You name it, in 2014, someone in the public eye has done it, received a whole lot of social media backlash for it and then quickly gone back on what they did, grovelling for the acceptance of the masses. We may not have taught anyone to think before they act, but at least the measured folk of the Internet can force them into repentance.
The eyes-wide-shut commissioner
One of the most effective stories for feeling truly depressed about the state of humanity in 2014 was that of
The "sexist" space scientist
Even astrophysicists who have just successfully landed a camera on a comet aren't excused the wrath of the social media world, which lead Rosetta scientist Matt Taylor found to his regret after wearing a "sexist" shirt during televised interviews. The garment was hideous, sure, but even more unpleasant was the outpouring of hatred against a guy who had actually done something pretty cool, and yet was still forced to make a teary apology for fear of the mob. Polite as it was for Taylor to say sorry, he hadn't actually done anything wrong, so this win for the keyboard warriors felt somewhat unwarranted.
The copycat A-Lister
The casual sexist
The tech world is constantly promising that it isn’t shoddy to women, but Microsoft CEO
The Syrian "hero boy" fakers
The civil war in Syria is one of the bloodiest and most brutal to date. Entire cities have been reduced to rubble. A "conservative estimate" puts the death toll at almost 200,000. So how did a group of Norwegian filmmakers decide to highlight the crisis? By making a viral video that turned out to be fake, duh! The clip in question showed a young boy appearing to save his little sister from an onslaught of bullets, but in fact featured Maltese child actors just doing their day jobs on the film set formerly used for "Troy." After being found out, a mass of criticism ensued, and the producer said they were "sorry if it makes documentation or reporting in war zones more difficult." The fact people who put their lives on the line each day to report from the front lines may now be disbelieved because of a few imbeciles who wanted to jack up their YouTube likes is nothing short of disturbing.
The world was gripped by World Cup fever this summer, but the excitement got to nobody more than Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez, who took a chunk out of his opponent's shoulder. This latest bizarre move was Suarez's third offense of this ilk, landing him a nine-match ban for which he later expressed deep regret. As with the Rice saga, though, sportsmen always seem to escape any kind of real-world punishment. Maybe in 2015, the people paid millions and championed as global role models may actually be held to account for their actions.
The dog-beating CEO
Desmond Hague, then CEO of Centerplate, was recorded abusing a dog in elevator footage -- an act which promptly led to a 190,000-strong petition for his removal. He later described his actions as being "completely and utterly out of character," but it proved to be too little too late, as he was soon (and rightly) replaced.
The accidental homophobe
Hollywood’s favorite adult baby
The offensive store
The family meltdown
The perfectly constructed empire of Jay and Bey literally took a blow this year after Solange went ham on her sister's husband following the Met Gala. In yet another elevator bust-up, footage showed the Carter-Knowles family brawling, with the trio emerging somewhat stony-faced upon their exit from the glitzy event. Solange was clearly at fault for her actions, and the pair did apologize to each other, but having show business' first family involved in a violent dispute really did not look good for their legions of young fans. They say they've moved on, but can we?
Charlotte Lytton is a London-based journalist, and has previously written for CNN, The Daily Telegraph and The New York Observer. Follow her on Twitter @charlottelytton
MORE YEAR IN REVIEW: