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  • 23.10.2019
Celebrities who broke the internet in 2017
showbiz
22.10.2019

Celebrities who broke the internet in 2017

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"Breaking the internet" is a relatively new term that got wide use after Kim Kardashian's infamous nude (and very NSFW) Paper Magazine spread. Since then, "breaking the internet" has become a catch-all for any viral moment, particularly those involving celebrities. Thankfully, when these famous folks start trending our internet connections don't actually stop functioning, even if we do as we glue ourselves to our phones scrolling for updates. Let's take a short walk down memory lane to recap 2017's most web-shattering moments so far.

Mariah Carey

From her allegedly malfunctioning monitors to her almost complete lack of attempt to perform any kind of choreography, Mariah Carey's song medley during Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve With Ryan Seacrest was a disaster from start to finish. And yes, technically this means that this internet-breaking moment occurred in 2016, but the backlash lasted well into the next year.
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An ugly war between Carey's rep and Dick Clark Productions (DCP) played out, with both camps issuing contradictory statements of blame to Billboard. "Production set her up to fail," Nicole Perna, a rep for Carey stated. DCP fired back, describing the accusation as "defamatory, outrageous and frankly absurd."

Carey remained tight-lipped about the whole thing until a February 2017 Rolling Stone profile in which she said, "This was out of my control, and had everything not been such a total chaotic mess, then I would have been able to make something happen. Even the dancers should have stopped dancing and helped me off the f***ing stage. I'm sorry. It was a mess, and I blame everybody, and I blame myself for not leaving after rehearsal." Oh, Mimi, please never change.

Pippa Middleton
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Though she didn't marry into The Royal Family like her sister, Kate Middleton, Pippa Middleton's wedding enjoyed the kind of press coverage and internet frenzy normally reserved for the nuptials of a monarch. And even though Kate arguably stole the show in a now classic photo taken as she shushes the children about to enter the church for the ceremony, there were still plenty of internet glow in which Pippa was able to shine.

According to E News' highlights of the day, Pippa stunned in her lace gown by designer Giles Deacon, which she paired with earrings that she previously wore to Kate's wedding to Prince William in 2011. Her royal niece and nephew, Princess Charlotte and Prince George, were absolutely adorable in their roles as flower girl and page boy, and Prince Harry even managed to make headlines by dashing off immediately after the ceremony to chill with his then-low-key girlfriend Meghan Markle, who later attended the reception. Okay fine, it definitely seems like the media focus of this joyous occasion was all about what the Royals did during it, but if you're going to break the internet, you don't get to decide where the pieces fall. Sorry, Pippa.

Kendall Jenner
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It's still unclear exactly what Pepsi was going for with their Jump In video starring Kendall Jenner, which was a bizarre montage of heavily contrived urban slice-of-life scenes juxtaposed with some kind of vague social protest that erupts outside of Jenner's modeling shoot.

In a statement printed by Adweek, the soda-maker said the video was part of a campaign that purported to celebrate life's "Live for Now" moments, which they define as "moments when we decide to let go, choose to act, follow our passion and nothing holds us back." Okay…

The perplexing description offered by Pepsi did little to quell the backlash from social media where users skewered both Jenner and the ad as being a monumentally tone-deaf appropriation of actual social movements like the civil rights movement, Vietnam War protests, and Black Lives Matter activism, according to NBC News.
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Pepsi apologized and pulled the ad in early April 2017, and Jenner essentially went into hiding. It wasn't until six months later that she finally addressed the controversy on—where else?— Keeping Up With The Kardashians. "I genuinely feel like s**t and I don't know how I'm going to bounce back from it," Jenner confesses to her sister, Kim Kardashian, in a preview segment for their hit reality show which has been renewed through 2020 and will earn the family and estimated $100 to $150 million dollars, according to Variety. Seriously though, you guys, how will Kendall ever survive?!

Kathy Griffin

It's hard to imagine that Kathy Griffin couldn't anticipate the fallout from her ill-advised photo shoot with famed photographer Tyler Shields during which she held up a bust of a bloody, decapitated President Trump. While a few fellow celebs eventually stood by her in the name of artistic expression, the general consensus of the internet was: Not cool, Kathy.
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CNN, who employed Griffin for nearly a decade as co-host of their annual New Year's Eve special, terminated their agreement with her. She also lost a sponsorship with Squatty Potty, tons of stand-up comedy gigs, and even her friendship with Anderson Cooper, according to Vanity Fair.

