Special Report

Biggest Scandals of the Year

Source: Scott Olson / Getty Images

US Gymnastics team

Sexual misconduct reached into the sports arena in 2018, engulfing USA Gymnastics, which filed for bankruptcy protection in December. The filing was seen as a way for the program to resolve disputes stemming from revelations that longtime team physician Larry Nassar had molested more than 350 female gymnasts. In financial filings released in November, USA Gymnastics said it would cost up to $100 million to settle the litigation. Among those who said they were abused were Olympic gold medalists Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, and Gabby Douglas. In September, the scandal led to the resignation of USA Gymnastics CEO Kerry Perry, who was criticized for mishandling the Nassar debacle and for her lack of transparency.

Source: Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Alex Jones

Apparently social media has had enough of Alex Jones. The online conspiracist — who claims the government was behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks and that the 2012 school shooting in Connecticut was staged — was kicked off social media sites in 2018. Online media sites said Jones’s posts were hate speech and threatened violence at minority groups and media outlets. Among the sites that gave Jones the boot were Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Source: Brian Ach / Getty Images


Google made a few missteps in 2018. In October, a New York Times story reported that Andy Rubin, creator of Google’s smartphone operating system, was offered a $90 million exit package after the company found credible a complaint that he pressured a woman into performing oral sex. In September, the Wall Street Journal reported on a software glitch that exposed personal information of about 500,000 Google Plus users. To complicate matters, the story said Google management covered up the data breach out of fear of it being compared to Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica data scandal. In November, thousands of Google employees walked out in protest over how the company handled sexual misconduct cases. Google employees again took issue with the company after it became known that it was planning to set up a censored search engine in China that employees believe would “silence marginalized people.”

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