co-president at the media giant, Shine had close ties to the now-deceased Roger Ailes and has been the target of several civil suits for allegedly covering up Ailes’ misconduct. After working for Fox News since its 1996 founding, Shine stepped down in May for his role in the scandal.
Shine may not be jobless for long, however. The Trump administration is reportedly considering the former media executive for a position on its communications team.
43. Rex Ryan
> Occupation: NFL Coach
It looks as though 2017 will be the first year Rex Ryan will not coach in the NFL since 1993. Initially working as a defensive line coach for the Arizona Cardinals, Ryan took his first full head coaching job with the New York Jets in 2009. That was one of his only two winning seasons during his eight year coaching tenure. Following a four-year playoff drought with the Jets, Ryan was fired at the end of the 2014 season. Hired as head coach for the Buffalo Bills, Ryan was fired once again after the 2016 season, after failing to bring the team to the playoffs — again despite his promises of a Super Bowl win.
Earlier this summer, Ryan made headlines for his involvement in a fight in a Margaritaville in Nashville. He may be facing assault charges.
44. Bill Cosby
> Occupation: Actor, comedian
The once beloved comedian and sitcom star, Bill Cosby has been at the center of over 30 allegations of sexual assault. Cosby’s biggest fall came in 2014 when the allegations came to light — and while too much time has passed to prosecute most of them, he may still face jail time for the 2004 sexual assault of Andrea Constand. Cosby stands accused of drugging and sexually assaulting Constand and could face up to 30 years in prison. In June, a jury could not reach a unanimous decision and a mistrial was declared. Cosby is due back in court in November for a retrial.
45. Kathy Griffin
> Occupation: Comedian
Kathy Griffin had established herself as one of the more recognizable comedians on television. She has been the co-host of CNN’s “New Year’s Eve Live’’ with Anderson Cooper since 2007. But her career suffered a severe setback when in May she posed in a photoshoot with a fake severed and bloody head of President Donald Trump. The outrage poured in from both sides of the political spectrum. Trump claimed his 11-year old son Barron thought the photo was real and the president said the image was “sick.” Cooper said he was “appalled by the photo shoot.” He added, “It is clearly disgusting and completely inappropriate.” CNN terminated Griffin the day after the image went viral.
46. Reince Priebus
> Occupation: White House Chief of Staff
Reince Priebus was pushed out as President Trump’s chief of staff in late July. Priebus lost an internal battle with the newly appointed White House Director of Communications Anthony Scaramucci, who was shortly thereafter forced out himself. As the former chairman of the Republican National Committee, Priebus was viewed as an outsider by Trump’s inner circle since Priebus was seen as representing the GOP establishment that Trump challenged. Even so, Trump picked Priebus as chief of staff because of his Beltway knowledge. But Priebus reportedly never had Trump’s full confidence and the president did not think Priebus was strong enough to run the White House. Priebus had tried to block Scaramucci from joining the White House, and the brash former hedge-fund manager made no secret of his disdain for Priebus after he was named communications director. Another factor that hurt Priebus was the failure of the health care bill in the Senate that Priebus had supported.
47. Ja Rule
> Occupation: Musician/Fyre Festival promoter
Ja Rule is a rapper, singer, songwriter, and actor from New York. Rule founded Fyre Media Inc. with entrepreneur Billy McFarland, and the two promoted a music festival in the Bahamas. The Fyre Festival in the Bahamas, planned for two weekends beginning in late April, was aimed at monied millennials and touted music acts such as Blink 182. It was promoted on Instagram as an opportunity to mingle with models and “influencers’’ such as Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, and Emily Ratajkowski.
The festival turned into a fiasco, rife with problems over security, food, accommodations, and relations with artists. The headlining act Blink 182 canceled its performances on both weekends. The festival was eventually canceled after the event-goers had already arrived. The failed event led to lawsuits against the organizers, who were accused of defrauding ticket buyers. McFarland was arrested on fraud charges. In the wake of the debacle, Rule made a public apology on twitter.
48. Michael Flynn
> Occupation: National Security Advisor
Michael Flynn served as President Trump’s National Security Advisor for only 24 days — the shortest tenure of anyone in the position in U.S. history. Flynn’s fall from power stems from phone conversations he had with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. in December 2016, when President Obama was still in the Oval Office. During the calls, Flynn discussed sanctions Obama had imposed on Russia — a fact that Flynn initially denied to federal investigators and Vice President Mike Pence. Flynn resigned from his position in mid-February after the Washington Post reported the true nature of the call. In another potentially criminal action, Flynn also failed to disclose income he earned from a speech he delivered in Moscow in 2016.