The backlash reached its apex when Trump himself weighed on Twitter (of course), writing, "Kathy Griffin should be ashamed of herself. My children, especially my 11 year old son, Barron, are having a hard time with this. Sick!" Griffin responded by staging a dramatic press conference during which she tearfully apologized and declared, "I don't think I will have a career after this. I'm going to be honest, (Trump) broke me," according to Reuters.

Three months later, Griffin retracted the apology, telling the Australian morning show, Sunrise (via The LA Times), "I'm no longer sorry. The whole outrage was B.S. The whole thing got so blown out of proportion, and I lost everybody…I didn't just lose one night on CNN. My entire tour was canceled within 24 hours because every single theater got all these death threats. I mean, these Trump fans, they're hard-core. They have robo-calls, they're annoying." 
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Strange how people react to a comedian goofing around about chopping off the head of someone they're fond of, huh?

Warren Beatty & Faye Dunaway

When the dust settled on what exactly occurred in order for Faye Dunaway to announce the wrong winner for Best Picture at The 89th Academy Awards, it came down to simple human error. According to EW, one of the accountants from PricewaterhouseCoopers, the auditing firm tasked with maintaining the integrity of the awards, simply plucked an envelope from the wrong pile and handed it to Warren Beatty. Beatty then opened the envelope and passed it to Dunaway to announce the winner, just as he was instructed to do, according to his interview on The Graham Norton Show. Dunaway, without knowing she was reading from the duplicate back-up card from the Best Actress category, called out La La Land, momentarily robbing Moonlight of its honor.
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Cut to the internet losing its collective mind. "I wrote the ending of the academy awards 2017," The Sixth Sense director M. Night Shyamalan tweeted. "Have your people call our people — we know what to do," The Miss Universe Pageant chimed in, clearly referencing their own viral mishap from when host Steve Harvey errantly announced the wrong winner.

Beatty initially balked at commenting on the snafu, instead releasing a statement calling on The Academy president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, "to publicly clarify what happened as soon as possible." Dunaway told NBC News she felt "very guilty" and thought, "Why didn't I see Emma Stone's name on the top of the card?"

In the end, it all worked out, because Moonlight got its award, the Oscars telecast got the kind of buzz it hadn't seen in years, and Steve Harvey could finally say, "It ain't just me!" Which he literally did on his radio show Monday morning, just hours after the Oscars ended. Way to salt the wound, Steve.
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Ja Rule

Marketed as "the cultural experience of the decade," Fyre Festival was the brainchild of rapper Ja Rule and investor Billy McFarland. According to Fyre's pitch deck to potential investors, obtained by Vanity Fair, the event would take place on the remote Bahamian island of Great Exuma, and would "feature music from the greatest talents in the world, immersive experiences through art, theatre, and a weekend long treasure hunt; as well as informative discussions with some of the brightest minds in the world." With the average ticket packages ranging from $1,500 to $12,500 dollars, Fyre Fest was billing itself as a mashup of Coachella, the best TED Talks, and a real-life Pirates of the Caribbean adventure for wealthy millennials.

When guests arrived expecting the luxury experience of their lives, they were instead treated to disaster relief tents for accommodations, limited access to potable water and electricity, and food that looked like it came straight out of a prison cafeteria. Festival-goers began sharing their disastrous experience on social media, and the Fyre organizers quickly cancelled the event. The internet had a field day, and Fyre Fest became the ultimate meme to mock wealthy indulgence.
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Ja Rule apologized—sort of—and McFarland was eventually arrested and charged with fraud in connection to his attempts to secure investment for festival and its parent company, Fyre Media. According to event planner Chloe Gordon who worked to prep the event and later wrote about her experience for The Cut, the event seemed doomed from the start due to a lack of physical infrastructure on the island, and failure to secure vendors and other necessary services. Gordon claims that planners even advised the festival be postponed until 2018, but Fyre Fest proceeded, perhaps in the spirit of a marketing team member who said, "Let's just do it and be legends, man." If we're talking legendary fails? Then sure, mission accomplished, man.

Winona Ryder

When the cast of Stranger Things won the award for outstanding performance by an ensemble in a drama series at The 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards, David Harbour's emotional acceptance speech on their behalf would have been enough to go viral on its own. Until Winona Ryder completely stole his thunder as she stood beside him looking so perplexed it was as if she was an alien who'd just beamed in from another dimension.
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Again, the internet pounced, and this time a clear winner among the memes emerged when one someone added flying animated pizza slices to the clip. Absolutely genius.

