Sometimes stars fuck up. Celebrity gaffes can range from the little things (tripping on the red carpet) to the bigger things (calling yourself a gay man who doesn’t sleep with dudes) to the stuff of national crises (nationally televised nip slips, racist/anti-Semitic rants, and criminal charges). Some celebrities have genuinely bad opinions, and others are just imperfect human beings—Justin Bieber probably didn’t mean to hit a photographer with his truck outside of church just days after rededicating his life to Jesus Christ. For every “woke” celebrity retweeting Kamala Harris, there’s an ill-articulate actor whose PR team has already pre-drafted an apology. But poor word choice pales in comparison to being accused of facilitating or tacitly supporting human rights violations. The day that your long-suffering assistant informs you that Human Rights Watch is formally condemning you should probably be the day you start rethinking some life choices.
While this might sound like a fairly far-out predicament, there’s a long list of celebrities who have been chastised for performing for dictators, cooperating with oppressive regimes, and generally exercising poor judgment abroad. While most of these incidents involve paid gigs—taking money from someone objectively evil—some, like Ivanka Trump’s alleged factory conditions and Madonna’s controversial adoptions, are either more nuanced or even less defensible. In honor of Angelina Jolie’s recent, widely criticized adventures in Cambodia, we’ve assembled an A-list of celebs who have been questioned, condemned, and told off.
Angelina Jolie’s questionable Cambodian patronage
With this week’s Vanity Fair cover story, Angelina Jolie appeared to be taking a lesson in outrageous distraction techniques from our current Presidential administration. Unfortunately for Jolie, no red lip is bold enough to erase fraternizing with the Cambodian army. In one of many questionable anecdotes about Jolie’s new…