Following his departure from the White House, reports broke that Obama had warned Trump against hiring Flynn. Obama had previously fired Flynn in 2014 from his position at the top of the Defense Intelligence Agency, reportedly for mismanagement and temperament issues. Flynn could face multiple felony charges.
49. Donald Trump Jr.
> Occupation: Member of first family
Donald Trump Jr. is yet another figure tied to Trump and his campaign who has recently fallen from grace. The president’s eldest son has been left to head the family business as his father took over the White House. While he is technically supposed to be kept at arm’s length from the West Wing due to potential conflicts of interest, some have suggested Trump Jr. still has his father’s ear on policy matters.
That all might be about to change, after an email leak in July revealed that Trump Jr. had held a private meeting with a Russian lawyer with supposed ties to the Russian government for the explicit purpose of receiving potentially damning information on Clinton and her campaign. In early August, former FBI director and current special counsel Robert Mueller, who has been appointed by the Department of Justice to investigate potential Russian meddling in the election, set up a grand jury. Several people close to Trump Jr. have already been subpoenaed, and it seems entirely possible that he himself could be on the stand before the year is out.
50. Hillary Clinton
> Occupation: Secretary of state, presidential candidate
Having served as secretary of state, U.S. senator from New York, first lady of the United States, and first lady of Arkansas, Hillary Clinton was one of the the most qualified presidential candidates in U.S. history. She was also well financed, raising a total of $1.2 billion in 2016. In stark contrast, Donald Trump — her competition in the general election — had no government experience and relatively limited financial backing, raising only $647 million in his 2016 campaign. Despite her advantages, and a comfortable lead in the vast majority of national polls leading up to the November 4th election, Clinton lost by 74 electoral votes to Trump in a historic upset.
Detailed Findings and Methodology:
Falls from power can manifest in a range of different ways. For a CEO, it often means mismanagement of a company, or a failure to inspire confidence on Wall Street. Politicians often lose their influence on the heels of a failure to implement major policy goals or because of scandal — real or fabricated. For professional athletes and coaches, a single disastrous season, on-field blunders, and off-field antics can all destroy a career.
Public relations disasters can have a range of effects on public figures. One of the most notable falls from the top this year was of television star Bill O’Reilly, a cash cow for media giant Fox News. Earlier this year, on revelations of sexual harassment allegations, major advertisers began pulling from The O’Reilly Factor. Ultimately, Bill O’Reilly lost his job, and Fox lost the most popular show on cable television.
It is no secret that politics can be unforgiving, and politicians dominate this year’s list — many of them tied to Donald Trump in some fashion. Indeed, the Trump White House has been a revolving door for key staffers in its first few months. But perhaps the most notable downfall was that of Hillary Clinton, who seemed destined to be the next in line for the Oval Office only to have victory snatched from her in one of the most dramatic electoral upsets in U.S. history.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick epitomises the precariousness of dominance in professional sports. Carrying his team to a Super Bowl appearance in 2013, the once promising young quarterback is now a free agent due in large part to the controversy surrounding his refusal to stand — as a form of protest — during pregame renditions of the national anthem.
Others on this list include CEOs who have been forced out by investors, and even a few who may face jail time for criminal activity.
Regardless of what any individual on this list lost or failed to achieve, he or she is not necessarily without power at the moment. As time passes, many on this list may recover, their blunders a footnote in the history books. Others will not be so lucky.
To identify the 50 least powerful people, 24/7 Wall St. compiled a list of many well-known individuals around the world who have recently experienced a precipitous loss in stature. Of these individuals, we selected those who fell the furthest from the greatest height. The occupations listed beneath their names are to indicate what they are best known for, not necessarily the position they currently hold.
Sponsored: Attention Savvy Investors: Speak to 3 Financial Experts – FREE
Ever wanted an extra set of eyes on an investment you’re considering? Now you can speak with up to 3 financial experts in your area for FREE. By simply clicking here you can begin to match with financial professionals who can help guide you through the financial decisions you’re making. And the best part? The first conversation with them is free.
Click here to match with up to 3 financial pros who would be excited to help you make financial decisions.
Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us?
Contact the 24/7 Wall St. editorial team.