I had never once heard of Jussie Smollett before he was allegedly attacked, and then allegedly not attacked. Now I can’t go a day without seeing or hearing his name.
I had never once heard of Nipsey Hussle when he was alive. Now he’s the most famous dead guy since Elvis.
Arguably, the whole Smollett mess will not help his career as he had hoped it would, though I suppose time will tell in the long run. And obviously, things did not end well for Hussle. But they are certainly both more famous now than they were recently.
What other celebrities have become more famous because of something negative (up to and including death) without it ultimately benefiting their career? Is there a term for this phenomenon?
Ian Watkins, the lead singer for Lostprophets. I didn’t know who he was until I read about the sexual abuse charges he was convicted of. I should warn you about Googling him; the crimes were very disturbing.
O.J. Simpson was the first running back to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a season (1973) and, for a time, held the record for most touchdowns in a season (1975). He was the de facto face of the NFL during most the 70s and ranked just a bit below Muhammad Ali in terms of fame.
He was the face of the NFL for a few years and his period of fame diminished from that point on, and never approached the level of fame Ali would eventually achieve. 20 years after his athletic career ended he was merely the guy who ran through airports and acted in the Naked Gun. The day before he murdered a couple of people he was a joke.
The debate about OJ Simpson brings to mind Chris Benoit. Now to pro wrestling fans he is a pretty famous name. But to people outside of wrestling he’s mostly known as the wrestler who went nuts and then killed his family and then himself.
Also to most non-wrestling fans Owen Hart is the wrestler who fell to his death from the ceiling of the Kemper Arena in St Louis. (He was supposed rappel from the ceiling into the ring but his harness snapped and he fell.)