Harbour later defended Ryder's bizarre behavior, telling People, "She couldn't hear me!" as if that's in any way a justification for her looking like she's desperately trying to locate a cricket in the garage. Sources told Page Six that Ryder now refers to the incident as "Facegate," and that "she's been 'facepalming' ever since." Ryder herself hasn't publicly commented on it, but we hope that when she does, it's on video and she once again looks like a mime stuck in a box of her own creation.

Melania Trump
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Like Winona Ryder, Melania Trump lit the internet ablaze with her own strange facial expression at her husband's presidential inauguration. There were actually a few viral moments from President Trump's coronation, like when he failed to wait for Melania to exit the car at the White House, and their awkward first dance at the Inaugural Ball, but the one that picked up the most steam was when Melania's face "fell" from a sweet smile into an annoyed grimace immediately after Donald turned away from her during Franklin Graham's speech.  

Almost immediately, #freemelania started trending, and Twitter users hilariously speculated as to what Donald could have possibly said to her to evoke such a reaction, according to Mic. Full-blown conspiracy theories even emerged that Donald was actually looking past Melania at his daughter Ivanka, leaving Melania irritated that she'd been ignored.

Snopes even got involved and speculated that when viewed from another angle, it appears as though Donald was actually scolding Barron, possibly for "talking and fidgeting behind him," and that Melania could have been reacting to that interaction. We'll probably never know the real reason Melania's expression changed so drastically that day, but we can feel confident saying it would have been nice if this was the biggest controversy to come out of Donald Trump's presidency.   
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Donald Trump

Speaking of 45, it could be said that Donald Trump "breaks the internet" almost every time he tweets, so there's a lot to sift through when it comes to viral POTUS moments. But the web truly melted down during Trump's first visit abroad in May of 2017, specifically his trek into Saudi Arabia and his encounter with that infamous glowing orb.

Even respectable media outlets like The Washington Post couldn't help but run headlines like "Behold! Donald Trump and the mysterious glowing orb." And though the president was simply taking part in the inauguration of the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology, whose mission is to "digitally monitor extremist activities online, employing specialists in radical ideology and hate speech as analysts," that did not stop Twitter from going absolutely meme-crazy.
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Jokesters compared the orb photo to everything from Lord of the Rings to Space Jam to a secret Illuminati meeting, according to Bored Panda. But probably the best take came from Twitter user @KrangTNelson who pointed out Trump's tightly closed eyes, and wrote, "trump 100% made a wish when he touched the orb." Nailed it.

Kellyanne Conway

Clearly, there's been no shortage of internet-shattering moments to come out of the Trump administration, and when Counselor to the President, Kellyanne Conway, was photographed kneeling on a couch in the Oval Office, she found herself forever etched into the memory of meme-dom.
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The takes were fast and fierce as internet-users fired up their photoshops to place the kneeling White House advisor into every conceivable situation, including the movie Forrest Gump, a heavy metal concert, a skyscraper beam, da Vinci's The Last Supper, and many, many more.

In response to being scolded for supposedly "disrespecting the Oval Office," Conway told Lou Dobbs (via NBC), "It is venomous. It bothers my children, to be frank with you. I have 24/7 Secret Service protection because there are people out there who do wish us harm, and people should take that very seriously. I'm not a victim at all, but people should take very seriously the import of their words. Especially when they know I meant no disrespect."

Wait, so the Secret Service could possibly investigate the guy who photoshopped Conway into the 2017 Oscar Best Picture fiasco? We're not security experts over here, but that…seems like a waste of taxpayer money.
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Barack Obama

With an approval rating of 53 percent—which, believe it or not, is actually high—as he left office, former President Obama left a lot of folks heartbroken when he returned to being a normal citizen. That's why it was even more painful when photos of Obama's kickass vacation emerged soon after, showing him kitesurfing and generally having a blast alongside billionaire and Virgin Group founder, Richard Branson.

Twitter user @luckyturner mused, "Obama just posed for the "I'm GREAT!" pic you'd petty post after a breakup." The tweet went viral—22,691 retweets and 66,155 likes as of this writing—and quickly became the prevailing meme of 44's British Virgin Islands getaway.
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Branson noted in a blog post on his company's website that the kitesurfing trip fulfilled Obama's desire to get back out on the waves, having been denied one of his favorite past times (surfing) early in his presidency by his head of security after a dangerous session in Hawaii. But all Obama's fans saw was their former leader moving on with his fabulous new friends. Either way, the internet still had a blast with it, even if it reminded everyone that while Obama's cruising around the Caribbean, all we've got now is Trump and his glowing orb.  


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